Monday, March 26, 2012

Life in a small PCorps Country... Bigger is not always better.

This is about the time last year when I received my invitation from the Peace Corps to come to Swaziland. I remember searching for blogs wanting any advice people were willing to give and insight on what it would be like to live in a country that I had to google to make sure that it actually existed. Now that I am the one who is writing the blog I don't really feel qualified to offer advice, but I still remember the first words of advice that were given to me by a volunteer in the group before me. They told me that I was very fortunate that I was coming to Swaziland and that it is a great country(a biased answer, I thought). And then they said that the country is really small which is a huge benefit to us PCVs because traveling to the *big* cities and other PCV site is comparatively easy. It only takes a couple hours to travel from one end of the country to the other using public transport. This is a huge benefit not only for my social life and mental health... living in the bush is not always easy as you can imagine and being around the people who are going through the same things as me really helps. The other benefit of being in a small country is that I can travel to other PCVs to see the work they are doing to help inspire the work I am doing in my own community. I have visited a Volunteer's English Club who were writing a skit about HIV and stigma, I have played volleyball with another Volunteer's youth club, I have visited craft stores to get ideas for crafty boMake in my own community, I have seen awesome gardens and furniture built by my fellow PCVs. I have gained a lot of inspiration from them for sure.
Last week we spent a week in Mbabane, the capital city for a project development workshop with our Swazi counterpart, followed by a grief and loss workshop. I love going to workshops because it means I get to shower and I don't have to cook! But after last week I am back at site clean, well fed, and feeling really connected to my fellow PCVs and in a bigger country with more volunteers I don't think such a connection and friendship could be cultivated. So if you are an invitee, we are really looking forward to having you in the family. To my friends and family, you are keeping me well fed with your care packages. I really appreciate them and my friends here are all jealous on how awesome and generous you are. Mom and Patty are coming to visit next week. I am so excited and interested in hearing their impression of life here!
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