Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 – You are very welcomed.

The New Year came and went and 2013 has brought with it a jubilant ease and change of attitude that the last couple of months of 2012 was holding back.  This year has so much possibility, inside of Peace Corps and now the chance of looking onto what is after Peace Corps. I have been given way more than I could ever give from this experience and I need to thank the other Peace Corps Volunteers, my host-family, my ever-patient husband and my amazing and close counterparts from the refugee camp and else-where for these great experiences.  While not every project (or any project) was a decisive success, I came out of each one of them stronger, smarter, and ultimately a better future-volunteer.  I hope in 2013 I can navigate the ever-tricky waters of development work and contribute to projects in a more sustainable way.  While I am not sure how much success I have had in the last 20 months in building the capacity of others, I can say that my capacity has been built, and although sometimes I wish I could see even a sliver of change in my community from my presence, the change I see in myself is the best gift Peace Corps could give me.

How to wrap up 2012? My husband loves best-of lists.  I love making to-do lists.  This seemed obvious.

2012 Swaziland Favorites & Bests

Favorite Quote from a Swazi Child
“This one, he is poofing all the time!! Help me!” – Adelyn
“This white family is so smart with technology” (spoken while watching Mission Impossible) - Ryan

Favorite Memory
Swimming in the river with the Dlamini family

Worst Memory
The diarrhea that ensued from swimming in the river with the Dlamini family.

Favorite Restaurant
Fancy = Swazi Candles
Not Fancy = Tutsi’s Swazi Kudla in Manzini

Favorite Vacation Spot
Inhaca Island – Maputo, Mozambique

Best Food in 2012
Fish Market – Maputo

Favorite PC Memory
Christmas in June with G8/G9

Favorite Project 2012

Favorite Swazi
My host-babe, obvious.

Favorite South African Saying
Is it? (An exclamation of surprise, shock, or question)

Favorite Swazi Holiday
Umhlanga (Reed Dance)

Favorite Place to Chill
Our hammock on our homestead

Favorite Swazi Animal
Senator John McCain

Favorite Vacation Spot in Swaziland
Hlane National Park

Favorite Albums I listened to in 2012 (Some are not from 2012)
Bon Iver - Perth
Iron and Wine – The Shepherds Dog
The Weeknd – House of Balloons
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Hammock – Departure Songs
Jay Z and Kayne West – Watch the Throne
Johann Johannsson – Fordlandia

Best TV Show in 2012
Boardwalk Empire

Best Books in 2012
The Mole People
The Pyschopath Test

What I Will Miss the Most
Host family, Camp family, and the wild lightning storms

Favorite Swazi Children
Our homestead neighbor bo-bhutis, Miso and Titsetso

Favorite Scary Creature
Flying termites that burst open from the ground after the rain, and only live through the night

Favorite object on the homestead
Babe’s Whip (Goodbye snakes!)

Best Moments from America in 2012
My brothers wedding
When Dan presented himself to the unexpected Potter’s out of the trunk of our car and Atlas screamed with fright/delight
When Dallin was forced to spend an extra 2 days with us thanks to Hurricane Sandy
Pizza from Roco’s with Corey and Katie in Brooklyn
Skyping with Wendy after the birth of her first baby boy, Conrad