Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's see if this works?

I'm writing this in an email on my phone and sending it to blogger. Yay technology! This is my hut. I hope this isn't too expensive. Ha. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



I have had a bunch of things that I have wanted to mention in my blog, but nothing substantial to write about them, so I have decided to write a list of a bunch of random things you may or may not want to know about my life here! Ha.

1. I just finished my second pack of malaria pills, meaning I’ve been here for 20 weeks! That’s 5 months! That’s a lot!
2. It rains a lot here, where I am. Like a lot. And it doesn’t just rain; it storms every time – lightening, thunder, downpour, the whole nine yards. It’s actually perfect because it starts storming around 5 or 6 pm and continues all night. Then it’s usually a little cloudy in the morning, perfect for running! Then clears up mid-morning before the thunder and storm clouds roll in again in the evening. It’s a nice thing to fall asleep to…
3. The only problem with the rain is that it knocks out the power, and usually until mid morning the next day. But now that I have a new phone that holds a charge, it’s not as big of a hassle. Bring on the rain!
4. It does not rain everywhere else in Swaziland, apparently. Its also significantly cooler here and there are less snakes here. I think I scored, despite the transport situation, or lack thereof.
5. Its funny how quickly you can get used to being called something else. For 21 years I’ve been Megan and the other day I was walking to the school and I swear a car rolled by and said “Sawubona Megan!” and I was so confused. Those 21 years are wiped away by 5 months of Sethabile now. Don’t worry Mom, I’m sure it will come back the minute I get home. ; ) (By the way its pronounced Set-ta-be-lay incase you were wondering) But now its turning into Thabile by my family, Setta by the community, and Thabilini and Thabi-Thabi by the little kids on my homestead. All of which I respond to if yelled, which happens often. Ha. I have also started responding to “auntie” which obviously I’ve never been called before, but now am as the little kids are technically my nieces and nephews.
6. The goats have stopped running into my hut, which is definitely a good thing. I think they have just grown and can’t fit through the burglar bars anymore. The chickens on the other hand, continue to hop right on through. I need one of those half door things… or a screen. Ha.
7. I have now partaken in the killing of various chickens and a cow… sorry ali…, which was cut apart with a machete right in front of my hut. Not a pleasant sound to hear for a few hours. I also watched a goat be skinned. All in the name of integration, right?
8. Despite being done with college and moving to Africa, I am currently working on a 15-20 page report. (Right?!) It is due next week at IST and is entirely about what I have learned about my community during my integration period. After this we have to write reports three times a year about what we’ve been up to. We also have to write articles every once in a while for our newsletter all the volunteers get, the Sojo.
9. Well, like I just mentioned, IST is next week! That means Integration is almost over and the real work can begin. I can’t decide if I’ll be more or less busy after it ends. Other volunteers make it seem like you get more busy after, but I feel like I had specific things to do during integration, maybe not everyday, but I had things to do, surveys to give, people to talk to. Now, we’ll see!
10. We’re going to the Ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving. Kinda cool, huh? And I hear he has a pool! Funny how Thanksgiving always means swimsuits, hot tub at Kimmy’s in Minnesota, cool pool at the Ambassador’s in Africa.
11. We’re going to Mozambique in a few months, have I mentioned that? Ha. I’m very excited. We’ve decided to go over New Year’s as our vacation days are limited and we had to pick Christmas or New Year’s. I’m very, very, very excited.
12. I have still gotten kute packages. Ha. So as much as I appreciate the thought, if you wanna save your $50 to ship it with the chance of it maybe getting here in 6 months, as the one sent in July may or may not do, I don’t mind. (If you want to give me the money though… talk to my G-Ma. She has access to my bank account. If you do, let me know though, send me a letter, so I can thank you sincerely as I’m using it to travel around Southern Africa. ; ) I hope that doesn’t sounds bad, but the idea did come up so I wanted you to know I would appreciate it just as much as a physical package. I steal (I mean share?) the contents of Eric’s packages anyway so I’m not entirely package deprived. Ha.)
13. Happy End of Daylight Savings Time. I’m now 8 hours ahead of you all in the Central Time Zone. : )
14. After my comment about killing animals, Ali will be happy to know I’ve become quite the vegan here, if only because meat is a hassle. My family has a refrigerator that I could use, but its just easier, and cheaper, not to. So beans have worked their way into everything as well as this Soya Mince stuff that I really like. And as with the meat, the lack of refrigeration makes dairy a struggle as well (I’m on calcium supplements before someone freaks about that ha) But the vegan-ness goes out the window when I go into town where there are burgers and pizza to be had. : )
15. Not only am I now an expert fat cake baker, I am an expert cabbage chopper as well. I have two beetroots now that I’ll be trying my luck with soon. No I don’t particularly like beets but they were a gift and I don’t turn down free food.
16. I have become the world’s biggest klutz here. I’m blaming it, and I think rightly so, on the gravel roads that I frankly did not frequent in the suburbs of Minneapolis. In the 5 months I’ve been here I don’t think I’ve been band-aid free for more than a few days at a time.
17. You know that song we sing in church, “We are marching in the light of God…” and the other African language in that song… “Siyahamba… something something” ha. Anyway, that’s the language we speak here. It rocked my world when I put that together.
18. Here’s a little snapshot of my community if you’re interested: 28% of the homesteads have electricity, 15% have a car, 89% have a latrine, 76% have a radio, 46% have a vegetable garden, 26% have their own water tap, and 75% have someone on the homestead who have gone for an HIV test! Also, about a third of the children are orphans, but more than half of all the children are vulnerable.
19. If you want a book to read about life here, the HIV/AIDS problem and how its affecting life here, I suggest you read The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis. We had to read it for IST. It’s about a 5th grade reading level and I read it in 3 hours, but I was struck by how true everything was… the scenery, the descriptions of towns and life, and the story. It takes place in Malawi, but that’s not that far from here, and still, it’s all very true here as well.

Well I think that’s enough randomness and procrastinating. This report won’t write itself! Hope everything is well at home! Miss ya, love ya and all that jazz!

Love, Megan

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PST Pics

Hey all!

I finally got to upload some pictures! it was a bit of a hassle and a little slow but here they are! these are some pictures that other volunteers took of PST. Hope you're doing well!

Love, Megan