Thursday, January 19, 2012

Really really really really..........

Sometimes i think..."Am i really in Africa right now? i really living in a village? am i really...really...really...? How can it be that after two years of Peace Corps service, i still have those thoughts...i don't know, i cant answer them for myself so I can not answer them for you. I don't want to start a countdown, I don't want to jump up and down for joy and i don't want to have a farewell party...that is how/what I am feeling right now.

Today, I went to assist one of the teachers at school with a talk on "The immune system & HIV/AIDS", it inst my first time doing that talk nor is it my first time talking to that specific group of students. For the past year I have grown close to many of those learners and needless to say I know a lot about them and their lives. While talking about the modes of transmission of HIV and by sharing a story that I recently read, i could not help to think that somebody in that classroom is infected already and here I am standing in front of them talking about being responsible for your life by 1: abstaining from sex 2: knowing your partners status and 3: using condoms correctly & consistently. I felt insensitive to their situations, i felt fake and just ridiculous. All I could think to do is to run over to them and hug them. I absolutely have no idea what they thought, and that makes me feel (insert weird word that I cant think of here). I kept trying not to make eye contact with them (which i love to do with students when i address them). I was afraid that if I did then others would think I know something they don't know. I am a paranoid individual. I want them to know that although you may have these disease, it will not stop you and your beautiful inner light from shining. I want them to know that whether or not your in this situation that you never chose to be in, you can be the best that you can be and that you are fantabulous :) However what struck me the most about today is that, one day soon I will not be there to talk to them. As I always tell them, I am not your mother so i cant tell you what to do but everyday I hoped, wished and prayed that they listen to me. I am realizing that this is it, my time has come to go and I hope that somehow I did something. Somehow, I helped them realize how beautiful, intelligent and amazing each one of them are. And with that they can make better healthier decisions and with that they have learned to study hard and focus on whats important and with that they can understand that "yes we do not choose to be born in a village but somewhere along the line we can choose to be do better. I knew when I joined the Peace Corps, I was not going to save anybody or be this hero person, so I have to keep reminding myself that....

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop" Mother Theresa puts it so well, I love her she puts everything so well anyways.
As my contract is coming to an end, I find myself consistently i really really going to finish my PC service, am i really done and um...did i just live in Africa for two years?um...Yes Peggy you did.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not another 30 years!

Do we live in a world so sad and disturbed that our so called “morals” have failed us and are now leading us into a point of no return? Do we or should it be said that I have gotten to the point where/when I first meet people I sometimes think the worse of their intentions? Has trust become something that is hard to gain? These questions are only some things that linger in mind from time to time? Working hand in hand with a community that has been greatly affected by the HIV virus has given me or continues to give me a certain perspective on things. I have met mostly women and young girls that have been lied to and that are continuously victims to lies, manipulation and deception. Some say that if you are promiscuous and careless about your body/health then your are most likely to become infected. Is that the whole truth? Are these people the only one at risk? Or does it only seem that way to people on the outside that have not seen or heard it all. I ask myself, how can a young girl who has never been to the biggest town only two hours be infected? How could she, who does not know the latest music, the hip stylish clothes be infected? Is she promiscuous? Has she given up on her life at the tender age of fourteen to engage in activities that will hurt her future? I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers but all I truly know is that it happens. Young girls, and women that has decided to follow traditions, women that committed themselves to one partner has been and are continuously deceived. I realized this makes it seem like men are the only problem or that men are the only ones causing this, and I do apologize for that but the truth is women can be just as bad and often lie, cheat and deceived. You know what though…don’t let my being here in Namibia Africa be the factor for this post. We both know that “this” is going on pretty much all over the world. Apart from Africa, the United States has alarming HIV rates that are on the rise. The same stories that I encounter here, have also happened in the states. HIV does not discriminate. Age, Sex, Race, Religious Affiliation, Economic Status, Education Level, Sexual Preference, it really does not matter. This year marks 30 years since "its existence" and HIV/AIDS have claimed countless of lives. How are you facing AIDS? It may not be to do something so extreme like volunteering for two years in Africa. Really it begins with you. As I tell my students, the youth I work with and my community… I cannot tell you how to live your life. I cannot tell you what to do and how to do it. But I can tell you to take control of life. I can tell you to demand to be respected. I can tell you to demand to know your partners status. I can tell you to demand that you use protection while having sex. That is you’re right, are you going to go on and enjoy instant gratification while risking your life? It’s your life you decide. Think twice, you are grown and you know “this” exists. Do you part in this world that seems sometimes to be going down in a whirlwind? Let it begin with you that’s one of the most important things you can do. Let us NOT let HIV stay alive for another 30 years!

Thursday 1 December 2011: World AIDS day commemoration, This is for those who have lost the fight. Those who are continuously living positively, no matter what your status is. For the million of kids who stays strong through it all and for those who have been deceived, keep on keeping on!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To be or not to be...

In the loving memory of someone who showed me to work hard, to fight for what you believe in, to never give up and to keep on smiling…

To be or not be...

 Can you BE extremely happy and BE extremely sad at the same time?  Can emotions overlap in your heart and leave you confuse and questioning the true meaning of “to be or not to be”?
Again, being able to truly describe being here is a challenge.  Being a Peace Corps Volunteers is a challenge in every way.  By that I mean that everything that happens to us, is often maximize and very extreme.  So when I am sad, I am extremely sad and when happy I am on a high…on cloud 7. 

My last update was in July and since then, I have been in and out of things.  Things that has left me speechless and things that have taken my breath away.  I often try to remind myself to remember. Remember how beautiful the sunset looks over the Kavango River.  Remember how Owamboland looks like an oasis full of Palm trees amongst a mass of water and desert sand.  Remember the smell of the first rain of the season.  Remember the smell of the rain on the mahangu stalk.  Remember the laugh of your neighbor’s adorable son and the birds chirping in the morning.  Remember how the cool morning breeze caresses your skin after a long hot night.  These are only a small fraction of the things that I absolutely love about Namibia…yes love.  I am in love, in love with the land of my ancestors that I longed to know.  The land that has welcomed me in so many ways and that has opened its arms to me...mother land that opened up her heart and home to me despite her struggle.  What more can I ask for?  Can I continue to be mad at the world when things don’t go my way or when someone rubs me the wrong way?  Can I overlook the fact that in any village, country, continent that you are in, you encounter situations and people that are just too much?  But do we give up and do we forget the beauties that that village, country and continent offered to us?  I don’t think so, I won’t subject myself to creating animosity towards a place just because of incidences that may have happened.  In life there are struggles and pain but for every struggle and for everything that causes pain, there are even more and greater things that triggers happiness in our lives and in our hearts which in turns develops love…unconditional love.  So let’s try to remember everything that triggers this happiness and love in our hearts.  That is what I want to live for.  I want to grow from the pain and learn from my struggles but most of all I want to remember every single moment that makes my heart smile.

September 24th 2011 was a day that I was looking forward to for a long time.  It has been a special day in my life especially for the past 12 years.  This day is a special day in my family as we celebrate the life of our grandmother who is in her 90’s and of our precious little baby Chloe who is just growing way too fast for me lol.  This year, it also marked the beginning and continuance of true love between my great
friend Melissa and her now husband Joel.  So you see September 24th creates a burst of joy and happiness for me but life always throws your curves balls when you least expect it.  I have to try to always remind myself that in life everything has a beginning also has an end, and as much as we do not want the end to come we have to force ourselves to accept it.  With that said September 24th also now represents something else.  A day that my heart was full of happiness and sadness.  Wedding and a funeral: How can you deal with being so far away from home and loved ones when two extreme things are happening?  As I am typing this, I realized that I did deal with this and I’ve dealt with it the best way I knew how to.  You can’t expect life to be sweet and peachy all the time but you can expect that the day will go on; the sun will set…the sun will rise and tomorrow will be a better day.  You realize that you just have to let the tears down, free your heart and soul of this untouchable pain that can leave you in agony.  You remind yourself that in life you have to remember and hold on to everything that brings your joy.  Do not forget the struggles and the pain, they make us understand ourselves better, they help us grow but don’t hold on to them because you will not be able to live with the beauty of memories and of the present.  In so September 24th of this year brought on two more things for me but I choose to let the joyous events outshine.  My dear friend Chantale does not deserved to be remembered just by that day.  My years in college were brighten up by her smile and her ambition.  Her kindness and willingness to help taught me quality life lessons that has helped me be a better person.  Our endless hours of dancing outside of the reitz, our trips around FL, and the amazing memories we created through the Club Creole family is what I will hold on to.  Without those times with you Chantoutou I would not have been who I am, I wish I wish I wish to tell you this in person, I hoped you knew and I hope you know now, and I also hope that all my other friends and family know that they are also are part of my heart.

 I may not have a typical life (who does anyway) with a typical family, typical job or typical romance endeavors but what I do know is that I am blessed and lucky in the sense that I have the most amazing family and friends that are special to me in their own way.   Somebody once thanked me for my support after a hard time for them but then asked me:  “ Peggy, who supports you, who helps you, who does what you do for me?” and at that time I dint know how to really say but today I know that every single one of my friends and members of my family has molded me and shaped me into the person I am today.  I owe everything to you…yes you.  Every day of my life here in Namibia you help me to just keep on keeping on.

So thank you.

See below for a series of pictures to see how I am doing and what I have been up to....
                                              Our second kids day: August 2011
                                              HUGE beet roots: Kids day August 2011
                                             Helping Anna prepare tons of carrots:Kids day
                                            Jack Jack Jackie dancing with the kids :)
@ Emily and Desmund's wedding :)
Beautiful beyond words, had an amazing time to say the least!
                                                             With my friends and the kiddies :)
                                     Back @ Omuthitu with friends after killing and eating the goat :)
Meme, Tate Kulu Spence and I :)

 Thanks for visiting and reading my blog, hope you enjoy the pics miss you thikuma :)
xoxo Peggy