Hello and Dumelang!
It feels so good to be able to get to a computer again! Since we arrived in South Africa on February 4, we've had really limited access to phones or computers. They want us to be immersed in the culture (which is good), but it's so nice to be on the Internet again!
Through March, our access will still be limited. We are finished with training and move to our "sites" on April 2. Hopefully there I will have better access to Internet and I should also have a cell phone.
So I've had lots of new "African" freckles pop up in the last several weeks! : ) Since I don't have the ability to tan, I really enjoy seeing new freckles.
We are in really rural South Africa and if I showed you a picture, it would look a lot like the American South. Lots of farmland, small houses far apart, etc. I do have running water and electricity at my homestay, so I consider myself very lucky. Sometimes the water has a tint of brown, but it hasn't done anything to me yet!
I'm excited to begin really travelling and see places like Cape Town, Durban (the Indian center of the country) and go to a game reserve to see the animals! Right now, all I've seen are chickens, donkeys and cows...
Oh - and big bonus for me - I'm not allergic to African cats! My host mother has like 5 cats and I don't sneeze around them! I'm thinking of taking the littlest one with me. What we'd consider pets in America, cats and dogs, are really mistreated in some South African cultures and this little baby cat is so cute! I'd hate to see her be abused. Tentatively, I've named her Eleanor : )
So far our training has been focused on adjusting to our new climate (in the 70s, 80s, it's beautiful!), bugs (yuck! I've been introduced to 'flat spiders', gross), illnesses, local community, learning language and learning about HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
I'm learning Setswanna, which is spoken in the NorthWest Province, Limpopo and Mpumalanga primarily. It's the inverse of Arabic in that they use a ton of vowels. Like to say 'taxi' it's 'takisi' but I'm getting the hang of it. My host mother speaks really fast, so I'm trying to keep up with her.
She did give me my Setswana name, Lesogo ("lay-say-hoh", the 'g' is pronounced gutterally like an 'h'). It means luck! How cool is that?! She's also quite the chatter in the neighborhood, so I get greeted by people I don't even know, "Hello sister Lesogo." It's kinda fun : )
I find out on March 13 where my "site" will be and the following week I do a 5-day site visit to check it out. I'm so excited! I will let you know as soon as I can after I find out.
In an effort to be word-conscious, I will wrap-up (especially since I don't have any pictures transferred yet to break up the words :).
Lerato to you all! (lerato is love, "lay-rah-toh")
Casey : )
p.s. thank you to people who wrote me letters! I love them! I've read a few so far and I'm saving more for when I really need them. Thank you : )