Connie in Morocco and Beyond
These are my travel experiences beginning with my Peace Corps service in Morocco from 2006-2008. At the request of friends and my own desire to document, I continued blogging my journeys to other countries as well as in the U. S., as well as my service as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in South Africa for most of 2014. This blog will continue as my travel journal.
- Name: Connie Genger
- Location: Billings, Montana, United States
The Big Sky country of Montana is home sweet home!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Looking forward to Christmas with two of my daughters and their families here, then going to CA to do a half-marathon (walk)with my daughter and granddaughter there (along with my daughter from SLC) mid-January.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
THANK YOU, SOUTH AFRICA!
I'll conclude my last post from this diverse country of South Africa with this wonderful quote from a strong, caring, intelligent, diplomatic, and forgiving man, the great Madiba.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
ONE MORE WEEK
On Friday, I met with a young woman from Botswana who has recently returned from a four-month visit to the U. S., primarily to attend the Young African Leadership Initiative, then to intern in New York. She's a financial planner, and very interested in the curriculum I created, and now very excited to go back to her country and establish a collaberative effort for more financial education there. Her energy and enthusiasm was very fun.
I've had more social activity in this past week than I've had for the past several months. A woman who was also a presenter at the Saturday morning classes invited a husband and wife team who were involved and me to her home for dinner. Very enjoyable; I laughed more than I have for a long time. Today I went to an AA meeting then breakfast with the woman who organized my birthday dinner last May. Later my counterpart Tshidi picked me up and took me to dinner at her new home.
I'll go into the office one last time on Monday, to Pretoria for med exam Tuesday, and back home to divest myself of my belongings on Wednesday as well as a farewell lunch with my NGO. Thursday back to Pretoria I go for two nights for final processing out of the Peace Corps. As eager as I am to get back to the U. S., I must admit that it's going to be a bit emotional, considering all the varied experiences I've had the past ten months.
So glad I made this choice. Looking forward to whatever is next. At this moment, all I have on my mind is family and friends.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
As I know I have indicated in previous blogs, my life as a Peace Corps (Response) Volunteer this time around is so totally different that when I was a regular volunteer in Morocco 6 years ago (and that of the PCVs here in SA). In many ways, much easier and nicer, in many other ways, much more difficult and unpleasant.
The one thing that I am showing you here is the thing I DO have a bit in common with most South African PCVs is the way clothes are laundered. They use a big plastic tub and generally have a clothes line in their host family's yard. I have my kitchen sink and a little clothes rack I bought. Initially, I hired my landlady's "helper" two days a month to do my laundry (since housecleaning was for the same cost, she also did that, kind of). But that entailed using my landlady's washing machine and clothes line, and just didn't work out too great. And, I wasn't keen on the cost. It was cheap by U. S. standards but not by PC stipend. There are no laundromats in this area, so to take it to a laundry entailed getting hired transport, so came to terms that hand wash was the way to go. It's a very long process, as you can see...one sheet at a time, a few articles of clothing, etc. But, here I wear the same outfit at least 3 times (at home clothes even more). Since I really do have a lot of time on my hands, it's really quite workable. And inexpensive!
|My clothes dryer|
But what is a bit bothersome is that I really don't fit in the world of the people that live in this neighborhood...which is upper middle class, I'd say. Most of them work, have one-two cars, and domestics who live on site or come daily or a few times a week to clean house, cook, care for the children, walk the dogs, do the gardening, etc. During the week when I am walking in the area, I see a few (white) residents walking their dogs or strollers, but the majority of those outside the walls (as most homes are walled) are the domestics.
Financially, my PC stipend is far beyond their compensation, I am sure, but much below that of the neighborhood. Because of my working during the week and the walls, there really has been no way for me to meet anyone so it is not at all like the village sense of community. The only person who has asked me to dinner has been my counterpart, Tshidi, who drove an hour in from Soweto (which area I believe I was not to ever go to) to fetch me, cooked for me, then brought me back home. If I were in a village, I probably would have more invitations than I would want!
I also am in no-woman's land with the Peace Corps. I am a Volunteer with them, but for the most part am outside their radar...and I can understand that and the reason why, but it doesn't change the fact that I have very little connection/networking there either.
So it's been a time of isolation for me, but as with all life experiences, another learning time from which I have derived benefits.
Friday, October 31, 2014
The NMCF helps fund many NGOs such as Emseni, who sponsored this group in Soweto. The woman with the red top was struggling with the activities that calculated interest charges on credit cards. As I stopped to assist, realized she could add and subtract, but could not multiply or divide. The young man thought I was "brilliant" because I was doing the multiplication so quickly on the flip chart. But, during the Saturday morning classes of young adults in the city, those without calculators were not exactly "brilliant" either.
The class was conducted at a secondary school. It was challenging as nearly everyone came late and at different times. The venue was very "basic" by our standards, but the attendees were most appreciative of our time and the beneficial things that they learned. It makes it all worthwhile.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
TEACHING AND A CONCERT
This week I'll be going with my counterpart to Soweto to teach a group there as well, but a larger age range of attendees. Soweto is an acronym for SouthWest Townships...and was for years associated with extreme poverty and crime, but is now a city unto itself (over a million people) with nice brick homes (as my counterpart's mother lives in) as well as areas with tin shacks. It is still a distressed area, but I feel safe with her.
Have been working on my trip photos and elaborating on that posting as well.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
OCTOBER HOLIDAY! (a work in progress as photos come in from others)
|Do you see the arm of the person on the right? That's how close they are to the edge of the Falls (a 300' drop)|
|Victoria Falls near Devil's Pool - Zambia side. Devil's Pool is behind me. On to the Cape!|
Boulders Beach - Cape Point. We hired a driver and van and spent the day going to the southernmost point of South Africa on the Cape of Good Hope, had a wonderful lunch, saw these wonderful creatures as well.
Pam and Terry at Good HopeTook a ferry ride over to Robben Island, where Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 23 years. The guides at the now-defunct prison facility are former political prisoners. Unfortunately, he has some interesting things to say, but it was very difficult to understand his heavy accent.
View of the coast line driving back to Cape Town from the Point.
Jackie and Dale enjoying another great lunch, this time at Camp's Bay alongside the Indian Ocean.
My roommate Ann and I showing off our tribal paint at a restaurant in Cape Town. A multi-course dinner following a drumming lesson. More fun!