Day 6: In honor of election day, I am thankful that I was born in America. I’ll admit that the USA is not perfect, in many ways, but growing up in America has afforded me many opportunities that kids in my village don’t have. I grew up happy, healthy, with two living parents, loved, educated, never hungry….I was able to HAVE a childhood. As a young adult, I’ve been able to drive, own a car, go to college, study abroad, travel, serve in the Peace Corps (btw, only Americans can do that), and VOTE! I’m grateful that I grew up in a democratic country, and that I have a voice. I have rights and freedoms that many in the world don’t have. And now I live in a country where those rights were only given to the majority 18 years ago. Man, that sure makes me realize how privileged I am.
Day 7: I’m a Christian, and I am eternally grateful for God and all the help He’s given me here. PCVs generally do not identify strongly with any faith, much less Christianity, so I’m definitely in the minority. But God has given me the strength to step out of my comfort zone, give up all the comforts of my American life, and live in an impoverished rural village halfway around the world. Honestly, I have no clue how PCVs survive two years WITHOUT relying on God. On my toughest days, He’s been there to lighten my load and comfort me. He’s helped me realize what His plan for me is, and shown me how Peace Corps will affect my path in life. Being a Christian in the Peace Corps can be difficult because so few PCVs identify as Christians, or totally understand what a personal relationship with God means. But I doubt I would’ve made it this far without Him, and for that, I am thankful.
Day 8: I am thankful for cute kids, especially the Grade R learners that I spend a lot of time with. Cute uniformed kindergarteners reaching out to grab your hand and sing a chorus of “Hello! Dumela! Lekgoa!!” Does it get any better than that? Any current or future PCVs reading this-seriously, hang out with some 5 year olds on a regular basis. The kids at my school are coming out of their shells, and I frequently get shoutouts wherever I go in the village or at school. Yeah, it’s a little like being famous (ok, a LOT alike), but for 2 years, it’s fun. And it warms my heart when I greet in English, and the kids run after me saying “I am fine teacher! How are you? Thank you! We are fine! Good morning teacher! Teacher, may I please go out?”, which effectively exhausts their English knowledge. And the baby, Rorisang, who is staying with my family now, always shouts “BYE BYE” whenever she sees me, then chatters on in Setswana/baby talk/Xhosa while opening and closing my door. These kids are so cute, and they never fail to put a smile on my face!