Rapid Fire Updates, and Pivot…

Avuxeni from South Africa and welcome to the wonderful world of updates. For starters, I had another doctors appointment to check on the progress of my healing leg this week, and can happily report things are healing well! Unfortunately, I am still on crutches (it has been SEVEN WEEKS, but hey; who’s counting?) and so I left the dr feeling a bit deflated since I was originally told now was when I would get to begin walking. Turns out, he meant walking with crutches. So, I am now able to put weight on my leg and walk with my crutches, which in another week or two will drop down to a singe crutch, until an additional three weeks pass at which point I can finally walk with two feet and two feet alone. Talk about fine print.

And Pivot…

I finally know where I will be spending the next two years of my life!! I will be in eastern Mpumalanga right next to the wonderful Krueger National Park. For those of you trying to find me on a map, you can google Hazyview, gawk at the beautiful scenery there (bearing in mind my village looks….shall we say…a tad less lovely) then travel about two hours north, hugging Krueger, and you would find my new home!


I will be living there in a small village working at a combined HBC/OVC center. A HBC is a home based care operation, which has a group of caregivers who work in the community caring for its members who suffer from HIV/AIDS or TB. An OVC center is a center that cares for Orphans and Vulnerable Children within a community. In mine, there are 265 OVC’s, however since the orphanage and drop in center lost funding in 2015, they have not been able to service these children. For my first three months at site, I will not be working on any projects, but rather focusing on integration into the community and working on a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) before beginning work. Hopefully I will learn more about the work my organization has done in the past and the plans moving forward.


My new host Gogo (aka grandmother) goes by Mama Cintia. She seems to be a pretty awesome Gogo thus far! One thing I very hopeful on before my adventure to South Africa was to be able to learn the local language. I have been learning Xitsonga, which is a pretty difficult language to learn, but so far progress has been good. Spending a week in an area finally that speaks Xitsonga has been refreshing!! Mama Cintia, as it turns out, only speaks Xitsonga 🙂 so I know that in the next two years I will surely master the language as that is my only outlet to get to bond with my new family.

Pivot(and a week later since I waited too long to post…

I am walking on one crutch!! It is officially Monday morning of my last week of training, and Friday we travel back to the capital city to take our oaths and become official volunteers. I am so excited it is finally here, and have a wave of emotions at all the changes the next two weeks will have to offer. One thing I couldn’t help but laugh on during my reflection warrants a shout out to my sister Jackie…

When packing for this crazy adventure, you have two bags, and one you keep what you need for your first three months (training) and the other is your “non-essential” bag that you surrender to PC and get back in your last week of training before you go to site (we get them Wednesday).  When packing from my townhouse in VA, my sisters job was to divide meds (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, EmergenC, melatonin, ect) I wanted to bring into two baggies, one for my 3 month bag and one for my long term bag. When she brought me my three month bag, she explained that in that bag, she gave me a daily melatonin, weekly emergenC, and enough Tylenol and Ibuprofen to take me through training, including some extra for times that I may feel really sick and need to alternate taking them together in a day. I remember packing my bag feeling clever, and just enjoying that I had a medical sister to think through such things. Neither of us could have seen blowing up my knee in week 1.

However, I am happy to announce that in two days I get my non essential bag back, and I am rounding into the home stretch with the EXACT amount to get me through my last two days. Way to go Jackie your a rockstar 🙂


Spiders are still horrifying. They just are. I have grown far more accustomed to interacting with them in my every day life, but when you pull back the curtains to open a window and reveal a hand size spider lurking in the shadows that then scurries behind your headboard, its not going to be a good night. And yes, for any english sticklers out there, I understand that “scurries” is typically used to describe movements by a small animal, however when the spider could cover my hand and has some fuzz, is that not a time to switch classifications from the fun loving tiny Charlottes Web character to a small, horrifying, dream-haunting animal? Scurries it is.

Final Pivot…

As I said, the next two weeks will be beyond crazy, and I am excited to give you all updates when I come up for air on the other side. Thank you again for all the love and support! On a side note – I am looking to expand my ebook library, and am taking recommendations on good titles! I am open to anything, but my favorites would be titles that in some way inspired you in your life 🙂

2 thoughts on “Rapid Fire Updates, and Pivot…

  1. Glad to hear that cast is off and can only imagine what a difference that has made. I received your photo and marvel at how beautiful you look without any primping! As always, it is what inside that counts and your happiness was showing through! As always, our best. Sandy Gomez


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