Welcome to the Next 2 Years

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Former PCV’s project at my new site

Among the many things that happened over the very busy past 3 weeks, I found out that I will be headed to northwestern Mpumulanga for the next 2 years! I am working with a drop-in center that feeds and cares for local orphans and vulnerable children.

We visited our sites 2 weeks ago. I have another PCV as a site mate (woot!), and our supervisors took us around to meet several principals, clinic staff, indunas (traditional leaders) and others. My org has had several previous PCVs, and it has a garden and small library! The other staff are great, and I am excited to be working with them soon. I also really enjoyed staying with my new host family, which consists of a gogo and a teenage sister and brother. Gogos are the best!

Gogo baked buns for breakfast, yum!

The last day, we went to our shopping town, Bela-Bela. It took a full day of waiting for the taxis to fill up, but the delicious burger made it all worth it. I also found a delectable local dark chocolate in the grocery store there. I am so excited to wrap up training and get started on the next chapter, although I will definitely miss my host family here and being so close to the other PCVs.

Before site visits, my group also wrapped up our practicum. We had an hour a day for 3 days to cover healthy relationships and safe sex, which was nowhere near enough time. However, I was so impressed by the smart, engaged kids we were working with.

There have been a lot of positives over the past 3 weeks, but it’s also been full of challenges. Training is Monday through Saturday; I’m more exhausted that I ever have been before, even when I was in training for my half-Ironman. Monday is a big exam for language (LPI), so any of my virtually nonexistent free time is spent studying. But I am looking forward to life at my site, when I will have more independence and flexibility! I’m also grateful for my current host family for providing me with a home and our staff for everything that they do. We have an appreciation day for our host families coming up, as well as swearing in as official volunteers and a fun day so that we can take some time to enjoy ourselves. I’m trying to take it “tšatši le tšatši,” or day by day!

Trainee cooking competition- my team’s food, incl. my gogo’s fried tinfish (basically sardines) recipe

Going away party thrown by the girls’ group

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3 thoughts on “Welcome to the Next 2 Years

  1. Cannot believe you’re nearly done with training! So exciting to learn about your site and yassss, site mate!

    Crazy how tired you are during training. I still remember how utterly exhausted I was during my training so long ago. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My bad!
      Older women/grandmothers are called “gogo” in Zulu and “koko” in Sepedi. My host mom is a gogo, so I often call her my gogo because gogos are the best!

      Like

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