Monday, September 21, 2009


Adobe smell

I packed into the human tetris machine, called a combi ( or a bus), a couple of days ago as the rain came down on us. Mamita move here, you move there, now theres a butt in my face, oh thats an elbow, ok ok we're all in vamos vamos... lets go lets go. The window was cracked open which is not common, and I could smell the distinct combination of odors that seeps up when the rain comes pounding down... wet adobe, this musky thick scent that makes you feel like you're almost rolling in the dirt, the pine and eucalyptus, their freshness opening up my lungs. I've passed by this mountain many times now and every time I go by it it's different, I guess things change depending on how you look at them. I could feel the rain drops hit my face and I couldn't be happier. I was wet when I got home, no I didn't take an umbrella it was a bright sunshiny day when I left home. But it was ok, there hadn't been water at home for a couple days, no showers, daing! Electricity was also out for a while. It's a good thing I like candles in my room and moonlight outside.

I've been working with a group of kids at the local school, we've painted, drawn and are now well on our way to completing our world map mural. We chat as we paint and its interesting to see their faces of amazement when we talk about different cultures, and lands. They see me at the school and run up to me to say hi. The young girls run up to hug me or shake my hand and the boys mozy over slowly and wait for me to ask if they'll participate and don't want to stop or go home when its time to stop.

I've also started imputing data into excel that I've gathered from the last 5 years of school records. I'm going to be looking at different demographic variables to see if there is any correlation between those variables and drop out rate. Then hopefully address those things during my chats to help encourage high school completion. Along with self esteem chats, sex ed, values, respect, health, nutrition and so on. The world map kids really enjoy the painting and I love art so we will probably start up an art group. (Side note: I've started using oil paints and have completed my first couple of paintings. I continue to sketch and will probably do some water colors.) I plan on doing a community clean up and sorting out recyclables to use for both funds and material for our art group. I'm excited about the world of art! Oh and environmental sensitivity.

This week is my communities patron saint celebration. It will last one week. There are more than 5 pigs (no pig for me makes me violently sick), 3 cows, countless guinea pigs, over 250 cajas (one caja: a case of about twelve 40 oz. beers), several sacks of potatoes, rice, and bottles of hard liquor being donated by the community. Which means lots of food and lots of celebration. There will be fireworks, mass, and dancing. I know great time to pick sobriety as a way of life... ha.

Ciao for now, with my knit belt, bracelets, sandals, hair wrap, tattered clothes I realize I'm looking more crunchy granola as the days go by...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The first week and a half at site has been rather interesting, with
plenty of time for reflection. Admittedly the first week was at best
one of the most difficult weeks of, well, perhaps my life. A trying
period for me, I was indecisive, scared, lonely and confused. I kept
telling myself that perhaps I was not meant to be in the Peace Corps.
Perhaps I wasn’t strong enough.

When I was still in LA I attended a Peace Corps event with a bunch of
RPVC (returned peace corps volunteers), a friend of mine accompanied
me. There I had an interesting conversation with a man who’s probably
forgotten my name and face. But I still remember him telling me to
enjoy every moment of my experience and that when I came out of it,
that everything I went through will have scrapped against my conscious
until leaving it smooth, and that I would never be the same. I
remember that starry night at the rooftop of one of LA’s skyscrapers
well. I kept holding on to that memory last week, to no avail. It’s
hard being from home from its familiarity and its sense of freedom. I
however am able to count on an incredible support system composed of
family, friends (near and far) and even some PC staff. And I realized
that strength can come from the most unlikely places and even when you
feel there’s nothing left, it’s just time to stop, listen to the
birds, the wind through the leaves, the rapid beat of the
hummingbird’s wings or whatever may be around and find the strength
you thought was lost.

For now I will continue to try. My work will be mostly with the
municipality (city hall), school, health post and some youth. Some
things I’m thinking include gathering of donations and job fair school
fair adaptation that may look nothing like a fair but would encourage
educational advancement as well as some other stuff…

Don't think that life out here is somber, it is good and I am learning
tons. For example some Peace Corps Volunteers have decided that
instead of having the slogan Life is calling, how far will you go?...
it should be Life is calling... bring your PH (papel hygenico/toilet