Sunday, October 13, 2013

Many homesteads, a library, and a meeting

Hey I remembered to update my blog! In an effort to make these posts shorter, I’m going to try and update this more often.

The past week hasn’t been overly eventful. I think the reason Peace Corps Volunteers have to have patience is because of integration. I have no idea how volunteers did it before laptops and kindles. I would have been bored to tears by this point without them. You may wonder why the government pays for us to be here then right?

My two biggest goals at this point in my work is to get my Site Assessment Report (see my previous post) completed and an attempt to start a library by applying to Books for Africa. I went to 27 homesteads on Monday (the 7th). It was certainly a tiring day! Mondays seem to be my day to do my homestead visits with one of our Rural Health Motivators. So far I’ve visited 60 homesteads. I’m beginning to find familiar faces around town but names are difficult. Many people have the same surname so I could guess one of the common surnames (there are about five very common ones for my town) and probably get it right but I don’t want to know them just by guessing.

The library project is sadly being started from scratch. I say sadly because it means these kids have no access to books to improve their English reading and comprehension. It’s also sad because it’s going to take a serious amount of work to get a functioning library up and running. At this point we have a small, narrow room that will barely even fit the shelves. I know the school really wants this library so hopefully it’ll all work out. The next step is shelving, a budget, and the Books for Africa application.

I don’t go to the primary school every day. Tuesdays are health club days and Wednesdays I try to get a meeting about the library. This week I’ll be doing an HIV knowledge and attitudes survey with grades 5-7 to try and understand what information, myths, etc. the students already know. There haven’t been any formal discussions with the school yet but it seems as though they want to work me into the timetable (class schedule) to teach life skills. There are a few different manuals Peace Corps provided but it basically means HIV information, communication skills, relationship skills, self-esteem building, etc.

This past week I went to Simunye Country Club to celebrate the October birthdays among G11. It was a nice relaxing day but the internet didn’t work. This was sad for two reasons. I couldn’t skype with my stepsister and my niece. I also found out that PC didn’t make the automated payments they’re supposed to make from my readjustment allowance. It’s an added stress I didn’t really need. I feel broke in two countries! Yay!

If you were wondering about financial matters, I get a monthly allowance and I got a moving in allowance. I’m not actually broke, but there are still a lot of little frivolous things I buy to make my hut feel more like home or food I buy for comfort when I really don’t need it. Hopefully next month I can start saving some for a potential trip to Mozambique for the holidays. There’s a big group of volunteers who are hoping to take our first vacation over the Christmas/New Year holiday time. The US dollar and even the Swazi currency gets me pretty far there from what I understand. 

Today I went to a meeting at the umphakatsi (chief’s home). The inner council has chosen a new interim chief of sorts. The brother of the chief that passed away was chosen to take his place but by custom it’s supposed to be one of the chief’s children that follows in his footsteps. I thought perhaps the children weren’t old enough. Turns out the children are old enough but it would be improper to make them one of chief while the chief’s wives still “wear the black” (grieve). It was a short meeting but thank goodness it was today and not yesterday. I can’t figure out the weather in this country. It went from over 100 degrees yesterday to the 60s today. Obviously being from New England, I prefer the colder weather but dang it’s weird how fast it changes. Also…still no rain. I hear it should have rained a lot more by now. Hopefully we will get some soon.

I know I’ve seen other PCV blogs that list what the volunteer is reading or watching. So I thought I’d let you know what I’ve been doing in my spare time.

TV Series: Game of Thrones (Season 3)
Book: Game of Thrones (Book 1) and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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