Sunday, October 28, 2012


Hey guys!  So a lot of you have been super awesome and have sent me packages.  I totally appreciate everything sent, but at the same time I only have 8 more months and some things just are not needed any more.  Many have asked what I do need during my last few months so I updated my wants/need page on my blog.  Thanks again for all the support and love you guys send.  I couldn't have survived here as well as I did (am still) without it!!!

English Class Goes All Game of Thrones

October 16th, 2012

Last week for my English class at the refugee camp the homework was to write the ending to the story that we had been working with for the last couple of weeks.  My students were split into groups and they had to write the ending to the story “The Lady and The Tiger,” which incidentally isn’t about a tiger at all. 

To sum the story up there is a Princess who falls in love with a soldier.  Her Father finds out and captures the solider as his prisoner.  The punishment for prisoners in this realm is that they must stand before everyone and choose to open one of two doors that stand side by side.  Depending on which he chooses, decides his fate and his innocence.  One door has the loveliest lady in the realm whom he will marry if he opens her door, the other has a ferocious lion that will kill the soldier if he opens it’s door.  If he opens the Lady’s door he is innocent and lives, if he chooses the Lion he is guilty and will die.  Right before choosing a door he looks to the Princess and begs with his eyes for her to tell him which door to open.  She decides and tells him to open the right door.  The solider approaches slowly and opens the right door…

My students came up with really great endings.  They were very creative and every one had its own twist.  I was greatly amused, especially since I am currently deeply entrenched in the Seven Kingdoms of the Game of Thrones books.  My students could give George R.R. Martin a run for his money.  So here are the endings for your enjoyment.  I am writing them exactly as my students did so sorry for the broken English.

Group One:
He was surprised to find the loveliest women inside and he was happy to survive the Lion’s teeth.  As the crowd clapping hands for his innocence, his heart turns to the princess who he loved much.  Happiness of the crowd made the King go with the Princess to congratulate the soldier.  When they reach there the Princess throws herself where there was the Lion.  The Soldier saved her and killed the Lion.  As reward given to him by the King for saving his daughter, the young soldier married the princess immediately.  The Kind decided not to punish his people in that way.

Group Two:
And guess what happened next, there was a very beautiful young woman inside the room the soldier had opened.  The King was not happy for that.  This is because the King himself wanted the Soldier dead, due to the fact that the Soldier was in love with his daughter, who he treasured so much.  The King ordered his subjects to arrange the wedding of the young Soldier and the loveliest women.  The King had no other option because what had happened at the soldier’s trial.  And also the King thought that maybe by letting the Soldier marry this very beautiful lady in the whole community would made him forget about his daughter.  The young soldier did not stop loving the daughter of the King, this is because they loved each other very much.  The King’s daughter started meeting the young Soldier behind the door, as in secretly without the King’s knowledge.  Just imagine what happened next, the Soldier impregnated the King’s daughter and as a result the King come to know about it.  The King did not like at all what had happened, but he did not have another alternative apart from letting his daughter marry the Soldier, and then after she become the second wife of the young Soldier.

Group Three:
He opened the door, he peeped and saw the most beautiful woman.  They became husband and wife.  The Princess was disappointed, she cried and sobbed.  The King pledged to the young Soldier to marry his daughter.  The young Soldier agreed because polygamy was common and usual.  After not so long the King died.  People liked the young Soldier so they swore him to be a new King.

Group Four: (this one I don’t have a copy of so I am rephrasing what I remember)
The soldier opened the door to find the Lion.  The Lion chased him and attacked him.  The Soldier fell to the ground and tired to reach for a rock to hit the Lion with, but he couldn’t find one.  The Soldier was eventually killed and eaten by the Lion.  It continued on but I can't remember what happened next.


October 21st, 2012

Hey Everyone! 

The purpose of this blog post is to tell you about an exciting project that I am working on and to offer you an opportunity to help if you can.

The project is a gender empowerment effort known as Project GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). This will be the second year of GLOW’s existence in Swaziland and its premier activity will be a five day leadership camp for teenage girls scheduled for the April school vacation. Through a Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), partial funds are available to support the camp, however it is the role of those of us who will design and lead the camp to obtain matching funds from friends and family back home.

Camp GLOW’s purpose is to provide a safe and supportive environment for girls where they can receive information and training in the areas of leadership, female health issues, self-discovery and career planning. The camp will nurture exploration of personalities, individual talents and will fortify the resolve of young woman to break out of stereotypes and behaviors that hinder their success and happiness. Girls that attend Camp GLOW will be expected to return to their schools and communities and initiate GLOW Clubs and to share the information and skills that they have acquired.

Because the U.S. dollar goes a long way over here no donation is too small. Your contribution will go directly to Camp GLOW and will most likely be applied to providing meals for the campers and for providing transportation to and from the camp location. 

There are several ways you can donate but online is the easiest.  If you want to donate but by check rather then online please email me at and I can send you directions on how to donate and the form you need to do so!

Monetary Donations:

Online: this is the easiest way.
1. Go to the following website:
2. Find Swaziland Camp GLOW Project.  Click on project name “Camp GLOW”.
3. Add donation amount in the “donation” box provided on the right of the page.
4. Submit personal information.
5. Confirm information.

 In Kind Donations: this refers to the donation of items and supplies rather than money.  Some supplies that are needed are listed below. 
All in kind donations should be mailed to the following name and address:
Clerisse Lemke, PCV
P.O. Box 2797
Mbabane, H100
Swaziland, AFRICA
Please specify on a piece of paper inside the box that the items are for Camp GLOW.
*Feminine Sanitary    Products (See note below)

Arts and Crafts:
Colored Pencils
Necklace/bracelet how-to packets

Soccer ball
Jump rope
Air pump
Dodge ball


Card games
Board games
Educational Materials:
Teen easy-read books
Motivational/Goal Oriented reading materials

Light-weight blanket

Glow sticks
Lip stick/Nail polish

*Note: if sending tampons please send only light and regular size, not the super.

On behalf of all of the GLOW girls, campers and volunteers, I thank you in advance for anything that you can do to help us empower females and improve the lives of all who live in this small nation of Swaziland.

English Class at the Refugee Camp… I mean Reception Center

October 9th, 2012

The Camp has a new name I guess.  It’s no longer a refugee camp but now it’s a reception center for refugees.  Not sure what is the exact definition of a reception center or the purpose of a name change, but we will find out in the next 9 months.

Anyways, our third term teaching English at the… um… center has begun.  This makes it sound very formal calling it third term, as if some higher authority tells us when to start and stop.  Nope we just simply follow the Swazi school term schedule and its term three currently.  However I have to say our classes are feeling more and more formal and organized as time goes by. 

I am teaching the intermediate class again and have all the same students and guess what, I actually know all their names.  Most of my students are from Somalia and they all have the same 10 names in different combinations, so I was having a hard time remembering who was who.  For example I have a Hussan and a Hussein, as well as a several students named Mohamed or Muhamud and one with both those in his name.  However, I proved on day the first day of this term that I had learned.  I was able to call them each by name without a cheat sheet.  Last term I made them sit in a seating arrangement so I had a guide to use to remember their names and this term I am letting them sit where they want.  Its seems so small but its actually a very big accomplishment for me.

Term three started off great.  I lost a few students who decided to return to their home countries but gained a few who just came into Swaziland.  I got my first female student, which is great!  This term we are focusing on reading comprehension and using children’s stories to practice listening and understanding English and developing responses to what we hear.  So far the students are enjoying the stories.  The stories also introduce lots of new vocabulary for them to learn and they get to be active in their learning by choosing what vocabulary words we focus on.

It’s hard to access just how much their English is improving but we get feedback from our refugee counterparts who co-teach with us.  So far the feedback is that the students are really improving.  Some are learning and using more words, some are improving their grammar skills, and some have just developed the confidence to practice using what they know.  They say English is being heard a lot more around the camp and the students are happy to have the lessons.  I’m happy to have students who are so dedicated!  We have strict rules in our classrooms (or refugee hut which serves as our classroom) and my students obey them well, they do their homework, they participate, and they show up on time.  In America we take for granted that when we plan a meeting people generally show up and show up on time, when we volunteer our service to someone they are generally more than appreciative and don’t turn around and ask for more without a thank you, and we usually don’t slap the hand that is willing to help when what the giver has to offer isn’t exactly what we wanted.  These are all challenges I find as a volunteer in Swaziland.  Its just so nice to know that I have a successful project teaching English to people who not only work with me, but respect me, and respect themselves enough to make a difference in their own lives and don’t just expect me to hand them a free ticket to an easier life.

S & B Party

September 28th, 2012

Feeling the major lack of a normal social life that comes along with being a PCV, us girls decided we needed a girl’s night in.  We decided to have a Stitch and B*#@h Party.  About 15 of us crammed ourselves into one of the volunteer’s houses and we did just that, plus a whole lot of eating (pot luck never tasted so good).  A whole lot of b*#@^ing was done of course (got to vent to survive here) and we even managed to get a bit of stitching in as well.  I finally learned and hopefully will now forever remember how to start a knitting project and finish one, I made a tiny little cell phone case.  It felt like a major accomplishment. 

Yarn here is crap and expensive for the quality and of course I didn’t bring knitting supplies with me to Swaziland but have no fear we are Peace Corps Creative!  Another PCV came prepared with needles for everyone.  How did she get them you ask?  Well she simply bought them at the grocery store.  Turns out meat skewers make fantastic knitting needles!  I have since bought myself a nice package of these knitting needles and have become a cell phone case-knitting machine.  I’ve seriously made cases for almost every electronic item I own here, and in the process received two slivers – the prices we pay.  I look forward to the next S&B party to learn to make something more advanced – a hat maybe, or a some mitts to keep me extra toasty here in Africa.  Several of the other PCVs are excellent knitters, so I am eager to learn from them.  This was my first social event that included PCVs from the new Group 10.  It was nice to have some new faces!  They have been at their sites now for a month.  Listening to where they are at in their service makes me realize just how far I have come.  Their problems, that I also thought were earth shattering a year ago, seem so minor to me now that I’ve had a year to figure it out.  I have new problems of course, but I am glad I’ve conquered the problems that clouded my life a year ago.