Sooo I had a hard time deciding whether or not to create a blog, because they seem pretty self centered and stuff...but I decided if nothing else that my parents and Paige would enjoy it, so here we are!
First of all, I am 6 hours ahead of Ohio time for anyone that is curious/wants to contact me. I am writing to you all from my little desk in the YMCA office here in PMB (Pietermaritzburg). I have access to this computer while the Y is open, but so far my outlet adapters are the wrong size so I haven't been able to use my computer. Apparently there is wireless that I might be able to purchase, but we'll see if I'm even able to find an adapter. Here is a little summary of my trip so far:
The People- Obsessed with everyone's accents! Especially little kids...adorable.
Gert is the finance guy. His office is directly across from my little desk with a piece of paper hung on the wall next to it that says "Finance Department." It's a one man department that is soon to be a no man department as he is leaving in a week or so to take a new job.
Swazi is a woman of many jobs, and she will also probably end up doing most of what Gert does when he leaves. From what I've gathered so far, she is the receptionist, she does most of the administrative work, she runs the Street Kids program, she helps with the Y-kids programs, and she is who I will be working with. She says I got here at the perfect time since several other people recently left as well.
Thys is the director/general manager of the Y. Thys lives somewhere in the city with his family, he has had the opportunity to travel to the states and visit YMCAs there, and I only got to meet him for a couple of minutes.
My Flights- My flight to Atlanta and my flight to Johannesburg were both great, the Johannesburg one even had two meals and a little touch screen computer thing were you could play games, watch movies, look at the flight progress, etc. Then I got stuck in Johannesburg for 16.5 hours. Apparently my flight got switched...I realized later that I probably should have gone through security the night before and checked in and I would not have had all the trouble that I did, but I survived so it was fine! It was crazy how small an international airport can be! The plane we took from Johannesburg to PZB was SO SMALL! Capacity was 29 people, and that was a stretch. The hostess somehow managed to give us all a croissant and drink too, but I really don't know how. Gert, the moderately awkward accounting guy, picked me up from the airport and we drove (in a car with the steering wheel on the right side AND on the right side of the road!) to the Y. I left Cincinnati at 1:30 pm Ohio time on the 14th and Arrived here at 11:10 am PMB time on the 16th!
My Room- It was a little bit disheartening to see a mostly empty can of roach killer first thing when I walked in to my new home, but so far so good! I have a little mini house/studio apartment thing to live in. It's in the staff area which is gated off from where the students live. I have a little kitchen, a bathroom, shower, and bed with a little ancient TV. It's nothing special but there's hot water and a comfy bed so I'm happy! Thys told me that the interns usually just make their own food and they give us a stipend to buy it with, but I could have "them" cook for me if I wanted. I decided to cook for myself, a. because I don't know who "they" are and b. I'll get to be picky.
Experiences so far- From what I've gathered, there are "only" about 70 students from the university living here right now because everyone else is on Winter break until July 22nd or something. Thys, the director of the Y, told me he wants me to work on programming for them which is a little intimidating, but we'll see! I got to meet some of the "street kids" yesterday, a name that I didn't like at first, but now I realize that they are simply not sugar coating what these kids are...they are kids living on the street who come here twice a week to play soccer together, get a shower, and eat a meal. Swazi, told me she has started trying to gather more information about all of them and why they are where they are. Meet is a loose term, because Swazi spoke to them in Zulu the whole time, and toward the end she kind of motioned towards me and said "Cha-nonn" She tells me that they can speak English as well, so I hope I get to hear some of their stories at some point. By the way, Zulu is the language with clicks in it...it's pretty cool, you should google it. I think Swazi is going to take me grocery shopping at some point today, and normal work will start on Monday as this is a holiday weekend.
It seems like I might get the opportunity to travel, which would be awesome. There are Ys in Durban and Cape Town so hopefully I'll get to go check them out or go home to Durban with Swazi for a weekend, etc. I think it's a perfect time for me to be here because it seems like they really need me, especially since Gert is leaving like next week or something.
Email me and tell me anything exciting about your lives! I'll try to get some pictures up soon. Love you all!