I'm writing now from the air port in South Africa (that's right, south africa!)... Our 17 hour flight wasn't bad at all. There were on demand movies. I watched Juno and some cartoons. I was able to sleep much better than i thought i would (but i'm sure that utter and complete exhaustion helped with that.) When we arrived in SA there was some confusion as to what hotel we were staying in and how to get there (and some shady people wanting to “help” for tips.) (Even though I don't have a lot of travel experience, I do have common sense, so it was easy it tell what is legit and what isn't.)
Everyone in my group is really great. There are 26 of us from all over the country. I'm one of the least traveled, and I think I am one of two who haven't studied abroad. I can certainly see the difference in our economic levels... I can easily tell that I am of more humble means than others (that's an observation and not a complaint, by the way), but, hey, we're going to a 3rd world country and I'm already used to living without luxuries they've probably enjoyed all their lives (i.e air conditioning, fancy toiletry products, general fancy things that i don't even know about.) In terms of preparation for Peace Corps life style, I think I'm ahead, even if I don't have as much fancy equipment to help me along the way. We're supposed to be immersed in the Malagasy lifestyle, so I know I will be able to do that on a very genuine level. Who knew being from the East side of Dayton would leave me better prepared for Peace Corps service... I think I brought the least amount of 'stuff'... I don't know if other people have started to form 'cliques' yet... I know I'm not in one (for better or worse, right?)... I've had dinner with different people every night so far. I think I'm just going to go with the flow socially... well, that's what i always do (ha, for better or worse, right?)
We will arrive in Madagascar on Thursday and stay in the capitol for shots and information. i will be with my host family on Friday night (yay and yikes at the same time!). I wont have access to phone or internet until late August. I might find a chance to update this between then and now, but if i find myself able to use the internet, I will probably use my limited time to send a few emails instead!
(actually, i will be likely to use myspace messages over email because a lot of emails accounts dump emails from Africa into the spam box... I have a rich uncle who left me all his money, all i need is 3,000 american dollars and your bank informations...) I will find out about my site for the next 2 years, including where ill be living and electricity, etc) in about a month. I will most likely be sharing that information via snail mail, tough.
The hotel we're at is very fancy. It seems almost cruel to put us up here right before shipping us off to pit toilets and bucket showers. I will be sure to take a long shower in the morning. It's so fancy that I had an 'uh oh' moment when it came to which fork to use at dinner... ha ha...
I really don't know what to expect out of the next week, let alone next ten weeks of training, but I am eager and excited to figure it all out and share it with everyone!
My luggage has not been stolen or lost yet... yay... knock on some wood...
I will finish training and swear in as an official volunteer on August 22nd...
I can't think of any other relevant information I should pass along while I still have the chance.
I'm writing this in my hotel room on wednesday night, and will hopefully get to post it via wifi tomorrow at the airport while waiting to go to Mcar. (well, i suppose that if you're reading this, then i was successful.) I want to put up some group pictures, too, so you can see who i'm spending my time with... we'll see!