Monday, February 07, 2011

Kitties on the Buss go Round and Round...

It’s funny, when I was in Lesotho and would have to transport my kitty to the vet or another volunteer’s house for kitty sitting I would be the most hated person on the kombi (public transportation van). They hate cats. Many of them think that they are used in voodoo and that witches use them to cast spells on people.

So, it was a bit of a shock to me when a lady sat next me on the bus and wanted to pet Lily. It took me a second to realize I was back in a Country that loves animals. I missed that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

will work for humanity...

Been home a few months now and am looking for a job…maybe I should change my blog name to “How to Find a Job after Peace Corps” cause it’s NOT easy. I think I’ve signed up to every online job search engine known to man.

I applied for a job with the San Francisco Peace Corps office and got it; only to find out a couple days later that Peace Corps had a hiring freeze and they considered the position “non-essential”; so no job for me. Now I’m considering Grad-school sooner than the planned 2 years from now. Not sure when to give up though. I really do want to stay home for a while. With working in France and then Peace Corps Kenya and Lesotho I’ve been working overseas for about 4 years now. I know whatever job I finally settle into after Grad-School will at the very least have me traveling a lot so I wanna enjoy some time in the bay area for a while. I guess I’m just talking myself into something I’m already planning to do…

While I was in Lesotho people were telling me about how bad the economy was but its a different thing hearing about it vs. being here. Trying to find a job makes it VERY clear.

I'm very lucky to have my family and friends. They've been so supportive during this time but I can't help but think about all of my other volunteer friends out there that are struggling. I just hope this all turns around soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Yes, Yes, I know. I’ve been MIA for quite a while.

This past year has been tumultuous to say the least. After being home for X-mas and New Years in 2009 I went back to Lesotho with plans to stay for a third year. Unfortunately on the 29th of March I learned that the only Father I’ve ever known; my Uncle Bruce was in the hospital. His Lung Cancer had spread to his brain and things did not look good. I was on a plane home on March 31st and though I didn’t get to see him before he left I did get a chance to say to say goodbye. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through but I’m glad I was able to be home with my Family. Bruce Allen Goronsky will be eternally missed.

It was a difficult decision but after a few weeks home I was back on the plane to Lesotho. While home I was looking to my family to answer the question as to whether or not I should stay in Lesotho for another year but I learned it was a decision I would have to make on my own. I knew if they asked me to stay home I would but if I regretted it I would have blamed them for that decision. Going back to Lesotho to make the decision was the right thing for me to do.

I returned to my COS (Close of Service) Conference and everyone celebrating the two years of Peace Corps Service we were about to complete…

After a couple of months back in Lesotho I realized I was trying to hold onto something that it was time to let go of. I’d worked on a number of programs; Youth Groups, Libraries, Life Skills Classes etc… and as the days marched on I began to realize that the amazing Community that I came to know and love was ready to try these projects out on their own. It was bitter sweet but I left the village of Nazareth to the Grand Opening of the Community Library that took the Community and I two years to build. It was a great way to say Good-Bye and was a wonderful thing to share with friends that came to visit from home.

Here I am at a Good-Bye celebration in my Basotho Blanket and Hat with Ntate Edgar; one of my favorite people in Lesotho.

Me with the Teachers at Morapeli High School

I had an amazing three years. Smartest thing I ever did...

More Pics from Lesotho here:

Monday, December 21, 2009

And she's back...

Ok, so I know you guys haven't heard from me in a while and I'm mostly writing at the moment because I have nothing better to do with the four hours that I have to sit in the Heathrow Airport right now. And I know you guys would much rather I talked about Lesotho and my last few months that I haven't written about but I'm not gonna cause that's not what's on my mind at the moment. I'll talk about that later but I won't promise anything because I imagine I'm gonna be busy hanging out with everybody for the next month so ya'll will just have to deal with seeing me instead :-)

I'm on my way home and surprisingly not too nervous about it at the moment. Maybe I'll get anxious when I actually step off the plane and am about to see my Mom and brother.

Amy and I had plans to sit in the Jo'burg Airport together yesterday for about 6 hours and play phase-ten (Jen we should totally add that to game night. It's awesome) and have lunch but unfortunately after getting off the bus we decided to go exchange money and we think she left her passport at the bureau de change. We spent a good five hours looking for it but unfortunately came up empty. When she went back to the bureau de change it was closed; we assume because it was Sunday. In my attempts to help her find it I went to the Airport Police Station and you would think the cops would be easy to find in any airport. Unfortunately not so much in the Jo'burg Airport. I didn't realize how many people lose their passports. After walking around in circles for a while I finally found the police and told them my problem. Well this proved to be an issue because I am not Amy so I of course could not claim her passport but I then explained to them that I just wanted to see if the passport was there and then she would come and claim it. After attempting to spell her name for them several times they gave up and handed me a box of at least 50 passports and said that I could look through them to find hers. And of course the whole time one of the cops was asking me a million questions about being a "black american". How do you answer the questions; "What's the most interesting city in the U.S.?" Do you realize how many cities there are in the U.S.? Clearly you don't or you wouldn't be assuming that I've been to all of them and able to compare.

I spent most of my time in Botswana defending my American-ness. That and hiding from the awful awful heat. I thought Kenya was hot but good lord. You step outside the door and you feel like you're going to melt like the wicked witch. I can now empathize with her pain.

Anyhoo; my time at the airport is not all that exciting so I think I'll post some pictures cause hey; I HAVE HIGH SPEED INTERNET RIGHT NOW!!!

This is what I usually wake up to lying next to me in the mornings in Nazareth. I swear my cat thinks she's a person. One morning I woke up and had to take a picture of this insanity. She requests to get under the covers by jumping up next to my head meowing and pawing at the covers until I hold them up so she can crawl under. You kinda can't not love this cat!

Here's me Trish and Ash on my Birthday...

Here are Some Pics from our Semongkong Thanksgiving:

Hiked to the Highest Waterfall in Southern AfricaHere's me and my Donkey on the Donkey Pub Crawl:

And here's me and Tara after making Thanksgiving Day hats a la kindergarten :-)

Hope you enjoyed and See ya soon!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Name that Kitten

I know I haven't written in a while but I am working on a big catch up blog entry that will be up soon. In the mean time I got a new kitty cat and was wondering if you guys would help me name her. She's really sweet and likes to snuggle. Here are a few pics.

Now; click on the comments link below and let me know your suggestions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something that made me giggle...

I spent most of today in the bed trying to avoid a cold and watching The Office. Decided to surf the net and look at my old blog and discovered an even older live journal blog that I totally don't remember ever having. Anyhoo; this brought me to one of my best friends blogs which I began to read. She and I would have the most random conversations while working at our respective jobs back in the day. And this one she decided to post on her blog from January 27, 2005. It made me giggle...

maya: i have a pimple under my chin...its very strange
jen: Welcome to today's episode of Too Much Information!
jen: Today's guest, Maya W
jen: Maya, you say you have a pimple under you chin.. just how strange is it?
maya: lol
maya: its in a weird where the chin meets the neck.. that flat part
jen: ah
maya: i've never had a pimple there before
maya: that's why its strange
jen: it must be an alien pod
jen: its going to hatch soon
jen: and take over the world
maya: very well
maya: i am the mother of world domination
maya: snazzy

Oh Red; how I miss you so...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Handout Mentality

There are so many people in this country; usually those that are working in some humanitarian capacity that talk about the Handout mentality of the Basotho (People of Lesotho). There are dozens upon dozens of organizations here that come in and give people money; or food or jobs. From NGO's to churches; to individuals who've decided on their own that they want to do something good for the world. This has been going on for probably as long as Lesotho has been around; so much to the point that there are Generations and Generations of people here that don't know what it's like to work for something.

The only way that I can really think to describe it is to compare these people to the children of rich parents. In many cases rich kids are handed things their entire lives. They don't know the value of hard work and parents have a really hard time getting them to get off their lazy bums and do something that will sustain their lives instead of living off Mummy and Daddy.

The only problem; actually there are several problems in this situation...some of the main ones being that there is no way for the people of this country to help themselves if one day, the gravy train decides to a grinding halt and as for in the work of those of us in the Peace Corps; how the heck are we supposed to convince the people of this country to do any work if they're always looking for a handout.

When I first arrived at my site and would have meetings with the people of my community they would all come in droves and be very excited about thee ideas that I would present to them. But once the actual work needed to be done on projects the people were no where to be found. I planned a pitso (community meeting) on Sunday of last week and of course; being an American I was on time and prepared to wait for a least an hour for the meeting to get started because that's the way things work in this country. I did wait for my planned hour with the Chief and one of girls from my community and no one showed up. I was a bit frustrated but the Chief suggested that we re-schedule the meeting for Thursday. So; we re-scheduled and I headed back to my little house.

Thursday rolls around and I head back to the Chief's house for another attempt at the pitso. I arrive and the Chief tells me that the community had two deaths during the night and people probably won't come. I'm pretty frustrated at this point. The Chief tells me that we will re-schedule again and I start heading back to my house. On my way; one of the community members stops me and asks why I'm leaving; because they are on their way to the pitso. I head back to the Chiefs place and let her know that people are in fact coming. In the end; only three women show up. We discuss all of the things I want to and they give me their opinions and answer my questions. All in all it's actually a pretty successful meeting since at least some members of the community have shown up.

During the meeting I ask this question; about the “Handout Mentality”; which I of course have to explain a few times to the women. When they finally understand what I'm saying they completely agree with me. They say that yes; in order to get the people in the Basotho culture to do something you must offer them something; whether it be food at the meeting or some sort of prize. As long as something is being given away for free; you will always have a large group show up to your meetings.

So; the big question. Since I'm a volunteer and don't have the money to lavish the people of this community with free gifts of food and the like (and even if I did have the money I wouldn't); how on earth do I get them to do work without immediate gratification. How do I prove to them that in the end they will reap the rewards??? The answer? Well; none of them really had an idea. They all agreed to help me with the projects I am working on and we moved on to other things. Needless to say; I'm frustrated.

Don't get me wrong; there are many people that I've met in this country that are passionate about change and they do know the value of hard work. I also find that those that I've spoken too are having the same problems I am. And their answers are always the same; all they can really do is continue to work on the projects they're working on and continue to help those willing to do the work; no matter how large or small in number they may be.

Sometimes I think that I'm not as invested in this country as the people of it; and I guess not being a Masotho; I can't be. I am passionate about Lesotho and it's people and the fact that there are people here that I've grown close to makes me want to make a difference but end the end I always go back to Kenya. I always go back to the fact that I couldn't stay and I didn't go back. So in the end; why should the people here put their faith in me and rely on me. Why should they listen when in the end; I'm just going to go home?

This blog has turned into a bit of a bitch fest. Maybe I won't even post it. Hell; two posts in a matter of days; my readers may not know what to do with themselves...