Monday, August 22, 2011

And Here We Are!!

So, I know I have been promising updates left and right, but I ran out of airtime which means no internet (except for free facebook). I apologize that I have made you all wait this long for a post, and also that it is so long. I hope you enjoy. I waited to post until I could include pics J

Let’s start with why I have no airtime and no money to buy more airtime. First of all, I tethered my computer to my phone’s internet. My phone is set up to run on certain settings to keep costs down, my computer is not. Then the money issue is because of a burglar door. I was doing really well with the money they give us, then I discovered furniture at the same time that my Babe decided that he wants me to be ‘too safe’ and we should have a burglar door put on an inside door that adjoins my house to another section that has no bars on the windows or outside door. Bye Bye money. Luckily, we get more at the end of the month and I should be peachy again. Also, as soon as my Babe gets paid we are going to split the cost of the door and PC is figuring out whether they have anything to contribute to the cause.

Here is a little story about moving to my new and permanent (for 2 yrs) host family:

Our moving day was a little bit of a disaster. There is another volunteer who is also staying in my village, Mia. Since she is a health volunteer and I am an education volunteer it should work nicely. Anyhow, the PC guy who came with us out to our site switched our assigned homesteads. So we got to the first one and he told Mia it was hers. Her Make was so happy and the home she got was beautiful, but it looked a lot like the picture I had from when we received our assignments. I said something to Babe, but he was pretty sure that he got it right. So, we unloaded all of Mia's stuff, told Make we would be back soon with a bed. Well, as we pulled up to the second homestead Mia and I were both pretty certain that our homesteads had been mixed up, because the house on this homestead looked a lot like the picture she had. Finally, he agreed to call Make, who actually scouted out the homesteads for each of us, and realized that they were opposite of what we were currently in the process of doing. So, we met Mia's 2nd Make of the day and went back to retrieve her stuff and drop mine off. My poor host mother!! Can you imagine expecting a foreign volunteer staying at your house, meeting them, and then everyone coming back and telling you that there was a mix up and the other volunteer is really yours. Oh man! She is a trooper.

My new Swazi name is Busisiwe, it means blessing. My Make picked it because she has 3 boys and it is now a blessing that she should have a girl. She and Babe also said that I should feel like this is my first home and that America is my second home. They are both so sweet. Usually it is just me and Make, because Babe works in a different village and my brothers are older and are either at school or working.

On the side yard of the homestead we have a papaya tree, peach trees, banana trees, and yes Mom, that’s right avocado trees (they are in season in June, I’m pretty sure)! I have a pretty big, nice house with 1.5 rooms. I say 1.5 because there is one big, mostly finished one and then a second, smaller room with unfinished (concrete) floors that I use as a kitchen/ bath. I also had enough room and money to buy a nice (you can't feel the springs) double bed and two beautiful handmade tables from a local craftsman who made them just for me (chairs to come). More good news for those of you who would like to have a quick visit to southern Africa, I don't have to take any time off for when people come to visit me!! I only have to take the time off when I leave my site. So welcome one and all!!!

One big project that I am really excited about on the homestead is a garden. I asked Make about it and she is so excited! She actually started digging the garden the other day, which is kind of bad because we are no where near ready to plant so the soil will dry up pretty quickly which means that we had to cut grass for mulch to try to keep the moisture in the soil. I don’t know how many of you have tried to cut grass as tall as you are with a sickle, but let’s just say my Make and I quickly realized all of the possible injuries that could easily happen while doing it, so she let me give it a couple of tries and then held on firmly to that sickle while I transported grass to the garden. My big task is to get a  compost pile going. We’ve got it started, now we just need to keep it going.J Planting should happen as soon as I have enough money to buy seeds. I did bring some seeds with me from training but they seem to have been misplaced during the move. They should pop up sometime though.

The village is nice too. We are very close to a small town, which helps. I am meeting a ton of people. Mia and I have attended a community meeting (like a city council meeting) to meet all of the head people of Mkhuzweni. At that meeting they asked us to attend the community church service to be held the next Sunday, as it would be a good opportunity for us to be introduced to a large portion of the community (which is GIGANTIC!). We walked for four hours the other day and didn’t get through half of Mkhuzweni. The church service was very interesting, a lot of singing and praying in Siswati. It was a congregation of all of the churches represented in Mkhuzweni. The community church service is something that they do once or twice a year, usually everyone goes to their own respective church/service.

I also got to spend a couple of days in my school before it closed for holiday and from what I’ve seen I really like it too. The first day I was introduced to the school board and teachers. The second day I was introduced to all of the students. Babe (Principal) did a wonderful job of introducing me and made very clear that I am their volunteer and it is everyone’s responsibility to help me out and look out for me, really very sweet. I cannot wait for school to start again, even though I know that it means a lot of work. It is really hard to have little direction in such a new place.

Again, I apologize that this has taken so long. I am going to see if I can figure out how to email to update my blog and hopefully update more frequently.

So, I just spent WAAAYYY Too long trying to figure out how to upload photos. I am going to get this post out and try to put more pictures soon. Love you all!!!

This is a picture at the Nature Reserve we visited during training. I will let the kids out there tell you what all of the animals pictured are. Please comment on the blog with their names :) 

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