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Published: February 17th 2011
My host family's house in La Gloria
Wow turns out I can't attribute my low entry frequency to my lack of internet... I think I had more motivation to write blog entries in Vanuatu when I had internet once every 4 months. I have no excuse now other than laziness, I now have electricity and internet access that is almost perfectly reliable 24/7.
Since the last entry, I have completed Pre Service Training, sworn in as a volunteer (for the second time), gone on my 30 day vacation to the US and Mexico, and arrived here at my new site, La Gloria on January 21st.
Going to the US this time coming from Costa Rica rather than Vanuatu was not quite as exciting as from Vanuatu. I mean I had coffee makers and electric frying pans in my training house in San Gabriel so the coffee maker didn't entertain me this time. I also discovered that thanks to Costa Rica I have become addicted to coffee and my standards of good coffee have significantly been raised. This is going to prove to be a challenge when I return to the US although I still find myself enjoying a good Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee despite being a coffee
view of the church in La Gloria on the walk to Pueblo Nuevo
It was a little difficult returning to my site to live with a Tico host family after being in the comforts of home. It was an adjustment to feel like I don't have freedom to cook whatever I want, eat at the time I want, control the TV, not to mention speaking and being surrounded by spanish. So it took a few weeks, but I'm now feeling settled in and adjusted. I'm enjoying the rice and beans diet again for the most part. I think I can count a whole two meals I've had that didn't include rice and beans since January 21st when I arrived. But they are very nutritious and now I don't think a meal would feel complete without them. I am feeling the coconut milk void, however, and I have been deceived about having coconuts at my site. As it turns out, they are seasonal here and will be ready in April, but they are available for purchase in the nearest town. (This would be Parrita, about an hour bus ride south.) It just doesn't seem right to buy a coconut, but I guess I'm not on an island anymore I just have to
Me and the kids
playing in the plaza
accept that I might have to buy a coconut in addition to papaya or other tropical fruits I had year round. In exchange for buying fruits, I now have other luxuries which I very much appreciate, so it's give and take. Although my bucket shower skills have proven to come in handy as the running water is not 100% reliable. Every time I take a bucket shower, it reminds me of Vanuatu and makes me miss my small little bamboo bath house and how I had to use 3 ropes and clothespins to keep the door closed.
I realize now how much easier it was to arrive at site almost fluent in Bislama in Vanuatu versus struggling with spanish and trying to get to know the community and people. This has been a huge challenge, which is slowly getting easier for me lately as I have been meeting more people and starting to be involved in projects. In Wowo I felt I could have meetings and start projects right away, whereas here, I still don't feel comfortable enough with my spanish to hold a business class or workshop for example. I did hold my first meeting last week in
spanish, which went surprisingly well, to determine interest in English classes. I discovered there is very high interest here in learning english, and so I just recently started classes this week for adults. There's about 15 participants and we hold class from 6-7:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. There will also be a separate english class for the young adults on Friday evenings. I will also be starting to work at my host mom's school Thursdays and Fridays, which is in a neighboring community called Pueblo Nuevo, and is an hour hilly but scenic walk from La Gloria. This is a very small community and the primary school has only four students, all of whom are at different grade levels: 1st, 4,5, and 6th grade. I'll be helping her in teaching english and also teaching methods and activity ideas. I feel a little bit like a TEFL volunteer right now, but all of these projects are greatly helping me with my spanish as well as get to know my community and become known and trusted, which is necessary for me to start working with entrepreneurs or business related activities. I actually need a lot more spanish for my english classes than
Iguanas live here.. this guy or gal ran into our house and my host dad had to pick him up to get him out from my sister's room
I originally thought as about 80% of the participants are starting from scratch. The participants correct me on my spanish during the classes, which is very helpful.
So I am starting to be a lot busier with these few projects. Right now we don't have text books, so it's very time comsuming to combine different resources and develop the lessons, and the place where I can make photocopies is about 20 minute walk uphill to get there so I need to plan carefully. I really enjoy the classes though, the participants are really enthusiastic about learning english and enjoy the activities. It's still amazing to me that everyone comes and is on time. ( I really feel like I am more on Tico time than people here, which is sad.)
Also, not project related, I have joined a little Zumba exercise class that my host sister and about 7 other ladies do a few times a week. It's really fun and a great workout so I'm excited about this and it helps me to learn some more Latin dance moves so I won't look too much like a norteamericana dancer when we have a baile!
In other news, the community here has a pet deer named Samantha, and when I came for my site visit in November she was pregnant. For the first few weeks when I arrived at site she was missing and everyone said she probably got killed ( that happened to another pet deer here in the past) but she came back a few weeks ago. I just saw her with her baby yesterday for the first time, Samantha comes right to the door for food! It's such a precious site and one of those "this is why i love Peace Corps" moments.
Thanks for reading friends! I will try to update more frequently!
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