Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Day 3: So it ends…

Just as quickly as it all began, now our staging has come to an end. We spent a very long day talking about various topics: Coping with unwanted attention, Managing risk, Crossing cultures, Policies, and various logistics.

There were some pretty impressive and humorous group projects today. For our policies discussion, each of our eight groups was given a case study from which to create a public service announcement dealing with the policy issues. The group I was in had to deal with differences in dressing standards. We had a teacher in shorts and a half-buttoned down shirt scoffed by a fellow teacher for not respecting the position. Then a woman with extravagant jewelry was tagged as an “easy hit”. Finally, we had one member sun bathing and completely offending a local. The message was that clothing in Namibia reflects their cultural values, not ours, and we have to respect that.

Another group project was around the PeaceCorps mission and measures of success. We were divided into self chosen groups of artists, musicians, dancers, story tellers, actors, and writers. I chose writers and we came up with a very bland and unexciting letter to the president of Namibia. The music group, however, surprised us all. They wrote words to the “Lean on Me” and performed it with a guitar. The song included a beat-box rap interlude that knocked everyone’s socks off. I’m going to try and get them to perform it again in the airport so I can record it.

I volunteered to be a group leader to help organize and count all of us as we go from here to the clinic to the bus to the airport then hotel, airplane, bus, and finally camp. Whew! I’m not sure if this was a good idea.

By now we have all perfected the art of grouping for food. Random groups slowly coalesce in the lobby during meal times. As a group approaches critical mass, it leaves for a random troll downtown to forage for very expensive food. I got tangled up in an extraordinarily large group that ended up in a pricy Mexican restaurant. The food was great and we all had a blast.

And now it’s packing time again. It’s weird that just four days ago I was doing this. I’ve got a 5:30 am wake up call to meet in the lobby at 5:45 with some of us who need to get a quick breakfast in at the 24-hour pizza place across the street as required by the clinic. At the clinic we’ll get up to three shots and some anit-malarial stuff. Then a three hour bus ride to the airport for a 17 hour flight. The words “fun”, “relaxing”, and “comfortable” won’t exist while “memorable”, “life-changing”, and “challenge” will take on new meanings.

So this will likely be my last post for a while. I’ll keep writing and saving them on my computer until I can get some Internet, which should be about 10 days (next weekend). I’ve got lots of details about training, but won’t post them just yet.

I’ll be posting again soon!

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