Well folks, the time is drawing uncomfortably near to say "see ya later." I have a 9:30ish AM flight tomorrow to my orientation in Atlanta, where I will likely complete a mountain of paperwork and meet my fellow volunteers for the first time. Anxious doesn't even begin to describe it. My brain is just racing with anticipation. I've still got a few errands to run and final odds and ends to throw in the bags. For the most part though, I'm packed and can't wait to get this show on the road.
Here's a quick timeline for how my 26 months will unfold:
July 10: Staging in Atlanta
July 12: Fly as a group to Johannesburg
July 12- September 5: Pre-Service Training (PST) at Ndebele College of Education
September 5: Swearing-in ceremony where trainees become official Peace Corps Volunteers
September 5- December: Move to permanent site and begin to observe my classes, acclimate to my community, etc.
December: Begin teaching and implementing projects
September 2014: End of service
I have several other training workshops throughout my service and surely some vacation time in there, but that's the gist. I will be staying with host families throughout- one during PST and a different one during the remainder of my service. All those pressing questions (which village? electricity? running water? language?) will remain utterly unknown until the latter part of PST.
Next order of business: my mailing address. This will permanently be posted under the "What Am I Doing?" tab of my blog, as well as on the "About" section of my Facebook page.
Katie Raynor, PCV
U.S. Peace Corps
P.O. Box 9536
This will be my address through PST. After that, I will move to my permanent post and open a P.O. Box close to where I live. So check back in a couple months, as I will update the address when I get it.
*Helpful Mail Hint #1- Number your letters. This way I know if one doesn't get delivered to me.
*Helpful Mail Hint #2- It might help to write religious scripture on the envelope. Sounds strange, but mail theft is apparently not uncommon. People are less likely to tamper if they think the letter is for a religious official.
*Helpful Mail Hint #3- If you choose to mail care packages, try to do so in a padded envelope rather than a box. Boxes are taxed heavier and look oh-so-tempting to steal.
*Helpful Mail Hint #4- If you write me a letter, I solemnly promise to translate any word or phrase of your choosing to Zulu (pronunciation guide included).
PLEASE write to me! I want to stay updated on your beautiful lives.
I will have very limited electronic communication for these next couple months, but hopefully it will pick up some after training. With any luck, I'll be bloggin' again in no time!
Finally, a big, huge, heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who has stopped by, called, written a letter, etc. to show your support these past few weeks. I am overwhelmed by how much care and love you all have shown me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.