Month nine: 20 reasons to be happy
Ngiyajabula! (I am happy)
I’ve been on a Peace Corps high this month. Maybe it’s because my projects are finally coming together and I am starting new things, or because I’m just stoked to be stressed again and getting work done. Eh, who knows, but I feel good. Here are a few concrete reasons with lots of !!!!!!!!:
- I accepted 26 kids from grade 5-7 to be my library monitors. All are excited and my grade 5 girls want to start helping me now! (almost ready to train them)
- I am helping coordinate a huge project to get 22,000 books from the American nonprofit Books for Africa shipped out here to 30 schools. It’s a nightmare, but also success will be so sweet when my school gets 730 new books. Fifteen schools from my area, who are involved with the DRF, a local nonprofit, will also receive some books. Likewise, I’m learning a lot more about my leadership style.
- I finished writing the Peace Corps grant for books project and called it “Project Amandla” Amandla = power; literacy = power. It felt good to write “academically” again.
- Allie, one of my oldest friends from back to the 3rd grade, is coming to Swaziland in July! She will be doing public health work for her graduate program at Columbia University. She’ll be here for six months. I have confirmed I will visit her right after my mid-service training in September and go to Swaziland straight from Pretoria. (For you Farallone View Elementary classmates – DUH, WADDLE WILL BE COMING! Bro #1 and Bro #2 on their first international adventure!)
- City Year South Africa Nelson Mandela Service Day is in a few months (July 18)!!!!!!!! Omg, omg, omg. The yellow bomber will make an international appearance!
- Amy and Sara – two of my childhood friends from smalltown USA Half Moon Bay — are planning to come in December and have been talking to a travel agent! I smile every time I think of the hilarity of this adventure.
- My dad and his girlfriend Becky are planning to visit March 2014.
- My counterpart is awesome. Just plain awesome, and I love spending time with her.
- My school has been working very hard to plan fundraisers for the books…on their own. Impressive.
- I have hair again. People have even complimented my luscious locks and Justin Bieber comb-over.
- My dad sent me my leather boots from America a couple months back.I AM SO GRATEFUL I have them for rain, mud, and the looming and dreadful winter that’s about to hit me.
- I signed up to take the GRE in September right before mid-service training. I have started studying and will at least rock the vocabulary section. Not to mention, I’ve finally figured out my future grad school plans. Holdin’ fast to dem dreams.
- My grocery store sells good instant coffee now (for a whopping 80R a bottle though…) and nutella. And ya wonder where my stipend goes?
- I love my students, although they were hard to adapt to. I have my posse of little buddies again — a majority of my grade 5 girls. My little buddies can always make me smile. Is it sad that honestly my best friend in the village might be a 10-year-old?
- I am planning to host a Grassroot Soccer Camp for grade 6 and 7 at my school during the June/July winter break and during my 24th birthday 🙂 – actually couldn’t think of a better birthday plan!
- I’ve almost been here for year and none of my relationships back home have changed. Shout out to everyone that still texts me daily and to those who receive sporadic voice notes from me on WhatsApp ( cough Amy…) Thanks for being so awesome, keeping me company and making me feel like I was still in the bay or LA.
- My PCV friends make me laugh every day about how absolutely ridiculous our lives are. Thank you, BlackBerry Messenger, WhatsApp and all those freakin’ amazing emoticons.
- Class is getting better. The kids are listening and some are even completing the work.
- The Peace Corps reimbursed me for 500R that was stolen from me in Durban (that’s like a quarter of our stipend and a little less than a month’s worth of groceries).
Oh, and I probably should add:
- This place really feels like home now.
I am too all-over-the-place this month to coherently articulate my thoughts into a catchy blog post. Thanks for helping me, numerical list.