Happy belated Easter! It's been a long time since I last updated this blog, and a lot has happened! I will try my best to bring everyone up to speed.
First, at the end of March, I participated in an HIV/AIDs training held at a rather fancy hotel with delicious food in Rustenburg. You may recognize the name of the city, as it is also the name of my dog. Anyhow, the training itself was wonderful. I learned so much, and, even better, most of what I learned is actually useful! The workshop was run by two men, Neil Orr and David Patient, and I urge you to give their names a Google if you want to know:
Why everyone should eat a brazil nut a day
Why you should keep the windows open in crowded spaces (especially where I live)
Why daily shots of cayenne pepper are worth suffering through
How to cheat the South African medical system by drinking Coke
... and other useful things.
Aside from the lectures and food, the hotel (Sparkling Waters) had two pools, a playground, a trampoline and a mini-golf course of mind-boggling difficulty. I won by a very slim margin, and it was entirely chance. Anyone who's ever seen me play before know that there's no real skill involved.
After saying goodbye to Rustenburg, about 20 volunteers boarded a taxi bound for Sabie, Mpumalanga for the Longtom marathon. We arrived at the backpackers, ate some spaghetti and promptly went to bed. We were up hours before the sun to hit the course. 4 PCVs were brave enough to run the 56 kilometer ultra-marathon, the rest of us ran or walked a mere 21 kilometers. The race course was absurdly hilly, but possibly the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. It was a good distraction from the heat/pain, as were the water points which were staffed by super-friendly people proffering potatoes, chocolate and water packaged in plastic which you were expected to rip open with your teeth... while running. I, needless to say, was not particularly skilled at this art and wound up soaking myself and my neighbors many a time.
Of course, the best part of the marathon was the money we raised. I managed to pull together $355 to benefit KLM, so many, many thanks to those who donated. It's very much appreciated. Collectively, we beat last year's fundraising total by more than $1000. Well done, well done...
I woke up the morning after the marathon more sore than I ever believed possible, but did that stop me from climbing on a taxi as part of my journey to Zambia? No, absolutely not.
Another volunteer and I flew to Livingstone, Zambia for a week to see one of the wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. It was incredible, and certainly put Niagara Falls to shame. I will post pictures on Facebook sometime in the next week or so. They're pretty self-explanatory (and my thumbs are tired), so on to my last topic.
On my first night back in town, I met with a group of students and teachers from the Frankfurt International School. I had already met with the group leader when he and others came to the region a month or so ago. Anyway, he had a few things for me and my village, most importantly, Dr Pepper! No, no, no, seeds for my school garden, though the Dr Pepper is really nice and I'm considering building a shrine for it rather than just drinking it. Thanks a million to the good people of FIS!