Sunday, December 2, 2007

Shedding my stripes

This has gone on long enough.
The time has come for me to come clean. The time has come to tell you all the truth:

I am not, in fact, a zebra.
Instead, I am a human being.


I wont call what I have been living up until this moment a “masquerade.” If I did that, I would be unfair to myself. I never actively tried to deceive anyone into believing that I was a zebra … I just never bothered to clarify.
It’s true, yes, I played on peoples’ fantasies, and allowed them to believe that I was something that I wasn’t- but can you honestly tell me that you have never done that, yourself?

I’m sorry if I hurt anyone by allowing them to buy into the zebra fa├žade. I’m sorry that I didn’t come outright and declare my humanity. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.


If it makes anyone that I’ve harmed feel any better- I, too, suffer for this deceit.
It appears as though my village has bought into web of lies that I didn’t actually spin, but that I was fully aware of and took no efforts to stop.
So here I am. A zebra, living in a house, working at their schools, speaking their language, eating their food … would you just look at that ridiculous zebra walking down the street carrying grocery bags!

Yes, yes, I brought this upon myself.

I’m in too deep now. There’s no way out of this mess. Their impression of me as a zebra is now so deeply entrenched that if I exposed myself now, it would only bring devastation. How could anyone trust me again? No … I must play my part as the village‘s, domesticated zebra for the next two years.

On the bright side- my zebra status does present me with a certain kind of freedom. Unlike all the other humans in the village- if I want to act like a zebra, I can damn well act like a zebra. Because really, how could they fault a zebra for acting like a zebra? They can’t. They just can’t.




A few here that are close to me, I think they may know. Or they at least have a subconscious idea. Maybe one day I will reveal to them the truth. But the timing must be just right.
After all, recognizing another creature as a human being is no light matter.
Especially after believing that they were otherwise for so long.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

South African Bubbles

Sometimes after a good rain, we get flying insects. These flying insects are a similar build, but smaller size than the bird-like insects that soar into my window with loud thuds every night. They have clear wings, the shape of an elongated tear drop. If the wind has blown just right a day or so after the swarms of these insects have died, you’ll see little clusters of their wings- hundreds of wings- huddled in a corner, or caught on the edge of the grass patches. Puddles of wings. An eerie reminder of the creatures that take over for a day, and then disappear until the next rainfall when the next generation attempts to avenge their fathers’ and ancestors’ untimely downfall. Of course, only to suffer the same fate. Mother nature has a wicked sense of humor.

They crawl out of holes, one by one, in a rhythmic fashion. Little flying-incest-soldiers, marching off to battle. First their bodies emerge, then their wings pop out, they take a few steps, and then off they go. From far away the swarms look like a fog over the village. When you see it close up, it looks just how it is: like hundreds and hundreds of flying insects.

It’s not so bad, though. They’re generally pretty considerate. They very rarely fly into your face if you’re walking through them, they more or less stick to their designated area (outside,) and they don’t really do much but fly around and look slightly menacing. It’s hard to know just what their purpose is. But then again, it seems a bit hypocritical to berate them for embodying such a fundamental attribute to life itself: purposelessness.

On the other hand, they do serve a function. It is probably not the function that was intended for them when nature molded these organisms into what they’ve become- but who is really to know that anyway? They turn into the little South African version of an American child’s bubbles. Blown specifically for them to chase and pop. A fun game for children to play.


Directions: Stand outside the flying-insect holes and frantically run around. Chase and clap the creatures in between your hands. Giggle with glee when you get one. No need to wipe your hands until you‘re done. Not to worry, there’s an endless supply.
The cost: a small battalion of flickers of life that would have died within the coming hours anyway.

Maybe. Just maybe …
Maybe Mother Earth knew all along what she was doing. From the very instant that fate began to weave its intricate pattern of the flying insects’ evolution- specifically choosing an adaptive pressure here, a mating selection pattern there; Mother Earth knew all along that they were to become the South African child’s bubbles.

After all, it’s a universal fact that children need bubbles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Setlagole's Sky has Fallen

A couple of weeks ago, our backyard was swarming with chickens. One night a mother hen of about 8 chicks disappeared. Just earlier that day, she had been conducting her life as she had for so long. At times, clucking around in search of food, other times resting with all of her babies huddled up beneath her belly. Life was business as usual.

By nightfall, that would all change. It was storming, which means that any noise in our yard is obliterated by the rainfall on our tins roofs. There could be an entire orchestra playing just outside of our windows, and there could be no way for us to know. So whether or not this mother hen made a fuss, it would not have mattered.

My host mother believes that someone came into our yard and stole her. I don’t doubt her, not one bit. There were no feathers, or any real sign of struggle that would indicate a predator coming in to kill and eat her. But sometimes I wonder if, during that stormy night, she had a little too much time to think. With 8 sleeping babies wearing her down each day, demanding every ounce of her attention, maybe it got to be too much. Perhaps she realized that the storm outside was a direct reflection of the storm inside of her, and she had to get out. With the pressure mounting, she broke. She flew the coup.

Whatever the reason for the disappearance, it had a devastating impact on the community. With the mother hen gone, 8 little chickadees dwindled down to 7, then to 5, to 4, then to 3 ... I knew they wouldn’t survive, but I didn’t realize just how they would stop surviving. I saw their numbers fall, but not how they were falling. Then one day, I noticed that the 2 remaining chicks tried to join another group of chicks that still had their mother. The mother became mad, and attacked one of the chicks, killing it. At that moment, in my mind, chickens had lost their innocence. I understand that perhaps they never truly had innocence; innocence is probably all just an illusion anyway.

A couple of days later, I saw the remaining chick hanging around one of the three almost grown-up chickens. It was trying to slip under the older chicken when it was resting, and I noticed that the chicken didn’t care. I didn’t understand- why did this one tolerate it? From what I learned of chickens within the last few days, they didn’t strike me as the altruistic type. This almost grown-up chicken was not letting the chick stick around out of the goodness of its heart. Then my host mother told me that the three almost grown-up chickens were sick. That explained why it was letting the little chick climb all over it. The next day, all three of those chickens died. With the only friend it had left dying, and killer hen roaming around- the last chick had very little reason to stick around, and even more reason to leave. But a lone chick is hardly equipped to deal with this harsh world.

Through the course of events, there was only one grown hen remaining with her 5 chicks to look after. She was the killer hen. About a week ago, she and her family disappeared also. It is another mystery to me where they went. Perhaps, guilt ridden, and paranoid of being found out, she planned an escape. Exactly who she was afraid of being found out by is but another obscurity to this human peering in on a chicken’s world.

I can’t imagine her plan panned out very well. After all, it is a rough world for a chicken- especially a single mother chicken of 5. I doubt she reached whatever destination she aimed for. With all these dogs and cars around, the odds are grim. I have a dour feeling that she may also have been captured, and her chicks sold into chick slavery. It is a cruel world, but who is to say whether any one of those players would have done anything different if the roles were exchanged.

Within three weeks, the chicken population of my backyard went from approximately 18 chicks and chickens, to 0. I was completely unaware that the lives of chickens were so complex and dramatic- filled with mystery, mayhem and murder. I can’t say that it surprises me, as life is life and life is hard- regardless of the level you happen to be playing on.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Banyana Banyana

So last week, I had my first practice with my new girls soccer team at my primary school.
Here they are:


They are going to be KILLER!!!!!
Who they'll destroy ... I have no idea. There probably isn't another girls team around for miles and miles. But perhaps I will start one up at my other school, too. Then no matter who wins, I win!

As a result of never ever playing organized soccer and probably only touching the ball a few times, they're a bit lacking in skill. What they lack in skill, however, they make up for in BRUTALITY!!!!!! (I mean that in a good way, of course.)
These girls. I have never seen little girls go into tackles like these ones. It's really exciting.
At the first practice, we had a pretty large audience of students from the school. There were over a hundred kids out there watching the practice- cheering them on from the sidelines. I was smiling the entire practice.
There was a slightly smaller crowd this time, but it was still pretty substantial. About the equivalent of some of my college games ... I haven't really decided how I feel about that.

Anyway. They have a lot of potential, and it is obvious that they want to be there and work hard. I was late to practice this week and the girls were already out there warming up. It was only the second practice and they're already on top of it!


On a totally unrelated note, there are probably 20+ flies flying around my room right now. It's driving my a little bit crazy. I'm thinking it's time to break out the DOOM Super (the slightly faster killing, slightly more humane line of DOOM.)


I guess I'll close this up with an action shot from this week:










Oh and as a final thought- if anyone reading this happens to have any extra soccer balls, pennies, cones, etc. that they're willing to part with, I think my girls and I would be more than happy to take them off of your hands ...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Some pictures for my father

So, my dad has asked me to post some pictures. Well, fine. I'll do it. I hope you feel special, dad.


I suppose it is appropriate to start off with this picture of me looking awkward. It is appropriate because I more or less operate in a perpetual state of awkward. It's not so bad anymore- I've come to terms with it, and being awkward is just kinda normal now.

Anyway:

This picture was taken at my principal's brother's funeral, while I was being introduced to 200+ funeral attendees. I don't even need to tell you about how uncomfortable I felt up there while they talked about me for 20 minutes (did I mention I was at a funeral?) because you can see it pretty clearly on my face. I believe that at this point in the speech my principal is warning the men not to ask me to be their girlfriend.
While I was on my site visit seeing my permanent site for the first time, my principal's older brother died. So for my first weekend there, I attended a funeral. This was not the first funeral that I've been to here, and I know that this wont be the last one that I attend during my service. Death is so common around here, and funerals are a time for the community to come together. As with every event here, there was much beautiful singing. Again, as with every event here, there was much preaching.



For the funeral, they slaughtered a cow. Here are the men cutting her up! I'll link it, just because it is not 100% pleasant:
Men cutting up cow

I don't want to talk about funerals anymore. I hate them. Moving on.


Now we come to a picture of me with my best friend here, Erin aka Refilwe:


As you can maybe see in this picture, Erin is more or less 100% Irish Catholic. Over here, however, she's considered "coloured."
We decided she earned this classification because of her textured hair.

If you're not familiar with South Africa and the race classifications, here's a break down:
There are four races- white, black, Indian and coloured. Oh, and then there is "China," but I think they fit under coloured? I haven't quite figured it out. It's a bit of a catch-all category? Ultimately, it seems to be pretty arbitrary.

It was especially screwed up under the Apartheid when people were separated into groups according to race. If you so much looked like you had any mixed ancestry, you'd often be removed from your family and relocated to a coloured section.
Listening to some of the stories are mind-blowing. I might be a bit fuzzy on the details, but apparently they had some tests to determine whether or not you were considered coloured. One of those tests was if they stuck a pencil in your hair and it stayed, you were considered black; if it fell out, you were coloured. I can hardly imagine the idea of your entire life being determined by whether or not a pencil stayed in your hair ... completely absurd.


Anyway, onto a more pleasant subject- the children!
Children are pretty amazing, regardless of which continent you're on. With that being said, I will just post some pictures of children!




Starting with my host brother from my training site. Here he is as an 'old man.' He took some feathers from a duster for his beard.





He's a silly dude, constantly entertaining- singing, dancing, acting. I have some really great footage of him doing his old man dance, but alas, it takes too long to upload.


Then we come to the children at school. Here they are, all lined up for morning assembly. They sing and pray in the morning, and it's really quite beautiful. Of course, there's still a level of discomfort for me when it comes to the praying at school, but what're you gonna do.




Here are some children from my second schools, after they surrounded me. They do that sometimes. Flock to me.

















And now for some pictures of some children around my hood.































We have a group of girls that come over to our yard a few times a week to pick mulberries from our mulberry tree.






















Okay, I think that'll do.
Hope you're happy now!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brace yourself, this is going to be a long one.

So long in fact, that I am going to give an overview here of the things I will cover:
- The amazing stew I made, and the implications of said stew
- The cow that I saw give birth
- The soccer that I played yesterday
- A long overdue job description


So without further adieu, I will start with my amazing stew. Hah.

I have a new recipe. It's unbelievable. I wont bore you with the details about how good it tasted and how it was basically a spiritual experience eating it. No, no, I wont do that.
I only bring it up because I felt I had to tell someone. I can't tell anyone here in my village. I can't tell them, because it will only make them want me to marry them/their brother/their son even more! No! If they knew what I was capable of in the kitchen ... it would just break their hearts to know what my future holds- to know that I am going to live alone for the rest of my life (that's if you don't count the 14 cats.)
I tell you what, though- had they known, they may very well have changed my name again- I wonder what the Setswana word for "culinary genius" is?

Moving on, I saw a cow give birth. She's outside eating the placenta right now, and the calf is all wobbly. The whole scene is pretty charming, minus the slime. The slime's kinda gross. What do you say to that, Uncle Allen? Does it bring you back to the farm?

OKAY. NOW. SOCCER. I finally played in my new village.
Let me tell you about why I think that it was divine intervention that brought me here to Setlagole.


I have a soccer field here in my village.
Not only a field, but a stadium. I have a stadium.
The field has grass on it.
The goals have nets.




Just let that sink in for a couple of seconds.


Has it sunk in yet?

Maybe that doesn't really strike you as unusual, but let me give you a description of a typical rural South African field:
A large open patch of dirt, rocks and cow/goat/dog droppings. Sometimes there are goals, but there are NEVER nets. And there is never grass, but instead there are bushes with thorns on it that are about 2 inches long.
Of course, not all the fields are unkempt. Many fields are nice, decently level dirt with few rocks. Regardless, they are no where near the quality that I have here! I feel so privileged.
Anyway, I played yesterday for the first time. I showed up and learned that it was the teachers of the local high school playing the police station of Delereyville, a nearby town. There are games every Wednesday. Of course, the players are all men. Women rarely play soccer here- they play netball, which is a kind of variation on basketball. So when I asked them if I could play, they were highly amused.

"You play soccer, eh? Heh heh heh. You're going to play on our team, eh? Heh heh heh ..."

I ended up playing outside half, my very worst position, and the one I hate the most! The game was paused at one point, due to the heavy rain and then eventual hail- but resumed with hilarious results. The puddles made the game absolutely unpredictable.
I didn't show extremely well, but I could hang. They were pleasantly surprised and even invited me back. Hopefully, by the time that the novelty of this white chick playing soccer with them wears off, I'll be in shape and have my touch back so that I will be a welcome addition anyway!

I just decided that I don't want to type up my job description right now. It's too long and Generations is about to come on.
For those of you who don't know what Generations is, it is the best/worst soap opera you will ever watch. It is very popular and extremely addicting.
I have to keep my priorities, you know.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Children's Games

Let me teach you a game that the children play here. It's really easy, but I am not entirely sure how much fun it actually is.
Okay. The name of the game is "Watch Megan Work."
All you have to do is sit down (or stand up) in relative proximity to me. Make sure that I am deep in the middle of a project, or trying to clean/organize my living space.
Next: watch.
While you watch, you can giggle and talk to your friends, but that is entirely optional. There is no actual point, it's all about style.

This game can be played with 1 to 15 people. Actually, I'm sure it can be more (and I am sure I will find out soon,) but 15 was the maximum number of players I had playing today. The average game lasts about 15 - 20 minutes. Although, I had a record breaker today with one child watching me for at least an hour.

So here, they watch me. But when you play at home the ideal situation would be to find someone that sticks out like a sore thumb, and then wait for them to start working. Once they start working, find your spot and just watch. That's all you have to do!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

And so now I have a problem ...

On account of the aforementioned gigantic, bird-like insects requiring mass amounts of DOOM to die, I have a great conundrum:
Should I open my door to allow the deathly fumes to leave my room and thus allow more gigantic, bird-like insects to enter? Or risk suffering the same fate that not long ago I put those abominable creatures through?
I pose this question to you, the reader, as a sort of practice in Peace-Corps-South-Africa-Survival-Decision-Making.

A Day in the Life of Lerato's Ears

First off, you may have noticed that I spelled my name differently this time around. I think that this might be the proper way of spelling my name ... but I can't know these things for sure.

Moving on.

My ears hear stories day in and day out, and I feel that it is high time for my ears to tell their story.

I will start from right now and move backwards throughout the week.

Right now, there is music playing from a house nearby. This is not unusual. In fact, it is far more unusual for there not to be any music playing. It is pretty nice, to tell you the truth. I only really hear the bass line and it is nice to have a rhythm to set your daily activities to. Sometimes I even know the song. The other day Beyonce was on the speakers and I couldn't help but feel a little bit like I was at home- of course, that was until a goat ran across my path (a new reality check that I have grown quite fond of.)

Last night there was also music, but it wasn't from the speakers. I believe there is a ZCC (Zionist Christian Church) that meets at neighboring house. Friday nights are a night to stay up all hours of the night and sing the whole way through.
I like my personal Friday night soundtrack. It is a nice break from the usual chorus of dogs quarreling and donkeys dramatically hee-hawing. Though, I must admit, they're charming in their own right.

Wednesday night there was a storm. Oh, by the way, I have a tin roof. If you've never experienced an electrical storm while staying in a room with a tin roof, let me tell you: you're missing out. Boy, is it LOUD. Especially considering the fact that the thunder here is way louder than in America! I swear! I don't know how or even if this is possible, but I'm willing to put 1 rand 50 on it that it is true. And just so you know, that is enough to buy a scrumptious pineapple popsicle. So I hope you can tell that this is no light matter to me.

More on tin roofs: doves may be the symbol of peace, but after living in a room with a tin roof, that idea has just become ridiculous to me. 12+ times a day, I first hear the landing and scratching of the doves' claws on my roof, followed by a bickering of sorts. Why are they fighting on my roof? I have my theories.
I sometimes like to think of my roof as the "flag post" on the playground at lunchtime. One bully dove will say to another, smaller, vulnerable dove, "yo, I'll meet you on Megan's tin roof at every single hour of the day, every single day, especially in the wee-hours of the morn, and YOU'RE GONNA GET IT!" And of course the other dove, not wanting to appear a coward, obliges. And alas there is a dove-beat down. Right there, on top of my tin roof, where every detail is amplified for my listening pleasure.


A new noise has introduced itself to my ears just now. It is the noise of a gigantic, bird-like insect, stuck in between my curtains and the open window. No, no. Make that two gigantic, bird-like insects. And no Dad, there is no Clark here. This ordeal must be solved the old fashioned way- with a big ol' can of "DOOM." And so I will conclude this entry as I have pressing matters to attend to.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What is going on here

I just went outside to use the pit toilet just now, and as soon as I opened the door, I saw a donkey on my front step. I said to the donkey, "Donkey, what are you doing on my front step?" He did not answer, he only chewed. What he was chewing, I could only imagine (there is not a lot to chew around here.)
We exchanged glances, and he troddled off. That was the end of that adventure.

Still, I needed to go to the toilet.
Let me show you my pit toilet: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After using the toilet and then navigating my way back through the herd of cows, I made a brief stop in the main house of my host family to visit for a little bit.

I entered the living room and found a gathering of family/friends. Upon the sight of an apparently terrifying white devil-esque woman (me,) a small girl screamed and started crying. She continued to cry and hide in her mother's breast for the five minutes I was there. I am not going to lie, it made me laugh.
I left the room earlier than I anticipated- I didn't want to stress the poor girl out. Plus, it gave me an excuse to go back to being the recluse I so desperately have to be every once in a while.

I hope that one day, she will come to recognize that I am not actually evil, but instead a lovable, cuddly little creature- much like a fluffy bunny.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Welp!

Dumelang! (Greetings, in Setswana.) I'm all up in this piece! (That means "I am here, doing this thing," in kind-of English.)
My computer's hooked up to dial-up now via my cellphone, I have a mini-fridge (OMG!), kitchen area, LIGHT(!!!) and I am just waiting for my bed and wardrobe. I feel like I am at home now! I am not sure if I am living what might be called "Peace Corps Lite," but I have a feeling that I am going to have more than enough other challenges facing me that will make up for my awesome living situation. Heh. :/

I really love my new host family, but I have not spent a whole lot of time with them just yet. I want to establish myself as a bit of a hermit. Okay, that is not intentional, it is just happening this way. I JUST LIKE TO BE ALONE SOMETIMES, OKAY. I haven't gotten to be alone for a day in forever. I love being alone. I just hope that my need to be alone doesn't interfere with my integration into the community.

Oh, by the way ... I am no longer "Tshegofatso" which means "gift" or "grace." I am now "Lorato," which means "love." My principals decided that they wanted to give me a new African name, which is fine. I am hoping that I will lose a little bit of the weight I gained that came along with having the nickname "Fatso." Although, I'm not going to lie, the nickname Fatso is really still very funny to me. Hehe, Fatso.

Friday, September 21, 2007

officially a PCV

so it is official. I swore in yesterday and then drove 8 hours to my permanent site: setlagole. i love it here. I have a really good feeling about my host family and the community. I am entering this in with my new super high tech phone. Best phone i will ever own ... And i had to come to africa to get it. Oh, Africa.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Advantage of the Bucket Bath

So. The bucket bath. Let me tell you about it. First, you fill your basin up with about 2 inches of water. You wash your face. Then, with a cup of water set aside to rinse, you stick your head in and wash your hair (this can be very tricky.) If you're lucky, you have a basin big enough to sit in- and by sitting in it, I don't mean fitting your entire body in it, you probably hang your feet outside of it, which is fine because you want to wash those last. Scrub-a-dub-dub away, and then you can towel off and step in and wash your feet. The details change, but that is more or less the typical procedure for the bucket bath.

Let me tell you the coolest part of the bucket bath: it's the filthy water at the end. Yeah, it's kind of gross that you are using progressively nastier water as you go, but at the end ... at the end you see just exactly how much dirt has come off of your body. You sure don't get that satisfaction after you shower! So to all you suckers out there, taking showers: I pity you.

In other news: I got my first "you're getting too fat!" comment from my host mother yesterday. I believe that 90% of the female trainees have received a comment of the sort since arriving- for a while I was feeling a little left out. I mean, I am not so sure that I am really gaining so much weight! But it is definitely plausible ... I do eat about a loaf of bread every day (not an exaggeration. ) And it is not intended as an insult- it is supposed to be a compliment. "Oh you're enjoying Motswedi so much! You're eating so well!" Etc.

People are quick here to comment on weight. It can be pretty uncomfortable for an American broad to hear it, but keeping in mind how differently shape is perceived here can be also pretty relieving- there is a ridiculous pressure to be thin put on us in the States, and that is simply not the case here. Still though- shut up, okay.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

MAIL

Oh, and real quick: SEND ME MAIL!!!!!! I want letters so badly.

Megan Clapp, PCV
U. S. Peace Corps
PO Box 9536
Pretoria 0001
SOUTH AFRICA

A Sea of Roosters

Every morning when I wake at 5:30, I hear a chorus outside my window. A glorious chorus of crowing. It starts with one rooster, and it spreads far across the land. Then when the light breaks and I go out to empty my bucket of urine that I keep in my room for when I need to take a leak at night- I find myself in the middle of a vast ocean of crowing. I can hear hundreds and hundreds of roosters crowing for miles and miles. Roosters, man. They're ridiculous.

I've been here in South Africa now for about 22 days - and to the best of my knowledge, I am alive and well. Training and adjusting is consuming and demanding. Holy hell. But it is also really pretty fantastic. I have already made some lifelong palships. It happens quick here- when you've got another person alongside you in situation after situation of pure awkward ... the bonds develop fast and strong. On that note- I'd like to talk about awkwardness. We had a PCV that came to help us with our training, and he gave us a pearl of wisdom: after a while of operating in a perpetual state of awkwardness, it starts feeling normal. I think I'm getting closer and closer to that stage. It's pretty liberating, to be honest.

Okay, the details. I am living with a family in a rural village in the North West Territory. I am learning Setswana (albeit very slowly.) There are frustration and joys and frustrations and joys and whoooooa boy. It's intense.

We observed a school two weeks ago, and are going to be working with them again this week. The schools ... oh boy. Part of me was a little apprehensive about my skill sets and what I had to offer at my future site - and that same part of me still feels that - but to a much lesser extent now. I can see much to work with.

The schools, the teacher and the children have sooo many challenges to face. Most influential is fighting the legacy of the Bantu Education system implemented under the Apartheid. That topic could be its own entry. It could be its own book. It could be its own library. But to touch on it a little, the systematic oppression that the block population faced, especially in the schools, is almost overwhelming. It was so brutal and so damn destructive. Education has been revised, but to undo the damage will take generations.

The residual effects of the Bantu Education couple with the HIV/AIDS issue ... I don't know how to end this sentence, to be honest. There is a significant problem of parents dying off, leaving orphans - or if they're lucky, they might have a grandparent or relative take them in. Then there are the children themselves dying. Oi. And of course, anywhere you go, anyone you ask- no one has any real AIDS problems. People are dying from other things, not AIDS. Granted, there are plenty of other contributing factors to the tremendous death rate, but people are definitely turning their heads. I almost can't blame them.

Anyway, to wrap things up a little bit- I'm doing well. It's challenging, that's for sure. But that's just exactly what I asked for. I'm going to change this place. The whole thing. I am going to change this place, and then I am change all of Africa. Then I will go home and fix America. Then all of North America. Then I will move on to Asia, then South America, then Europe then Australia ... but I'm not sure I will be able to do much about Antarctica. As painful as it is for me to admit, I think Antarctica is going to the wolves. I've felt that it has been going that direction for a long time now. You have to pick and choose your battles - I mean, I have to be realistic about my abilities.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Peace Corps Eve"

Tonight's not my last night in the States ... it's my "Peace Corps Eve." Okay. This is going to be a short entry, and it is not going to be properly broken down because the enter key does not work on this computer. I would have started a new paragraph right here, but I can't. OH WELL! Now's a good a time as ever to start being flexible, now isn't it? To sum things up: A. I've met a lot of great people. B. I don't have a lot of time at the moment, and I wont for a while. C. I leave for South Africa tomorrow morning. D. I would have started each of these points on a new line, but sometimes life simply cannot be how you think it should.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here ...

Welp.
It's 1:40am, and I am leaving for the airport in T minus 4 hours. As most of you know, I'm going to South Africa and serving in the Peace Corps for 2+ years. Yep, that's the plan.

I decided to go with the blog versus the email newsletter, because the newsletter just feels so ... invasive. Oh, I don't know. I think, more than that, that I will just feel much more comfortable writing dumb crap if I feel like people aren't being pressured to read it. And God knows, I love writing dumb crap.
Anyway!

I'm packed. I'm ready to go.
Physically, I've been ready to go for a couple of days now. Emotionally, I've been ready to go for months and months. I love my life here. I love my family, I love my friends, I love the opportunities and jobs that I've had- but I am ready for something else. I'm ready for a change.

So what do you say, South Africa, you think you can show me an adventure?