So much has happened in the past week in Africa it is hard to know where to begin, so I will just attempt it chronologically 🙂
Wednesday was language announcement day!! Our group is divided into three languages, and then further into language learning groups(3 or 4 students), each assigned an LCF (language and cultural facilitator) who will teach us our assigned language, and help us to navigate the culture of our homes for the next 3 months. And my language will be…XiTsonga! This means that I will most likely be in either Limpopo Province or in Mpumalanga. I am super excited about this because I have a great group of people learning the same language, even though it is a tough one to learn.
Following language announcements, we had a staff vs trainee soccer match. A few minutes into the game, I am playing defense when I take weird step and my knee took a bad twist, and I essentially sat down in place and scooted off the sidelines. On of the other volunteers went to track down ice (a difficult task in SA) and after 30 minutes of icing and convincing myself it isn’t that bad, I lift up the ice pack to reveal a VERY swollen knee, that I am unable to put pressure on, let alone walk on. I give the Peace Corps medical team a call to fill them in, and let them know I will update them in the morning to see if this is serious and I need to see a dr.
The next morning, the day that officially marks one week in South Africa, I can not stand, and the swelling is just as bad (not to mention the pain that is intensifying at this point) My amazing Cohort (group of volunteers) took care of me in every way! From helping me dress, getting me breakfast, and literally standing in as human crutches to help drag me around. I left session around 10 that morning to travel to Pretoria to see a Dr. Ill fast forward for you 9 hours, two doctors, one MRI and one very concerned receptionist to the revelation…MY FIRST WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA AND I MANAGE TO TEAR MY ACL AND FRACTURE MY TIBIA.
Now, the ACL tear is a partial, and the prognosis is 6 weeks on crutches plus rehab if the bone fragments heal normally, otherwise surgery to put screws in place to help the bones. So for the next 3 weeks I am to be 100% off my left leg, on crutches (the kind that only go to your mid arm not American styled crutches) In the USA, this is a super crappy inconvenience. In Peace Crops, this could easily be your ticket home. So after a stressful day of doctors I crutch out of the hospital and head to the guest house PC has me staying in for the night until I can go to the office in the AM and discuss next steps with the Peace Crops Medical Staff. I was able to get he OK to return to my Cohort, which is all I wanted in the moment and I was beyond happy to be back with my people. The whole time they texted me worlds of love and good thoughts and it was so uplifting for my (at the time extremely negative) spirits.
So Friday I was returned to my volunteer group, and we closed out our last night together before we found our new host families in the morning. I have so much to share with you all about my host family, the adventures of bucket bathing with a cast on, and the many other moments of my life that can only be summed up by the feeling that you are either going to laugh or cry and have zero control over which it is, but regardless, you must keep on.
Side note – my sister gave me a letter that says to open when I really need a smile or laugh. I have stared at that letter countless times over the past few days just telling myself “No Alyssa, you are only a WEEK in this, it is not your time to cash in the laugh letter from your sister” even though I do feel that navigating my new life completely immobilized is a far greater challenge than I had prepared for.
What are the sayings? Always dark before the dawn? Need rain showers to see a rainbow? Stuff like that…? Yes. All of those 365 day calendar of inspirational quotes is mentally paying off with each passing day. And I will update everyone soon on the new life. To give you a hint, there are currently two palm sized spiders on the wall of my room, and four other visible smaller spiders, and NONE of them are on my list of cares at this point. Laughs & Love to all those back home I am missing 🙂