Friday, September 28, 2007

Swearing In and Celebrating

Katie, Elizabeth and Me before swear in
Swear in at the Ambassadors house

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Training is done!

Hey everyone!! I am excited because training is finally over!! We have our swear in ceremony on Tuesday the 25th, and everyone is looking forward to the festivities. The following Saturday we're all being shipped off to our villages where we have to spend the whole first month alone! I am really nervous about it because when I went for live in the villagers all felt it was necessary to tell me that they loved the last volunteer and that I don't have Hausa. I am hoping I will be fine and meet some nice patient people to help tutor me in Hausa so I can function in the bush on my own. I took my first cow cart ride during live in 2 weeks ago, and it was pretty nice, I had to ride 1 1/2 hours through sand and millet fields to my market town and then catch a bus taxi for the 3 hour ride to my regional capital/hostel in maradi. Things are going well, I love to get mail and packages like every other PCV, and I hope to hear from you all soon!! Katie

Monday, September 17, 2007

Moving on toward service

Hey mom/emily, my new email account is and just put my name in the subject line and I can get it once a month at least. I just had my live in and I saw my new house and met my villagers. I tested intermediate low on my last LPI which is where we have to be to move in to our villages, but I definitely don't have Hausa yet! I am hoping it will come soon because my one day and night alone in the village were hard and lonely cause all the people were saying I didn't have Hausa and it was hard because they all talk so fast and at the same time, they understand that I have only been here for a little while and my dad's brother was walking me around and introducing me to everyone and telling them that I had hause kadan kadan, and if they made fun he was like "well do you speak english" so that made me feel better. I looked at the school and the likita where I'll probably be working at least a few days a week. I'm really close to 3 ag volunteers who have been in country for 7 months and they all have a lot of effort and want to set up a stand in our shared market village and teach the people different lessons each week. They also want to have a tourny to all of our different villages where we could teach our villagers all the different lessons on health and growing things and taking care of animals and different things like that. I'm excited because they all want to help us out in the beginning of our service and I think it will be nice to work with other volunteers on projects. Tell Emily that I want to do a project with her students and the kids in my school where we draw pictures in any medium (here it will most likely be crayon/colored pencil drawings) of "what women do" like what they do everyday that matters to them and write a little description, and I'll have my kids do the same and I'll have a contest here for the best ones to possibly create a mural about what women do in Niger to raise awareness that women do a lot here, and I can send some to emily's class and she can send hers here for a cross culture/art lesson. This is one thing I KNOW i'm going to do, so I really want her to take it seriously and help me out because this is one of my secondary projects and so it's kind of a big deal to me and I think the kids would really love it. I would also like her to send me a picture of her class who is drawing the pictures like a kids picture with the picture they drew and i'll take a picture of my class. I don't know what age group I'll do, so she can just do all her classes because I Have all age ranges in my school and none of them are artists because they don't have anything to draw on or with or have the time to really do it, so just be aware that all my drawings will look like really little kids drew them. Tell her to start that now and send it so I can get it by the time I learn Hausa enough to do it and before school starts to I can talk to my inspector about me coming to the school and talking about it. Also, if the church or anyone want to sponsor some of my projects I have a bunch in mind that will only need a little bit of money to happen, but i'll have to write up a proposal if it happens. i will write up a proposal and email it to you and you can give it out to people and see if anyone is interested. We have a radio show in Mayahi which is a couple hours from my town but I'll probably go there once a week to do that we are going to do skits and do sensibilisations on health and different things for the surrounding area. Also there is a food distribution NGO about an hour from me that 2 of the Ag volunteers want to visit and see what they're doing and I am going to go too to see if there is anything I can do to help. We aren't supposed to do any work in our first 3 months at site, but I don't know if i can handle doing nothing but chatting and learning hausa for 3 months, so I am going to go help the older volunteers and see what's out there and help how i can before I have the language down. Ok, so I rode an amalanken sa today for an hour and a half, and what it is is a bull pulling a little cart and me sitting on the cart. my village is very bush and is that far from my market town through millet fields during rainy season and through sand the rest of the year. I can't take pictures of it yet because if my villagers knew I had a camera they would bug me even more than they do now, so I have to wait til i have the language to tell them to leave me alone before I can break that out. My house is cute, and Beth left some Iowa flags so I decorated with that and I bought some sheets for my door and window curtains. Today we rode back to Maradi on a bush taxi which was a pickup truck with like 30 of us in the back of it and some on the roof and some hanging off the back, I met up with William who is a volunteer in my market town and Ali who is from Mayahi where the radio station is and we rode together. Today is Will's birthday so we're going out to eat at this outdoor restaurant where you can buy skewers of meat and french fries so that's pretty exciting. Tomorrow we have to catch the bus back to Niamey which was about 12 hours to get here, so probably about the same to get back. We have swear in on the 25th and then we're installed on the 30th of this month. I'm excited to be on team Maradi, everyone seems really nice, and I am glad to have so many people with so much effort so close to me and they are all excited to include me in their projects which is really nice. I love you all and miss you, and email me as often as you'd like at this new address and I'll be able to talk to you more often and for free!! get international texting!!! Bye for now, sorry it's so long and probably boring....Emily do the project!!!!!!

July 27, 2007-1st letter home

I just got to Africa today and its very different. It doesn't feel like I'm across the ocean or on another continent, more like the begining of camp. We met some PCV's that have been here for a year andthy are all happy & love being here.
We are all staying at the Peace Corps camp tonight & tomorrow night and then Sunday we move in with our adoptive families who we'll be living with for all 3 months of training.
I don't know how much I'll like the training, but I'm excited to be sworn in and move to my village.
There are 3 groups of volunteers; the ed, municipal and health.
I'm sleeping under a mosquito net outside right now & its not too hot. We have showers & flush toilets here but won't when we move on Sunday.
We passed a bunch of villages on our way to Hamdallay for training & there are tons of cute little babies, so I'm really excited to get language over so we can actually do our jobs.
Some things I could use that I didn't bring are
coloring books, Chaco sandals
colored pencils/sharpeners
soccer balls
a head lamp
Some earings w/studs (b/c I found out we can wear them)
rubber bands-caus I lose them a lot

Traditional Costumes

Traditional Costumes
Our Adoptive mom dressed us

Me and Erin

Me and Kellie at Training facility

Pond that forms during Rainy Season

The Village