Oh, hi there! Remember me? There isn’t much to write about. I’ve been here in El Guineo a month (minus swear-in and hurricane consolidation which I’ll explain later) and in-country for three! My site is really great except for the fact that my community is along a long-twisty-hilly road. It takes me forever just to walk to the school. It’s very inconvenient that PC doesn’t let volunteers drive. A moto would be ideal! I have lots of free time without TV or a job… I have read lots of books and completely revamped my iTunes music library. I’m really good at spider solitaire, minesweeper and dominoes. To help with the initial boredom I have decided to start an English class and a girl’s volleyball team. We aren’t really supposed to do anything the first three months at our sites. This time is meant to be spent working on our Community Diagnostic which is getting to know people, the community, and its needs.
My Dona is awesome, her name is Martha and she is 56 but has two great-grandchildren (one born just the other day). My room is small but nice; I have built some shelves and figured out ways to save space. My bed is a mattress that is very worn down and is held up with pieces of wood underneath. Martha and her husband Cristobal harvest coffee, so the house is always noisy and full of workers. She also has three grandkids that live in the house and are always screaming. She cooks for at least fifteen people everyday. At first the food wasn’t so great but I made banana bread and guacamole and hinted that I looooove carrots and eggplant. Haha I was getting pretty sick of rice and beans.
I have already found a potential house to live in, and am thinking about getting bunk beds for all of you who will be visiting J. It’s a wooden house with lots of holes in the siding and no kitchen or bathroom. A true fixer-upper. Depending on how it turns out maybe when I get back I’ll audition to be on the show about “flipping houses”.
I won’t lie to you, the campo is pretty lonely. It’s hard to speak in Spanish all day, and I haven’t met anyone my age (that’s not entirely true, but all the women 20+ have husbands and kids and high school educations so it’s hard for me to relate). Other than that I’ve been spending most of my time with my neighbor Stacey (13) and her brothers Armando (19) and Fraimer (17) and her sister Yohanna (8). It’s hard to wander around the community because of the hill situation. And no, it’s not me being lazy... it’s a serious hill.
The director of the elementary school and the director of the high school both have internet at their houses but the service is terrible (it wouldn’t even connect today 11/18 when I tried to get on to post this). And the same goes for my cell phone. I will be in the capital for Thanksgiving (mmm pumpkin pie!!). PC rents out a country club and there is tons of food and sports and a talent show. During consolidation I participated in a free-style competition. I’m not from 8 mile or anything but I won three ‘battles’.
We new volunteers have had a lot of quick changes of scenery (culture) in the three months we’ve been here. When we arrived in country we lived in the capital with host families, then went to different sites to visit volunteers, then I had training in the mountains of Constanza where there was great food and running water, then back to the capital a few days, then off to visit our project sites, then back to the capital a few days, then we went to our sites on Saturday October 30th only to be brought back to the capital on Tuesday the 2nd because of the hurricane. We stayed in a five star hotel for a week. Free all you can eat buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner (create your own pasta! and 20 different types of bread!!!) hot showers, huge bed, air conditioning and a swimming pool … then we had to go back to the campo- rice and beans, bucket showers, small bed with crappy mattress, no electricity and we have a river but you can’t swim in it anymore because of the Cholera outbreak. Not that I’m complaining ;-) Just hard to keep switching back and forth between developed and developing…
Some people have been asking me about what they can send.
Here is a small list.
- dvds DVDs DVDS!!! (anything really, but would be awesome if you could find Disney movies that can be played in Spanish)
- candy (that wont melt)
- fun jewelry
- nail files
- art project materials like gimp, colorful tissue paper, colorful string, pipe cleaners, feathers, sequins, glitter, paint brushes, stuff to make fun jewelry
- “Just-Add-Water/Eggs/Oil” cookie or muffin mix (only if it can be made in something other than a muffin tin- unless you want to send that too…), other food mixes (Thai)
- random things to decorate my new house with J
And of course, come February, yourself!
Send email updates, and call me because I miss you, and English. But don’t you dare tell me how Harry Potter was… too jealous already. Hehe <3