Thursday, June 11, 2009

It’s been quite a while since the last time I blogged, but I have been extremely busy getting acclimated to the climate that I’ve been placed in for the next two years. To be perfectly honest, I wasextremely worried about my service after realizing that weeks had gone by and I continued to be handed more paperwork and less opportunity to go out into the field and begin service. I decided to bring this observation to the attention of my supervisor and was quickly granted the access that I needed in order for both parties, (myself and the NGO) to benefit.

Currently, I am responsible for the project management of a program that provides group therapy to 100 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC). The program consist of 10 Caregivers ( each responsible for 10 children) mentoring children at school as well as at home. Caregivers discuss with the participants, information that will lead to healthier lifestyles . My duties consist of regular monthly visit, managing the budget and designing and implementing special projects. In the upcoming weeks, I am planning a two day event to celebrate the end of the program's first year. I’ve organized activities to provide exciting ways for the children to reflect and have invited a storytelling that will be telling fables about peer pressure, poverty, living with HIV and other health related issues. In addition, there will be face painting (guess who’s going to paint those doll faces) and the day will conclude with recreational time and an opportunity for the children to give feedback on their experience within the program and suggestions on how I can improve their experience for the upcoming year.

Yes, I know, I resigned from one rat race to join another...and no the experience is much different from my career in the States but equally as challenging! I guess, in some strange off-beat way, I enjoy the stress of project management! Yes, I said it!

I must get back to work - and will do my best to blog more often. I received a few threatening emails so I suppose I better manage this forum a little better or something bad might



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I, Nisah Abdul-Sabur, pledge to...

I am super excited to be an official Peace Corps volunteer!- Yes I know that you were probably under the impression that I was already a volunteer for the PC long before I left Philly but not quite... I was more like a trainee.

Swearing in ceremony took place in a small town south of Tzaneen. All 25 of us ( yes we all made it from staging) swore in making it the first class in I don't know how many years, to ever swear in with the same amount of people that it left the states with.

Now I am permanently placed in Tzaneen and loving it. I am but a short walk from my office and I have an amazing view. There is a small creek where local folks go fishing and mountains as far as the eye can see. It does get a little warm for my taste but the breeze is magnificent!

So far I have been spending my time at work assisting with Admin duties as I patiently wait for my job description to be determined. I am but a 25 minute walk from the mall so I have been grabbing odds and ends to transform the flat into something cozy... I haven't quite gotten used to cooking with a hot plate but I am trying... I have also began to study for the GRE and reading any book I can find (these include the books I grabbed and snatched from the PC library in Pretoria and borrowed books from other PCs) .

Pics coming soon people- be calm!

Til' we meet again...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tzaneen, Limpopo

I am extremely excited to learn that I will be serving in Tzaneen!

To give a little background Tzaneen is a large town situated in the Mopani district of the Limpopo province in South Africa. It is in a fertile region with tropical and subtropical agriculture taking place and the town itself holds a population of around 30,000.
The distance from Tzaneen to Johannesburg is 4 hours or so. There are many tourist attractions to the small town of Tzaneen, including: The Beautiful Tzaneen Dam, Magoebaskloof, Haenertsburg, and the Pekoe View Tea Estate. I have even heard talk of a Baobab Tree, which is regarded as the largest tree in the southern hemisphere. It has been transformed into a bar that seats 15 and serves beer, scones and some other yummy things. There is a fabulous coffee shop named the Purple Daisy and a bubbling brook a few feet from my flat! The town is also situated close to a number of game reserves and home to a ridiculous amount of B&Bs. As far as the climate is concerned it is mostly sunshine, long summer days with pleasant winters. A wide range of tropical fruits are grown in the Tzaneen area, notably mangoes, bananas, oranges and avocados.

This past week, I visited Tzaneen for a site visit and was happy to find that I would be working with an organization that understands my role as a PC NGO advisor and is prepared to support me in this effort. I was also pretty excited to learn that I would be living in a flat about a 15 minute walk from the mall! Wow! Some how when I think Peace Corps, I think of grass huts, bucket baths and boiling drinking water. I suppose this is due to the fact that I have been living that type of life for the past 6 weeks! lol


I feel that I would be doing you blog readers a disservice if I do not share with you my challenges along with my joys. Here in South Africa, because of my appearance, I am expected to speak the language of whatever area I find myself in. It seems that South Africans know very little about African Americans and don't understand that I am in fact just that and not a person that refuses to speak my native tongue or a foreigner that is here to take employment jobs from them! I have been referred to as coconut (white on the inside black on the outside) I have encountered resentment because I sound like a "white person" and I am educated ( both from whites and blacks), Kaffir, foreigner, etc. I have been meet with a ridiculous amount of hostility from the Black African community, which has, unfortunately, altered my perception of them and has dampened my experience thus far. It is amazing the disparity between the way White Americans are received by the community as opposed to Black American who are fulfilling the same duties as their counterparts. Internalized Racism comes to mind...

On a brighter note, although I wasn't aware of this challenge, I am determined to work through these misconceptions within my community so that I can serve powerfully... What that means is making an extra effort to learn the language, integrate into the community, and be prepared to have those difficult conversations with people who look just like me...

I suppose that is enough for now. Stay tuned and feel free to leave a comment so that I know that you've been reading!



Monday, March 16, 2009

I hope this info finds you well... By this time I have been in training for about 6 weeks now. I have been having a interesting time- to say the least so sit back, relax and enjoy.

I should start with my typical day...

6:30 am (6 hours behind eastern time) I wake up and take a bucket bath- yes you read correctly- this consist of boiling hot water mixed with rain water to create lukewarm water in a bucket. lol

7:20 am - I am fully dressed and eating cornflakes-my breakfast of choice- before saying good bye to my host Mom ( a Pedi woman that is supose to be speaking to me in my target language but would rather practice her English- and leave me to struggle in my language class).

7:30 am- I walk out to the main road through a dirt road past the intoxicated men (wait am I in Philly?) and walk to my language class.

8-10 am - Ke ithuta Sepedi-meaning I am learning Sepedi. It has been a challenge to learn a foreign language- but I am doing well if I do say so myself!

10-10:30 am Travel to Marapyane Teachers College for technical training

10:30-11 am Nako Teye-Tea Time! Yes we stop learning in the middle of the day to have tea and finger sandwiches- is there a reason why this hasn't been implemented in the states?

11-12:30 pm More training

12:30-1:30 Lunch Yay African Hamburgers- the hamburger consists of 4 slices of bread, Acha (red stuff), chips ( frenchfries), chicken Bologna (what?) and some special sauce!

1:30-5 pm Training

5-5:30 pm travel home

5:30-6:30 pm Cook dinner - pap(its like over cooked grits), boiled chicken, carrots and cabbage. This meal will be prepared by electric stove or open fire. ( Can you imagine- Nisah Abdul-Sabur cooking over a fire!)

6:30-7:30 pm Chow Time

7:30-8:30 pm Study time- Language is a trip

8:30-9:00 pm Another exciting bucket bath!

9:10 Lights out!

And now you have it, the reason why I haven't had the time to update this blog on a regular basis. And as you've guessed it, I have to go so until next time my friends. Hopefully you won't have to wait too long!

Oh and write me- send me letters and Instyle magazine and mixed CDs of the latest songs! I would really appreciate that!

Nisah Abdul-Sabur
Peace Corps
P.O. Box 9536
Pretoria 001
South Africa


Friday, January 30, 2009

Whats been happening...

Okay so this has truly been a long time coming but I knew that a change would come...a journey that I have been interested in taking ever since I graduated from FAMU...

What I've been doing...

In July I resigned from my position as a Project Manager for a non-profit organization to prepare for my Peace Corps volunteer experience. Unfortunately, I was unable to leave in July and by the time October rolled around; I learned that November wasn't going to happen either. I was a little disappointed but quickly found meaningful work to occupy my time. I currently serve as a Peace and Love Executive Board Member, a non-profit organization and as a vendor for the PVH Corporation. Oh yes and of course, I party in my spare time!

What I will be doing...

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I will facilitate the development of a strong and effective organization by working with key decision makers of local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) on their fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic.I will not have a preconceived set of answers, but I have the skills, ideas and knowledge to enable an organization to meet the needs of the population. I will work as an advisor to local, national, or international nongovernmental organizations that deal with youth and health education.Typical projects include:• Increasing an NGOs organizational capacity and sustainability• Creating strategic and funding plans• Raising public awareness• Conducting community outreach• Recruiting, training, and mentoring NGO workers and volunteers• Developing mission statements, bylaws, and other documentationI will be serving in South Africa and will be placed in one of four provinces surrounding JoBurg. On Feb 2nd I will leave for the Staging period that happens to be taking place in Philly for two days. On the 4th I will fly out of New York and by the 6th I will begin training in South Africa!

I am extremely excited about this opportunity and I am thankful for the family and friends that put up with me as I upset my life to make this happen. For bi-weekly updates, save the blog address. Once I get settled in, I will purchase a cell so that I can be reached. Send your love and support, I will definitely need it and make plans to visit for 2010!
World Cup JoBurg baby!


Monday, April 7, 2008

At Your Request!

At the request of my older, wiser cousin, I decided to create a blog to inform friends and family of my preparations as I finalize my plans to serve as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Advisor in the Peace Corps. Its been a long time coming! After spending sometime in Ghana last summer, I returned to the states certain of my future to continue to serve abroad. I am excited, but growing a little impatient with the Peace Corps application process. I plan to be free of paperwork by May 2nd and depart in the beginning weeks of July 2008!

Until then, I will update you with the details of my interestingly boring life!