Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Six Month Update

July 6, 2010

A quick update : Lisa has a job starting in August with Greenheart - a fair trade organization in Chicago. It's a one year position which she got through LVC (Lutheran Volunteer Corps) and it provides, housing, health insurance, and a small stipend.

LVC supports sustainable living, with an emphasis on simplicity. For example there is no Internet in any of the housing, and TVs, computers, etc are discouraged. The houses have 4 to 7 people in them and as a group they are encouraged to spend time together. There are also several retreats everyone attends. Should be a very interesting (and introspective) year for her.

Hope everyone who checks this blog is doing well!

 

Take Care - Susan Rothman

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Poem For All PCVs and RPCVs - (with thanks to Clement Moore)

Twas the Day Before Christmas

 

Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house

Every creature was stirring, even the cat's toy mouse,

The stockings were stuffed with 3 years worth of cheer

To celebrate dear RPCV Lisa finally being here.

 

The family was decorating with green and with red,

While visions of tomorrow's roast turkey danced in their heads

And mamma with wrapping paper, and papa with hot tea

Had just settled down to wrap last minute goodies with glee

 

When out near the street arose such a loud clunk

The trash-men were tossing the recycling into their truck

I flew out the door to include the last bag

Since the next two week buildup would leave me in a jag

 

The sun on the dusting of snow from last night

Made our home as wintry as Lisa's grandparents did delight

When what to my wondering eyes did appear

But the cat across the street with a well worn sneer

 

Our cat in the window was all bluster and huff

Angry at the intrusion of the little ball of fluff

I whooshed away the kitten - so home did he go

My cat licked his paws - content away from the snow

 

Now cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes and corn,

Thanksgiving in December - the idea never gets worn

Home tastes long desired, with family made joyful

A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer dreaming of futures so hopeful

 

Only two weeks away from Namibia's warm summer days

Our RPCV has contributed to many on her home-front this day

Toys for Tots, food baskets, and Calendars oh my

Lisa's generosity is great enough to light up the sky

 

Filling out applications, forms high and wide

Her future is coming fast - no time to just slide

Balance is the key, to readjusting to life home

New paths out there to wander, new places to roam.

 

I may not have enough stanzas, but I'm doing this on the fly

Creating a metaphor for the wonder of having my daughter close by

I'm grateful she's home, not a long distance call away

And am selfishly hoping for at least a little while at home she will stay

 

So to all PCVs at home or away, to all RPCVs too, old or new

We thank you for your service, impacting the world true

You made much more of a difference than you realize right now

Good luck with your futures, as fate will allow

 

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice too,

Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, Happy anything that suits you - 

As a Peace Corps Mom who blogged (for over two years - wow!)

I turn the reigns over to Lisa - it's up to her to continue now!

 

Susan Rothman 12/24/09

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lisa's Home!!!

Lisa and her luggage have arrived safe and sound - will update this later! Just thought you all would want to know immediately GRIN

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lisa Is Coming Home

Peace Corps Has Lisa's Flight Home Booked

If the airlines, and the weather, cooperate Lisa should be home Friday December 11, 2009 before 10am! She'll be flying from Windhoek to Johannesburg, to Dulles, to Albany. With a few hours in Johannesburg and an hour or so in Dulles.

Now right now the weather here is horrid - almost a foot of snow fell last night and now we have freezing rain, then we're supposed to get rain - most likely to wash away all that lovely white stuff -sigh- Friday looks good according to the weather people so we'll just have to see.

I've got my fingers crossed that Lisa and her luggage all arrive home safely and if possible on time -GRIN- But safety first! We can be patient if we need to! We just hope Lisa's travels go well. Less than 48 hours from when I'm typing this we should be seeing her! I'll blog as soon as she gets home - though that blog may be a very short one - GRIN -

 

Last Few Days In Windhoek

Other than listing movies she was seeing, TV shows she was watching (including some funny cartoons from Jordan) and nice meals she was eating, Lisa didn't say much about the final Peace Corps close of service red tape. So We don't know how the medical stuff went, or if she got a list of health care providers who accept Peace Corps coverage, or any of a million other things we want to know.

But we're cutting her as much slack as our curiosity will allow. She has some major readjusting to do! Leaving a chunk of your life behind is always bitter sweet! And with the future unsure it will be a time of shifting moods for our dear daughter.

It's hard to believe but Lisa will no longer be a PCV "Peace Corps Volunteer" but will magically become a RPCV a "Returned Peace Corps Volunteer" What a difference one word makes - and 27 months of course!

 

So with lots of prayers, good thoughts, fingers crossed, major knocking on wood - my next blog should be very short and very sweet! Till then - dear friends - Take Care -

 

Susan Rothman

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last Week In Windhoek

Lisa Got Into Windhoek Just Before Midnight Friday Dec. 4th

It was a long trek up - the Ministry of Education brought her from Aroab to Keetmanshoop - they had a flat during that stage of the trip, then they took her and some others to Windhoek - where 2 hours out of Windhoek their car broke down and it took several hours to get it towed back to a town to be repaired with all sorts of problems along the way. I gather they had a lot of tools in the trunk but were missing the 1 they needed to fix the car. Lisa said "that's Namibia for you" while I quietly thought "that's just life".

Lisa said it was Namibia's way of telling her that while she'd miss Namibia - there were bits that were well worth missing. GRIN - She'll be in the Janjonker Apkrtments till she leaves for America. Her sign in says she has the room till Dec. 10th but since the person making the room arrangements isn't the same as the one making the flight arrangements she isn't sure if she'll actually be leaving on the 10th. But we can hope!

 

Saying Goodbye

It was hard saying good bye - the school gave her an Namibian Dress as a going away gift - she says it's lovely. And Erna seemed to question why Lisa was leaving so much for Irena the new Peace Corps Volunteer and not everything to her. Lisa says she left Erna plenty and was a bit frustrated at her last interactions with some folks.

I explained how I thought part of the problem was those she knew in Aroab considered themselves to be her friends and Irena to be the "newcomer" as far as they were concerned while Lisa considered Irena to be as the new Peace Corps Volunteer someone she wanted to leave a lot of the basics to. In it's own way it made the leaving easier for Lisa.

 

Final Days

Lisa is near the Peace Corps offices so that will make doing whatever needs to be done easier. I guess there is a long check list of stuff to be done and once everything is checked off she can head home. With luck the flight arrangements will go well. Till that happens Lisa is eating out, seeing movies, and getting used to higher activity levels than she had in Aroab. She's enjoying her final days there. And she's dreaming of a White Christmas and can hardly wait to get home.

My next blog will either be of her imminent plans for departure or will be a joyful description of her arrival home - everyone hold her warmly in your thoughts and prayers till she arrives! Thank you all for thinking of her so often these past 27 months!

 

Susan Rothman

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Final Weeks

Soon Lisa Will Be Coming Home

Called Lisa on Sunday since she had a Brai (bar-b-que) to go to on Saturday. She's been doing non-stop packing and is rather sick of it. It's hard since it involves so much decision making - what to bring home, what to leave for Irena the new Peace Corps Volunteer, what to give to her friends like Erna etc. It's driving her crazy - much harder than packing up at the end of college. Also without a scale she can't really be sure if her bags are under the weight limits etc. Just another little frustration for her -sigh-

 

Thanksgiving and Beyond

Irena's host family had a Thanksgiving Dinner for her and they invited Lisa. Sunday was a Christmas Concert which she wasn't sure if she'd attend depending on how the packing was going. Everything revolves around packing. This is much harder than she expected - every step reminds her how she'll be leaving so very soon. There will be a not so much of a surprise party for her since the kids can't keep secrets very well (GRIN). And it's going to be very hard to say goodbye to everyone.

 

Elections

There were two days of elections in Namibia which I gather went quite well. Now they count the ballots which will take a few days - and with luck the whole process will have gone peacefully and without complications. The locals didn't seem that excited about the elections - they voted for "their guys" and that was more or less it.

 

School is Almost Over

The 8th and 9th  graders were allowed to leave school last Thursday - Lisa was glad she brought their Christmas cards to school with her - this way she won't have to ask anyone to get the cards to the learners after she's gone. The 7th graders and younger learners may end up being there till the end of this week - but Lisa may well be gone by then. It's all so bittersweet for her. She wants to come home so very much (27 months away is a LONG time!) but the good byes are so very hard.

The last contact she had with the Ministry of Education indicated that they would get her next Thursday and bring her and her stuff to Keetmanshoop. Then Friday she'll head to Windhoek either on the train or with someone from the Ministry of Education. Getting exact plans from them seems as difficult as getting straight answers on healthcare reform. Once in Windhoek she'll deal with her final medical stuff and sometime after her end of service date of December 10, she'll come home. We all can hardly wait to see her!

 

I will keep this blog going till Lisa comes home - then she can continue it or end it - but it will be her baby then! Till next week -

 

Susan Rothman

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Didn't Get To Keetmanshoop

Lisa Was Planning To Go To Keetmanshoop Saturday

But the driver of the town's van was tired and he didn't feel like going so he canceled the trip. As Lisa said - you couldn't get away with that in America - if a local bus driver or AMTRAK driver was tired and tried to pull that he/she would likely soon be jobless. Oh well. There were a few things she wanted to get but she said she'd manage. She's good at managing. GRIN

 

The Adventure Of Coming Home

I gather the most recent information Lisa has about the steps in her return include the Ministry of Education providing her with a ride from Aroab to either Keetmanshoop (where she'd catch an overnight train) or to Windhoek on either December 3rd, 4th or 6th. Isn't it nice they can be so precise! GRIN

She knows that once she gets to Windhoek she'll have to have more blood tests - to check for Schistosomiasis and to get her prescription to have her ganglion cyst checked out when she gets home. And she has to actually sign up for that after Peace Corps healthcare - Corps Care (they haven't been able to do so so far because the new forms and info hasn't been ready -sigh- ). But she has no idea how long that stuff will take.

Some days we think we'll really know for sure what her travel plans are when we get a phone call from the Albany Airport saying she's home. Anything more specific is just speculation. Double Grin. Several Peace Corps Volunteers took the travel home allowance as cash and planned to make their own travel arrangements - hoping to save some money on the deal - but they're discovering making such arrangements from Namibia is more complicated than they expected.

Lisa knew from day one that she wanted Peace Corps to deal with it all since she still doesn't have reliable Internet access and right now it's hard to access her e-mail. So that's one set of hassles she can avoid.

 

School

Exams end on November 30th, and at the present moment they are expecting to have to keep the learners in school till that Friday - December 4th. But that may change - the teachers hope so - since after finals the kids will really have nothing to do - and unoccupied learners are rambunctious learners!.

Lisa doesn't think she'll miss teaching - but she will miss at least some of her learners - GRIN. I know she'll miss Aroab and Namibia, many of the friends she's made, and just being in the whole different world that is Africa. Coming home will be strange for her. But Computer access, the Internet, and cable TV will help bridge the gap!

 

Odds and Ends

As her time to come home grows closer Lisa is more and more interested in what's going on locally. She sort of wishes she could really get caught up an 27 months in a flash. We on the other hand have to try and remember which restaurants closed and which opened since she was last home, and what other changes occurred - ie we have a new polling place to vote, some stores have closed, people have moved away, etc. Small changes we probably mentioned when they occurred but which she doesn't quite remember. All the little things that change when you come home again.

Lisa's thinking more and more about what comes next - work or grad school - or both. It's an odd feeling after having a job for two years - even though it had its challenges - it was a known quantity - now it's the unknown again. Funny how Peace Corps made being in Africa seem like a comfortable known quantity.

She's been reading a book she picked up in Windhoek a while back - Richard Wolffe's Renegade : The Making Of A President. It was so funny - she said that as she read it she kept wondering why she missed all these aspects of Obama's campaign for President - then it hit her - she had been in Namibia for most of it! A Duhh moment for sure! GRIN

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Will update next week!

 

Susan Rothman