Letter from Laura Still

Hi everyone,

Two weeks ago today I was sworn-in as a Peace Corps volunteer, again.  Hurray! I’ve been in my permanent site (Fincha) for 11 days now and am slowly settling in. I miss being around all my fellow volunteers but I’m also really happy to be in my own town and to start shaping my own
experience. Fincha is quite possibly the most beautiful place in the entire world. The view from my health center is breath taking. Walk out of the health center and you see Lake Finchaa at the foot of the highlands (small  mountains). Walk past the maternity ward and the view
is of a beautiful, green, farmland valley with rolling hills behind it. Still hard to believe this is actually my home.

I’ve only just gotten here and its been an interesting transition. Simultaneously I have everything and nothing to do. I have a language to learn (I’m becoming fairly conversational in Oromifa but of course there is a long way to go), a town to discover, people to meet and relationships to build, a health center to become familiar with, a Community Needs Assessment to research and prepare and projects to plan and contribute to. There is plenty to do, but structuring time is very difficult here, its hard to know where to even begin. I have no office (yet), no work hours, no concrete tasks to perform. To solve this scheduling issue I give myself silly tasks to perform. For example some of my daily tasks are: walk down a street I’ve never walked down before, tell 2 people in detail why I’m here, learn 10 new
Oromifa words, learn 3 people’s names, interview a worker at the health center, accept someone’s invitation for coffee…. My American brain is always telling my this isn’t work and asking when my ‘real’ work will begin, but then I try to remember how important all these steps are to  understanding the strengths and potential project areas
of the community.

I’m 4 hours out on a dirt road in a tiny town yet I’m surfing the internet, it’s a strange combination. I have a very unreliable wireless internet connection in my house which will be very helpful when researching projects and looking for grants (and you know facebooking and wasting time). The previous volunteer set the bar very high, folks on the street enjoy constantly reminding me of his numerous accomplishments and his excellent language skills. Challenge accepted.

Life is good. I’m still figuring out how to cook here, it’ll be
popcorn, peanut butter and raw carrots for dinner tonight. I’ve been reading a lot and watching tv shows and doing P90X. I’m moving to a new house where there are cows and sheep grazing in my lawn and there is a special area just for me to plant tomatoes.

My permanent mailing address is:

Laura Still PCV
PO Box 06
Wollega Zone
Fincha, Ethiopia
East Africa

“Air Mail”

Take care everyone and keep in touch as much as possible,

Laura

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Trinity United Methodist Church is not a church that has all the answers, but we do know the source of our hope, healing, and love. Your continued participation is welcome as we seek to serve God through each other, our community, and our world. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would simply like to talk. Trinity United Methodist Church is a dynamic community of people, who through their trust in God's faithfulness, strive to provide an inclusive, joyful, loving, and caring environment. In this community, people can find spiritual nurture and growth, mutual support of individual needs, and a sense of family. Reaching out through vital and creative worship, people-centered programs, and social and environmental stewardship, this congregation serves the local and global communities.

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