Places from PST

Some more old photos from PST (pre-service training, the initial training all volunteers get for a couple of months when they arrive)…

There were two villages I spent time in during training. The village I had language lessons in was the posh village in the area. The houses were nice, there were many stores, and the water was on a lot. There was even a 2 story house, which totally blew everyone’s mind. Supposedly, the village was named after a powerful local family.

The village I lived in was named after a nice way of saying “we don’t like the neighbors”. It was not as posh. Chicken or egg?

Posh village even had its own graveyard:

Posh village was also the site of possibly my most quintessentially-Peace-Corps picture:

Between my village and this neighboring village was a township. It was a very rural township, and all of the language teachers made fun of how podunk it was. I LOVED the township. It had a whole shopping complex, tons of informal stalls, fast food, 2 furniture stores, 2 hardware stores, clothing stores, china shops, and 2 supermarkets. It was a desperately needed consumerist lifeline where we could make phone calls and buy things like this:

This is Polony. It’s basically Bologna, but with a reasonable spelling. It comes in sizes from 100g to tubes even bigger than this massive pink monster I’m holding (3 kg!). It comes in lots of flavors. The most popular is “French” (plain), but I’m a huge fan of garlic, and I’ve heard rumors of Peri-Peri flavor. Bologna has grossed me out since I hit puberty, but for some reason I really like Polony. Maybe it’s because it’s cheap as dirt–this monster size costs 47 Rand, less than 7 dollars. Math tells me this guy costs less than 1 USD a pound. That’s a good price even for science meat.

Vital personal care services were also on offer:

My first haircut in the Southern Hemisphere. I told Mystic he could do whatever he wanted:

I think disconnecting the beard and the ‘stache was a clutch decision. Much like the US has three separate branches of government to prevent any one group from running the country, my face has two separate branches of awesome to prevent the folding of the universe onto itself, creating 2112 string dimensions and turning us all into unicorns


Michael Latsch says:

The hair cuttery reminds me a lot of the place I used to have my hair cut in Belize-minimal structure, interesting wiring (think there power was brought in from next door via an extension cord)-diversified other services, and specialization in precision hair/beard shaping using a hand-held disposable 2-bladed razor. That place was always hopping on Friday afternoon as all the younger guys would come in to get their pre-weekend tuneup.

all the best,


04 Jun 11 @ 5am

Robert Sherman says:

Mike, I am glad you still have hair to cut!
Your loving father :)

06 Jun 11 @ 3pm