Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Site: Lopeng

I finally moved! After a harried night and morning of packing up everything I own (my goodness, how things accumulate!), my supervisor from Peace Corps arrived in the early afternoon to whisk me away to my new site.

We arrived in Lopeng far too soon. The distance between Deorham and Lopeng is less than a half hour by vehicle. Our first stop in the village was Moshaweng Secondary School, where I begin work tomorrow. I'm a little nervous. Apparently there is a staff briefing every morning before the learners arrive. What kind of school has a briefing? Tomorrow, I will find out and report back.

Our next stop was my new home. To be perfectly honest, I cried when I first saw it. Many of you would be appalled by my new living conditions. My room is the size of a closest, and the cracks in the walls look like gaping chasms. My official host mother speaks very little English and is a member of the Moshawen SGB (like the PTA, but different). On the bright side, I have two host sisters who appear to be awesome. One is still in school, at Moshaweng, and the other is just out of school and living at home while she job-hunts in Kuruman. They're great because while they are perfectly willing to help me whenever I need it, they are old enough to not be super-impressed (and hence clingy and annoying) by the white girl living in the backyard.

Lopeng itself is significantly larger than Deorham. Today I even visited a shop that sells furniture! I also really like the fact that there is tons of available transport, not only to Kuruman, but Vryburg (another "real" town in the opposite direction) and even other villages. For the first time ever, I will be able to visit another volunteer without enduring an excruciating bakkie ride to town. Other volunteers' villages are so close, in fact, that I've decided my next major investment is going to be a bike. The roads aren't great, but I'll suffer the 20 ks to Laxey or the 30-some to Battlemount.

Right now, I am feeling pretty good about this site, but tomorrow will be the real test. Will I survive a full school day?

One last thing: before I left Deorham this morning, I received a package from my sister! It was filled with all manner of cute and nifty school supplies. They will be so great for school (positive reinforcement) and, honestly, making the neighbor kids like me. The orphans living next door now all have glittery pencils. Thanks, Pam!


  1. aaah good luck dude! i'm sure you'll wow them with your charm and charisma and....shiny new glitter pencils! :)

  2. Well that means you're right down the road from me! Before the marathon my training runs were taking me to Gamokatedi, which is about 5k from Loopeng (I reckon). I'll have to stop by sometime.