Thursday, February 21, 2013

The New School Year

I know the New Year started over a month ago now, but my posts since then have been only dedicated to chronicling my vacation to Nicaragua and my hopes/dreams/challenges in discovering my post PC future. Both are good posts in my humble opinion, but lack information regarding my actual life in PC. So… here goes a general life update post.

I feel I can split life in PC El Salvador up into categories.

1.    Daily living in the campo
2.    Work life in terms of projects
3.    PC Events/time off

All are unique parts of the experience and one could write a book about each part and its influence on the greater PC journey. But here is a post instead…

1.    Daily life, just like at home in the states, is both comforting and boring, sometimes it drives you nuts, and other times you crave its sense of stability and normality. Here in Upire daily life is pretty simple- I wake up, have coffee and breakfast, go to the school, hang out with people, help with housework, and finally have dinner with my host family to round out the day. Yes, it gets old after awhile, but this experience is an important part (maybe even the most important part) of a being a volunteer—learning to live and embrace a different kind of daily life. Although it can be boring at times for those of us used to being able to do a variety of activities at a moment’s snap decision, El Salvador also likes to throw us Gringos surprises and learning experiences almost daily. Never in the states would I spend a day picking green beans and ZUCCINI:


Showing zuccini

relaxing among the green beans

Host Mom and Dad Picking Green beans

2.    Work here, just like in the states, is a mix of success and failure, frustration and ease, enjoyment and pain. This past month, of course, I have experienced a little bit of all of them. In good news, I have started my Art and Leadership Course with the introduction lesson, a few small art projects like harmonicas and flutes, and taught my first big lesson in the art of making a piñata. FYI: I never want to make a piñata again. We have some really cool lessons planned for them including making wallets out of chip bags, bracelets, making masks, doing tye dye, a “food as art” day, and painting our light posts in the community. It is going well now, but a few weeks ago I had a horrible breakdown when everyone bailed on every single meeting I had planned. The youth group bailed on a meeting before a big market day, the kids did not show up for the art class, and then during the market day the woman supposed to bring the donuts (for our version of the Krispy Kreme Challenge foot race) did not show up. Unfortunately, we could not have the “Race for Donuts” in Upire. I guess it just was not in the cards. It is a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes things just can’t happen the way you want them to and you just gotta keep truckin’ along. Because once you keep moving you find that things turn around eventually. First, I got wind of potential funding from the German Embassy and have submitted a grant for my school to win $10,000 to update the kitchen, cellar, and eating area for the students. CROSS YOUR FINGERS! Also in breaking world news, I convinced my school to give SEX ED! Biggest success since Dia de Comercio. We started already with one class—very easy and tame subject matter, but I am so excited that despite the religiosity of my community, they are finally willing to take the leap and educate kids regarding sex. So, all in all work is good- some days great, some days just plain terrible.

3. PC Events or anything involving other volunteers is always something special. I can't really compare it to anything. It is it's own animal. This month I have been around volunteers quite a bit.  First, to say goodbye to the group 6 months ahead of us who are currently finishing their service this month. We had a goodbye party for them at the beach in the beginning of February. It is hard to watch them go since they have been the group who stuck it out with us our entire service. I will miss them all so very much! Right after that I headed towards Perquin to help translate for the Eye Care Campaign-another fun and rewarding experience just like last year. Now I am back in Perquin helping with a Environmental Education Training for teachers (including two teachers from my community). It should be a great training. I am really looking forward to it. Plus, Perquin is just so so nice.

So that is the general breakdown of my current lifestyle. It is a good mix of everything. Just keep truckin'!

Dia de Comercio- selling some soup