Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Moms

This is my wonderful mom, Mariam Lamola. I call her Mama. This is a typical Sunday evening with her ironing all our clothes after a day of washing laundry. I cook dinner. Everyone wins.

These are her two sisters. Mokgaetji is the oldest in the blue. I call her Mma Mogolo (older mother) and Raisebe is the youngest in the pink sleeves. I call her Mmane (aunt or younger mother). My Mom is the middle child. They also had a brother who passed away. Raised by a single mother all four children grew up to be educators.

They are preparing food for my birthday party.

Paying Labola

David, my supervisor and best friend, paid labola (a bride price) today. That means he is married and his wife will live with him now. Florina, his wife, also works at Aletuke. She is one of my favorite people here.

First time to the ocean

Mary J is the OCV supervisor at Aletuke. I brought her with me to Durban for a Peace Corps training. We stayed in a hotel right on the beach. Mary J was in the water for hours everyday. She had a blast. Imagine never seeing the ocean until now.

I just love this photo.

No kidding, she was like a pig in shit, a kid in a candy store, a person who has never been to the beach rolling around in the sand.

Just a little adrenaline

This was bridge swinging in Sabie. What a blast. I would have done it a hundred times over. But next time... a bigger bridge.

I ended up getting lowered into this river. It was great to swim and there is a great waterfall off to the side.

Oh the changes we go through

Just push play.

Happy 35th!

Kristen, the PCV who lives near me, was the guest of honor of the guest of honor. She sat at the cake table with me while my sister gave a speech.

... (singing) Happy birthday to you. Hip hip horray! Hip hip horray!

Hey Darcy, how about another drink and some sunblock?

My Mom, family and neighbors put on a wonderful party for me. Couldn't think of a better way to spend my 35th birthday.

Happiness is...

...being around children who, despite the world around them, can still smile and laugh like this. They have so much to teach me and I have so much to learn from them.

The perfect gift

This is Anna and her children. She was the domestic worker for my first host family I lived with. She is a typical hard working woman, living alone with her children while her husband is away working in Joburg. He comes home once a year and, unfortunately, has stopped sending money. As a thank you gift before I left I went to her home and took this absolutely beautiful picture of her family. People in these villages have very little photo documentation of their lives for obvious reasons. Who can afford a camera? So taking photos is a priceless gift for them.

Dressed to the nines...

These ladies are a beautiful example of full traditional Sepedi women. They are dressed up for a celebration I attended. They loved having their picture taken. But what they liked even more was seeing their picture on my camera screen.

When in Rome...

Cutting the head off something while it's alive is a feeling I'll never get used to.

"You, my friend, are number 28. Last one of the day." Yup, I slaughtered 28 chickens that day.

I can't tell you how happy I am that is over with. Now I can go clean the blood off my arm, hands, shoes and pants.

Then they go to the feather plucking, gut pulling and body prepping table. These ladies are professionals. Maybe I'll pull a chair up to this table next time.

It's a lot of work slaughtering your own meat for a party.

All that they tell you about what chickens do once their heads are cut off are all true.

Paper Airplanes in school?

This is another school I spent a day at. Never underestimate the power of a paper airplane.

Just push play for a little classroom fun.

My Village

This is Moshate, my village. I live about one inch to the right of my left shoulder and I work about one inch to the left of my right shoulder. I absolutely love living here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I took two of my workers to a community college to participate in a health fair.  I'm working on educating my staff on health issues that effect the people here.  Through education I'm building knowledge, self-esteem and empowerment.  They did a great job passing information on to the public.  I'm so proud of them.
I can't pull the Pedi look off like my Mom, but I'll try anything once.  I wore this to an event at my organization.  Everyone absolutely loved it.

My Mom

This is my mom, Mariam Lamola.  She is an amazing woman in so many ways.  She takes wonderful care of me and teaches me so much.