- Where are you going to live? The first three months of my stay in South Africa will be in Marapyane (which isn't technically official, but my sources are pretty good). Marapyane is north of Pretoria, which is north of Johannesburg. It's relatively close to the border of Zimbabwe, compared to other parts of the country. During training, I'll be living with a South African host family.
- Are you going to live in a hut? Yeah, maybe. There are a variety of living options. The one I've heard most frequently is a small concrete house with a tin roof. I know some volunteers who are in South Africa now who live in a small house that's on the compound of a family in the community.
- How long will you be gone? Training is 3 months and the actual site placement is 2 years. I should finish up roughly early May 2011.
- Do they speak English? Yes and no. From what I can gather, the communities where they place volunteers also speak one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. Setswana tends to be one of the more popular languages. (I'm really excited about this b/c this is one of the languages where they use tongue clicks!)
- Are you going to come home during the 2 years? Since airfare is so expensive and I'll be making fairly little on U.S. standards, probably not. Volunteers do get a ton of vacation time, so I plan to travel around South Africa and the surrounding countries.
- Will you have Internet access? From what I've heard the vast majority of the 170+ volunteers currently serving in South Africa have Internet access - even a lot of the remote volunteers! So while I'm not sure, it'd be nice.
- Why did you want to do this? Lots of reasons. I really wanted to experience living internationally, while I'm still young-ish and have few attachments. I also want to move into community development work and I thought this would be an intensive, grassroots way to do it. I also really love helping people, but I don't think I'd be a good social worker. This is my way to use my talents to help people. Plus, Peace Corps is so well-known and world-renowned for language and cultural training - among other things. I wanted to do a volunteer program that people would recognize when I got back to the U.S. Peace Corps also really takes care of volunteers - in terms of medical needs, safety, etc.
There are also several other questions that I don't get asked that I bet people are wondering about. I'll post those in another blog. Or, post your questions here and I can answer them.
Casey : )