Thursday, August 25, 2011

By Reader Demand: Our Lives as PCVs Part 1

Hello Everyone, Thanks to those of you who voted on the poll. I would love to get some involvement from you guys so maybe we'll try it again. I was thinking that having more focused posts could keep them shorter, clearer and more organized. Also, hopefully it would make for interesting reading - Sarah, note taken on the women's issues! There is so much we would love to share that we have been learning and experiencing. I think since I am online a bit more I'm going to try to post at 1-2 week intervals, but Shane doens't want me to do it too much so you all get bored, so I'll try to keep myself under control. Photos are coming, we promise! I'll try to do one really cool one I took yesterday with work, it is incredibly representative of Lesotho. Also, I posted a link to the Free Rice website, check it out if you like trivia and donating food through WFP. I would like to put it out there if anyone would like to check out the African Library Project http://africanlibraryproject.org/ we've hear it is a great program that is active in Lesotho and there is already a library in our town, but it doesn't have a ton of books, it is also a great way to get books in to schools. If anyone wants to collaborate on a project here please get in touch with one of us by email. It seems like it could be really cool! Everyone is so sweet with talking about care packages, we definitely don't expect them but the couple that we have gotten have been really pleasant suprises and we have enjoyed and appreciated tham - but we know that they are expensive and again, of course, we don't expect them! It was really sweet though to read your comment Ellie (and Larry) it is really fun to know that you guys are keeping up with us, we are thinking of you guys often too!
Now that I have prefaced this entry with house keeping I'll try to be complete but not too long. I'll start by talking about the striking reality of life without conviniences. Please, enjoy your next trip in the car - not having to carry your grocerys home on your back, especially your next hot shower or bath, being able to use your oven with no worries, having central heat or air conditioning, having a washing machine, dishwasher, computer, watching movies, listening to whatever music/podcast/audiobook... again enjoy those things the next time you do them in our honor and maybe even tell your washing machine what a great job its doing - really! So we now have a few more ammenities than we did in training, but they of course are still limited. I never realized how OCD I was about washing my hands until it became incrediably inconvinient to do so - like having to fetch water, and boil it and then mix it with cold water until it is the right temperature and ideally have someone else pour it from a pitcher and then the pitcher often runs dry before you can actually get the soap residue off your hands and then find something cleanish to dry them - as paper towels are nonexistant here. That is how we wash our hands, and we want to do it a lot too, so we don't get sick - but really... it is a bit more difficult. That was just washing hands, I'll spare you all the gorey details of taking a bath, but I will say it happens in a small basin, a washcloth is a must, and only a very small portion of one's body (if you are lucky) gets to be actually warm at any given time, also I have fully given up conditioning my hair - it takes about 1L of water just to shampoo. Last weekend we tried to have a treat and take an actual bath because we have a tub in our house- really, just a tub, the faucet doesn't run in to it and we have to heat water on the stove. It took three rounds of heating all three of our cooking pots just to fill the tub half way and to an ok temperature - this is our life now - as I said please embrace your next shower. Now there is also doing the dishes, which again happens in a basin, and we have to heat water and it seems very technical - which Shane has been really working at trying to figure out - I generally just try not to think about it too much. Also, we are now lucky to have a real, flushing toilent in our house. However, in training of course we did not - I have always previously taken being able to go to the bathroom comfortably at night, I will no longer do that! But, I also have always taken a reasonable temperature for the toilet seat for granted as well - I also will not do that any more, it is the little things really. On that note, I would like to take the time to post the photo before I have to go - will continue on the same subject next week. All of our best!
Carol and Shane 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finally got the V!

Hello Everyone,
It was so nice to get comments on the last post - I'm so glad to see who is following and how awesome you all are.
Appologies for it being so long since the last post.
So big news! After a long and arduous 10 weeks of Peace Corps Training - as Peace Corps Trainees - We swore in a on Sunday the 7th, took the Peace Corps oath and we are officially Peace Corps Volunteers! Now, all 19 of us are spread out all over Lesotho. It is crazy to think that we are now PCVs after starting to apply in April of 2010. Swearing in was cool because our Bo-Me (all our host mothers) started Saturday, cooked all through the night and into Sunday and we along with our entire village had a huge feast. I felt bad though that they had to work so hard to make such a fun celebration come together.
Training was not what we expected, we did some cool stuff like field trips and games with youth groups as well as panel disucussion -  and some really monotonous (but I assume necessary) class time. We didn't have much down time at all, even for reviewing the Sesotho that we had in class every day. We even got grades on things (I confess to only getting a 70% on my garden... that is the price we paid for free-range chickens I guess). We both passed Sesotho at intermediate-mid level, so that was good but we will continue with tutoring. Now we are at site with tons of books and training manuals that will help us do our jobs over the next two years. So yes, I did just say that we are at site! I will have much to say about it over the next two years, expecially because we will have more regular access to the internet, even from the phone - but it is difficult to do anything but read stuff from the phone, which I found out with the last blog post that failed when I tried to post it from the phone.
Anwyays, I guess I should tell you a little bit about the begining of our new life as real Peace Corps Volunteers. We are in the Highlands of Lesotho in the Drakensburg mountains it is beautiful here and cold - it even snowed today, just like those sloppy wet May snows in Bozeman! It is almost spring here and we feel at home. Shane is working at a Snake Park, and he is so happy to be there and it is beautiful. I am working for the World Food Programme now! One of the one the ground field offices, so I'm looking forward to how it will come together. We are settled in to our house now after a night without furniture and two nights without heat. But it is a pretty nice house and we will talk more about it later just to keep you all reading. (Cliffhanger....)
All the best to everyone reading - sending lots of love from Lesotho!
Shane and Carol

Friday, August 5, 2011