Welcome to my blog. It’s nice to see you.
I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in South Africa through September, 2012 as a member of the Schools and Communities Resource (read: education) project. There are currently 100-something of us in South Africa as of this writing, and another 50 or so volunteers in the Community Health Outreach Program (read: HIV/AIDS). Most volunteers are assigned to (very) rural communities.
I’m Mike Sherman. I’m weird and weird things happen to me.
My Peace Corps site is different from the usual. Instead of living in a rural village, I’m in a bustling Township (non-city urban area). And instead of just working at schools, I also have the privilege of volunteering at an Educational Development Center–a well-equipped regional office that provides extra assistance to teachers and schools.
I feel extraordinarily lucky. While part of me is a bit disappointed to be missing out on the, “typical Peace Corps experience,” from the tales told by my fellow volunteers that experience features insect infestation, mobs of intensely fascinated children, dirt/sand roads, questionable water, possibly no electricity, and many kilometers to the nearest shopping center.
The only insects I regularly deal with are mosquitoes. The power has not gone out since I arrived here. I have a sink and a toilet, and the water is on at least part of the day. The kids are still fascinated, but they have too many other things to distract their attention to keep them following me. And there’s a supermarket 2k away on entirely paved roads. I pass about 10 small shops on the way.
Cynical types would call this the Posh Corps. I’m proudly a member.
My daily life is easy from a convenience standpoint. I hope such luxury allows me to focus deeply on work . And there is a lot I can do. While my township is seemingly prosperous, my school well resourced compared to rural schools, and the Educational Development Center open and functional, I’m still finding many opportunities to contribute. The first three months at site we’re supposed to focus on learning as much as we can about our assigned communities and institutions. While I’ve been spending a lot of time meeting people and discovering opportunities to apply my skills, I could not pass up the opportunity to begin teaching at my assigned secondary school.
But more about that later.