Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cape Town Bound!

Goodness it’s hard to believe April is already half over! Where has the time gone? And not only that, but race day is almost here! The day I’ve been looking at and training for that has been off in the distant future for so long, the race we’ve been talking about since we landed in Joburg (literally) is on Friday! Crazy!

And we’re off to Cape Town! We’re in town today before we head to Joburg tomorrow and catch our bus to Cape Town on Tuesday. We’ll arrive in Cape Town Wednesday afternoon. We’re heading out a bit early to avoid any of the potential residual protests hanging over from last week. But I mean, I’m all for starting vaca early, so here we go! The Peace Corps is always talking about sustainable development, well we’re talking about sustainable vacation this week. ; ) Here’s hoping we get extended on the other end of our trip too!

Not a lot has been going on lately. Mid Service Conference was fun, as every time is when our whole group gets together again. We started off with a workshop with our counterparts, talking about designing and implementing projects. A lot of it was review for us, but it was important for our counterparts to hear, so a lot of the workshop was in siSwati. As important as it was for us to be there with our counterparts, it was pretty boring. We had a few days of a Grief and Loss workshop as well, which I was indifferent about a first (mostly I just wanted to stay the extra days for cooked meals and showers), then I was kind of dreading it the first night because it seemed a little hokey, but after the first day it was actually pretty good. We all have a lot of baggage, significant or insignificant, we carry around and when you come here and sit in your hut, by yourself, it all tends to come up. And that compounded with the loss we see here everyday, it can be a bit much. So it was good, a little long because we all love to talk about ourselves, but good none the less. We also had a day of administrative stuff, talking about new medical policies, that state of the country, practicing our plan incase of natural disasters or civil unrest (which every country does at mid service, but we’ve just had extra practice), taking a look at where we’re at now and how we want the next year to go, and talking about third year extension options and Peace Corps Fellows opportunities. That’s right, time to start thinking about life after Peace Corps! Though it’s still a little far away, it’s coming up quickly! This time next year will be our Close of Service Conference. eek.

I’ve been doing a little “Life After Peace Corps” research of my own too. I’ve been watching “Long Way Down” with Ewan McGregor, where he and some friends ride motorcycles from London to Cape Town. It’s the second one, after “Long Way Round,” but obviously this one is a little more exciting at the moment, as they travel from Cairo to Cape Town, which I hope to do, in reverse, at the end of service. We’ll see if it happens, but watching this makes me extremely excited. I was hoping to finish and watch them get to Cape Town before I left for Cape Town, but unfortunately I didn’t get all of the episodes and they only got to Tanzania. Hopefully I can get the rest at some point.

Things with my Health Project are moving along. I finally got approval from everyone that needed to see it. Unfortunately this Cape Town trip came at a bad time, so once I get back I’ll have someone from the office come talk to my counterpart about what this money means, what needs to happen with it, that I am personally responsible for it, etc, etc. Then, two weeks after that I’ll get the money. Which is unfortunate because we wanted to start the surveys to gather the community’s baseline knowledge on HIV the week I got back. Hopefully NERCHA will come through with printing the surveys for us and we can continue on without the money at this point. Then we’ll get the money a few weeks before the trainings begin to buy 400+ notebooks and pens and 150+ boxes of cookies among many other smaller tasks. So it’s Go time when I get back from Cape Town! Which is fairly exciting actually, I feel like this project has been stuck not going anywhere for three months, but in just a few weeks, we’ll be started and it’ll be over in June and I’ll have to think of the next project to start! But not before I see my parents at the end of June! : )

Well, that’s all for now… South Africa awaits.

Love and Miss Everyone!


PS: Go Hawks and Pens! :) :)