The inaugural post. I wrote this somewhere during training. This is only a short snippet of training but it is something. More will be revealed as time goes on.
Since it is now 1 month and some change into my South Africa stay and peace corps training, I now have to backtrack to start at the beginning. I will sum it up very quickly.
I was nervous about staging but it wasn't that bad. They gave us a nice allowance and I had Mexican food for my last meal in the U.S. The flight was long and exhausting. Again it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be but one cannot have too much fun sitting down without much sleep for 18 hours. The journey was interrupted with sadness when I broke my headphones. I left them plugged in, then I got up and when I sat back down I broke the plug
clean off, I SIT WITH POWER. I am over it now.
We arrived, went painlessly through customs then grouped our luggage for our 1.5 hour bus ride to Marapyane. At this time I still could have been anywhere in the world after seeing an airport and the streets of Jo-burg. The ride through the darkness did not give any clues either. I was on the verge of collpasing with exhaustion but our trainers were waiting for us to arrive and greeted us with song and dance. It was amazing, I was feeding off the energy and I was happy to be in South Africa. We then had a quick South African style buffet and were given our dorms to get some rest.
The first week was like the first year of college. We were all in dorms and spending most of the day with each other. Language was in the morning then we had technical sessions which are mostly comprised of teaching theory classes. Every now and then we would have skits or sessions on the culture of South Africa. There was a lot to adjust to adjust but I was so busy I didn't really feel stressed. We had tea time several times a day and almost everyone was asleep by 10. I had just enough of that life that I was getting comfortable when we were given our home stays in the surrounding villages of the college.
The day was a bit of a spectacle. We got all dressed in the morning to meet our host families. We all paraded into the dining hall were all the families were lined up on one side. Our chairs were on the other side. There we were facing each other with anticipation, it was a South African cotillion. Then each trainees name was read followed by the host family and they met and walked out. The man I would be staying with was at a funeral so a family representative came instead. I am still unsure of the relationship but I think it it his son-in-law's niece. In any case we all sat around waiting to be dropped off in our homes for the next 7 weeks.
This of course was more of a hassle than it would seem because we had all our luggage as well as a couple of boxes of food to take with us so only so many went on each trip. At this time there were no major problems, everyone found a house and had a family to help them. Some were farther than others, some had nicer accommodations than others but that will be a topic for next post.