Thursday, February 22, 2007

4 more days... Holy Cow!!

Hello all,

Apologies again for the delayed post (I have a feeling I will be saying this quite often). So yes, its true, I leave for my adventure this coming Sunday morning. I will be taking the train down to Washington D.C. where I will have my first introduction into the Peace Corps. While in DC we will be having our staging event, kinda like an orientation, etc. We will be receiving our shots and all sorts of administrative materials. On Tuesday afternoon, my group will embark from Dulles on board a direct South African Air flight to Jo'burg. The flight apparently last 15 hours and 10 minutes, but Briana who was on the same flight said that hers came in at just over 14 hours... long nonetheless. We will stay one night there at a hotel on the airport's premise and the next morning, we hop on a flight to Lilongwe and, TA-DA, off we go.

Many of you have received the email that I sent out( if you happen to read this and would like to be put on the list, try to get a hold of me before I take off and give me your preferred email addy). Thank you so much to all of you who replied, it was really great hearing from you. I'm looking forward to receiving small emails from friends and families at random times while in Malawi. If its this satisfying now, I could only imagine what it would be like during the next two years.

The last month has been wonderful. My aptly named, "Farewell Tour" has taken me to Grand Rapids, Michigan and back as well as to Chicago and back. The "Birthday Spectacular" was ... well spectacular and It was really really great to see everyone. It kind of makes this adventure that much more enjoyable, knowing that I may be able to share it with all of you. I hope that emails and messages from my friends and family will be just what I need during those really tough times.

Where do I stand right now? I am currently sitting in a horrendously cluttered room that is scattered with clothes, camping stuff, books, etc. I hope to get everything in bags by tomorrow night. The whole packing process does not seem as onerous as I had made it out to be, but accomplishing things that I wanted to get done before I left has proven so. I feel blessed to have been able to speak to a former NRM (Natural Resource Management) volunteer in Malawi. I find it quite ironic to find one of the elusive RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) from Malawi not 3 miles from my house. I have had some wonderful conversations with her and I think I have calmed myself down and have developed some legitimate expectations. I also feel blessed being able to talk to my girlfriend who is currently in Namibia with the Peace Corps. As in the previous post (not the one about Sir Charles Barkley) she has been able to give me a heads on what to expect from the PC and how things work. You may view her blog too, the link is in the sidebar. She's awesome!

I also feel blessed to have the friends that I do. Talking to them has reaffirmed my commitment to the Peace Corps and has inspired me greatly. As of right now: Jason Morgan and his girl friend, Akira Yammamoto and Chris Hulette are in Japan teaching English through JET, Ryan Tracy is in Thailand teaching English through a similar program, Nick Shungu is in Ethiopia doing a sort of medical practicum through Duke University, Jamie Cahoon has returned from working in Ireland and Jordan Kaplan is about half way through the Peace Corps application process and is expecting to go to Francophone Africa with the medical portion. The ones still at home are doing great things too and I can't wait to get back together and share stories with everyone.

On another note, my father has notified me of a man by the name of Clement Chiwaya. To make a long story short, he is a wheel chair bound Malawian who was a student at my dad's alma mater, Aquinas College in Grand Rapids Michigan. He was abandoned as a child and was picked up by a Catholic Missionary. He was able to complete education at Aquinas and return to Malawi where has since become elected as a member of Parliament. He has also taken it upon himself to raise villages from ruin through grassroots agricultural, water, construction and political programs. On top of that he has been contacted by Bono himself and is currently working on a large program for Malawi. Needless to say, this man would be a tremendous contact and I hope to be able to speak with him. Stay tuned for more, I hope his name pops up again.

Okay, I could say more but I would be going on and on about boring feelings and such. Hopefully the next post will have more juice. Its pretty crazy to think that the next post will be from Malawi, but I think I'm ready for it. So now I bid adieu to this lovely laptop, my house in Lambertville, my friends (that remain), family and my life here in the States. And its look out Malawi, here I come.

Peace and Love to Everyone


^^^ How cheesey was that last paragraph?!

P.S. If you were wondering Charles Barkley and Dick Baveta really did race during the All star break. Charles won, which really, really surprised me.


Marty Fahey said...

Best wishes and congratulations on your commitment to the PC. I came across your posting because as the PR/Comm person at Aquinas College. Each day, I search for articles mentioning Aquinas and came across your site.
Clement Chiwaya '02 is DEFINITELY one person you will want to get to know. He's a hero to many in the Malawi village of Mpondasi. He's done a great deal for his village, including digging wells, building a school and medical clinic and has been teaching villages how to farm.
Also, he's the village representative to the Malawi Parliament and was, for a short time, Minister of Disabilities.

Savor your time there and I hope you find Clement.

Marty Fahey

Matt said...

Two days to go... How's packing going? Interesting that met an NRM RPCV. I actually had the opportunity to talk to a Malawi RPCV not too far from my home, too.

See you Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Stop making me cry.
Charles who? Dream Team 92!

Anonymous said...

sorry that last comment was from me, huretto