Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Catching our breath

Hi guys! Just a quick note to let you know that we weren't able to leave for Zambia on Sunday as planned. We're waiting to get our passports back, because they're in Pretoria so that our South African visas can be renewed.

Life is good here. We've moved back to our old apartment at the Farm (our 7th move in 26 months). It's a good thing and a bad thing, but we're just happy it's a long term thing. No more moving, please!

Jed's getting into his new role working with the International Team. (Sounds kind of funny when I say that, like it's a large operation. It's a team of 4 now.) They're responsible for the Hands at Work website, marketing material, the Facebooke cause and fan page, and relating to our offices in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and South Africa. He's really enjoying it, and it's much less stressful than coordinating the new volunteers.

I'm struggling to keep up with my work supporting Zambia. There's so much going on! Planning to do and funding coming in, project proposals and reports to review, and seemingly endless numbers of emails to get through. I love it though.

Our time away reminded me how much I appreciate living in community with such a great group of people. What a privilege to live and work with volunteers from SA, Canada, the US, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Holland, and the UK. You can't live and work together and remain just friends. These people have seen the best of us and the worst of us, and they've still chosen to love us. We are family.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back in SA and I don't mean Super America

Well, after spending 5 weeks with family and friends in the "states" we are now back with Hands at Work in South Africa. We had a blast back home! Thanks to everyone who made our time at home so special. It went by too quickly though. There are many of you who we didn't get to see, and for that I apologize. Before we left South Africa to head home it felt like 5 weeks would be enough time to see everyone we know, but the time just kept slipping away. Just like sands in an hour glass...

For those of you that came to our Hands at Work presentation the night before we left, I would like to say thank you. It was great to be able to share what Hands at Work and Brooke and I have been doing for the past two years. It was also a great shift into getting ready to head back to South Africa for one more year. Our new close of service (COS for you RPCVs) is now October 14, 2010. As Brooke and I were sharing about many of our challenges and successes at the presentation we gave it got both of us excited about coming back. Then we remembered the 36 hours of flights and 5 hours of riding in cramped vehicles.

Our flights were long, but uneventful (just a 1 hour delay before our flight to Amsterdam.) We got to the Hibbing airport around 5:30am on Tuesday morning and arrived in Johannesburg at 9:30pm on Thursday night. Peace Corps had sent a driving service to pick us up and take us to a backpackers in Pretoria. We spent Thursday and Friday saying goodbye to many Peace Corps friends in Pretoria. Our original end date was September 14, 2009 and so many volunteers were preparing to head back to the US for good. Because we had just been there many people were asking questions like: How have things changed; how's the economy affecting things; what food did you eat first when you got off the plane (answer: Chipotle!). We also got to ask them questions about how they were feeling about going home for good, and how did things go wrapping up their time at their sites; what do they have planned for when they get home. All important stuff we will have to go through in the next year. It was great to see everyone, but bittersweet knowing that we were losing much of our Peace Corps support staff. Luckily, we have so many great people that we get to work with daily at Hands at Work, phone calls from family and friends, visits from family and friends (hopefully!), and of course the internet!

We will try and continue to post often (hopefully more often than lately). We miss everyone back home already, but two years went by quickly and we just have one more to go!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Presentation in Hibbing

Hi Hibbing-ites! Anybody who's in town on Tuesday is welcome to come here a short presentation we're giving about our experiences in Africa.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Community Room
Lower Level
Duluth Clinic in Hibbing

All are welcome!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

North Shore

We've had so much fun back home in the last month! Here's a few pictures from a weekend we spent on the North Shore of Lake Superior with Jed's family, celebrating Jed's parent's 40th wedding anniversary.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Wally and Pam celebrating 40 years of marriage

Nephews around the campfire


Uncle Jed, the best jungle gym around

Family photos