Again, a long delay. Apologies, but so it goes.
I would like to take a moment, first and foremost, to acknowledge the people who have called me, namely Ryan Connair, Shivani Seth, and Stephanie Smith. Also, my family. Bless you all for making home a little closer even if it's still a long way off. Thanks also to everyone who sent me a birthday message / facebook thingy, it was heartening to find my inbox full of stuff I actually wanted to read for once. : )
So this is the belated thanksgiving post. What am I thankful for here in Swaziland, you ask, aside from the abovementioned friends and family? (Or, probably more accurately, thought "Oh God, don't let this be another laundry list of "Things I am Thankful For," we're not in the Third Grade anymore for crying out loud...)
1) Mango Season! It may not seem like much, but I've never encountered a mango season before, and it is rather enjoyable. The small ones that are a little bigger than an oblong baseball are the best. The really long sweet potato looking ones are inferior and mealy.
2) My friends here in the Swaz. Yeah, yeah, cut the awwwing already. They're good, really good.
3) My work has not yet totally dried up! We're hoping to start having some stakeholder (stakeholder = someone who might conceivably be interested in your project) meetings about peer educator training. We'll see how it flies.
4) Thanksgiving dinner was actually really good here, thanks largely to the offices of Aiesha Volow, a fellow PCV with an intimidating acumen for all things home-related. Her host family put me up when I, misreading a text message, showed up for the party a day early (after three khumbi rides and about 3 hours traveling, no less). They say at Staging that every Peace Corps Volunteer has a moment when they know they've "arrived." For the people who trained us, it was the time they went to the market and nobody tried to charge more than the goods were worth, the time they could walk to the post office and mail a letter without anybody making a comment. For me, it was the time I traveled three hours on three different rattletrap khumbis to show up on the wrong day, when the person I was looking for was another hour away on foot. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but I feel more like a real PCV now that something ridiculous like this has happened.
5) Mysteriously, I have been elected to serve on the (2-person) staff of our post newsletter, so I will be visiting the office in Mbabane regularly (once per month) to perfect the layout, harrangue staff members for articles, and other various and sundry duties. It promises to be lots of fun!
6) Faith! I've still got some. Likewise, humor.
7) I have not yet seen a poisonous snake, contracted amoebic dysentary, been involved in a khumbi crash, or any number of other unfortunate events. Hurray!