[Sorry this is so late, we thought we had posted it]
November 29, 2011
We just got back from spending a week at in-service training (IST). IST is to designed to help us transition from integration, where we are observing and getting to know our community, to our actual service, where we are actually supposed to get to work. On Saturday, all of Peace Corps Swaziland Group 9 headed out from all corners of the country to Mbabane where we would all stay together at a training center. Before arriving, Oliver and I stopped by the movie theater and watched Tower Heist. As we were leaving the movie theater, Oliver said he actually forgot he was a volunteer and was surprised to realize he was in Swaziland.
Once we arrived for training, we got right to work. The week was filled with sessions about how to write grants, a meet and greet with NGOs that work in the country, and a discussion on how to help local educators make the shift from corporal discipline to a safer and more productive classroom (shout out to Jo who lead that last session and lives in country with her family!) All of the sessions tried to focus on helping us figure out where to go next in our Peace Corps journey. But the most important learning experience for me turned out to be just hearing what other volunteers had to say; challenges they were facing or what their Swazi families were like. It’s good to realize that others are going through the same things Oliver and I are and to hear what solutions they came up with.
The other best part of IST was a hot shower every day (sometimes twice just for fun!) and free meals that I didn’t have to cook or clean up! You may think those sound trivial in the face of figuring out how to solve global poverty and empower others but trust me, you would be wrong. We were also able to get mail and packages (Thank you Siyabonga) and got some neat supplies from the office like a cute book with songs in both English and SiSwati for children.
It was good to be able to relax a bit and have some fun times but it was nice to come back to school as well. School is officially over this coming Friday but our school has been slowly winding up for a while now. The seventh graders had their last day just before we went to IST and when we got back only the pre-school was still in session. That is because pre-school had their graduation party today. The class prepared several songs and skits. My favorite skit where all of the students pretended to be at a clinic. One student was the doctor, two were nurses, and the rest were patients. Each patient would shout the same rehearsed lines to the nurse and state their ailment. Then the patients would be brought in to the doctor to get “treatment.” A couple kids got shots. It was totally unexpected at a graduation but adorable nevertheless. The students also performed traditional dances and then put on graduation gowns to receive their certificates.
It is amazing to think that we will only be here for one more end of the school year. We just got here, but we only have one more pre-school graduation to attend before we will be heading back to the US.
PS. We posted some pictures in the side bar of a meal that we cooked with the teachers- end of the year celebration!
Rebecca is Currently Reading: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Oliver is Currently Reading: Five Minute Activities
We are Currently Watching: House, Season 1