“NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS!”

September 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

“NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS!”

 

      Some of you may be wondering what could be keeping me so quiet. It is true that I haven’t given any updates for quite a good stretch of time.  I apologize for that and any worries you may have had.  To calm your fears, you should know that, as the saying goes…“no news is good news”…I only have good news to share!

     I would like to get you caught up on some of the more important things that I have been actively participating in this past month, which have hindered my updates. 

 Thursday, July 24:

    A large white truck pulled up to the school.  A man stepped out and handed a clipboard over to the principal and said, “please sign here.” On that delivery form was listed, 15 CPUs and 15 flat screen monitors! As you may recall, one of my early goals upon arriving at my South African school, was to receive computer donations from various foundations, such as DELL and Vodacom.  Well, that persistence paid off. After one years time, the results of our efforts are being realized.  We now have 15 brand new, beautiful flat screen computers, along with another 20 en route.  Thanks to the kind donations from DELL and Vodacom, our school will be possessing 35 computers within one month’s time. 

    Since that memorable Thursday afternoon, our school has begun preparing the “hall”, soon to be “new computer lab”.  Extra burglar bars were put on the windows and doors in early August.  Presently, we are constructing the computer tables out of metal frames from old school desks, an idea I had to help save school money.  My role presently is preparing the computer skills curriculum for teaching the up and coming IT course for students, teachers, and the community.  Every week someone asks, “When will we start to learn computers?” or “Can I join your computer classes even though I am not from a different village?”  My answers to those people are, “Hopefully soon” and “You bet you can!” (of course not in English).  J

 August 4-8:

     During the first full week of August I had the pleasure to meet with the new Peace Corps Education Trainees, soon to be volunteers.  The group consisted of just over 40 individuals, all varying in age, goals, visions, and personalities, but yet strikingly similar to the group I arrived with just one year ago.  It was a strange feeling to be on the other side of the room sharing my advice and experiences to a group of new Americans, when not so long ago I was doing the listening and learning.  I sincerely enjoyed the pleasure of meeting all those new folks and offering encouraging but realistic words of advice.  I went with the trainees on their school visits, assisting them with teaching and offering explanations for various “non-American” behaviors in the schools.  I also led a few sessions with Paul and Brandon, two other PCVs.  Most of the week’s productivity, however, was found in the informal discussions with the trainees, simply sharing my experiences as a 1 year veteran and offering suggestions and advice for their future as a PCV in South Africa.

 Saturday, August 9:

     After a week with the trainees, I traveled back to Pretoria (the central capital of South Africa, home of the Peace Corps head offices, and a common hang out spot for volunteers like myself).  I spent two days enjoying the city life with friends.  The best day was Saturday, which I spent with my girlfriend Stacy.  It was Women’s Day in South Africa so we took the day to celebrate.  We attended a Women’s Day event just outside the Parliament Buildings along with thousands of others, listening to the assortment of guest speakers and sharing in the good food and atmosphere.  We then made our first trip to the Pretoria zoological gardens.  There we saw nearly all the animals, from big to small and from feather to fur.  The zoo was a well afternoon spent, that is, if you can handle going to a zoo to see African animals when you are located in Africa.  Somehow we also managed to see the new batman movie, The Dark Knight, which was two thumbs up if you haven’t seen it!

     

Sunday, 17 August:

    This day I began another side project of mine.  Ever since I have been in South Africa, people have been very keen on using me as a photographer.  I quickly learned the demands and stresses of the business, and so, I was more than pleased when Morapedi “Prince” Molema (a good friend of mine from the village) came up to me and asked if I could help him start a photography business?  My answer was a resounding, YES!  This Sunday happened to be our first assignment.  We had been invited to a church gathering to take photos and video for a DVD.  Despite taking the whole day (9:30am to 5:30pm…African church is not an in and out ordeal), the event was very enjoyable.  The pastors (baruti) were loud energetic and boisterous and the music was full of the Holy Spirit.  It was a nice Sunday to remember and a great first gig for Bonolo Photography (the name of his new business).  Since that first assignment we have already done two more.  Already the business has helped Morapedi to pay off all the start up costs.  We are excited about the prospects of the business, but also very tired.  It takes a lot of time to wrestle with computers and software to get the DVD just right to sell.  We have already had a few past-midnight working sessions.  Even last night we attended a Grade 12 function similar to prom…we arrived at home just passed 4:00am.  My eyes are half shut as we speak.  Either way I am sure that by the time I leave South Africa, Bonolo Photography will be thriving will be a full-time photographer rather than farmer!

Tuesday, 26 August:

     This was a big day for our village.  On that day, we held the first ever Registration Campaign in Brooksby Village.  The purpose of the day was to bring many government departments and services to the people, rather than expecting the people to go to them.  This day was the culmination of a lot of hard work by many people.  It all began months back in June when I first visited a community development organization, called MiET, which aids rural communities in South Africa.  I asked them if they could help Brooksby Village and they said yes.  After many meetings, phone conversations, and follow ups, the job was completed.  The day was a success!  Two tents were hired along with tables, chairs, and catering.  All of the government departments that were invited came (except for the Health Department…boo!).  Those departments brought services for the people to get birth, death, and marriage certificates, identification documents, proof of residency, child grants, and to register for election, etc.  Thanks to the privately hired transport, people from 4-5 other villages were able to come.  The total number of people in attendance was not certain, but some estimated 400 to 500.  After many interviews it was clear that the everyone, both people from the villages and the departments, were very happy with the days results.  The village people were glad that they didn’t have to pay the high costs of transport to travel to the city to get help; it was done right at their home.  The department people were happy because many people came and their services met the needs of many.  I too was extremely happy with the days results, tired, but happy.  I also finished that great day with a great ending.  Three of my close friends came over and we cooked and ate dinner together.  Another good day to remember.

  

And what I do in my free time…

     As you can see there have been many ‘especially’ rewarding days (everyday has a reward someplace right?) to remember over the last month and a half.  Of course, I am still working at the schools.  Teaching has been getting better everyday.  I have finally found a system for teaching that works for my busy schedule.  Also, the most encouraging thing about teaching is seeing the students’ improvement in using the English language.  Others have even commented on the increased usage of the English language in the village, especially among the youth, since my arrival.  But I am not going to let it stop there, I just got 60 children’s books loaned from the library, bless their heart, and will soon be working with the librarian to start a reading campaign in school.  We have also completed the first two subjects of the Adult Educational Program that I started teaching in the village back in June.  I had 7 wonderful students just complet their final exam on Entrepreneurship and Banking.  All of them passed! I even used the American passing standard (60%) and not the South African standard (40%)!  The highest test score goes to Kefilwe with a 100%!  This week begins a new course in First Aid. 

 Last words for the day…

     As you can see, one thing leads to the next in my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my life right now.  I am happier than I have ever been, but also equally exhausted.  It is true what they say about the Peace Corps, “’IT IS THE HARDEST JOB YOU COULD EVER HAVE, BUT ALSO THE MOST FULFILLING”…I am finally understanding what that truly means.  Well, so long for now everyone.  I may be back in a week, a month or two, I don’t know, but I do know that the sun is shining here on us.  Thank you all for your support and please don’t stop!    

                                                                        -Adam “Thabo/Joy” Bohach

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Integrated? You bet I am!! Unexpected Spoken Appreciation

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Just in case you were wondering…

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps

Here are some famous blogs to check out from three of my good Peace Corps buddies!

A.J. KUMAR ajinsa.blogspot.com JOEY CARDELLA http://njebe.blogspot.com SARAH HORNS http://hornzyinafrica.blogspot.com

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