More preparation

one doctor pepper a week.

one qtip per week.

less meat- more legumes and grains.

stop buying – shed more.

walk more.

-vc

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Yoga for squatting

As always my friends at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington are ever helpful. I was explaining my OH MY GOD moment to Cynthia and she gave me some yoga exercises to do to improve my ability to squat.  Life is good!

-vc

Medical paperwork

It has begun. The long trudge through my medical paper work. I did a quick read through this weekend and decided the easiest person to contact would be my previous counselor. I had her phone number, she works right here in Simsbury. I could probably take care of that paper work this week. No it will not be that easy.  I called her number. It’s out of service. I called NCCC another place where she worked in Enfield. Have only gotten voice mail of the human resources department. Called East Granby Family Practice because my doctor there recommended her. They only have the old phone number as well.

Persistence, Determination, Tracking Skills, Patience are of course all things I will need in Africa.

-vc

How long can you squat?

 Today at work I was trying to relate a serious concern and thought that I had after reading the medical information paperwork sent from the Peace Corps. But my friends Sue B and Jeanette just got me laughing so hard I was crying. I started to tell them that I had my first OH MY GOD moment when I read the questions about my physical condition and one question was “How long can you squat?”. The questions and suggestions started flying across the cubicles. “I suppose that means no toilet paper then right vicky”

“now we know what we can do with those left over tubes of paper from the dispenser in the staff bathroom!”

“No maybe we should send bio degradable toilet paper like they have for RVs”

“we will have to take up a collection to send you TP. Be sure you give us a big lead time you never know how long it will take to get to Africa”
images.jpg“it’s not too heavy though so how much could it cost”

“and we have all these boxes here to pack it in”.

“I’m already thinking of ways to build an outhouse”

“oh you could bring one of those donuts with you that people sit on after hemorrhoid surgery”

I am laughing out loud now thinking of the craziness of my friends.

-vc

p.s.

yes I am now practicing squatting every day!

Map of Africa

My goal for next month is to memorize the map of Africa. Like 9th grade geography!

-vc

In My Country

In My Country is a story of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa. Samuel L. Jackson an American reporter and Juliette Binoche a South African poet covering the hearings for radio, meet and confront the demons of race from opposite sides of the color barrier.  The African  concept of truth and forgiveness is so foreign to most Americans we can hardly understand how this helped heal the country and I am not sure this movie did that either.  What it did do was show one Afrikaners woman who’s eyes were forced open by the commission. She was not part of the cruelty but this movie perfectly illustrates  the saying that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.  

It frustrates me that wherever whites go we create a system of privilege and elitism. That we feel entitled to dominate any culture we encounter. I make a pledge to live as the people I am living with live. And to go with the attitude of true cultural exchange. To appreciate the beauty of the culture I am visiting, to learn the wisdom of the people I am living with and to be humble about my culture.

-vc

A Place to Stay

My lease is up in November. I am hoping to find a place to stay either rent a room from someone or house sit until May 2008. I want to pay off some debts, put away a bit of a nest egg and to practice living with less before I go overseas. I feel the worst thing that could happen to me is to live with a host family so maybe this would be a good time to see if living with someone else is as tough for me as I believe it would be.

So if any of my readers know of someone looking for a house sitter for 4-6 months from November to spring 2006 or someone with a room to rent. Let me know.

-vicky

African Immersion

I have already started immersing my self in Africa.  Yesterday I found two newer books of fiction based in Africa The Optimists and Camel Bookmobile. The first is about a photojournalist and the second is about a mobile library.  Both are close to my heart.

Last night I watched Nowhere in Africa. A story of two secular German Jews who fled to Africa during the Nazi regime.  The story was a bit cliché with the wise African who guided and aided the family in their adjustment. The woman hated Africa and acted like a spoiled brat through the first half of the movie then fell in love with Africa.  What was not cliché was the family’s religion. They were very secular Jews and were at a loss to  understand why their German socialite friends turned on them. Although the husband recognized earlier than most the danger of the Nazis. What was amazing was the cinematography and the landscape it captured.

I want to find a few African history books that are good reads and will give me a broad overview of the continent. If any one has any suggestions leave me a comment.

3 Lines

Computer Science
Departure date: Sub Saharan
Africa
Departure date: Early June 2008

Three lines in an email that will change my life forever.

map_africa.gif

 

-vicky

Interview

Long day getting to and from NYC yesterday. Every step I did not judge how much time it would take me to get where i needed to be. And those of you who know me well KNOW my blood pressure was up, I was tense cause I absolutely HATE to be late! I got to New Haven with 7 minutes to spare. I ran to the station and down to the train gates and just asked someone “what gate is the train to NYC?” Luckily I knew I could buy my ticket on the train. unluckily i could ONLY buy one way from the conductor. oh well live and learn.

Then I enjoyed a lesiurely lunch in Grand Central Station thinking 1/2 hour would be plenty of time to get to my destination. no such luck. so i was 10 minutes late. I did call ahead to let Andrew know I was coming but running late.

My favorite question was ‘Have you had any major change in your life in the past year.” Anyone who has grieved and read the self-help books knows why he asked that one!

Then we talked about where to draw the line with customs and behaviors you believe to be wrong. I talked to him about Mississippi and how I could not let my children join Girl Scouts because the troops were segregated. To me that was just the opposite of what I wanted Girl Scouts to teach my girls. I didn’t preach against it. I didn’t try to change the culture because I knew I was not going to live there any longer than i had to. I let my example and my actions speak for me.

Andrew was very open and encouraging through the whole interview. He said that older volunteers have experience and age that bring them more respect than the younger volunteers even if the language and cultural changes often come harder for the older volunteers. I said I imagined the 3 months of language training would be awful followed by the real learning when I got to my site. I figure my new community and I will have a few laughs over my learning curve. He told a funny story on himself. He said the word in Nepal for book and fart are practically indistinguishable to an American. So the first day of teaching his new class he stood up and said “let’s fart this book!”

Another interesting thing I learned is that you can have a class of students write to you and your community while you are there. I would love it if my granddaughters class could do that. She will be 1/2 way or almost all the way through Kindergarten when I go. That would be so cool for both of us.

Thank you friends and family for all the good wishes for my interview and placement. I agree with the one who said “hope they can give you a placement that’s surprising and satisfying”. I’ll let you know when I get the email with placements in them. Tomorrow, Thursday July 5th late in the day.

-vicky

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