I finally realized that I have yet to describe what my actual day to day life is like here in El Salvador during this training period. I can only blame this lapse on my lack of internet access and I am sure that by the end of this you will realize all of my time is accounted for with various meetings, which may or may not bore you to pieces. But here goes nothing:
Training here in El Salvador is community based, which means we are in our host communities most of the week. During those days we have Spanish class from 8-12, lunch from 12-1, and then Spanish class again from 1-4:30. Sometimes in the afternoon instead of having class, we have a meeting with a local community organization or influential person. Thus far these meetings/interviews have included: faculty members at the local school, the school director, a witchdoctor, and the member of an ADESCO, which is the local community organization dedicated to community development. I will admit that the meetings so far have been very challenging because the people we are meeting with talk so fast, so I only am able to understand a little bit on my own. However, our Spanish teacher is really nice about breaking down the conversation when we get back from the meeting, so that we all understand what happened.
The other days we travel (by pick up about 20 minutes) to San Vicente where the Peace Corps office is to have technical (learning about development in El Salvador, culture, youth development objectives and plans, etc) and medical training, general meetings, and other activities that we need to accomplish prior to leaving for our sites (a lot of housekeeping takes place on these days). We have some Spanish classes on these days which have been about special topics including: Spanish survival, in the market, gestures, etc. Both kinds of days are really long and draining. I would say I enjoy the days we are in San Vicente a little bit more because we talk a lot more in English (sue me), we get to see the entire training class together, and it has air conditioning and a running toilet, so it is nice to have those amenities. I know, I know I need to get over it, don’t remind me.
This upcoming week is a little different. We are in San Vicente an extra day this week and we are going to San Salvador on Thursday to visit a museum, the main headquarters of Peace Corps, and I think they want to show us around where volunteers go to shop and hang out in the city. I am excited for the trip to do something new and see San Salvador for real considering last time I was there I was completely out of it and cannot even remember what it looks like. Although apparently we are traveling there by the regular buses (which means no nice Peace Corps travel arrangements-darnJ) but I guess this is good to get us acclimated to the terrible, sketchy buses that take people to San Salvador. JOY! I am actually not worried, just because I have had some seriously sketchy travel situations in my short life (you know hitchhiking in Morocco kind of thing), so I feel adequately prepared to take on the Salvadoran buses. I promise I am not being cocky though, I will definitely be on guard. J No worries folks.
Aside from training, there is not really much time for anything else. I usually come home from wherever (San Vicente or next door) and have dinner, chat with my family, then go to bed. The best part though of this past week is that Liz (another trainee in my community) and I have non formally started an exercise club. We run at 5 am every morning and then do zumba at 7 p.m. I will admit our zumba is the biggest laughing stock ever. We have no idea what we are doing and it is literally 8 girls dancing ridiculously in the middle of Liz’s living room. There is no coordination, no real technique, and we all do something different. It is amazing. I love it. Of course, I love the 5 am running more, but that is to be expected. This is exactly the kind of thing I hope to do all the time in my future site. Literally teaching kids about exercise and being active- what could be better? Okay, I think that is a pretty good summary of training life. We did have this Saturday off (they don’t kill us) and we went to a lake near one of the other training communities. It was really nice to relax with everyone. I did not swim because I am fighting some kind of cold, but it was awesome to sit by the lake and hang out with all the other gringos! I am getting ready to hike up the mountain in our town with our little exercise group and Liz’s host brother. I am already sweating and I haven’t left yet. It is so beautiful. Be well!
P.S.Here are some pictures I left out in the "Tour of the House" post: