Monday, June 16, 2008

The Arrival

After training for two days in PA and a 3 hour bus ride to JFK airport in New York, the only thing between Kinsey & Africa was a 24-hour plane ride. Wednesday night her plane landed in South Africa where the group of 26 stayed one night before another plane ride into Madagascar.
Although we have not had direct contact with her, my mom talked to the Peace Corps today and they informed her that Kinsey's plane had landed safely on Thursday, June 12. After arriving in Madagascar the group was headed into the Peace Corps Training Center for a night of rest. On Friday, after receiving her final shots, Kinsey went home with her host family in the capital city.

Prior to stepping on the plane, Kinsey told us it could be up to 3 months before we have any form of contact with her besides snail mail. During this time, she will be immersed in a new culture, forced to learn a new language and adapt to a new way of life. Please try to take a few minutes out of your busy lives to send her some words of encouragement and keep her in your daily thoughts & prayers.

Until we hear more,

Mallery Wethers
Kinsey Favorite Sister

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Misaotra means 'Thank you' in Malagasy. And I want to thank all of you who have supported me with my PC journey so far. I've told several of you this, but again, I could not make this journey without all of the support and love from my family and friends. I had a post all typed up and saved on my flash drive, but the computer in this hotel room (yes, we all have a computer in our rooms with free wireless Internet) will not let me open my document for safety purposes, AND wireless is not free at the Traverse City airport where I originally typed it. Oh the pains of wireless...what will Madagascar bring??

So, we've finished our first day of Pre-Service Training in Philadelphia...paperwork, ice-breakers, formal information about PC and Madagascar, sharing anxieties and aspirations. In a few minutes, I'm meeting up with some of my fellow trainees to get some dinner, during which we will all take our first dose of anti-malaria medication. It looks like I only have to take mine once a week. Others have to take it daily based on their medical needs. Hopefully, I don't get nightmares from it. We will not receive any more shots until we get to Madagascar.

Some other interesting info. from the day:
*There is another PC group here getting ready to go to Burkina Faso.
*There are 26 trainees in my group, including me--8 boys, 18 girls.
*On any given day in Madagascar there are approximately 140 PCVs and 30 PC staff members.
*Around 3 groups of trainees head to Madagascar each year, so there will be some people leaving soon after we arrive and more coming later on in the year.

More later; I need to eat. Plus, my head needs a break. I'm on overload with all of the different emotions and new information. I LOVE YOU ALL!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Miss Me?

I know I haven't even left yet, but many of you promised to write and/or send me something. Plus, if you write to me, you will make me VERY happy. Think of how sad you'd be if you went to the other side of the world and no one from home even sent you a birthday card (January 11). It makes my day to get a real letter here in the U.S. You'll be my Favorite Person of the Day if I receive a letter from you while I'm in Madagascar. Anyway, here are a few thoughts and ideas based on what I've heard from other volunteers.

1. Don’t send anything in a regular envelope that doesn’t feel like a letter…I most likely will not get it. Send it in one of those padded envelopes; I’ve heard they work the best.

2. If you send a postcard, put it in a plain envelope because the pretty picture on the postcard will make it more appealing to those prone to have sticky fingers.

3. I’ve read that writing religious phrases such as “Jesus Saves” or “God is Love” helps your letters arrive. My theory: the potential thief is much more aware of the naughty act he is committing if there is a reminder of God on the envelope.

4. This is a tough one since I've heard different opinions. If you fill out one of those custom forms that lists what’s in the package you are sending, do not write the real price of things…the more an item costs and the higher the price listed on the package, the more likely it will be stolen. Some people suggested writing “gift” on the form instead of what was actually in the package…I’m not sure this would fool anyone, especially the postmaster who wants to know exactly what is being sent. So, just write general terms on the custom forms…don’t be too specific and don’t put the real price of anything. Then again, some people say to tell exactly what is in the package on the custom form in order to make it easier and avoid delaying your package in customs because they can’t tell what’s in it.

Is anything in this world 100% black/white, yes/no? Just flip a coin and see what happens. Or better yet, if your last name begins with A-L, correctly label your custom forms; M-Z, please list general terms only and keep the cost low on the forms. We'll experiment and see what works best. Anyone have a hypothesis…?

5. If you send me shoes (I’m not even gone yet, I know. And please don't send me shoes unless I ask:), send one at a time. The thieves are less likely to steal if there is only one shoe, and if they do steal, they still only get one…

6. My mom asked the postmaster how much Airmail would cost to Madagascar and he said 94 cents.

I wonder if anyone has sent me a letter already so that I have mail waiting for me when I get there...? 4 1/2 days and a wake up.