Alright, so I’m horribly late to the task of writing about my life in South Africa. Five months late. Sorry all, but I’m failing miserably at Peace Corps’ “Third Goal,” which is that I teach everyone at home about my host country. I promise to do better!
First up, a quick rundown of not-very-recent events. On January 23, Emily and I said goodbye to Seattle and the family and flew to Philadelphia, where we met our wonderful SA25 cohort and ate Chinese, rang the Liberty Bell, and said goodbye to decent beer.
Fast forward a few days, a few buses and planes, and we were safely on the other side of the world, in Mpumalanga Province, in training. Emily and I were grateful to be hosted in fine style by the Mahlangu family in the Ndebele village of Bundu. In addition to three sisters, two brothers, and the family patriarch (baba), we lived with seven cows, thirty chickens, three dogs, and five cats.
We were taught isiZulu by the amazing Ms. Minky Nonjabulo Gasa (Shenge), who quickly whipped us into shape. Our family spoke isiNdebele, not isiZulu, but both languages are in the Nguni group of Bantu languages, and are similar enough to be mutually understandable.
A lot happened over those eight weeks in training, and I’ll add more detail later, but the point is: we finished, we swore an oath, we received our placement, we said siyabonga to the Mahlangus, and we trucked off to our new site near Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal.
That was there months ago. Since then we’ve run a distinctly South African gauntlet, but we have emerged (if not victorious, at least kicking)!
Look to this space for a piece-meal and haphazard description of daily life in the ‘Berg. Fingers crossed, anyways.
For the record:
July 1, 2010 - Online Application Submitted
October 19, 2010 - Interview at the Seattle Office
January 5, 2011 - Nominated
March 28, 2011 - Medical Kit Received
April 19, 2011 - Medically Qualified
May 2, 2011 - Interview with Placement Officer
July 18, 2011 - Invitation to South Africa Received
January 23, 2012 - Staging in Philadelphia
March 23, 2012 - Swearing In