Saturday, December 22, 2007

Every Little Bit...

At this stage in the game, every little bit of info I find out about the Peace Corps is much appreciated. Yesterday, I, along with all of the other SA17 volunteers, received an email from the Peace Corps with more information about staging/training. There wasn't a whole lot in it that I didn't already know, but it's still nice to know everything is still on schedule. However, I did learn two things from the email.

1) Staging will begin on January 27th (Previously we were told it started on January 28th).
2) Staging will be held in Phily.

I should be getting my official staging packet in the mail sometime within the next couple weeks, and it will give me even more details about everything. Until then, I'll be enjoying Christmas and New Years with family and friends!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


What was once 146 days until staging has turned into only 43 days until staging. It seems like I’ve learned so much about South Africa and Peace Corps’ work there since I first heard that I was going to be serving there. It sounds like South Africa is a great country and will be a great place to serve, however by no means does that mean that mean it’ll be easy. It’s unlikely that any amount of reading about the country or reading about the experiences of the people (both residents and volunteers) will fully prepare me for my time there. I’m really excited about getting to live out the life of a Peace Corps volunteer in the amazing country of South Africa! I can’t wait to leave!

Even though a good majority of the 146 days has already passed, I think the last 43 will probably seem the longest. While I’m very relieved and joyous that my last “real” semester of grad school is finished and that I get to spend a month and a half at home spending time with my parents while I finish up all of the academic/packing/legal loose ends, it will likely be a long month and a half as I eagerly await the end of January to leave for the Peace Corps.

As everything stands right now, I haven’t heard anything official from the Peace Corps since I received my invitation to serve in South Africa back in late August. I’ve sent in all the passport/visa documents and written my aspiration statement, now I just wait until I receive my staging packet, which should come any day now (although it might not come until early January). I guess it’s probably a good thing to hear nothing from the Peace Corps because that likely means everything is a-ok and on track to leave in as scheduled, but at the same time it’d be nice to just hear from the Peace Corps and have them tell you, “Everything is a-ok and on track for you to leave the end of January.” Either way, I’m sure things will work out fine.

I’ve also been really fortunate to start to get to know some of the other volunteers that are in my training group via Facebook and other sources. I believe there are about 30 of us (all HIV/AIDS Outreach workers who will likely be working for/with a South African NGO) leaving in January as the 17th training group that has been sent to South Africa. From the little bit that I know about the other volunteers, they seem to be pretty cool and I’m really looking forward to meeting them and serving with them in South Africa. I’m guessing that we’ll probably become pretty close during training and throughout the rest of our service as we spend a lot of time together rely on each other for various reasons/things.

Well, that’s all I've really got for now.

Merry Christmas!