It has been a busy few weeks since arriving to Namibia, and Tina should have a further update about our training soon.
It’s felt like months since we left Boston to embark on our journey to serve in the Peace Corps. We’ve been on planes, buses, sleep deprived, in airports for long layovers, been in dozens of training sessions and met so many amazing people in such a short amount of time…it’s really been quite a ride. On Monday, August 15th, my family and Tina’s uncle saw us off from the airport. It was a tough goodbye but felt like we were moving in the right direction. The flight to Philly seemed like the shortest plane ride ever, and perhaps it was since it was only an hour. A friend picked us up at the airport with our nearly 300 pounds of luggage and we got some Blackbird Pizzeria before retiring for the night.
Tuesday marked the first day of being a part of the Peace Corps. We were able to check in early and walk around town, getting vegan goodies that we won’t be able to find here. We returned to see lots of fellow PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) hanging around the lobby and even met someone from Frederick. We signed in and joined the rest of the volunteers for an afternoon of staging. This involved some silly ice breakers, lots of paper signing and administration, and activities to refresh us on Peace Corps objectives. It was definitely a fun learning experience and would have been nice to spend more time with these people before being thrust into training abroad. Tina would also like me to mention that we went to her favorite restaurant in the world, Vedge. We were with another vegetarian and someone with food allergies but our server was super nice and accommodating and also eager to hear about future service. We had a 2am bus to catch to JFK and didn’t stay out late. I was too excited to sleep however. All the anticipation, remembering some of the stories our instructors had told, thinking about how people actually die in the corps; it was all starting to feel real. So, when 2 am rolled around I was ready to pack up and help people get seamlessly on the bus.
From then until my arrival in Namibia I had naps inter spaced with reading, meditating, eating, talking and playing cards with other volunteers. Arriving to the airport 6 hours before our flight allowed me some time to call friends and family and get off a few last texts. The 15 hour flight wasn’t unbearable and it was really cool to fly over Western Africa and know my little brother was down there somewhere with about a year left in his Peace Corps service. We had a long layover in Johannesburg where Tina caught up on sleep and I taught euchre and skated on some nice flooring. Although there were flights to Windhoek taking off between the time of our arrival and last leg of our own flight, it was a nice bonding experience to be hanging out with our PC family.
Our flight to Windhoek was short and once we were through security we were greeted with hugs and cheering. Everyone took pictures before we got on a bus to Okahandja where we will be doing our pre-service training. The ride was beautiful through desert highlands and we also got our first glimpses of the capital city. Perhaps the most amazing part of the journey was arriving at our residence with people singing. With just a drum to drive the beat, the choir greeted us with song in a truly beautiful manner. Everyone got involved in the song and dance making it a festive start to our journey here.