Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nearing the End

With each passing day, we get closer to the end of our Peace Corps service. As I alluded in our last post, we have applied for an early Close of Service date of July 20th so if this date is approved we have less than 8 weeks left here in South Africa and only 4 weeks left of school (there is a school break at the end of June and beginning of July). We will most likely be going to school during this time anyway to finish up with sorting library books, but it doesn't feel the same when the kids and teachers aren't around.

The weird thing about leaving so soon is that it doesn't really feel like a particularly big deal. I think most people have just gotten so used to us being here that they forget we are leaving at all. While in December, it seemed like every 5 minutes I was being told not to leave and how much people would miss me, now people have settled into the year and aren't really thinking about us leaving. There has not been any talk about a "farewell function" in months. A farewell function is the typical large extravaganza held when someone retires or moves away for a new job, it usually involves a long program followed by a big meal. Though we are more than happy to go out like lambs, it is a bit of a weird ending to these two years of our lives in which we have been constantly thrust into the spotlight.

The biggest reminder that we are leaving is when we meet new people and are asked to help them with this or that project and have to reply that there just won't be time in the next two months.

In other news, though every day seems to be more important than the next in the quest to finish up our work here, we have both come down with a pretty bad flu/cold. James could not speak for about four days and I had a pretty high fever on Friday. Now, we both just seem to have pretty horrible sinus/throat situations going on, and I couldn't really sleep through the night last night because I just couldn't breathe. I'm hoping to make a fast recovery so that Monday I'll be good to go, but the freezing temperatures and constant dust clouds (dry season has officially arrived) are making it a challenge.

We recently had the opportunity to read a magazine article in a tourism magazine for the North West province that described our village in the context of a car passing through on the way to our neighboring national park (usually Friday and Sunday we see lots of Afrikaaners driving by, mostly intending to go fishing in the dam there as it's not as known for wildlife as other parks in the province). They say our village is clean and organized without a lot of trash on the side of the road. It is quite a funny description since there usually is quite a bit of trash on the side of the road, but I guess since there aren't like piles of it, it has gained the approval of the magazine writer. I was pondering this statement on Friday as I walked home, just 100 m or so from that same road the Afrikaaners were driving down, past a women and some children digging in the dry riverbed for water as, as usual, the water is out and has been for weeks. I wonder how that would fit with their image of this perfect, idyllic village where everyone is happy and properly disposing of their trash.

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