Today, as a training group, we completed a 15 mile walk/hike through rice fields, mangrove swamps, and a small forest. Even though I have ran a distance close to this before, my legs still feel like jello (Sorry I'm so out of shape, Mom). Much of the terrain was muddy and I ended up carrying my teva sandals most of the way. We were often knee deep in water/plants/mud which made walking quite tiresome as my feet sunk further in with each step. At one point we had the choice to swim through a deep salt water swamp or walk around it. I went with the swimming group, and briefly raced (and beat) fellow trainees. At the end of the day, our tired, scratched up legs were met with a change of dry clothes and a wonderful dinner at Makasutu, a gorgeous river lodge retreat on one of the tributary rivers.
The long day was an amazing way to celebrate that training is almost over, and has definitely been my favorite in Africa so far. It's hard to believe I almost get to start working. My schedule for the next few weeks is as follows: 8/20 and 8/21 I will be in my training village, Madianna, for more training sessions and to spend time with my host family, then 8/22-8/25 I will be visiting my permanent site of Wurokang, and will also spend some time where I will be working, in Kwinella. After this site visit, we return to "Kombo", the main city, or where the Transit House and Office are, for sessions and to prepare for swearing in. After a few days there, I will visit my training village family in Madianna for Koriteh, the end of Ramadan celebration and then travel back to the transit house. September 2nd is the day I officially swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and commit, again, to two years of service. After we swear in, we shop for things for our new homes, with the help of our LCFs (language and cultural facilitators), and then move into site a few days later!