Monday, September 12, 2011

Site Assignment

I can think of nothing more torturous. Try putting 13 trainees in a room after they have just had their Spanish placement interviews (aka stressed out- but I passed with an Intermediate Mid yay) and ask them to wait a few seconds longer for the name of their new home for the next two years. It is downright awful. I think if you had asked us to wait even just an hour more we would have staged a revolt. But nonetheless Peace Corps finally revealed our new homes for the next two years:

That green star all the way up on the right is yours truly. I am heading to Caserio Upire, Canton Monteca, Municipio Nueva Esparta, in the department of La Union. What can I tell you about this little canton in the northeastern region of El Salvador. Well because I just got off the phone with a wonderful volunteer in the area (thanks Anna) I know a little bit more than the information Peace Corps gave me in the “Welcome to your New Home” packet. So I have some wonderful information that I could share about my site, but I feel as though I should get there first and make my own observations and then report back to you all.

But here is what I will tell you. If you cannot tell from the pictures of the maps my site is REALLY far away. And I am not sure that the map conveys adequately just how far I am. For some reference, I am 8 hours or more from the capital, 1.5 hours from the nearest market, 3 hours from the nearest supermarket and atm, and 5 hours from San Miguel (closest Peace Corps hospital). My site is cold (for El Salvador) and mountainous, which is music to my ears (hiking and the ability to sleep at night because I am not dying of sweat). I look forward to the moment here when I actually put a blanket over me because I feel cold. It relies heavily on cattle ranching (hello dairy), coffee plantations (thank goodness), agriculture, and remittances. Finally, I am going to live in a canton of about 300 families. It has a school to grade nine and the school principal is my host mom (who is apparently the most amazing woman in the world).

That is essentially the information that Peace Corps gave me. And that is what I will give you (for now). The next time I write about my community it will come from my own feelings, observations, and acquired knowledge. Get ready! I know I sure am.

I know I just wrote “I know I am ready” but in a lot of ways I am not. I don’t want to pretend like it is that simple. In reality I am terribly nervous and anxious. I am about to make a big change and this time it’s the big league. Of course, I want to start but those first tough months in site are coming up and knowing that now is making me even more apprehensive of leaving the comfort of training, San Esteban, and my gringo friends.

But that is what this adventure is all about. See ya later, comfort zone.


  1. Wow amazing stuff!!! I know this will be a big change for you and your other trainees. But Im sure you will adapt you always do.Look how much you have learned and friends you have made it training.Im so proud of you,words cant decribe.Like you said another adventure,and well dear girl,you probally wouldnt want it any other way..Your thrive!! love you baby

  2. Hey Jamie is the mailing address going to be hte same? Mom and I want to write to you, and wanted to make sure. Sounds very exciting as well as much cooler than your current locale! :)

    Love ya, Aunt Tana and Grandma

  3. Thanks for posting the map -- that really helped me to visualize where you're headed. I know you are anxious -- that's a really normal response to such a change! -- but you'll take each day as it comes and things will fall into place. I love you and send you lots of good vibes every day. :-) Aunt Laurie xo