The Will

What is it about going to Africa that finally made me decide to write a will? I have never really had that many assets in my life. The biggest asset was when we owned or rather the bank owned the house and we payed the mortgage on the house. but some how John and I never managed to get around to making a will.   I think we played the odds and figured we both wouldn’t die at the same  time.

So writing the will brings up many questions. So many that instead of working on my will this morning I writing about working on it! Is there something special I want to leave each child? Or do I leave general intructions for them to divide my estate equally. What does equally mean? Monetarily, emotionally or item to item?  When what I really want is for there to be no fighting and family divisions over the piddly estate I will leave.

Who will be my executor?  What about power of attorney if I’m going to be so far  away.

What about a funeral? I hate them but aren’t they for the living? So maybe I should just say I want to be cremated and if they want a casket for a viewing it should be a plain pine casket.  An Eco friendly internment of my ashes or scattering at a place that I loved like gull pond at Gordon or bearskin neck Rockport?  too many questions!

So on that cheery note I have to head off to MPOW.


Telling Fiya

On Sunday’s Fiya, my 6 yr old granddaughter and I go skating at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury. It was my Christmas present to her. She takes a group lesson then we skate together after. Yesterday her great-grandma asked me to dinner with them after skating.

During the week I talked to her grandpa, who she lives with, about telling her. We both agreed that I should tell her now and begin to prepare her for the change.

At dinner I started telling her great-grandma about the RPCV dinner I attended. I interrupted myself and asked Fiya if she had heard us talking about me going away to a new job. She said she hadn’t so I explained the basics.   When I said i would be far away I said I would like people to write me letters and send me email. I asked her to write and email and she said yes if she had help with the big words.

She asked about  all my stuff. I told her Nonie (her name for her great-grandmother) was storing some, Aunt Liz some as well and I was hoping she could take care of some of my things as well. I asked her to take care  of the hippopotamus from my car. she readily agreed and asked about the zebra from my car. So we negotiated and she will do it if I leave detailed feeding instructions.

We talked a little bit more about it then I continued my conversation with Nonie about the RPCV dinner.

I decided to take a low key approach. Acting like it was no big deal. By asking her to write and to take care of some of my things I hope to indicate that there will be a relationship however different.

Giving up being directly involved in two + years of her life is probably the biggest sacrifice I am making for this Peace Corps dream. She so young and she will change so much while I am gone.


Stepping Back

This week at MPOW we are learning  a new piece of software to manage our library webpage. Myself and three others were trained by the company. As usual I will train others and work with Lisa, Shirlee-Ann and Pat who went to training. That feels good and right. I get this stuff, I am a good teacher and others look to me for help with technology.

What’s  weird is that usually I would continue to be there  for  staff to come to with a problem. And they would have me to rely on to do the things  that are too technical. I would usually push myself to learn all the features of the software. Well I’m leaving and that makes my learning and  my teaching so different. This time more important than making sure I know all the ins and outs of the software I need to know that at least one and hopefully  more know the software well. Also i want to encourage them to work together to solve problems and answer questions so I’ll have to build that into the training.  And I’ll have to step back from the fun of transforming the webpage with this new software and  instead encourage others as they do the transformation.

I have high hopes that my partner in crime in tech, Sue S, will be one of the go to people and that a couple of others will join her.

I really am teaching myself out of a job this time!!!


It’s Not About Me

That is the best piece of advice I received tonight. The  CTRPCV (CT Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) met tonight in Glastonbury. They graciously allowed me and  Helen to attend.There were volunteers who served in Africa, in South America and in the Carribean. Volunteers who served in the 60s,  70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.

I decided to ask each of them for a  memory and for advice to someone just joining. The woman who served in Seirra Leon said to open my heart to the African people.  The Person who served in the Dominican said everything that is right is wrong and everything that is wrong is right.  May favorite piece of advice was that this is not about me but about helping the people I am living with at what ever place they need help.

I would encourage any of you going to the Peace Corps to find your local RPCV chapter. they are  a great source of information and support. My chapter welcomed me like a new sibling. I learned about a group in Ct that sends books to PCVs. THE CT group raises funds to support projects of current CT PCVs.  and i heard something about an alhoa

Some News

For the girl who knew in 7th grade that she was going to go to Gordon College in Wenham, Mass not know when and where I am going is very hard. I am a planner and an organizer.  If I am at the 10th step of a project I want to know when I will be at step 15 and what I need to do to get to step 15 and I want to know what step 20 will be and approximately when I will get there.  

I am practicing my patience. Practice in the sense that I would practice piano to improve my playing so this waiting for the final invitation is an improvement of my patience.  When I begin to worry “How will I get everything in order if they give me only 6 weeks notice” I calm my self and think of the things I can do NOW even if I don’t know the exact date.  I try to keep busy with family and friends. So I am learning that keeping busy and not worrying is the best way to wait.

So the news. The news is that there is no news except that the Placement Office now has my file and I should here 3 months to 6 weeks before I am scheduled to be in country.


3 Showers a Week

There is a water shortage in the world. Americans use  way to much.  We use it on ourselves, our lawns, our pets, our cars. According to  Water Partners International

The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day. (67)The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day. (7)

So to try to conserve water and in preparation for having much les water available to me I have been showering about three times a week. (okay when my favorite author came to the library i did shower even though that day was  not a shower day!)

There has been an interesting result. My skin and my hair are much less dry this winter than in the past.   The natural oils of my skin longer and protect my skin from the dry winter air.  It is said that Napoleon encouraged Josephine not to bathe for up to five days before his return from a trip.

Another benefit is that i have more time in the morning before work. I can sleep later on no shower days or read more of the paper or send an extra morning email or two.

What interests me a lot is my reluctance to share this with you all.  And my desire to  say to you “I’m not dirty, really!”


My XO has arrived

I was heading through the mail room into my office and a FedEx guy came through the door. Before he even got the question out about where to deliver the package (he was a new FedEx man) I scanned the box and saw the XO logo on it. Well let’s just say there was a little bit of noise and some jumping up and down! He said “This has never happened before”.  So I explained a little about the computer to him as I was signing for it. I said thanks so much and started to walk away. He said “you’re not going to show it to me!” Well with an interested audience of course I was going to show it to him!!

I spent the rest of my lunch hour showing everyone my new toy!

It’s very small, my fingers are going to have to get use to a much smaller keyboard but it makes it easy to carry with me.  Boy do I need to learn linux. So many programs already on it and of course we find the video camera and record something right away! I connected to the library wireless network quickly but am having some issues with my home network. I am sure the community will have some answers.  Can’t wait for the weekend so I can explore it more in depth.

With my XO computer is here. I feel like I am half way to Africa.



This year holds so much.

It’s wild to think I am actually going to Africa this year. Lions and tigers and giraffes! oh my!

How long can you squat? Learning a new language. Technology in a third world country.

Temporary Good byes.
’nuff said

New friends, new culture.

The Nile, the flora and the fauna.

New Technology.
My OLPC OX computer ( I hope!), Solar power …..

Taught and learned.


Am I Afraid?

Many people have asked me this question and I always say “No,I am not afraid”. And I wonder why is that? Am I crazy? Shouldn’t I be afraid to go to a whole new culture, meet new people and be “millions of miles, no thousands, thousands of miles from home”. (a nod to “Voyage Home” for those of you who are Trekies). It’s not that I am fearless. I do have fears. I would never be a war photographer. I fear violence and guns. I am honestly afraid to go to into Hartford. I would be afraid to be in a physical fight.

In the Peace Corps I will be safe. One person has been killed in all the years since the Peace Corps began. Heck I might be safer in some ways.  Thousands of people die every year in car crashes in the US.  I will certainly not be on the highway as much. I will be exposed to random danger there as we all are here. Maybe the random dangers will be different but who ever imagined a tiger would escape from a US zoo and kill someone? And I will take precautions there just like I do here. I will learn and be taught how to decrease my chances of random violence or accident in the new environment.

I am looking forward to meeting people who are so very different from me and to discover how we are the same as well. I am an adventurer at heart and am eager to see new sights, taste new foods and do new work.

Last and most important I am not afraid because I believe this is what I am supposed to do.  I think it’s my response to the grace, love and material comfort I have been blessed with since my birth.


I’m not pregnant but it feels like it!

Both my babies were late, so during the last few days  of my pregnancies everyone was asking “When is the baby coming?”. Of course I had not idea when each of them were coming.  I didn’t know the sex of my children before birth. I hoped my kids would come before my birthday.  I realized on some level after my kids were born my life would change.


How does this apply to the Peace Corps? I have a the equivalent of a  due date, June 2008, but that is as flexible as a baby’s due date. The government will finish my paperwork in its own time.  I know I am going to Africa, like I knew I was having a child, but I don’t know where, like I didn’t know the sex of my child. Kind people ask me if I have heard anything and I try reply that I hope to know before Christmas but I really have no more control over that than I did my babies coming before my birthday.  And I imagine that my life will change as drastically as it did after my children were born.

So I am experiencing many of the same feelings now as I wait for the Peace Corps as I did when I was waiting for the birth of my girls. I am eager for the day to come. I am impatient. I don’t like feeling of not controlling my destiny. I have so many things to prepare before I go but many of them depend on the country I go to.  I am wondering how my life will change and trying with limited knowledge to figure out how to adjust to those changes. So I have the conflicting emotions of anticipation and aggravation.

To my friends I say keep asking. I’ll not take my frustration out on you and your asking shows your care and concern. maybe you could ask “is the baby arrived yet?” and we could laugh about it!


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