Friday, June 22, 2012

It's a Christmas Miracle!

I feel like Peace Corps service starts in slow motion and speeds up until the days all blend together and you are felt sideswiped with how much time has really gone by.  Ryan and I passed our one-year mark this month in Swaziland, and I honestly don’t know where the time has gone.  In the interim I have gained a nephew, my best friend from high school has gotten engaged and will be married next week, and my two best friends from college are both pregnant, due at the end of this year.  Although that is a lot to miss out on, Swaziland has great things to offer as well.  Ryan and I have made great friends, gained new family members, participated in fun community events, got stuck at a catholic church vigil in Mozambique, seen life and death, have had the best and the worst food of our lives…it has been an experience of a lifetime and we are excited to reign in the 2nd year of our Peace Corps Service. 

Unfortunately, however, the quiet Peace Corps time is currently over, as Ryan and I have quite a few projects we are involved with in our community.  My main project, the cleaning campaign, is scheduled for August 20-24th, and I will kiss the ground of my Babe’s kraal (the cow pen) when it is over. I thankfully have endless support from the community, but it has – for the better – become quite the undertaking.  Ryan is currently working on two different projects, an HIV soccer tournament and a Refugee Memoirs Project with the Camp, which I am particularly excited about.  Hearing their stories is unbelievable, as it makes me realize I have lived my whole life safe in the arms of democracy with no revolutions and wars to get away from. Side note - Amnesty has us practicing the first chapter of the Quran in Arabic, our pronunciation is honestly laughable, but is a fun past time.

Ryan’s Memoirs project, while still in its planning stages, will collect the stories of the refugees at the camp and will be put online as either a podcast or will be available for streaming. This project will include teaching residents at the camp how to use a digital voice recorder, how to shape your life story into a workable narrative, the finer points of interviewing and how to edit and post MP3’s on the web. It will be quite the undertaking and it hasn’t even been approved. Pending approval and grant money becoming available, this will be quite the undertaking.

This weekend is particularly exciting as all the volunteers will be getting together to celebrate the infamous “Christmas in June” here in Swaziland.  As this will be the last time Ryan and I will see the majority of Group 8 before they leave for America, we are excited to go and join in on the celebration. As Christmas is my second favorite holiday, following St. Patrick’s Day of course, I am more than ready to enjoy the cool weather and eat one million cookies.  (If you were wondering, one year of not eating cookies equals to one millions cookies are allowed to be eaten once they become available to you. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about, I’m studying for the GRE.)  Cookies! It’s a Christmas Miracle!