September 25, 2009

Look, I got a blog!

Apparently, blogs aren’t that difficult to get in this day and age. Personally, I prefer to think what my mother tells me: I’m a unique little snowflake and everyone will want to hear about my experiences.

(Of course, I’m a little nervous about what happens to snowflakes in Niger).

For those of you who may not know, I am beginning my Peace Corps service in a little under a month. On October 20th, I fly to Philadelphia to go through approximately twelve hours of orientation (or ‘staging,’ in Peace Corps lingo). During this period of extensive training, we all turn in our paperwork, receive our shiny new Peace Corps passports, get shot up with an absurd number of vaccines, and, oh yea here and there, get some tidbits of information on what the next two years of our life will be like. Once we are ensured not to fail, we fly out of JFK the next evening to Paris then on to Niamey, the capital city of Niger.

For my first three months in Niger, I will undergo Pre-Service Training. During this period, I will be living with a family in a small village just west of the capital and my days will be chock-full of intensive language classes, hands-on resource management training, and cultural instruction. My lessons will most likely be in Hausa, spoken by a majority of the population (though Niger is a former French colony and French is spoken in the government and the capital, most rural regions maintain native languages).

During this three-month period, I will probably have fairly consistent internet access at Peace Corps headquarters, so I will be checking my email and updating my blog as frequently as possible. So write me some emails folks (! I would love to hear from you, even though I’m positive that adapting to an entirely foreign culture will be a breeze, that I will feel not even the slightest twinge of homesickness or craving for those cowardly creature-comforts of life in the US. I am, of course, joking. I fully expect my time with the Peace Corps to be a struggle, with challenges and frustrations part and parcel with the rewards.

After three months, if I pass inspection, I will be sworn in and will move to a small village “en brousse” (in the countryside). From this point forward, internet access gets a tad sketchy (maybe once a month or two?). I’ll still be updating this blog as often as possible but the best way to reach me is…duh duh duh…SNAIL MAIL!! Yes, it still exists. So write me a letter, it will be a little like time travel and who doesn’t want that?

Katie Browne

Corps de la Paix

B.P. 10537

Niamey, Niger