Last Day of Training

      After a couple more weeks of lectures and our final Round Robin exams, it was time to leave our training host families. I felt especially bad leaving, since I had not seen my family for a couple days when I was sick. Peace Corps put on a nice family appreciation lunch the day before we left, and that night my family and I had a dinner to say goodbye. You would think packing would have been easy considering I only brought two bags to Swaziland, but you would be wrong. With the added additions of a stove, buckets, cooking supplies, bedding, and other miscellaneous items I accrued during the 2 months packing was a disaster. With no boxes to put anything in I ended up heaping large quantities of items into my wash basin and buckets and then securing it all, rather precariously, with an excessive amount of duct tape.

            Peace Corps had given us our marching orders and planned to pick us up in geographical order. First our things would be picked up in a van, then we would be in a separate vehicle, and we would arrive with our luggage at our training facility for lunch. I was told to be ready by 9am. Knowing how well transport has gone so far in my service I had low expectation and assumed, being in the second group, they would not be more than an hour or so behind since we all live within walking distance of each other. That morning I also had to go and get my puppy ,Daisy,I was buying from a neighbor. My teacher had agreed to keep her at his house for a while and then drive her to my permanent site once I was settled in. I walked over to get the dog and walked her to where my teacher’s ride was waiting.  My teacher had to get a couple more of his things so I sat in the car with Daisy and waited for him to be ready feeling very grateful I would not have to return and get her in a bus or khumbi.  Then, my teacher bring a big plastic bag over, the smart man doesn’t want her peeing in the car. I get ready to lay out the plastic on the floor, when instead he puts my puppy into the bag, ties it with just her head sticking out, and says they’re ready. No, you are not ready my dog cannot move and is clearly frightened which, if anything, is going to increase the chance of her peeing in the car. I had forgotten how different Swazis view dogs. I actually had to argue that a dog should not be tied up like a chicken and left in the back of the car. It was one of the more ludicrous conversations I have ever had, how do you explain that to someone who does not see a dog as a pet? They left and I walked back to my house with a rather uneasy feeling about how differently she would be treated in a Swazi house than the way I would like her to be.

 I put all of my things outside the house, gave the key to my host sister as she was leaving for work, and waited.  At 11:15 (over 2 hours late) a truck finally pulls up to my homestead. We loaded all of my bags into the bed of the pick up and I was told a vehicle would be there shortly to drive me back. I waited another 90 minutes before walking to the closest volunteer’s Moira, who luckily also was still waiting with her things so they could pick us both up in one, hopefully quicker, trip. It is a good thing I did so because at one o’clock, 4 hours after the time I was told, we finally saw a car coming to her house. It pulled up and in it was Mandla, and LCF, all of his stuff, and the driver. We had to rearrange to fit all of Moira’s things and then re-rearrange to fit the 2 of us in the back. Apparently, the driver had not been told to pick me up so was not expecting to fit all of us. As we were driving it came out we were the last ones and everyone and everyone’s things was already waiting at the training center. We were the last trip, I was not on the schedule to be picked up, they forgot about me. Apparently my last name Becker and my friend’s first name Becca sound enough alike that they thought I had already been picked up because “Becca was already picked up”. I did get a lovely sun burn from my unanticipated day waiting outside to remind me not to expect anything to happen in a timely fashion here. We arrived when the rest of our group was finishing lunch and had to rush to eat before our next training session.

 Our last couple days of training were the best. We were all reunited, could socialize after dark, had hot showers, and did not have to cook for ourselves. Our Medical officer did her review as a jeopardy game that ended with ice cream and Tuesday night we all pitched in for a wine and chocolate social as a last hurrah.  Wednesday we were given a day to explore Mbabane with PSIN (peer support) as our guides. We were shown around the city and the Peace Corps office and had time to do some shopping. Thursday was our big day to swear in officially, and reminded me a lot of prom. We got ready together, all looked dressier than any of us had seen each other, and took tons and tons of pictures. They bussed us all to a hotel near Mbabane where the event was held. It was a very well done ceremony, and after we had all sworn in officially was followed by a nice meal. That night we all planned to go out even though we were leaving for our permanent sites early the next morning. We had a fun night at a bar where most of G10 (the group that’s been here a year already) met up with us. I tried to leave at a responsible time and get some sleep for another day of moving. 


4 thoughts on “Last Day of Training

  1. HI Maggie,
    It is so good to hear that you are rolling with whatever comes your way! You sound more in control and confident than the first few weeks, etc. I can’t wait to see some pictures. It must have been a very proud day for all of you to be officially sworn in. That sounds so cool!
    My next box will have some of the vinyl tote bags in it. That will help with storage and moving items around if needed. Keep posting when you have time. I am so in awe!
    Aunt Jane

  2. Maggie, do you have a collar and or leash for the puppy? I wanted to send one but wasn’t sure how big she is.. Let me know when you can!

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