To say goodbye to the families that hosted us volunteers our first 2 months in country, we threw a massive farewell party!
33 volunteers, plus their host families (which each brought 1-5 people)…it was madness.
Preparations began days beforehand, with peeling veggies, gathering supplies, and on the morning of the party I was picked up from my house at 5am, driven to the neighboring village where they party was hosted, and began cooking. We built fires outside and cooked over large pots. Then I had a quick break where I could run to my host sister’s grandparents house to change into this outfit that my host mother had made for me! They wrapped me in layers, put this headdress on my head, and back to the party we ran!
It was a full day of eating, singing, dancing, and enjoying each other’s company. What a fun way to say goodbye!
Then my family surprised me by throwing me my very own going away party…
I was all sweaty and gross from working out, and a couple volunteers had come over so I cooked us dinner. When it was time for them to leave, I walked them out to the front gate and when I came back inside the house…SURPRISE! My whole family, and my LCF, were gathered around the dining table with a cake and food. I was thankful they did that for me. They truly were the coolest house family ever.
To show them thanks, I gave them a few parting gifts. One of which I made myself!
Some photos of our time together. I’m sentimental like that >.< I love photo albums, scrapbooks, memory books. I love making them, giving them away, keeping them for myself…I keep everything. Letters, love notes, photos…nostalgia at its finest ❤
…it was time to say goodbye to my host family & move into my permanent site. That was a rough morning, a lot of tears.
We loaded my luggage into the trailer, I climbed into the Peace Corps van and reached into my purse for a chocolate bar I had put in there, knowing I’d need some comfort at that moment 😦
As far as food goes, I cook/prepare food at home for pretty much every single meal. There aren’t restaurants in these small villages.
But when we get a chance to travel to a big city like Pretoria once in a blue moon, we binge on all the yummy foods we’ve been so deprived of. On our last shopping trip we found a bomb sushi place…
They had a great happy hour & a ton of vegetarian options on the menu! Om nom nom.
But most days of the week I prep a lunch that requires no refrigeration or reheating…sandwiches, fruits, cold soup. The reason being is that I’m sitting in this little tent all day…
Doing HIV testing and counseling
Some days are busier than others. But there’s usually village wildlife running amuck, and they provide some entertainment
These sheep don’t look ferocious, but they must have teeth like sharks because I threw this guy my apple core and he gobbled it up in 1 bite ?!?!?!? They’re funny creatures. They usually roam in groups so I’ll see them passing by, groups of goats and cows also. I see wild dogs too, but they’re so skiddish around humans they run away if I get too close.
The closest thing to a ‘restaurant’ would be a tin shack that sells sandwiches out the window.
Occasionally I’ll grab a sepahlo or kota from one of them…
This little bundle of joy is yummy goodness.
As far as availability of foods go, I find mostly all the same produce here as I do in the States. Since my diet is plant-based, this made my dietery transition into the developing world much easier. But I’ve learned new & interesting ways of preparing some vegetables while I was living in my last village.
Chakalaka has got to be my favorite so far…
Drizzle some oil on the bottom of the pot, throw in some shredded carrots, diced green bell peppers and onions and let it steam a little while with the lid on. Before serving, sprinkle some Peri Peri powder on it
I haven’t seen this stuff in the States before, but I’m sure there’s something similar. It’s really spicy, almost like chili powder.
In a grocery store I found some veggie meat that I’ll cook and throw in the pot with the chakalaka. Anywho, this stuff is bomb.com. I make a big pot of it and eat it like every day.
I’ve also made a similar dish but with shredded cabbage and diced onions, and instead of peri peri use garlic salt.
The other night I was invited to dinner at a lodge restaurant. This isn’t a restaurant open to the public, it’s only for guests staying at this lodge. A ‘lodge’ or ‘guest house’ is a way of describing anything from a hostel to a hotel to a resort.
I was served a plate of fruits…
Apples, bananas and papayas, really simple stuff. But for some reason, a good combination of precise cutting and elegant plating made it much more exciting!
Then I was served this…
Sautéed potatoes, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, some other stuff…it was really really good.
Then dessert was a bowl of custard. People in South Africa LOVE their custard, so much so they’ll eat it plain.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the worst food cravings for the unhealthiest of foods. I never thought I’d miss American fast food so effing much, it’s crazy. When I close my eyes I can still taste criss-cut fries from Carls Jr or a quesadilla from Taco Bell. Especially after I’ve been drinking and I’m craving some late night junk food.
You never really appreciate what you have until it’s gone.
Until next time…
Here’s the sunset I watched while walking to the gym last night ❤