The end of PST (Pre Service Training) is in sight. Last week we visited our site. It is at the very edge of the Northern Drakensberg Mountains. Rumor has it that these are the mountains that inspired J. R. R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings”. It’s really beautiful! I’m going to try to get a picture up with this entry.
We will be working with two schools – a primary school and a high school. We will also be helping two NGOs – one that does home based care and has drop in centers for orphans and vulnerable children and one that works with 14-35 year olds on HIV/AIDS education. We didn’t have much time with any of them last week. The four days we were in our village were really just a chance to meet people, see the village and the house we will be living in for two years.
The house we think we will be staying in was not ready for us so for this visit we stayed where a previous PCV had stayed. It was a separate one-room building. The house they have found for us to stay in is a separate two-room building in a different family’s compound. The town does have electricity and there is water but most people have to get it from a public tap up to ½ km from the house. In our proposed home, there is a tap in the yard but the water is only turned on once a week. It is a very rural, very poor community. Very bad cell phone coverage and therefore internet connection may be iffy. If so I will only be able to add to my blog when we get to our “shopping town”, Hoedspruit.
We also had a chance to visit with a Peace Corps couple of our generation who have been here in two schools for a year and a half. We were able to visit their primary school and see some of what they are doing there and how they work with the teachers and principal. We are now back at our PST site for another week of final preparation. Today we have a language test. Tomorrow we find out about our SA bank accounts and get back a suitcase we stored at the Peace Corps office. On Saturday the 16 of us who have been staying in Sekgakgapeng are putting on a community health event that will have a jumping castle, food games and information about hand washing and HIV/AIDS. Sunday we have a farewell thank-you party for our host families. Next Tuesday we have a day to shop for supplies we will need to set up housekeeping in our village; Wednesday we pack; Thursday is our “swearing in” when we officially become Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). That afternoon we leave with our supervisors for our sites!