How is everyone!? I hope you guys are good! I’m missing America a lot today. Seriously, I’ve been having terrible food cravings! Taco bells, berries, mac and cheese, cesear salad—everything! Ahh food. If someone wants to send me mac and cheese, I will be perfectly okay with that.
Anyways, enough about that. So this past week I went to my permament site visit where I got to see where I’ll be staying and working for the next two years! I’ll be located south of the capital in a town called Mariental. It’s quiet little town with about 11,000 people in it. It is pretty developed and has all the amenities I need right there. I will be working for the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS). My supervisor is the head nurse for the primary health care and her name is Aletha Shaanika. I will be working closely with Patric Mbala (TB coordinator), Johana (rehabilitation director and on the infection control committee) and Joey (social worker). There are currently 3 other volunteers from previous groups in my town, 1 education volunteer, 1 IT and another health volunteer. Since I am also the major town for the area (Mariental District), I’m the “shopping town” for a few volunteers from my group and other groups, so I will be seeing people quite a bit. Needless to say I am excited.
I honestly do not know my roll or where I fit into the MOHSS yet. I knew when signing up for the Peace Corps that I would need to be self motivated and would not necessarily have a defined role, however I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. To give you an idea on how undefined my job is, here is my conversation with my supervisor.
Me: So what are your expectations of me or things you would like me to work towards over the next few years?
Shaanika: Umm. I do not know, my dear. You just need to go into the community. You will see the problems .You can figure it out from there.
Me:…well can ya point me in the right direction?
Shaanika: Well. No. Just talk to people, you will see you will see.
Me: Well, okay then!
So yes. My job is very unknown. I do not really have any idea where to begin either, except just doing what she says—getting to know people. My job when I get back to site the first few months will be just going around, meeting people from schools, NGO’s, churches—anyone and everyone who I think I could work with. Then, eventually, I’m hoping a project will somehow develop from that. When I first learned about how little (aka no) direction I had, I was very discouraged. But now I’m kind of excited! The nice thing with the ministry is that it’s super flexible, and they really give me free reign to do whatever I want. I can work with other nonprofits, schools, whatever! So I’m kind of excited to see what I discover
I’ll be staying in the nurse’s home (where MOHSS workers can stay if they want to). Basically I’ll be living in a room smaller than my dorm room and have to sleep, eat and cook there. Not sure how this is going to work, but it will. I’m definitely investing in fold up tables though to double as counters so I can cut things up to cook!
The first few months I’m required to stay with a host family. I’ll be staying with one of the nurses named Hilda Vanwyk. At first, I thought it was going to be me and Hilda. But it turns out it’s me plus 6-7 other people, depending on the day. It was quite a surprise! I like the family a lot, they are very very nice. It’s just a very different dynamic from what I am used to. So it will be me, the mom, dad, my older sister and her friend, her son, and my two younger sisters (15 and 20 years of age).
So it was my third or fourth night into my site visit week and I’m getting some water in the kitchen. I hear my sister’s friend call my name and he walks in carrying a giant lamb carcass over his shoulder. It’s completely shaved, gutted and is fully intact minus the fact that it was missing it’s head and feet. He proceeds to just throw it on the kitchen table and goes and watches TV. So I’m sitting in the kitchen, dumbfounded at this giant piece of raw meat on our kitchen table. Then my little host nephew starts to pet the lamb and is grinning at me. I had no clue what to do, so I just sat there and laughed and laughed until finally my brother came and told me he was going to cut the meat now.
That is only a small story to my week of host stay .There are many more but this post is already insanely long. Anyways, I miss you all! Sorry if this doesn’t make sense or flow—it’s late and I am tired. I love you guys and hope you’re making good choices!