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Peace Corps update: SOUTH AFRICA HERE I COME!!!


Hold fast to dreams and they will come true!

It took a whole week for my invitation to travel across country, but it finally came! I didn’t get to actually open it myself because I went to Las Vegas this weekend with the Markham team to celebrate the end of the year (which was amazing — love my team so, so much!) One of my roommates got it and opened it for me. I couldn’t wait any longer and would have been talking about it all weekend if I didn’t know what was inside that beautiful blue packet.

After a seven month application process, I was invited to serve as a school teacher in South Africa! I will be working in a primary school (ages 6-15) as part of the Schools and Community Resource Project. This has been an ongoing Peace Corps project since 1997 — currently there are 106 volunteers in nearly 250 schools in over 100 communities. I leave on July 10, train from July 12 – September 13 and my service ends on September 13, 2014.

My primary duties are:

  • providing direct instruction to learners
  • supporting initiatives by the government and NGOs that promote HIV-AIDS awareness and education in schools and communities as well as developing strategies for handling the subject in schools
  • initiating, supporting and strengthening programmes in the community that empower out of school youth
  • conducting basic computer literacy training to the educators, learners and community members
  • The hardest part about this assignment, according to my invitation kit, is the use of corporal punishment in schools. Eeek…

    I will be living in either the Mpumalanga or the Kwa-Zulu Natal Provinces of South Africa. I will live in a family structure in the village I serve in, meaning I’ll have my own room in a family’s house (which could be anything from a tin-roofed house or a modern brick house). I likely won’t have running water, but it seems like I might have electricity.

    What am I most excited about? The fact that I get to visit City Year South Africa and connect back to my roots (joking, but not really…)

    I have a lot of research to do about South African culture, education system, etc.

    South Africa here I come! In exactly 52 days. Life is crazy.

    8 Comments Post a comment
    1. Stephanie Williston and Tom Donovan #

      Liz–Congratulations on your wonderful and eagerly anticipated news! As proud Trojan parents (Class of ’05), my husband and I were hoping you’d be joining us in Peace Corps Botswana, leaving on September 11th. Just read your blog for the first time yesterday but kept our fingers crossed that you might be part of our group. South Africa will be fortunate to have you, and you’re headed to the adventure of a lifetime!

      May 21, 2012
      • Thank you! Best of luck to you both in Bostwana and fight on!!!

        May 24, 2012
        • Stephanie Williston and Tom Donovan #

          Will do, and same to you!

          May 28, 2012
    2. Yemster3 #

      Congrats Liz, I have a friend who is serving there. Let me know if you need her contact info.

      May 21, 2012
      • Thanks! That would be great — does your friend have a blog?

        May 24, 2012
    3. Michael Murphy (Sibusiso Sibanyoni) #

      I’ve been a PCV in SA since 2010 in SCRP. Looking forward to seeing you there, comrade. Another volunteer in SA recommends uing Byki to assist in language (i think it only has isiZulu and some Sotho derivative. See you a Pre-Service Training.

      May 22, 2012
      • Thanks for the tips! Are the languages hard to learn? See you soon at training, cannot wait! L

        May 24, 2012
    4. Lawrence F. Lihosit #

      It’s never too early to think about the Third Goal. Check out Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir. Oh! If you want a good laugh about what PC service was like in a Spanish-speaking country back in the 1970’s, read South of the Frontera: A Peace Corps Memoir.

      July 18, 2012

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