Sunday, February 28, 2010


This weekend, several volunteers, including myself, got together for some r and r in a nearby town. As usual, talk is flying a mile a minute (should say kilometer) with people eager to catch up. It seems every time i share with other volunteers what i am doing in my village, i inspire them. This surprises me, but also really makes me happy. I apparently have made more headway in 6 months than many volunteers do in a year and a half. The match, me and my village and co-workers, is providentially great. I love the kalahari (if you had not figured that one out already). I like people, and they have accepted me with open arms. So is it luck, i don't know but i think not totally. Anyway so far, so good and i think i have been working too hard. My major challenge now is learning my limits and how to say no. Today, i accidentally met the other librarian at the only other library in our entire province, and intived her to our workshop this friday. I thought i was finding the municipality but this was even better. Incidentally i am looking at the most gorgeous yellow full moon i might have ever seen. Peachy keen!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Comfort food

When i was growing up, my mom made sure each birthday was special for each of five kids by preparing our favorite meals. When it was my turn, my siblings would always complain at breakfast because i always chose the same dish, and they didn't like it: egg gravy. It is a cream gravy (bechamel sauce) with boiled eggs grated into it, eaten atop dry toast or saltine crackers. I had a workshop at school on friday and served curried egg salad sandwiches. There was some leftover filling, which i just ate for lunch, served atop a freshly made roti (indian whole wheat flatbread). It quite reminded me of said childhood food and was really nice. Aside: i use martha stewart's recipe for the sandwiches and everybody, even if they don't like boiled eggs, likes them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

jenneffer is running in a marathon

I can't remember if I blogged about this or not, but my camera got stolen from my backpack by some sneaky Xhosa children at Coffee Bay. Mind you, I was doing yoga alone on top of a mountain, overlooking white sands and the Indian Ocean, so I wasn't exactly *alert* and aware of my surroundings. Talk about bliss... I guess I'm as cool as a cucumber, because when I discovered my camera was missing, I wasn't even that upset. It was actually sort of liberating; one less item to worry about. In the meantime, here are some pics of my artwork I made back in Oklahoma, and one here in SA. The SA painting is pretty crappy, but the view is from my front porch. We all have to start over somewhere...

So I'm running in a marathon next month. My physiotherapist is helping me get my hamstring and runners' leg all sorted out before then, and I'm working on trimming down after a meat and beer-filled holiday. Here is the e-mail I sent to friends and family, if you want to donate:

Hello friends and family,

Firstly, I am doing well! I enjoyed my Christmas in Africa more so than any I can remember. No Christmas carols blaring from shops beginning in October, no wrapping paper, no stuff. PCVs did hold a gift exchange on the beach, but we did "white elephant" style, where we re-gifted or gave stuff we already had. The entire backpackers shared a Christmas Eve meal, and I dined with a gentleman from Greece and some Afrikaaners on scrumptious salads, homemade Xhosa bread, slow-roasted ham and turkey, and fruit and pudding for dessert.

If you want to email me, please use my gmail address instead of this one. I can check my email on my mobile phone, and it is way easier to read than yahoo. That address is

I am writing to alert you of my latest adventure, participation in a half marathon. Two Peace Corps volunteers started the foundation over five years ago, which sends local SA (South African) kids to high school who would not otherwise have the opportunity. It is quite common for black children, especially those living in rural villages, to miss out on education for severalreasons. As in the case in my village, there is only a primary school. If parents cannot afford transport (bus/taxi fare, sometimes lodging as well) and school fees, the child's education ends at grade seven or six, in some cases. This foundation has sent quite a few kids to school and paid for lodging, uniforms, etc. Each runner (that's me!) must raise at least a hundred dollars (total)for the cause. Runners can choose to run five, 21k or 56 k; i chose the twenty one. Training in the Kalahari has been great. It is dry, flat and meditatively beautiful. I have lost 15 pounds since I arrived in SA, mostly by increasing running- and it has been one of thebest decisions I have made!

The race is March 28th so there is still time to donate. Go to and click the donate pic in the top right-hand corner. Make sure to put my name in the Longtom marathon runner field so they will know who to attribute the money to. When you click the donate pic, it opens up a secure https page so you know it is secure. If you want to see the peace corps side, go to TO CLARIFY: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DONATE $100. You can donate $1, $5, $10, however much you want. I must collect $100 TOTAL, at least, to participate in the marathon.

Tuck is coming to visit sa and support me and other volunteers at the race, maybe at the water station? (ha ha) Then our reward is a trip to Capetown. So, exciting times lie ahead! All my love to each of you! And if you don't want to donate, that is definitely okay. Pass the word along to anyone who you think would be interested, though.


In other news, I am glad to be back in the Kalahari after spending a week training in Mmpumalamga, where it is sticky, humid as hell, and full ok skeeters. Also Joburg, where it is already starting to become cool and people live like they do in America. Give me the hot, hot sun, the sweat, a bucket to haul my own water and the dry, desert air, baby!