We have a site!
After 8 weeks and 3 days (or 2 months depending on who’s counting) of waiting, I finally have a new site back in KZN. Technically, the fantastic PCSA staff assigned me to a potential organization on October 5th, but we were waiting for housing (specifically burglar bars to be installed) and in PC anything can happen. I did not want to say too much incase housing did not pan out (the departure date was pushed back multiple times). PSCA has given me the all clear to head back to the field today.
How I am feeling? Excited and nervous, because this will be an intense experience for the next three months. We have basically reached November, and SA shuts down for December Merriment in 5 weeks from now. Not a lot of time to integrate (especially for someone of my caliber…when it takes me months to figure out social cues as is), and since I am walking in month 10ish of service to an organization that has not had a PCV before….the next 3 months will be an awkward dance. In the end, I think this will be a good personal fit and PCSA did a thorough search so this next site will be hopefully successful. Besides I have walked into Tucson, Durango, Botswana, and now South Africa and found my place in communities where everyone was previously a stranger. I got this, but still start popping the popcorn…this will be an entertaining ride to watch.
With that said, I am so ready to leave Pretoria and get back into the field. While it has been nice having Skype access and watching my guilty pleasure (Dancing With the Stars…Bindi and Derek for the win), I have put in my patience. Besides I need to get out of the capital before it takes anymore of my modest volunteer stipend!
As for the new site? Here is what I know:
1. I am currently the only PCV in the Amajuba District. Amajuba means place of doves in isiZulu so it is fitting for a PCV to work there…yes I am still rocking the isiZulu. Thank goodness I have been practicing my clicks.
2. It is another homebased care/drop in center set up. I am the first PCV for the organization.
3. As for what my projects/work/tasks look like, it depends on what the organization and community want. TBD
4. All items of importance (clinic, work, house, and taxi rank) are within a 500 meter distance from each other. This means I need to find a new form of exercise as I am not in the mountains anymore and thus cannot cheat by simply walking to and from work (driveway of my former home was an 80 degree incline) for fitness.
5. Speaking of home, apparently I have my own building on an amaZulu compound with a host family. AND I am the only PCV in the organization and host family (which is a critical detail).
6. Closest town is about 30-45 minutes away and shopping town is 1 hour way. Actually it is a shopping city (code words to be determined), with a nice mall and private hospital! Closest PCVs are an hour away and I am half a day’s distance to some of the SA 30 education volunteers. We are already discussing inter-sector collaboration opportunities.
What I do not know?
1. How frequently I can blog (or what wifi will look like) or check my graduate school e-mail account, as I cannot get Catmail on my phone.
2. A new PO box is, I am fortunate (and so appreciative) to have a lot of people who desire to send me postage but we still do not have a PO box. My fingers are crossed that this will be resolved in the next few weeks, but once there is a PO Box my parents will have that information until I can get it up on the blog.
3. Anything else that was not mentioned above.
I have to tackle last minute logistics before the PC transport arrives, but thank you all for the support during this ordeal. All of the kind thoughts, skype sessions, and e-mails did so much for my confidence while I was in a vat of ambiguity (and I will respond to all the catmail e-mails eventually). Here is to the next stage of adventure in the Northern Battlefields!
All the best,