Friday, July 20, 2012

One Year in Country

The year in country mark. Yes, I arrived in El Salvador one year ago today. Here is the picture of my first day just for kicks!
Jamie y Jaime (director of PC El Sal)
Anyways, today’s date is not as noteworthy as the year mark as a PCV will be in September, but I never turn down a reason to celebrate. I guess it is only appropriate that I post a blog as part of that celebration. I am celebrating a year of challenges, changes, pleasure, pain, laughter, tears, discomfort, love, passion, success, failure, and much much more. It has been one of the most difficult but rewarding years of my life. And I can honestly say the reason I have made it through this experience is because of the people around me and in my life. I know that without the following people I would have quit ages ago. I used to think that finishing my service was about pushing myself through the challenges- ME-alone. But it is through the help of countless others that I have come this far. I owe so much to my family, friends, my Salvadoran family and friends especially my host family Nina Mary, Don Santana, Kellye, y David, the Peace Corps staff, and most importantly my fellow volunteers especially my key girls who have talked me up from the lowest of lows. They are why I am here and thriving and I am grateful every day for each and every one of them.
I am also grateful that some interesting projects have started to really develop for me here in Upire (ones that I am passionate about).  Since I last posted in early June life has been jammed packed with trying to make stuff happen. I mentioned some of them in the last post, but I wanted to give an update on how they are going.
1.       I am currently teaching an Environmental Education Course called Nuestro Mundo y Nosotros (Our world and us). It involves about 12 classes and a field trip to the capital to see the National Zoo for the youngest students in first, second, and third grade. The class has been going great so far. Although I have realized I am not teacher material! But I am trying my best to make the class fun, educational, and special. This week we are covering Trees and of course I am reading them “The Giving Tree” or El Arbol Generoso. ;)

2.       DIA DE COMERCIO UPIRE: This project is my BABY. I mentioned in the last post that we are working on starting a farmers market type commerce day in Upire where our community members can come and sell their products – cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, clothes, food, lunch, breakfast, anything really. The project has really been moving along rapidly. We are looking to open the first week in August. We are started a youth committee that is basically going to be in charge of the market called “Jovenes Caminando Juntos por el Desarollo de Upire” or Youth Walking Together for the Development of Upire (yes we are getting shirts! haha). This project is taking up a lot of my time as it is takes a lot of organization getting it all together. We are currently trying to find funds to buy all the chairs, tables, and supplies that are going to make up the market. I am really hoping that this takes off considering everyone is so excited (and I am too)!. *if you read Spanish and want the project proposal let me know and I will send it to you if you are curious more about it/if you are interested in helping but want to know more let me know!
3.       Sport committee: I just got back from San Miguel where I bought all the sports equipment so the second week in August we are starting with basketball, soccer, and softball lessons, practices, and games. Right up my alley! Cannot wait to get out there and start teaching sports to the kids! We have been playing very informally, but this project will include formal lessons on the sports and practices!
So projects have been going well thus far-so far so good. We are moving full speed ahead and I cannot imagine taking on anymore right now, especially given that there are always other events, trainings, PC things to be doing as well. Here are some pictures of other aspects of my life in the past month.

I went ziplining..thanks Poppa Serg!!!!

School garden!

Potable Water Opening Ceremony! Cool flagsssss

fourth of July wiffle ball!!

I don't have pictures of this quite yet but I also just got back from translating for a group of doctors from New York who are studying chagas disease. They were wonderful to work for and treated us so nicely. Their blog speaks for itself if you are interested:

That's the latest and greatest from Upire.
Until my next post all about cheese!