September 9th, 2011
So we can’t win them all.
I was given a difficult site placement. I was warned before I arrived a month ago and I gave it a good fight, but some things are just not meant to be. After a near mental break-down, serious loss of identity, and a month running into brick walls after every attempt to make it work I gave in and excepted the loss. I moved sites two days ago.
It was the best decision I ever made. Why I fight my intuition sometimes I don’t know, but I am thankful for Peace Corps for identifying that there was a problem, convincing me that I wasn’t the one to blame for the whole mess, and helping me move on.
So about my new site:
I now live in a town called Malindza. It is in the Lobombo region, which runs along the eastern side of the country. It is about 20-30 min east of my previous site. It is hot here. Already gets up to 95 F and its only the very beginning of spring. It very much looks like Africa here, acacia trees, flat dusty landscape. Thankfully there is a strong wind to help with the heat. I am a 10-minute walk down a tiny dirt road from a main tar road. It’s a peaceful walk to good transportation. From here I can travel west to Manzini (large city), or east to Siteki or Simunye. I have never been to Siteki but will be going to Simunye quite a bit for the following reasons: One it’s a great central meeting point for me and other PCVs in my area, two you drive through the Royal Game Park where I had my first African elephant sighting, and three they have a Country Club with a pool, free Wi-Fi, and good food. All that and I can get groceries so its totally worth it!!
There is also another Health volunteer from my group in the community next door. We will actually share counterparts so we have a great opportunity to work together on projects! We have chatted and we have some great leads and ideas of things to do in the community.
My new family is great and much bigger then the last, which was a large part of why the last site didn’t work. I have a host mom, dad, five sisters, and a brother. Only one of the sisters still lives on the homestead and the others are in and out. There are several OVC (orphan and vulnerable children) neighbor boys who my family takes care of so they are around all the time so there is always someone to talk to! They speak good English but are really good about helping me with my siSwati.
The day I decided to move is the day I saw the two elephants! Ganesha, the Hindu deity, is symbolized by an elephant and is the remover of obstacles and lord of beginnings!! So here’s to new beginnings!!