I apologize for being so absent from the online world this week. Our site visits were moved due to labor strikes around the country. Tempers settled enough for travel and I went up to Rakops on Tuesday.
I gave you the basics of my village a couple of weeks ago, but seeing it was much different. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the lack of trees (something I intend on changing). It’s in a very arid part of the country, so dust is going to be a big part of my life for the next 2 years. I will be the second PCV in Rakops, meaning that I am replacing a departing volunteer. I spent most of last week with her, and she’s been an amazing host. She gave me tours of both Rakops and Letlhakane (the location of our government AIDS offices), introduced me to so many important people, and gave up her house for me. I couldn’t ask for a better segue into my service, or person to follow. She’s done a lot of great things in her community and for the NGO (Leretlhabetse Support Group, which assists people living with HIV/AIDS). I have my work cut out for me, and my mind is already brewing possible next steps for this organization.
A lot of things became real this week, including my housing situation. I will have a two-room house, which is set up as two concrete boxes stuck together. The house has electricity, but no indoor water or toilet. It’s going to be a big adjustment and I will have to put some work into making this my home for my service. I’m also slowly coming to terms with the fact that my closest American neighbors will be 2 hours away, as well as shopping trips for fresh produce. I’ve already begun to digest it, though in a couple of weeks it will be go-time. Luckily I can already see that there are good people in Rakops who will help me begin those adjustments.
The next 9 days are going to fly by. It’s hard to believe that we are entering our last week of PST and will soon be sworn in as volunteers (no longer trainees). My network of PCV friends will be spreading out geographically and I will again have to create a new support system. There are lots of growing pains in these first few months, but hopefully it will all pay off.
I hope everything is going well stateside on this Memorial Day weekend. I’m usually spending this time celebrating my best friend’s birthday and enjoying the onset of summer. Ah, how things have changed… And this is only the beginning. Although the end of training will be hectic, I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated.
Also, my address has changed. Here’s the new one:
Jeremy Hardy, PCV
P.O. Box 148