Sunday, May 24, 2009

Time Goes By

For those of you who continue to check up on this page regularly, it may seem as if we have fallen off the face of the earth! It has been quite a while since our last post and since then much has happened. The pace of life at school and work has picked up, we have had a few visitors, and now we are looking ahead to the end of our service; a time that is quickly approaching. In the last five months we have had two fantastic holidays with members of our family, PNGC 2009 has been meeting weekly with a wonderful new group of girls and a few new leaders, computer training has taken off at the schools, we have been involved in a number of Peace Corps related trainings and we have really been enjoying the transition into South Africa winter. We have posted a number of pictures from our holidays to our web albums, which illustrate our travels more than we can in words, but here is a short list of highlights:

Megan and Kevin flew in for the Christmas holiday in December. We took a gruelling, harrowing, long, yet rather amusing overland trip via public transportation to make our way to Vilanculos, Mozambique for a week on the beach. Despite a few days of rain we were still able to enjoy time in and on the ocean. We spent a day snorkeling a reef out near one of the islands that makes up the Bazaruto Archipelago and topped the afternoon off with a lunch of fresh crab, mango, and assorted island treats. That pretty much sums up our daily agenda for our time on the beach. Relaxing, enjoying the water, and eating great food. After realizing we would get rained out if we stayed longer, we hopped our way back (this time by air) to South Africa where we spent time with friends, explored a few more areas of the country, Megan and Kevin jumped off a cliff (literally), we spent a few warm summer days in Seleka, and had one of the best safari adventures you could imagine when Megan spotted a leopard in a tree that proceeded to come down from his perch to see what we were doing in his park.

In mid-January Megan and Kevin departed and that ushered in the 2009 school year. PNGC started up and work at the schools took over our lives. Between weekly club meetings, running workshops, attending other workshops, and assisting individual teachers with different aspects of their days, our time clipped along. Throughout February and March we were also planning two big events. Firstly, our next holiday was approaching and that meant Dad and Mom (Barry and Pam) were on their way over for another three week family adventure! The other big event was the annual Longtom half marathon that Peace Corps participates in and that we were helping to organize. Days and weeks flew by and before we knew it we had collected Dad and Mom from the airport and made our way to the starting line of the race on the last Saturday morning in March. When the gun went off to signal the beginning of the run, we felt as though we had been already been running for much too long! Race day was a hit and we really enjoyed it, though the few weeks directly following it were a much needed holiday.

After Dad and Mom met us at the finish line with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and spent a couple days meeting our fellow PCVs we were on the road and ready to relax. We enjoyed a beautiful few days in the Graskop area eating wonderful food and resting (us from our hectic schedule, Dad and Mom from their long flight over). From there we took a leisurely safari through Kruger National Park, had some great sightings, including a pride of seven lioness out hunting, and finished each night in the park with a sundowner overlooking the Olifants river. Next it was on to Seleka. Introducing our parents to our friends and neighbors was a wonderful treat and we were thrilled to have them see where we live and work. However, that was just the first week of holiday! Following the village we headed for Cape Town. It was a beautiful week of exploring that brought us to vineyards, gardens, Table Mountain, Cape Point, and more. We awoke each morning in our flat to a view of the ocean and ended each night with a lovely meal at one the cities many excellent and varied restaurants. The final leg of our trip was a short jaunt up to Livingstone, Zambia to see Victoria Falls. With the water levels at their highest in over 40 years, we got few pictures of the falls, but we enjoyed a thorough soaking as we hiked the trails and bridges around the area. Mom leaped off the bridge that spans the Zambezi river, Dad took a flight over the falls in a microlight, and we enjoyed an exquisite sunset river cruise. Just as with the all the holidays we have taken, the time went much too quickly, though we enjoyed each and every minute of it.

Upon our return to the village mid-April we were now in the midst of PNGC, computer classes had started and we suddenly looked to the calendar and saw that our COS (Close of Service) conference was at hand in a matter of weeks! By the time the conference arrived, South Africa had elected, on April 22nd, Jacob Zuma as its new president with relative smoothness and predictability. As the conference came and went in the matter of a few days. We had the pleasure of reconnecting with other PCVs that we had not seen in almost a year, discussing the implications of the new government that the country now had and wondering what it would be like to watch things unfold from abroad instead from within. Our COS sessions revolved around the technical side of returning home (i.e. paperwork), reflecting on our service thus far and also thinking about how to transition back to life in the States.

This brings us back to present day life in Seleka. We now have a few short months left in South Africa with much work to do and many people to see. The coming weeks will be extraordinarily busy as we continue to work in the present, but start to plan further into the future for life beyond Peace Corps. Looking back on the past five months to write this is a great reminder of all the wonderful things that we have been able to do here and how much we have come to enjoy our life in Seleka. It is difficult to think about leaving, yet exciting to look ahead to a new chapter in life, despite at this point not know what that chapter holds! It is alarming, the speed with which almost two years has past. We know now how quickly our remaining time will go by and we hope to make the most out of each day.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Knowing you guys, you really will make the most out of each day you have left, and many people will be blessed as a result. Thank you for such a well written summary of your past few months. It was a joy to read and not only does it continue to make us miss the beautiful continent we still refer to as "home", but it reminds us how much we miss Seleka and the other half of "the gang". Best of luck with the rest of your service and enjoy those cool nights :)


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