Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sick in SA

I have caught my first illness as an official Peace Corps Trainee. The common cold seems to be circulating throughout the trainees, as well as a case of food poisoning caused by bad chicken (we think). This wouldn't be too bad, except that our medical kits still haven't arrived! I didn't pack medication of any kind, and now I'm in rural South Africa, unmedicated and blowing my nose with precious toilet paper. Augh.

I'm also suffering from a lack of postage. I have letters ready to send to people, but I have no stamps nor immediate access to them. I hope that by the end of the week I will send my letters, but in the meantime...

Thank you to the wonderful individuals who gave me water purifying tablets. They're really quite useful here when I'm too lazy to boil water.

"You don't know me!" This phrase was recommended to PCTs to be used when dealing with unwanted attention.

Chocolate bars, particularly of the life-saving Cadbury variety, are prized here. At the local convenience store, they are kept under glass.

On the bright side, today I co-taught my first class. We presented an English lesson on parts of speech to a combined fourth and fifth grade class and then were asked to present the same lesson to the sixth grade. Education seeems a little haphazard here, but since I was never a teacher in the US I don't have anything to compare it to. Anyways, the lesson went really well. We played a version of the game MadLibs which the learners enjoyed and the educator seemed enthusiastic about. Here in South Africa students are "learners" and teachers are "educators". Next week I will be teaching a maths lesson on my own. I'm nervous because although English is the language of instruction from the fourth grade on, many educators continue to use the home language. Hopefully we will find a middle ground between their English and my Setswana. I will be reviewing fractions and introducing multiplication and division on a number line. What little free time I had hoped for this weekend will now be consumed by lesson planning.


  1. Hi Kelsey- Great hearing from you. You are off to an interesting start, but that sounds pretty normal for over there. There is a new Sci Fi movie coming out, called District 9, and the mother space ship hovers over Cape Town and there are a bunch of alien bad guys kept in District 9 which is kind of a concentration camp. I don't know if it was actually filmed in South Africa.
    You are doing something special there. Always remember that. You are making a difference here on Spaceship Earth. You aren't changing the world but you are doing something to improve the lot of your fellow man. And you are creating a ripple of hope by teaching those young men and women. And hopefully it will help them live a meaningful and productive life and not end up on the trash heap of life.
    I predict that several years from now, when you are back in the states and are having a very successful career and life in whatever endeavors you choose, that you are going to get a letter one day from one of the young girls you are teaching now and she is going to tell you what a major role you played in her life and what a model and inspiration you were to her. And she is living a successful life in South Africa because of you. Just that would make your 2 years there worth it. Love, Uncle FRAN

  2. Hi Kelsey, Great to hear from you and hope you are feeling fine now. We enjoyed your detailed updates, keep them up ! I printed them up for Nana to read. Sounds like a wonderful experience, maybe I should join. Take care, Kathy

  3. Feel better!! P.S. writing comments is super annoying there are all these code breaking things where we have to "type the word" and hope we pass the test.

    Actually now I am going to write more of a message just so that it is worth the bother of breaking the pass-code thing! Well update on me (although not as exciting as what is going on with you!) Uh Dillon and I are going to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow to watch it rain (hurricane Phil is coming but I already took the time of work so...yeah haha) and I will be staying there still Sunday assuming the island doesn't sink. School starts on September 9th so I am basically just getting ready for that. Vanessa ate at Richardson's today I think with her Grandmother. I said hello but I don't think she really wanted to talk to me so I don't think I can give you an update on her other than she is alive and her grandmother had chicken salad and fruit. Hopefully our chicken wasn't bad.

    I miss you!!!

  4. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm glad that Nana is able to read my updates!

    Rachel, how's Chase? Dillon? Your rainy vacation? What did Vanessa have at Richardson's? I miss you too, and your cooking/baking even more!

    Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from all of you!