So I made it to Swaziland. After leaving for the airport at 4:30am on Tuesday June 25th. I flew to Philadelphia where I met my group for the Peace Corps. My fight was a little delayed and I was a little frazzled but it all worked out in the end. We did a lot of get to know you activities and got to learn more about the Peace Corps and the expectations for service. There are 34 people in my group. We have 2 married couples, one of which is in their sixties. Two more women are in their sixties and then the rest of us are in our early 20s to early 30s.
We slept in Philly for the night and then met in the lobby at 2:30am for a bus ride to JFK airport in New York. I got a glimpse of the New York skyline and Time Square but that was it for my New York sight seeing. We arrived at the airport at 5:30am and our airline did not even open to check us in until 7:30am. We checked in and did the security business but still have about 3.5 hours before our plane would board at 11:15am. We spent a lot of time as a group sleeping on the floor at JFK and relishing in the use of water fountains since this would soon be a luxury we would not have.
The flight to Johannesburg, South Africa was 14.5 hours of flying time. It was a long day! By the time we arrived in South Africa we had been traveling for 24 hours since the beginning of our bus ride. I tried to sleep on the flight, but did not have much success. The meals were alright and we had some good movie options but it is hard to sleep when you are sitting upright and the people around you are snoring.
We arrived in South Africa around 8:30am on June 27th. That would have been about 1:30am Chicago time. We then split up in two groups for the flights to Swaziland because the airport is so small and the plane would not be able to accommodate all of us. I was in the second group so I had about 3 hours to kill at the Joburg airport. My group worked on exchanging some money and attempting to sleep before hopping on the next flight for Swaziland.
The flight to Swaziland was 35 minutes. It was beautiful and quick. It felt so amazing to finally be reaching the place that I have been talking about for so long. The “Welcome to the Kingdom of Swaziland” was the best sight I had seen in days.
From the airport we took a short bus ride to the training facility that we will be staying at for the next five days. We get to stay in dorm style rooms while we start our training. On Tuesday July 2nd we will be moving in with our host families for PST (Pre-Service Training). The Peace Corps loves acronyms by the way.
We have limited internet now while we live at the training facility but that will be changing come Tuesday. I also will not be getting my Swazi phone until the end of July so contact will be limited. So far things are going great though and I am beyond happy to be here. I am making great friends, eating some good food, learning a lot of new things, and just taking it all in.