Wednesday, January 29, 2014


  On my walk to work today, I got caught in a sudden downpour and was forced to sprint down the road to a vacant tin shack to take refuge until the storm subsided. This shack in particular is where one of my favorite vendors does business, and is almost a daily pit stop for me to pick up a banana and baggie of roasted peanuts that is my usual breakfast.  


After the rain stopped, I spent a soggy afternoon at the office and then walked back to Mohlarekoma (abt 4k) where I was met by the usual gaggle of kids waiting to draw. All in all, a pretty great day!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Some of you are privy to the fact that today began for me at roughly 02h45 this morning when I woke up for no particular reason and found myself unable to go back to sleep. Again. Given that the Land of Nod was nowhere on the horizon, I used the early morning hours to catch up on some emails and have a very exclusive dance party in my hut. So exclusive, in fact, that even writing about said dance party is a severe breach of my self-implemented confidentiality policy here in the village. Although I could probably walk around in a neon green spandex unitard here and nobody would think me any more out of the ordinary than usual.

Given my 4hrs of sleep between 2 days, I drifted through my day in a bit of a daze, which is a shame seeing as my days are numbered.  I’m feeling a little frantic and split these days. Like a dog who is having a hundred tennis balls chucked in every direction and is so excited by this rarity that he doesn’t know which one to go after.  With the end drawing near, I don’t want to waste one moment. I want to be everywhere at once and spend each second soaking up every aspect of life here, from the people, to the places, to the heat, to the stray dogs, and yes, even to the chickens I’ve been cursing for their cock-fighting antics since day one.  Needless to say I’m finding sleep difficult these days.  Sleep depravity is a currency I’m willing to deal in though, if it buys me more time to be conscious of where I am, and where I will be leaving indefinitely in the coming days.

Speaking of payoff, or something of the sort, I drifted home from the office today and found that a certain someone has recently revealed that he knows my name!  As I was in my room preparing drawing material for the kids who come by after school, I hear his usual rapping on the door, this time accompanied by something new: “Pebeh!” he calls. “Pebeh!”. Oh my god, I almost died. Little nugget is adorable, and far too smart for his own good. Look out world, boy genius is on his way!

Monday, January 27, 2014


So it turns out I've been a little overconfident in my steady counting abilities. BUT, problem rectified and today is truly day number 19 until I leave the village. It's official: the teens have begun! Hopefully I'll be able to handle the stress better than teen king Justin Bieber, who, I've been told, has recently taken a nosedive into the choppy waters of mug-shots, drugs, and DUIs. Because we're shocked every time this happens to a prodigal child who grows up being told they can wipe their ass with blank checks. Thankfully I've left my Lamborghini in Portland, but who knows! Perhaps I'll have one too many cups of sorghum beer at my farewell braai and drag-race a donkey cart down the road.

                                             (Miami vs. Mohlarekoma: Start your engines!)

In other news...

This weekend was hot and sunny, and I took advantage of the break in what has otherwise been a rainy few days to do my laundry.  On Saturday I went into town to meet up with a friend for coffee and girl time in the comfort of her lavishly air conditioned flat.  Even two years later and first world comforts are just as sweet every time. Ahhhh. All of the kids were back in the village as well for some family time (namely Ali, Tshitsadi, and Pebetse).  It was great as always to see them and we were able to touch base a little bit about my farewell shindig coming up next weekend. 

Lesego was having NONE of Ali's tomfoolery that day.

That's all for now, I'm off to the main house for Generations and tea!

Friday, January 24, 2014


Today I caught a lift to Phokwane with my host Uncle, Kwapeng and, after finishing up reporting the M&E data from our Retreat, went and bought a big bin for the children’s books I will be leaving with Mmeshi Primary School so that they can continue the ‘BIGs and littles’ Peer Mentorship Program in my absence. Either that or use them as the teachers see fit. Which, preferably will include them being read by learners. Here’s to hoping!

Good news as well: It’s looking like Mohlarekoma Home Based Care will be getting another PCV in March! This is very exciting, and I hope that whichever lucky SA29 who is placed here will do the best they can to help make the organization stronger, and will love and cherish their site as much as I’ve grown to.  Though I have no idea who this replacement will be, I hope to get in touch with them when I am smartphone-enabled back in the States so that I can help them out however I can and keep up with happenings in my host family. I also hope that they enjoy the copious glow in the dark stars that adorn the walls of their new home :)

Life keeps on moving forward!


Another boiling day on the ranch! I went out for a jog this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to see groups of small kids from Mmeshi Primary out there running my loop before school as well.  I think the principal is trying again to implement a phys ed. program this school year, and I hope that the kids keep it up as there was just an article published recently on how South African teens are becoming more and more sedentary.  

 One of the many things this experience has allowed me to think on and realize, is how grateful I am for the adults in my life who taught me how to take care of myself through physical activity. From my parents who supported me, signed me up for sports, paid for equipment, drove me to practices, tournaments, and games, and tolerated the sweaty, usually mud-covered, creature that would fling itself into the vehicles that they tried to keep clean.  Also for my teachers and coaches, who tolerated too much of my energy and taught me to direct it with a regimented skill set of drills and stretches that have aided me every day since.  Having always been active, I’ve taken my knowledge of physical health for granted, I am so happy to have been able to impart some of what was taught to me on to members of my community so that they can at least continue to keep themselves healthy, if they so choose.


Lesego started school this week! He looks so smart in his backpack, and has already gotten into the habit of putting it on and heading for the door as soon as he wakes up.  Let’s slow down, take a bath, and eat breakfast first little buddy.  It’s been so much fun watching him grow into a little person these past two years, when I look at pictures of him now he looks more and more like a boy and less like the baby I’m sure I’ll always see him as.  Leaving him is going to be terrible.

In other news, I stopped by the Garden Project on Wednesday, and harvesting is in full swing. There were bags of tomatoes, kale, and swiss chard for sale, and for the first time ever, I saw that there was uneaten beetroot, cabbage, butternut, rice, and soup leftover from our OVC. Not only are we able to adhere to our feeding scheme, but there actually appears to be too much! We’ll have to figure out how to deal with waste management, but it made me so happy to see that our IGP is paying off.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


Happy MLK Day everyone! As the Peace Corps office is closed in observation of this American Holiday, I am going to keep plugging away on finalizing my VAST grant, work on my Description Of Service, and get some things printed out in town.  The sun is back out and shining away today, and a morning jog has helped kick things off to a good start. I must remember to keep doing this!

Sifting through items on my laptop yesterday, I came upon this jewel that was snapped in Machipe last March when Mom and Gil came to visit:
I am grateful everyday for the love and endless support of these two, and how without them I would surely not be where I am today.  My host families (in Mohlarekoma and Machipe) still ask about them and wonder when they are coming back to visit and will they be bringing sweets/Pendleton Whiskey with them? Shame. So precious!


Day 25 was a lovely, rainy relief from the hellish heat that has been baking us mercilessly for the past week or so.  After a refreshingly soggy run, I did some shopping for clothes to replace those that have recently expired when I boiled them to rid myself and my hut of a mysterious biting thing that traveled back with me from our Retreat. Limited water and capacity to boil it resulted in most of everything I own turning all sorts of strange colors as items of clothing I've had here for years now jumped at the opportunity to bleed all over the place. Thank you bugs!  Other than that development, life is going on as usual, the days are passing by, and I'm doing better at taking things slowly.  Ommmmmm...

Saturday, January 18, 2014


26 days left and I've decided to take the weekend and get things done online like closing out my VAST grant, writing some very late emails, and catching up on YouTube videos and movie trailers in anticipation of my impending reintegration into American pop culture.  Yeehaw! We're in the midst of a heat wave here at the moment, which to be honest, isn't too incredibly bad, if only there was some air conditioning sanctuary to escape to! #firstworldproblems much? I think so. 
He has taken to emptying out his toy basket and using it as a fort. We may be more related than I'd thought.

Baby Lesego begins pre-school on Monday and has been parading around the house strapped securely into his new backpack. What he thinks he will be putting in there is beyond me, perhaps a pack of his new "big kid" pull-up nappies? A teddy bear? Someone's cell phone?  My money is on the latter as he has become recently aware that chucking the most valuable object across the room is apparently the most fun.  And so begin the Terrible Two's!


My 27th day left of life in Mohlarekoma began with a sleepless night. Again.  Trying hard to take things one day at a time, but those who know me well have seen how excited I get for the days and weeks and months, hell, the future to come, so this is proving rather difficult. But try, try I must!

Seeing as sleep and I aren't getting along well, I trekked to the office particularly early and worked with our Social Media/OVC Coordinator on building a website for MHBC that she will be able to update and manage upon my departure. Or at least that's the idea.  There was also the last monthly staff meeting that I will be around for, and I took the opportunity to bid farewell to all of our caregivers who I do not see very often. 

Debrah and I doing our Female Condom Demo
I walked home that afternoon in the beating sun with Debrah, the woman who has been my counterpart and right-hand lady for the past two years on a multitude of projects.  She saved the day at our Retreat last week by helping to translate my atrocious Sepedi into something that was actually comprehensible, and has done a phenomenal job of taking over our Community Garden Project.  On our walk home, she told me that a couple of the women who attended the retreat have started their own exercise club that meets daily at 5am to work out.  She said that they are all feeling so good now, and that they are going to remember to take care of themselves now, in addition to every other responsibility they have as heads of households and caregivers to at least 2 generations of children and family members.  The news made me so happy, I could hardly contain myself!  When you do outreach work in a community for two years, ANY kind of confirmation that your work means something to somebody else is a blessing that will make your day for weeks and weeks afterward.  Knowing that at least for now, women who attended our retreat enjoyed themselves and have since brought healthy life skills back to the village, was a HUGE validation for us that all of the hard work we put in to coordinating and facilitating those four days was worthwhile.  Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Well, I officially have 28 days left in Mohlarekoma.  I topped up my internet data today and will do my best to make a short post every day until I leave the village on 14 Feb to supplement my dropping of the proverbial ball on the blog front these past two years. At least, that is my hope!

I returned home from the Limpopo Women’s Health Retreat that I co-ran with my friend and fellow PCV Doreh, and can say that the endeavor was a complete success.  Thank you once again to all of you who took the time to inquire and for the donations that made everything possible for the women who attended.  They were blown away by their accommodation, complete with a swimming pool and trampoline (!!!) and after the four days had passed, were begging us to extend the retreat.

Some of our lovely ladies from Sekhukhune and Venda, with myself, Doreh, and Sheila from CANSA
The next couple of weeks will undoubtedly fly by, and in anticipation of this phenomenon I am all but literally attached to the crisp, new, 2014 pocket agenda that Mom sent to me in what I can only assume was the last parcel I’ll be receiving here at the trusty Nebo Post Office.  My current goals include working with our new Social Media/Online Manager to build a simple website for Mohlarekoma Home-Based Care, and closing up projects like the “BIG’s & little’s” Peer Mentorship Program at Mmeshi Primary (Thank you to Grandma and Lisa Ellenberg once again for your generous shipments of books!) and teaching the grade 6-7 Social Sciences teacher, Mr. Mahlanya how to incorporate Mmeshi’s new World Map into his curriculum.

Until tomorrow,