I know you were hoping that we would change the address that you could send letters to one more time so here you are:
Jennie and Ben Bleckley
PO Box 9536
This address should be good until around September 20th and then we will send word with a new address.
I received an email today telling us more about training (July-September) so I thought I would share that with you.
A little bit of information about South Africa and the Peace Corps program there:
"South Africa is a country going through an enormous transition. It is a First World-Third World country. The government and private sector have created a robust, First World economy. However a large segment of the population still lives in a Third World economy. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be addressing the needs of those still living in a Third World society, threatened by AIDS and enrolled in an educational system that still does not adequately meet the needs of learners.
This year Peace Corps will celebrate its 10th anniversary in the country. On the day of your swearing-in to become a Volunteer, 140 currently serving Volunteers and numerous dignitaries will be present to recognize a decade of Peace Corps Volunteer service in the country."
My dad said that when we received our new placement (we were not able to go to the first place we were nominated for due to restrictions after a rough medical clearance process) we would be blown away. He sure was right!
We will arrive in Johannesburg on Saturday July 21st in the morning. We will then be driven to Mankwe Education Center in Rustenburg. We will stay there for one week "being oriented to Peace Corps and South Africa." After that week we will move into the home of a South African family who will help us learn the ropes from July- September.
This family will live in the Zeerust area (approx. 120 kilometers from the Botswana border). They will be responsible for helping us with language, teaching us how to cook, wash clothes, etc. We will be eating all of our meals with our host family. The staple food is maize (corn meal), prepared as a thick porridge called "pap" and eaten with vegetables or a sauce.
During our training six languages will be taught: Sepedi, SeTswana, IsiZulu, IsiSwati, Xitsonga and Afrikaans. Every volunteer will take an oral language proficiency exam near the end of training.
Needless to say I am getting very excited and nervous! Any warm thoughts are appreciated.
Monday, July 2, 2007