30 June 2010
Two stagiares (trainees) have already left for the US. They were two really amazing volunteers, and I hope they both return. The first was “med-evac”ed due to a broken leg while playing soccer a couple of days ago, and the second left just today because his father passed away.
I remember looking at someone’s blog and seeing a picture of their training class (aka their “stage”) and the caption was “half of these people are already gone.” I remember thinking that Peace Corps must be really tough, but I am quickly learning that there are about 2.5 million reason people leave, and, most of time, it is out of their control.
My French is progressing. SLOWLY. I am able to have very basic conversations about my day even though my grammar needs lots of work. I can buy things at the marché (market) and possibly give directions. MELLO and fam, thank you so much for the French dictionary! I use it every single day and like it better than the one Peace Corps gave us for training.
I GOT MY SITE! I will be spending two years in a village called Pagala. I’ll be working with village savings and loans groups (VSLs) and youth – the two main things I wanted to do. Pagala is the site for in-service training (IST) and the site for the two main camps Peace Corps runs for youth each year. So I will constantly be around other PCVs. I get to visit my site in 2 weeks. I’ve talked to a couple of girls near me and they seem great. They are throwing me a party for post visit! One of them text me today (yes, we all text each other here!) and I am getting her cat for my house when she leaves! Sorry Koukla. I’m excited to have a little companion, but equally (or maybe more) excited that it will take care of creepy-crawly things in my house.
Our stage is planning on having a 4th of July celebration this weekend! We’re going to make lots of American food (ie. Guacamole and hot dogs), watch movies, drink beer, and maybe even set some stuff on fire. We are sleeping outside at our tech house and probably going to just use mosquito coils instead of trying to hang mosquito nets everywhere.
One of my friends mentioned to my host family that I like to cook, and they have been dying to try an American meal! We are pretty limited on ingredients here, but based on what we have here, I put together the following menu: bruschetta, spaghetti with homemade sauce, green beans, and mashed potatoes. There is so much fresh fruit so many, many potential desserts. There is always fresh mango, pineapple, banana, coconut, etc. It will be interesting to try cooking for the first time over these charcoal stoves with only 2 pots going at any given time. I’ll be sure to let you all know how it turns out.
I miss all of you back home!! So sorry for the infrequent updates. The last two times I went to the internet café, the network was down. It’s really annoying because it’s about a 30 minute walk from my house in the hot, hot heat! Call my cell anytime. I keep it off during class, so a good time to call is 12-2pm or after 5pm Togo time (so 8-10am or after 1pm east coast time). Mom has the number and will be happy to pass it along. I think if you call my cell from skype, it is only $.32/minute or something. Anyway, I’m thinking about you all and hope to hear from you soon!