I apologize for that rhyme, but not so much that I'm going to change it.
Staging, as I suspected, was somewhat like freshman orientation, with everyone a little overwhelmed and excited. As soon as I walked into the hotel lobby, two other volunteers grabbed me (the luggage is a dead give away). We went to lunch with one more girl, and talking about all our anxieties helped get me out of the I Just Said Goodbye to My Family mode. The whole staging event reinvigorated my enthusiasm about my service. I didn't even cry today!
Out of our group of 35, 20 will work with SED, or small enterprise development. There are 15 community health and AIDS prevention (CHAP) volunteers, including myself. There are 6 men, and 29 women. All the CHAP volunteers are women. And that's pretty cool.
This morning, I went for a lovely run in our nation's wonderful capital. The fact that my knee gave me almost no trouble made the run extra lovely. And my next run will be in Togo. I can't wait.
We start tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., with a fun trip to the clinic for vaccinations. Our flight doesn't leave until 10 p.m., but we're going to the airport at 3. I suspect that five to six hours in the aiport will be enough time for me to finish reading the Togo section of my West Africa guidebook. Or else, I can get well-acquainted with Dulles.
One last note on packages - I heard that anything weighing over five pounds will cost me about $20 to retrieve from the Togolese postal workers. More on that if I ever get my $43 package of books.