I’m finally in South Africa, and man….I’m beginning to realize just how far away it is-physically and socially.
The flight to SA was loooong-one to Atlanta was about 2 hours, then we flew from there straight to Jo’burg-16 hours. I had never been on a flight longer than 3ish hours, so it was an experience! We had 1 (one!!) official meal, and a few snacks. I am eternally grateful to my sister who told me to bring poptarts because the food was not so good. But I survived! And the personal TVs in the backs of the seats helped out a lot.
We touched down in SA safe and sound, made it through customs, and found our way to the PC bus for our 2.5 hour trip to our training site. I was asleep most of that ride.
We made it to our site, where we will stay for 4 days, and were greeted by our language staff, who were singing and dancing. I was so excited when I could understand “Dumela” which is a form of hello in Setswana. We finally had dinner around 10:30pm and headed to our dorms. I took a FREEZING shower (the water was hot, but the air inside the building wasn’t). The buildings aren’t heated, and since I am guessing it was in the 30s-it was COLD. But I had a sheet, 2 thick blankets, a fleece sleeping bag shell, and long undies, so I woke up nice and warm.
The next day (the 9th) we started to get down to business-another health questionnaire and interview, basic greetings, overview of PC SA and training, random businessy things, got our walk around allowance (in Rand), and had a discussion with the Country Director. I had 2 vaccinations-typhoid and the flu shot. More shall come in future days.
We received phone cards and were given a chance to go to the village and make calls. I managed to get ahold of both Mom and Dad, which was nice. You probably have seen a post about baboons from Mom. I also went to a grocery store and bought some snacks to try. I had Simba potato chips-smoked beef flavor which tasted like bacon, gummies which tasted super sweet, and cookies, which I haven’t tried.
So far the food has been GOOD! I have eaten it for 24 hours and have not had the PC mandated diarrhea, and I consider this a success. We had some white corn, creamed spinach, carrots, and chicken tonight. I took the white corn, which is rather bland, and added a delicious red sauce, the carrots, and spinach, and had a nice meal. And there was an amazing cinnamon thing-someone said it was a plantain but I’m not sure. All I know is that I may just dream about it tonight because thus far, it has been the best thing I have eaten here-hands down.
Well, I am writing this on 7/9/2011, but I have no clue when I will have a chance to post it. Sorry for the long post, but trust me, I left out a loooot so it could be worse. J