Friday, November 26, 2010

My date with the Ambassador

With the bad comes the good. Last weekend I got called into the Peace Corps office in Pretoria due to medical issues. When I arrived on Monday I was a mess, not just due to medical issues but due to the fact that I had taken the night bus from Durban to Pretoria. I was running on very little sleep; I am one of those people who NEEDS my sleep or I just don’t function. Between exhaustion, illness, and the emotional roller coaster that is the Peace Corps, I was at my breaking point.

Long story short, I got sick at just the right time. Since I was in already in Pretoria, I got invited over to the Ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving dinner! Late Wednesday afternoon I got a call from the Peace Corps office asking me if I would like to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Ambassador and his family. You don’t have to ask me twice! So, Thursday morning I went out and bought a new dress for the occasion. I splurged a little but justified it with the fact that I had not purchased a single item of clothing in the ten months I have been in country. I even put on mascara for the grand occasion. That afternoon four other Peace Corps volunteers and I showed up at the Ambassadors house.

We were among 40 people dinning with the Ambassador and his family that night. As we sat around the grand table that evening, we enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving feast and great company. I experience reverse culture shock being surrounded by so many Americans in such an American setting. I wasn’t sure how to interact with the American children, I found myself stepping back and observing the children, amazed by their interactions and the fact that they spoke English. As the night came to a close, we said our goodbyes, took many pictures and headed our separate ways. Some people flew back to the states (they were here on holiday), the others headed back to their large houses in the city and as for us PCVs, we are on our way back to our pit toilets, bucket baths and huts in rural Africa. What an incredible experience. It was amazing to feel like I was back home, if only for an evening, even if it meant going through all the medical issues.

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