Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm here!

Well, I made it to Namibia! The past two days have felt like two months, but I found an American-run internet cafe and some free time so let me update a little bit! We arrived at the airport in Windhoek the capital at 5 in the morning on Wednesday, it was like 40 degrees and i didn't have a jacket oops, and we all looked a little ridiculous in the business casual attire we were supposed to show up in. When we made it through customs with the PC Namibia Director Gilbert Collins, the PCMO, and the administrative officer, we were greeted by several current volunteers and PC staff singing to us and welcoming us, which was so nice! I didn't realize they were there for us at first but it made everyone so happy that we journeyed for 2 days to be welcomed into the country. We drove through Windhoek and 45 minutes to a city where we'll be training. We were greeted at the training site by the rest of the training staff singing Namibian/South African songs to us! We then went straight into orientation meetings for the rest of the day; this got to be pretty difficult by noon when we hadn't eaten for a long time and I personally was having a hard time staying awake. However, after lunch we got a tour of the city and it's great! We'll be moving into our host family homes in a week so it'll be good to get acquainted with everything here first. I'll tell more specific things later, but I love my group here, the current volunteer leader are so helpful, and the training staff is awesome. The next two months have been said to be the hardest because they are so jam packed with learning and training, so we'll see when it gets in full swing on Monday and I can't wait to tell you more specific things I've learned when I have more time! For now, chocolate cake in this cafe, and mapping out the game of assassin that all the volunteers will be playing starting tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Here We Go!

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday was the big day - we boarded an airplane and took off for Namibia! Currently we are enjoying a ten hour layover in Frankfurt, and we seem to have the airport to ourselves considering the general silence and emptiness of our terminal. Two days ago I arrived in Philadelphia, and after a tearful goodbye with the family, I became an official Peace Corps Trainee (we become Volunteers when we swear-in in October)! After turning in a lot of paperwork, the 39 members of PC Namibia Group 34 began our staging activities. Everyone introduced themselves by adding something they had learned about Namibia, and I wish I could remember all the fun facts! The stuff about animals stuck with me, so I'll share those: apparently the largest concentration of rhinos in Africa are found in Namibia, giant millipedes are a specialty to eat, andddd the black mamba is widely found throughout the region (don't look that up if you don't like snakes, everything about them is scary). We talked about our anxieties, our aspirations, and the core expectations of the Peace Corps. Its so nice to be around so many people who've been going through the same process for at least a year! It seems like we have a great group and I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone during training.

Anyway, staging wrapped up and all 39 of us were bold enough to try to find a restaurant to accommodate us. A place named Gigi's actually set up a row of 15 tables to fit all of us, took 25% off our meal, and then brought us a round of shots! It was a great ending to the first day with the Peace Corps.

At JFK! You can't see my massive 65L travel pack on my back, but I'm sure it'll show up in a few future pictures. Also, I did locks of love a few days ago, explaining the crazy short hair. Lots of other girls in my group did this as well!

Luckily I was not the only person in Group 34 to go a few pounds over our weight limit in luggage...

Tonight our flight takes off around 8 and we have another ten hours on Air Namibia before arriving in Windhoek, the capital! We'll then all stay together at a training facility for 6 days while getting adjusted to Namibia, then September 1st we move in with our host families. A lot is going to happen in the next few days - after an initial interview with the Assistant Peace Corps Director in Namibia (APCD) and the Peace Corps Medical Officer (PCMO) I'll find out what language I'm going to learn, which will determine the region I'll be working in for the next two years! I'm so excited to finally get to Namibia - "the land of the brave!" 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It All Begins

Since I’m leaving in less than a week I have to stop thinking about starting this blog and just it get it going! I leave the country on Monday August 22 to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia for the next 27 months! Definitely in freak out mode, but because I don’t have too many details of where I’ll be living or specifics about my job it's hard to be too crazy nervous. A lot of people have been asking me questions about my future life in Namibia, so let’s recap!

What I do know:
-       I will be an English Teacher for Upper Primary or Secondary School students
-       All Volunteers in Africa also work on HIV/AIDS awareness as well
-       I will be receiving training for two months, both language and technical. While in training I will live with a host family
-       When I am sworn in and move to my permanent site in October, I will live with a host family
What I don’t know:
-       Which of the 7 languages spoken in Namibia I will be learning
-       Where I will be training, or where my permanent site will be

Everything will be clear soon enough, and I can’t wait to tell you all about this experience! For now, I’ll be trying to pack my life into the PC designated 80-pound maximum of luggage. This may take a while.