Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Update from Africa

Let me start off by letting you know this is Erin's lovely sister Summer, not Erin herself but I am Erin's voice for now so hopefully that's not too much of a disappointment to any of you for now. Due to Erin's location deep in the African jungle (okay, I just made that up!) but truly due to the location of Erin's training center near Pretoria she will be out of contact for at least two months.

I will update this blog whenever my family hears from Erin (i.e. snail mail)

Erin was allowed to call to let us know she made it safely to Africa. Here is the e-mail from my mom, though Erin couldn't speak for too long:

We heard from Erin at 7:40 this morning and it was 4:40pm in South Africa. They are 9 hours ahead of us. From the time the group arrived at the airport in Washington DC until they arrived at the women's college north of Pretoria where they are staying, Erin said it was 26 hours. By the time Erin called they had already had a day of classes. They were given calling cards and had gone into a nearby town where they were calling from pay phones. So our conversation was fairly brief. There will be 3 months of training. The first week is at the college (pictures on this blog). The next 2 months they will move in with host families and the last month of training will actually be at the location they are to serve. It looks like she will not have Internet or cell service for we don't know how long. She sounded really good.

That is all from here for now but I will post as often as news comes in from my beautiful and brave sister!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane

It is Monday night at 11pm and I am all packed and ready to go! I have two checked bags. A 40lb backpacking backpack and a 30lb rolling suitcase along with a carry-on backpack. I fly to Washington D.C. tomorrow for staging which consists of orientation, introductions, shots, safety, etc. Thursday night at (Jan 28th) at 5:40pm we (35 other volunteers and I) leave for South Africa. After a quick stop in Dakar, Senegal to refuel we arrive in Johannesburg at 6:20pm Dec 29. It's just under an 18 hour flight.
The first week that we are there we will be staying at a college 2 hours outside of Pretoria. After that we will move in with host families. The pictures I posted last time are of the training center we will be at until March 25th. The training we will be going through is an immersion program which consisted of language, culture, safety, and technical training.
Upon arrival in South Africa I will be able to call home and let my family know of my safe arrival, but other than that I will have very limited contact (if any) for the first several months. My sister is kind enough to update my blog while I am out of contact with civilization.
The 10 day forecast for Pretoria, SA is highs in the low 80s and lows in the 60s with thunderstorms everyday.
My address for the first couple months is: (PLEASE write)
Erin Jamison
Peace Corps
PO Box 9536
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
(Hint: write airmail on the envelope)
On a side note, I want to thank my family for all their love and support. This would not have been possible without you! Love you a million (sloppy kisses)!! And thank you to my friends, you all are truly amazing, your love, support, and encouragement mean the world to me! I will miss you all dearly!

Now it is off to bed for a sleepless night of excitement and anxiousness!
Good bye Colorado. Good bye United States. Good bye family and friends. Look out South Africa, here I come!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A sneak preview of what's to come

Here are pictures from our training area!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Home Town News Release

Erin Jamison, 23, the daughter of Carl and Elaine Jamison, has been accepted into the Peace Corps. She will be departing for Republic of South Africa on January 28th to become an HIV/AIDS Outreach Worker. Jamison's work will include volunteering in community HIV/AIDS outreach help youth enhance assertiveness skills, serve as mentors/ role models, and develop peer support networks. In addition, volunteers work to acquire psycho-social and physical support services for orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS, and vulnerable children. A graduate of Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado, she attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and earned a bachelors in Social Work, graduating in 2008.

**What motivated or attracted you to join the Peace Corps?
I began volunteering while attending my church youth group growing up. Words can't begin to describe the impact that these experience have had on me. I have had the privilege to do volunteer work throughout the US and on an international level. With this passion it was only fitting that I went into the field of Social Work. I wanted to find a way to do long term international volunteer work once I graduated from college and the Peace Corps provided a way to fulfill this goal.

**Did family and friends influence your decision to join the Peace Corps?
One of the biggest questions I get in regards to the joining the Peace Corps is what my parents think. My answer is always that they support me 110% but they don't want me to leave. Everyone is very supportive of me going into the Peace Corps.

**What are your career goals once you complete your Peace Corps service?
As of right now, once I return from the PC I hope to go back to school and get my masters in Social Work. At this point, I am unsure of what area of social work I want to pursue. After all, these next two years could change everything.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Rambling Thoughts: As I sit here, I look at my room which looks like it has been hit by a tornado. I am currently in the process of moving out of Loveland and moving everything back into my parents house where it will be stored for the next 27 months. With the amount of travel I have done in my life you would think that I would be better at this whole packing thing... how does one go about packing for two years with an 80 pound limit and two bags? I guess I have 15 days to figure it out. I have to keep reminding myself that South Africa is very modern and I can anything I need over there.

On another note, here is the address to send me letters for the first three months:

Erin Jamison
Peace Corps
PO Box 9536
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
*When mailing anything it is important to write Airmail on it or it could take up to six months for me to receive it.

I am beginning to find out more information about Staging, orientation and so forth. I will update you all on that soon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Crunch Time!

Time is flying! Last thing I knew I still had a couple months. However, with less than a month to go it's crunch time. The hardest part is saying goodbye to everyone. Yesterday was my last day of work and it wasn't without many tears. I am an emotional roller coaster these days. I am sad about leaving, anxious about what my future holds and thrilled to be fulfilling one of my life's dreams and becoming a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.
As the time nears I know more about my adventure.
Depart January 26th at 11:45 am for Washington D.C.
Staging is January 27th and 28th (orientation, introductions, shots, etc.)
Depart for South Africa January 28th
Arrive in Johannesburg January 29th (18 hours later)

There will be a group of about 35 volunteers. We will be training about an hour and a half northwest of Pretoria. The training includes learning the language (isiZulu or a related dialect), learning culture, and everything else we need to know.

That's all for now. More information to come!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Let the Journey Begin!

As I conclude one chapter in my life, I turn the page to begin my next adventure. As many of you know, I have accepted a position as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa. The Peace Corps has always been a dream of mine. I hope that you will read my blog and follow me through the twists and turns of my life as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Appling for the Peace Corps is no small feat. I applied to be a Peace Corps volunteer December of last year as I was graduating from college. And here I am twelve months later preparing to travel halfway around the world. In all honesty, I am terrified. I am leaving everything I know behind and leaping into the unknown.

I know very little about what I will be doing and where I will be living in South Africa. As a volunteer, I could be living and working in KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga or North West Provinces. My job title is a HIV Outreach Worker, this could mean many things, and I just hope that I will be able to put my Social Work skills to use.

My flights are set; I will first fly into Washington, DC for staging. This is the initial orientation where I will be receiving all my shots and vaccinations and also meet all the other volunteers that I’ll spend the next two years with. From there, we have a direct flight from DC to Johannesburg, South Africa.

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