Here are the latest updates on my daily life as a Peace Corps trainee.
Do you remember how upset I was about my laptop screen not working and my camera SD card having a virus? Well here’s the great news first.
I found a wonderful young tech guy named, Tobias, in our closest camp town to fix my laptop screen and remove the virus from my camera SD card.
Now the method he used might be considered a little “strange,” but it worked. He unscrewed the screen and showed me a wire that needed to be replaced. When I asked him if he could replace it, he said he didn’t have the part for my Lenovo laptop.
I refused to give up, so I told him about a YouTube video I found on how to fix a flickering screen. Tobias asked me to leave my laptop with him for an hour, and he’d try to fix it.
One hour later, I discovered a piece of folded paper at the bottom of my screen. The screen no longer flickered; it worked perfectly. No need for Best Buy’s $199/year service, when a piece of paper can do the trick.
“How much do I owe you?” I asked.
He shrugged and said, “I don’t know, 50 rand.”
That’s about $3.50 for one hour of his time. I told him I would send all my Peace Corps friends to his store to get their computers fixed and to purchase solar panels.
Tobias then ran a virus scan and fixed my SD card for $2.00. Now I can take better quality photos with my Kodak camera again.
I bought a radio for $10.00 in town and my life since then has changed.
Not only can I get South African radio, but I found a French radio station which makes me feel close to my dad in Paris and my French relatives. I enjoy listening to the argumentative debates when the sun sets at 7 p.m., as this creates a lively atmosphere in my candle-lit room, during dinner.
Listening to South African radio is quite eye opening when you come from the U.S. You get a completely different perspective on the world. I hear topics that don’t appear in mainstream news in the U.S. For example, South Africa wants to start teaching Mandarin in schools as the Chinese invest more money than the U.S. and Europe in Africa.
There are two billion people who speak Mandarin; more than any other language in the world. Spanish is the second language, and English is the third most spoken language in the world. The South African radio interview mentioned how important it is for the next generation to speak Mandarin in South Africa. “It’s not colonization; it’s not compulsory.”
Finally, the last piece of wonderful news is that I now know the name of my 500-person village and Catholic school where I am going to be teaching English for the next two years. I visit my new site and school next week during our training. It’s a thatched-roof rondavel.
Come back and see my new home next week. So HAPPY, I get a shower for the first time in over a month, as we’re staying in a hotel for training on Friday-Monday.