We’re here!

15-June-2011 I am writing this by candle light in our hut in southern Swaziland with the hope that we will be able to post it when we go to town tomorrow afternoon. It has only been about a week since we arrived in Swaziland, but we have already seen and learned so much. We spent the first few nights at a Teacher’s college in dorm-style housing. During this time, we followed a fairly regular training schedule which runs from 8am-5pm. The typical day has included a language lesson along with a variety of cross-cultural, safety/security, medical, and general orientation presentations. Oh yeah, and don’t forget tea break. After those first few days at the college, we will engage in what the Peace Corps calls Community-Based Training. It was on Tuesday that we were finally able to meet our host families with whom we will spend the remaining 9 weeks of PST (Pre-Service Training). After a quick lunch with our new Bhuti (brother) and learning our new Swazi names (Oliver-Mpendilo and Rebecca-Phindile) we loaded all of our luggage onto a truck and boarded our first kumbi (public taxis/mini-buses) for a ride to our new home. When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the rest of our family here on the homestead. We have a Gogo and Mkhaulu (Grandmother and Grandfather), a teenage Bhuti and Sisi, a Malume (Uncle’s wife), and several small nieces and nephews. We have been given the traditional round hut on the homestead that is usually reserved for the Gogo and for important family meetings. It is rather large and we will try to upload pictures soon (we have to first try and get this post up). Our homestead is also only about a two minute walk from the nearest water pump—a huge plus when we are hauling buckets full of water to undergo the Peace Corps’ very through water purification process. Once the sun sets (promptly at 5:15pm), it gets dark very quickly and the entire family (minus Makulu) spends the remainder of the evening sitting in the kitchen as Sisi (and occasional helpers including us) cook the night’s meal on the wood-burning stove. The Peace Corps has given us and our family enough food to share for the next two weeks. After that point, we will be expected to purchase food and cook for ourselves. The main staple here is called Liphalishi. It is simply maize-meal added to boiling water and cooked for about 30 minutes. It has usually been served with a cooked cabbage dish (similar to coleslaw) and some sort of sauce. The first night, Rebecca and I helped make a chicken/veggie sauce and tonight Rebecca helped Sisi make a bean sauce. It has been a very long day, and we have an early morning tomorrow (something we are slowly getting used to) so that is all for now. More soon… -Oliver

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2 thoughts on “We’re here!

  1. hi oliver and rebecca, sounds like you are learning a whole lot. Cant wait to see the pics when you get them up. Stay safe and well, miss you guys bunches. Love you lots. by the way, the menu sounds very interesting!!!

  2. Dark at 5:15 – I forgot that you are in the opposite hemisphere!
    I look forward to your future posts and photos!

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