My big project, Finishing the Ward 4 AMICAALL/Nhlangano Town Council Social Center, the PCPP


Peace Corps Partnership Proposal (PCPP) with the Nhlangano Town Council (NTC)

First application draft submitted Feb, 2011
Approved & Funding Begins on PC website May 17th
Construction started on Oct 24th.
All exterior construction done by Dec 20th.
Grand Opening Jan 5th, 2012
Round 2 of the Funding arrives in early January.
Interior Only Construction Restarts Jan 16th.
Construction all done Feb 16th (minus a million tiny To Do's)
Project Officially Closed May 4th, 2012

Let the children play, learn & be safe.

As of Aug 25th, 2012, I am no longer a PCV, I am now RPCV (Return Peace Corps Volunteer). This blog is my experience in Swaziland between June of 2010 & Aug of 2012. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Final Blog Post

So today I have been away from Swaziland exactly one month.  And in the United States for 23 days.

The first question always is about how is the readjustment going.  Well?

I still very much value the easy all the time available HOT SHOWER.  No doubt.

Next the GREAT FOOD always available and easy to get to.  (Cheesecake Factory, Multiple Mexican places, LA hamburgers and Ice Cream)

And how easy it is to go see movies.  I love the fact that I don't have to plan an overnight trip, travel 2 hours in 2 different Khumbis one way just to get to the only theater.  (Although for the record, I loved going to that theater and having those escapes where I watched all 5 movies that screen offered, usually 4 in one day at a theater which only had 4 screens & no 3-D in the Ezulweni Valley)  

I have spent these 23 days at my parents place eating my Dad's great cooking, working with my Mom on a photo picture book of the South Africa & Swaziland trip they took with me in Dec & Jan.  And hanging with Rachel & Cy and her belly.  So the closeness to family is great.  Plus, visiting my local comic shop to pick up 186 GI Joe comics they have been holding for me since May of 2011.  (I returned then from Swaziland to pick up 109 GI Joe comic books).  So for the record that's 295 individual GI Joe comics that I didn't stop collecting during my service (June 2010 to September 2012) even though I wasn't in the country.  And again for the record, I will find a time to read them all in hand, maybe. (I have read all them digitally, yes the digital comic is great)

I have started to really get my 2 years of experience story wrapped up into the short conversations I get to have with people about my time there.  I have seen numerous HIV/AIDS/Condom/Safe Sex billboards all around LA and look at them completely different now. I try to spend most of it talking about my Social Center project since it is what I am the most proud of and was a huge accomplishment for me that will have a very long lasting effect on Nhlangano.  But the conversion always seems to veer towards HIV.  I certainly am qualified to talk about it having just lived in the worst region in worst country for HIV in the world.  (At least % wise and death rate wise).  Which of course is not a positive topic.  But it was a huge part of my service, so like coaching soccer and helping a couple of Swazi's on personal level, it is what I accomplished there.

I am one of the lucky PCV's I didn't have any major problems during my service, no serious illness, accidents or sickness.  I hardly had any problems with other PCVs, no serious emotional attachments (ie girlfriends/relationships) and only minor conflicts with the PC staff and PC policies.  Which in the long run where pretty minor and pretty much only at the beginning.  I was able to integrate into my community very well even though I was very unsuccessful in learning the language.

I have art sitting in my parents place waiting to be framed that will always remind me of my time there. And have a huge new appreciation for art since Swaziland as country very much lacks creativity in art and thought.  And I have created my own style called Dotillism (kind of like Pointillism). Art is such an important aspect of life and when it goes away it is the kind of thing that lowers life's experience.  The Power of Art is one of the most underrated world powers.  Hollywood has cornered the market on it and maybe someday some how it will really figure out how to help make big change through it's work instead of just entertaining the world.  But the world outside the US almost needs the entertainment more then we do.  In Swaziland, the lack of art is something that needs to be addressed on top of many of the issues that appear in the newspapers. Because creativity helps solve problems and creative thought is something to be encouraged.  There are lots of individuals working daily to figure out how to make their lives better, Swaziland is a young country and small with both of those type of insecurities but technology like Facebook, internet and cell phone are transforming the people there.  In the 2 years I was there pretty much every Swazi joined Facebook, got a much better cell phone many now have Blackberrys (or the Chinese knock off versions) and they communicate through status updates & messages more than talk, phone or email.  Since it is the best & cheapest way to communicate there.  I hope the best for the country as it struggles to find its voice in the big world and for them to find democracy.

I realized from the first day that I arrived in Atlanta on June 24th, 2010 that Peace Corps always, ALWAYS had an ending date.  I never had the intention of staying, sure the possibility was there, but it wasn't home.

But somewhere in the 2 years it did become home and then like most of my life, it was time to move on to go somewhere else.  I have lived one of the those lives that fit into no model and rarely has kept me in the same place with the same people.

Peace Corps has helped me realize that I was not meant to be in one place with just one person doing just one thing.  Sure Hollywood kept me around for 12 years, but those jobs are the epitome of the previous statement.  During my service I really hoped that I could find a job working outside the US and only return to visit then head off to some job somewhere.  But God has his own plans.  And for the time being it appears that is for me to stay around in LA for a little while.  A perfect living situation with a good friend renting a room in house with a pool & pool table & regular poker game and its cheap came around.  Easy to move into which in the last few days, I have moved all of my few items left in my life into the house (which pretty much is a few boxes of life mementos & my GI Joe comic book collection and stuff I brought back).  I bought a new bed & desk & a chair.  So just as I sold those items away in Swaziland I acquire them back here in LA.  Although much more expensive here then there plus this was my money not PC "settling  in" allowance.

And since this is written on a Tuesday by this Friday I will be in Florida working on the Obama campaign til November 6th (yes, a paid by stipend job) as a GOTV regional director.  That GOTV stands Get Out The Vote.  I will be on the ground in one of the most important battleground states in this upcoming election literally organizing to get people to those polls on election day.  AND even more important helping them early vote, absentee vote, etc.

Then when I get back to LA in November it will be time to welcome a new title for me which is Uncle. 

I have joked with my sister for the last 2 years my life and adventures in the Peace Corps have hogged the spotlight in the Eggebeen family.  But now the spotlight moves directly to her as she brings Mazzy Little Rose into the world.  Her Grandpa, Uncle & Father already have the phrase Mazzy will hear a bunch down, but we need more practice at "Don't tell your mother."  I did call my sister the other day and ask her if I could take Mazzy to a movie tomorrow, but she was busy kicking around a soccer ball in her mother, so couldn't go.

Anyway, I am very happy to be home.  That doesn't mean anything negative towards Swaziland and the friends and people I left behind.  But PC has a time limit.  And for me I was a PC volunteer exactly 2 years and a day (that would be a Leap Day in between).  I have a whole mess of new friends who will be spread out across the world.  I have learned that my management skills learned in the film business translate literally very well to managing projects in other countries in other languages and cultures because set work is controlled chaos at best and total disaster at worse.  And living and managing projects in another country under their rules, styles, cultures and pace is exactly that managing chaos.  Something I know I do very well.  My goal for the future is work in the disaster relief business helping organize the people who are supporting the people.  And Peace Corps was the first step in that direction and I hope to keep volunteering with organizations like the Red Cross & Habitat for Humanity in order to find a path to a job being sent to places that have just been destroyed and need to be put back together.

And so with a parting Thank You to my most faithful follower Charlie Escoffrey, I am now officially apart of an elite and special group of people called Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) which Charlie joined decades ago.  Many others paid attention to this blog and it received 8,873 pages views.  With most likely more to come. So Thanks to all of you and them.

So this final blog post wraps up this adventure.

So if the above wasn't enough then how to wrap up 2 years of service to ones country in words.

Well, I guess the best way is to say

"I just spent 2 years outside of America helping it look good and doing good and now I am back inside it's borders and I want to help keep it looking good and help keep it doing good in the world."

Thank You

Josh Eggebeen
RPCV Swaziland 2010-2012

ps If your reading this and want to get a hold of me directly find me on Facebook and send me a friend request/message saying you read my blog.   I will answer it.


  1. You summed it all up powerfully ... a remarkable essay on the last two years. Fun to read; your reflections on art were particularly moving. What a grand experience ... and now, the future. As I've said for years in preaching and teaching, "God's mighty and gracious hand will unfold the future for you!"

  2. I have enjoyed reading this final part as much as all the posts. Congratulations Josh, and Thank You for your service.