Week 9 and Settling In!

I realize that I have a whole week to blog about and no idea where my schedule from last week is at the moment.

We did sessions on our first week as teachers, medical stuff, and emotional health with the volunteer support network. On Thursday, a woman from the DOE came and spoke to us and I really liked her because she seemed like she has a really realistic view of the state of schools in South Africa. That night we did site announcements and had pizza to celebrate! I found out I would be replacing a volunteer who is from North Carolina in a village outside of Marble Hall and Globlersdal. One of our sessions last week included a lecture about not posting our exact location on the internet, so email me (pcvcottam@gmail.com) if you desperately want to know.

On Friday, I took my oath and swore in as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer! The country director was there, our LCFs were there, and we were fed a beautiful lunch. I have been waiting for that day for years and it was quite anticlimactic. Of course, its September, so I’m dealing with some cyclical mental health stuff and I was in a pretty awful mood for a lot of the day. I went to the local bar to say hey to a few PCVs for a little while, then went home. My friend, Jess, came over to get some of my movies on her external harddrive and I spent a lot of time packing. That night, my mother gave me gifts! I got a new pair of pajamas and a handmade rug crocheted by my gogo (grandmother) out of plastic bags. It is awesome and it is in my room right now!

On Saturday, I went to town to pick up a few things, mostly small gifts for my family. I hung out with Melissa for a while then we ate pizza and went our separate ways. My language group all got together for some cold drink to say goodbye to our LCF, then I went back home and made potato chips for my family.

On Sunday morning, Peace Corps picked us up and took us to the staff house in Mokopane to load all of our luggage. There was a pool! I was so upset that I spent nine weeks not knowing there was a pool nearby that we could have used! They took us back to the compound where we started our journey in South Africa. TK and Silence (our drivers) took us into Polokwane to do a little grocery shopping for the next few days. We spent one last night all together before parting ways.

On Monday, we were supposed to leave the compound at 8:30, but- you know- this is Peace Corps, so we didn’t. I told one of my friends I was going to lay back down and for her to make sure they didn’t leave me. I woke up a little before eleven completely alone and locked in the building. Luckily, the last group had just left about 5 minutes before, so they came back and picked me up. We went to a lodge in Polokwane where we met our principal(s), then ate lunch before getting into our principal’s car and making our way to our new homes.

My host family is AMAZING and I got a new name and a hug from my mother the moment I got out of the car. Nna ke (I am) Matshepo. 🙂 I ate dinner with my host mother and my adorable three year old “brother” (actually nephew). She served me beef liver, which I’m sure was expensive and is probably a big deal, but -SURPRISE- I didn’t like it. My father is a little quiet but super duper nice and good with the little one.

Today I went to my school to meet all of the teachers and be introduced to the learners. They are doing National Testing this week, so I didn’t hang out there for long before my aunt, who is also a teacher at the school, took me to show me my shopping towns. We went to Globlersdal and Marble Hall and visited the police stations in both, the post office in Marble Hall, and several stores at each. I got a two plate hotplate, food, a laundry basket, a fan, a set of plastic drawers, and a few other things. I even found Barefoot Moscato wine at Pick N Pay, which I am currently enjoying a glass of as I type. It was ridiculously hot today! I was exhausted and had a headache, so I napped for a while before making myself a sandwich and doing my dishes.

I met the oldest of my three brothers tonight and he seems awesome, too. The brother I met tonight is the oldest, but he is my younger brother. There are also twin boys who are the youngest, but I haven’t met them yet. My mother bought a “Welcome to the family” cake for us to share and told me that her sons have never had a sister and God must have answered her prayers. She said I must be an angel to them and help them know right from wrong. No pressure 😉 Tomorrow there are about a million things for me to do, so it is bedtime! Thanks for reading!

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

3 thoughts on “Week 9 and Settling In!”

  1. Catherine, I am loving your posts, and so glad your hosts families have been awesome, which was something we prayed about earnestly with your mom in Moms in Prayer. I feel like a stalker, but working with English Language learners in Buncombe County Schools has made hearing all your stories wonderful!! Enjoy every moment!!

  2. I love that I’ve been to your site and know your family. You know, I almost ended up working there for my third year! 🙂 Good luck settling in and enjoy the new experiences. And, CONGRATS!!!

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