Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I have arrived in Macedonia (or Македонија in Macedonian). It has been a great experience so far. We were the first group ever to arrive in the new Alexander the Great Airport (opened only days before we landed) in the capital of Skopje and there were lots of current PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) and Peace Corps Staff there to meet us. Our luggage was loaded into a semi-truck and the 36 weary travelers onto a school bus and driven to our first training site, approximately half an hour from the capital. We are staying at a hotel here in Kumanovo until Friday when we leave for our training communities and our host families.

We have had trainings on medical (same diseases as USA), safety and security (stay away from the dogs and don't pet them and stay vigilant), language (I can now introduce myself in Macedonian), and ethnically diverse Macedonia (home to Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Roma as the main groups) to name just a little of what we have learned thus far.

My fellow MAK-16ers are amazing. Everyone comes from a different background and brings lots of unique skills and experiences to the table. Our group has people from Washington, Kansas, Washington D.C., Georgia, Texas, California, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, New York, and many other states. We collectively speak 13 different languages (or around that number). We have top business executives who quit their jobs and people fresh from college. The age of our group ranges from 21 to people in their 60s. However, we all are here with three common goals (and they happen to be the Peace Corps goals): 1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, 2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and 3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

One of the girls in our group has been creating a series of short videos about life in Macedonia so far. There is one video from the airport and one from the first few days in Kumanovo. For some of the new followers, there is an awesome YouTube video that was created by a former volunteer, but its content has excited many of us.

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