Peace Corps isn't exactly known for overwhelming applicants with information (some might say they're a little stingy in that area), but I know everyone has questions about where I'll be and what I'll be doing. So here are the basics of what I know now.
Assignment: Community HIV Outreach Program
After an initial two months of training, I'll receive an assignment with an existing NGO that focuses on HIV outreach to help build their capacity and improve their effectiveness. I won't know much about my job until I actually get my assignment. From what I've heard, there are a variety of partner organizations - some are new, some are old, some are well established while others are struggling to get by. Also, some have had a volunteer before, while others are new to the Peace Corps Program. I'll get back to you with more details when I know.
On Sunday I'll be leaving Pasco at 6:15 am to fly to Philadelphia for a day of what we in the volunteer biz call Staging. I'll be joining the other South Africa volunteers at the Holiday Inn for a clinic appointment (shots), some introductory information, some paperwork, more information on getting to South Africa, and of course some Icebreakers (I capitalize "Icebreakers" to stress how much I love them.)
The next day we check out of the hotel at 2am, drive to New York JFK, and hop on a direct flight to Johannesburg. From there, we get on another bus and drive about three hours to a spot near Polokwane to start training.
We'll be in a dorm for the first week, and then move into homestays. Training includes lots of technical training, cultural training, as well as language. But South Africa has 11 official languages, plus several unofficial ones, so part f the plan for the first week includes determining which volunteers will learn which language.
Everyone please memorize this address - it's very important because this is where you will need to send me letters and care packages (subtle hint).
PO Box 9536
My email is the same - firstname.lastname@example.org, and Skype is catherine.sampson03.
I won't have a phone, and I will have very limited access to email and the internet for the first two months of training. So please don't be worried or offended if I don't respond to an email, I'll be in good hands.
I think that's most of what I know, so hopefully this is helpful for everyone else.
And now, since I usually pick blogs to read that have lots of picutres, I leave you with some photos from my trip to Spain and in and around the Seattle area.
We also caught a shrimp or two on accident.