Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy 7 Months! (yesterday)

Happy 7 Months in El Salvador (posted a day late)! Everyday on the 19th of the month I think about that first day that I arrived here. I remember the anxious excitement. I remember the butterflies in my stomach. I remember meeting people for the first time who have now become my best friends and family. It is crazy to think that was only 7 short months ago. I have already learned so much, experienced new things, suffered the extremely low lows, and appreciated the wonderful highs. I am only curious to the future that this place has in store for me and all my fellow PCV’s. But, it is kind of ironic that on this day, this month, a team from Washington has come to analyze this country to see if it is safe enough for us to operate here in El Salvador. The future of our service is in there hands. And all we can do is wait…and keep working…

Since coming home from the Safety and Security Conference, things actually have been kind of busy for me here in Upire. I have mostly been in the school either working with the teachers or the school director either helping with training sessions on the computer or helping to digitalize our schools records and paperwork. We are trying to get all of the school’s information more organized and placed on the computer, so that they can more adequately keep records, track finances, etc. It is a daunting, especially because of the slow and painful death of a very important memory stick, which had the entire school’s life on it. Ouch. But we are working hard to retrieve the lost information and keep up with the process.

Meanwhile, I planned an activity for Valentine’s Day for the students and teachers in the school. The holiday is celebrated here but usually just with a round of “amigo secreto” or secret friend where they buy one gift for a random person they picked out of a hat. There is not a lot of trading of cards or candies between anyone. I decided to make Valentines available to the students. I (with the help of some of my favorite youth!) made little cards with some candy attached that they could buy for a quarter. If they could not buy them, I also keep some paper on hand to give out so that they could just write little notes to their friends, family, and teachers. In addition, I went around to each classroom explaining the importance of love and friendship and asked them to write notes to the special people in their lives. I had set up envelopes for each of the teachers outside on this board and had each classroom write little notes to put in the envelopes. The activity seemed to go well all around. I completely sold out of all the Valentines making the school about $22. The kids seemed so happy running around with their cards and adding little notes to all of their teachers. I think the best part though was watching the teachers open up their envelopes and see all their cards and little presents. They kept telling me how wonderful it was and how special they felt that day. J To my surprise the kids all wrote me cards as well. I did not put an envelope for myself because I felt weird since I was organizing the event, but they put one up for me anyway and filled it with cute little notes! So cute!

I have also spent some time in the school as a sort of substitute teacher. Last week I had to teach kindergarten. Oh man…bless you people who can teach! It is so hard and exhausting. I did not even teach anything to these kids and I was wiped afterwards. I just had them building with blocks and clay. It was basically a game of having someone build the first structure and the rest had to copy that person. I hope it helped with some motor skills or something! But I am not sure because it eventually turned into the kids and I building a pretend city with cars, buildings, etc. It was fun, but as I said super super draining. Those kids have so much energy. Geez, am I getting old? …hope not.

This has pretty much been life lately. A lot of days in the school doing anything they really need. I was also very lucky to be a part of an amazing Eye Care event, but I am going to post about that separately.

So there you have it: what I have been up to recently. I know the last post touched on some seriously troubling feelings I had been having and I have pretty much ignored those in this post. I’ll be honest here. Those feelings are still there. I go through phases where I think about the future of my service here and it looks pretty grim (given the security circumstances). And then there are great where I feel as though I am really going to get to stay in my site and finish my service completely. It is up and down. Everyday. There are days when I look for jobs online (sorry to everyone in that process, it sucks!). And then there are days I plan my future projects and ideas for Upire. It is rollercoaster of emotions. But all I can do is deal with it, talk about it (probably with Tricia), and wait for the results when I will probably be forced to face these emotions and make a significant decision.

But until then on a happy note, I leave you with some pictures! Thanks again Mommom for the camera!

My best friend, Xio with her Valentine!

Girls filling envelopes!

Armadillo shell!

My favorite American/Salvadoran/Argentinan family

This is my awesome host brother, David! Just to show we make giant tortillas in my house :)

mmm. Zapote

Cat gets mouse. Victory.

Post script: I forgot to mention that my friend Jesse invited me to make gingerbread houses at his house one day this past month. We made them because his family has this tradition of making them in the states and he brought the tradition here to El Sal last year. So when his parents came to visit they brought all the supplies. I am so lucky I got to be part of such a fun event for the kids in his community. I am posting a few pictures here of Jesse and the kids for his mom (who has mentioned that she reads my blog :)). Jesse kind of fails at posting (sorry Jesse, but he knows its true ;)) It is just that he is way busier than me and in his prime of time here, so it is understandable he doesn't post. It is because he is super-volunteer (it really is true). But as a thank you to his mom for the awesome supplies and fun event, here are some pictures! Super fun and amazingly delicious :)

Hard at work!

Jesse and his neighbors

So delicious :)


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  2. Well I have to say,I smiled alot in this post,well I love them all.This one just made me feel good inside.The Valentine day event,you planned with the kids ect.Showing them how to show love ,care,for their family and friends and you made me feel like I was there and I had fun by the way LOL You have done and seen so much in 7 months.Just remember you were put there for a reason,for how ever long! Your presence has already Inpacted their lives for the better.As your mother word can not begin to tell you how proud Iam of you!! You were blessed with and amazing gift and that is yourself.Thanks for sharing.I love you daughter

  3. Always such a treat to see you posted on your blog. You are great at bringing us right there to Upire. I feel like you truly have a family there , which is so important to us all back here. The story of the cards was sweet. Made me flash back to those all important card exchanges in elementary school. I can still see the faces of my classmates at 7. Love you and miss you. Aunt Karen