I’m still alive!

I would like to apologize for two things here today.  The first is that I haven’t posted anything lately, and the second is that the next blog entry will unfortunately not be coming today.  Things here have gotten incredibly busy this last month, and it’s been difficult for me to find the time (or energy) to write as much as I did in the first month.  What I wanted to do in this entry is just to let everyone know the latest update in my plans.  After I had been here for about a month, I started looking for ways that I might be able to extend my stay in Swaziland.  I contacted other NGOs and community centers, trying to find a way to find support to remain here longer; I asked everyone I knew to let me know if they heard of any openings anywhere.  I had a few leads, but they all fell through.  And then, all of a sudden, the people at Save the Children said, "Oh! We didn’t realize you were willing to stay so much longer!  We could definitely support you to do that if you wanted to."  Well, ok!  So now I have been put in charge of our application for a big grant from the U.S. Government, PEPFAR (The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), and I plan to stay here until next July or August, with enough support from Save the Children to buy food.  I believe that it will actually become a very Peace Corps-like existence for me, but on my own terms, which is a blessing.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I will not be returning to the U.S. soon, as I had planned….I’ve caught the "Swazi bug," as it’s called.  In the weeks leading up to my original departure date (which was August 6th), I realized more and more how unprepared I was to leave Swaziland.  Mentally, I was not all ready to be plunged back into the culture I had left behind just a short time ago.  While I miss all of my wonderful family and friends very much, I felt like I still had things to do and learn here, and I am very grateful that I will have the chance to stay longer.  I have deferred my enrollment in graduate school for now in favor of gaining the valuable practical experience that this job will offer me, but I still plan to earn an advanced degree when I get back.  I promise that after the next few weeks, I will start posting on the blog again; at the moment, I write all day at work and then come home, take a short break to eat dinner, and write more, and by the time I’m done with my work, I have no energy left to channel my experiences into prose.  For now, I want to thank all of you who helped me get here again for your support.  You are all more than welcome to visit me in Swaziland this year, but if we don’t see each other in Africa, I look forward to seeing you again on U.S. soil!

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