Thursday, July 29, 2010


Six months have passed since I have been in country, and while I have learned and experience so much, I know I have only just begun. I was recently talking to another PCV and she asked me what I miss most about life back home? I thought about it and the first thing that came to my mind was food. In my opinion, South African food leaves much to be desired. But then I thought about my weekend in Pretoria and thought of all the wonderful food I ate there. I may not have access to good food all the time but I can definitely find just about any food I am craving (except Chipotle). The next thing I thought about was missing my family and friends (I know that should have been first). While I do miss everyone back home VERY much, I also know that they will be there in two years when I get back and I can communicate with them easily, via email, facebook, and phone, heck, I could even video chat with them if I wanted. So, while they are all missed dearly there is something else that I miss even more and that thing is freedom. I miss the freedoms of my life back home.
While I do miss the conveniences of running water, I miss having the freedom to hop in my car and go anywhere at any time and not spend hours waiting on the taxis. I miss going grocery shopping and not worrying about how I am getting everything home. I miss being able to lie out under the stars, and not worry about being outside after dark. I miss the freedom of walking down the street and not bring stared at, whistled at, yelled at, and harassed. I miss the freedom of interacting with people and not worrying about whether I am being culturally appropriate and understanding the conversation that is going on around me. I miss the freedom to be who I am and not worry about my skin color and constantly having to break down stereotypes and explain myself. The list goes on, but this gives you an idea.
I did a little site seeing while I was in Pretoria recently. These two pictures are from the Union Building in South Africa's Administrative Capital. (Dad, the picture with the canon is for you!).

Friday, July 9, 2010

This is Not What I Had in Mind

When I dreamt of my days as a Peace Corps volunteer, I pictured extreme isolation with my only mode of transportation being a bike. I imagined becoming fluent in the local language. I pictured myself as becoming someone completely different. Someone who wasn’t scared to talk to a stranger, an extrovert with the ability to mobilized mass quantities of people. Yet, I am beginning to wonder, who was this person I imagined?

My dream has come true, I am a Peace Corps volunteer and I am living in Africa. However, I am slowly coming to the realization that what I had imagined was just a dream and that becoming a Peace Corps volunteer didn’t change who I am as an individual. I am still me, the introvert that would prefer to disappear into the background rather than be the center of attention. My isiZulu name says it all, Nokuthula, a quiet individual, peaceful, and down-to-earth. Every day I am challenged, I am forced to step outside my comfort zone, to challenge my boundaries, and to question my abilities. I no longer blend in with all those around me; I am now the star of the show, the one that people are looking up to for help. I can’t help but question if I am really cut out for this job. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being here. I feel that this is where I need to be right now. I just need to find a way to use my strengths and to challenge my abilities to become that great Peace Corps volunteer I once imagined.

This is a picture of me with two other women that I met named Nokuthula. The three Nokuthulas.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A letter from Busie

I would first like to give a big shout out to the students at Holmes Middle School in Colorado Springs for the wonderful letters and for raising money to help the orphans and vulnerable children here at Noah! I will be starting to teach English classes next month to the seventh graders and I am incredibly excited to get the learners involved in writing letters in return. I presented the Noah staff with the money and letters; they were incredibly excited and thankful.
Here is a letter that one on the learners wrote in response: (Keep in mind that her first language is isiZulu. She did a great job of writing in English.)
Dear Guyz
I’m Busisiwe and I’m 15 years old. I’m doing grade 8 at Hlakaniphini High School. My hobies are netball, balley, and tennis. My dream is to sing and I’m a song composer. I like friends and I’m a friendly pearson, kind and forgiving, I don’t like to get angry. And I live in South Africa. My country is a lovely country that you’d wish to be i
n. With a beautiful mountains we use to plant trees for carbon dioxid (freesh air) everything that you’d like you can find it in. My country, they are different people. So as Erin told me about you country and I’m telling you about mine. I’d always want to visit your country everyday when I’m imagining myself. I always imagining myself in your country and trust me you don’t want to know.
Love: Busie

The month of June was incredibly busy for me. I helped to put on a holiday program for the children in the community. Being that the children are on winter holiday we wanted to have a camp for the kids to keep them busy and out of trouble. We did not have much time to prepare, but in the end the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves. I would also like to thank Mrs. Sobeck for the donation of the soccer balls. I received them just in time for the camp. The kids were so excited to have balls to play with.
I have a new friend and possible isiZulu tutor! One of the kids at the camp came up to me and began talking to me. She began to really take a liking to me within a couple days. She even invited me to go see her house and meet her family. Yesterday, she came to pick me up and we walked the fifteen minutes to her house. She showed me her house, I met some of her family, she taught me how to play a couple traditional games, and we ate oranges from the orange tree in the yard. It made for a great Saturday afternoon. I also asked if she would be willing to teach me isiZulu. I feel that there is a lot that we can learn from one another.
This weeks Pictures: The first picture is of Busie, the learner that wrote the letter. The next picture is of Mxolisi and I balancing on a tire. The third picture is of one of my favorite little friends, Yolanda, as she posed for a picture outside the school building.
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