This is not a paper I would turn into grad school that was proofread, spell checked, and cared about but never or barely read. This is a blog that people will actually read but not grade. I write like I think and talk, which is not organized or correct in many ways. I was diagnosed with chronic sarcasm as a child, its genetic.

The views expressed on this website are entirely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bloggity blog blog. Wudup. 

I ran a marathon on my birthday, it was pretty legit. It was in SOWETO which is kind of a big deal. 

“Soweto is a symbol of the New South Africa, caught between old squatter misery and new prosperity,
squalor and an upbeat lifestyle, it’s a vibrant city which still openly bears the scars of the Apartheid past
and yet shows what’s possible in the New South Africa”

Anyway, it was a great time! I clearly have recall bias since I finished the race without breaking anything I am really only remembering the joy! It was a very challenging course, lots of hills. I walked most the up hills and not ashamed, it was hard. It was certainly a birthday to remember! I wrote “it’s my birthday I can walk if I want to” on the back of my shirt, causing a lot of people to wish me happy birthday and several people even sang to me. Running through Soweto was different than any other race I have done, the crowd support was amazing! I was offered beer plenty of times, and once a man even tried giving me his lit joint, I couldn’t help but crack up when we started to trot with me and ask ‘heeeey want some fire, take some fire’ haha! I respectfully declined and the runner next to me said ‘that’s why I love this race’. My favourite times were the groups of kids cheering us along, I heard cheers and songs in several languages and one group of girls yelling ‘GIRL POWER’ to me and another female runner. I have to say it was also the first time I had kids begging for water and energade after the water stations. <water and energade were in little bags that you pop and drink, not cups, so a lot of ppl grabbed several and carried them> OH and the first time I have seen cold drink (pop-soda) at the water stations. I drank some pepsi at one station but stuck to the water after that. Between aid stations there were plenty of spectators outside of their houses with water, salt, and some even had Vaseline! I most certainly took advantage of that- shame there was no sunblock b/c I got fried! It was the first time my thighs and shoulders had really seen sun, so yea, nice and red. 

Speaking of sunburn, now I am really confusing some people. Some people in the community were surprised how quickly and drastic my skin colour changes, then when I got back from the race my face was red, now it is pealing. One woman at work looked at me like I was dying, ha. 

Anyway, it was also a wonderful weekend because I was able to spend time with other PCVs in Pretoria then the other 6 who ran the race. I swear, seeing other PCVs is better than weeks of therapy! I am very grateful for time spent with my friends, being able to drink beer (FROM THE BOTTLE!), speak English quickly, cuss, vent, and not have to explain myself is a treat to say the least. Being in the city still really messes with my mind, and probably always will. I live in one of the nicest houses in the hood and we have to fetch water and just got electricity to the whole house, people are very poor, most have little formal education and opportunities seem dismal. Then, you go to Jo-burg or Pretoria (or any city for that matter) and the disparities smack you in the face. Joburg is one of the largest metropolitans in the world, in the top 40 I believe. I think it is a good thing that it is confusing and disturbing, it should be. We all know that people throughout the world live very differently, the rich and poor is a huge gap blah blah blah, but having these two worlds so close together highlights how f’ed up it all really is. 

I am not really putting my thoughts together very well, it’s hot and I am pretty spastic right now. Moral of the story, it was a good weekend. 

In other news, I GOT A GRANT YIPPPYY!!! It is for World Aids Day and 16 Days of Activism. I am a little nervous about it because it will be a lot of work between now-dec 10, but it should be good. This is the first large project I am doing, it will be a lot of health and gender empowerment education, some fun activities like painting murals and doing pledge activities and stuff. Hopefully my ‘counterparts’ step up and do some legit work. I am also hoping that some of the gender stuff I do will eventually lead to a support group for females regarding gender based violence/discrimination and all that fun stuff- but we’ll see. 

Work has been weird. I decided I needed to take about ten steps back to try and get anything I do with to work. We are now rewriting job descriptions and re-structuring everyone’s day. And by we, pretty much me. I really thought I would be further along with progression on the org by now, but whatever, I guess that is why we are here for two years. After the holidays I have high hopes, that is when a lot of the changes I am trying to do will be implemented. 

Now I am just rambling, but that is my update. I’m still here, doing well, sweating a lot and always talking to myself and usually confused.