Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swearing in Tomorrow!

I have now been in the country for two months, and will soon be an official volunteer! Our swearing in ceremony is this Thursday.

I have been living in my village for a couple weeks now and am really enjoying my host-family! Things were quite overwhelming at first, but after a bit of adjustment I am doing really well. My host family is quite large. My host parents have 9 children. Their oldest daughter is married and lives across the village, she has 4 children. Their next daughter lives next door, is married and has a daughter, but her family eats with my family. Their 3rd daughter lives in the family compound with her husband and will have her 1st child around Christmas. So when everything gets added up there are 11 of us that live in the family compound, and 14 of us at every meal (sometimes 20). They can't even imagine how I grew up with only one brother and are convinced it must have been boring and lonely.

My host family has taught me to make tortillas, re-taught me to do laundry in the river and now my brown socks actually come out white again :), and have been helping me to meet some of the community members. They make really great food with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables which is really uncommon in the diet here. Every time they give me something new to eat they say, “I am not sure if you can eat this, but you can try it.” It has almost always been good, but has sometimes been a bit amusing. My 19 year old host-sister (the one that will soon have a baby) was cooking one day and brought me a plate and said: “Would you like to try these? We call them donuts.”

We have a really nice river in our village called the Deep River. We go down to the river every afternoon/evening to do our laundry and bathe. By the end of the day, the freezing cold water is definitely something to look forward to.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Random Updates :)

So quite a bit has happened since I wrote last. I had my very first “tropical illness”. It actually is not even remotely a tropical illness, but it freaked me out enough. I had a fever for a couple days, felt really sick, dizzy, and kept getting more and more open sores coming from who knows where. They brought me to the capital and I stayed here in a hotel for a few days to rest up. I saw our PC nurse and found out I had impetigo. I guess it is a bacterial infection and apparently really common for small children in the US. Glad that is pretty much over :) I am sure I will end up with something stranger in the future.

We went on a four day road trip to Toledo to see all of the sites for the healthy communities trainees future sites. I guess our placement officer wanted us to be able to see where we all could be going and get a feel for the southern part of the country. It was a nice trip, but a lot of time in a car on some bumpy gravel “roads”. The sites were all gorgeous and really cool. The most remote site was a little Maya village with thatch houses and each house had a solar panel. I guess they got funding for a solar power project and Internet cafe. It was just weird to be so far out and see thatch houses with solar panels. This is a beautiful country, and it was nice to get out and see some of it. :) We made a little side trip to see Rio Blanco National Park and the waterfalls. It was beautiful, the water felt amazing, but cliff jumping was required for swimming.

Last day with my host family

I never realized how hard taking group pictures would be until my family asked me to take a picture with all of us. My family wasn't ready so I went up to take Misty's first. Her host sisters refused to have their picture taken, so it took about 10 minutes to get the 7 family members together. When we went back to my house my family took quite a while to get themselves together for the picture. My 10 year old host brother insisted upon being on the horse during the picture. So I asked him to get close enough that it could be in the picture. Our family portrait is now a picture of half the family with my host brother on a horse in front of the rest of us...

Site Assignment Day!!!

The exciting part of the day was site assignments!!! For the next two years I will live in Medina Bank. :) It is a Maya village of about 200 people, so pretty small. I am really excited to be there, though :) Who knows what I will end up doing in reality, but they want a lot of help with health education and water. They only have 2 teachers and a teaching principal in their school. The classroom we visited there last week was standard 3-6 (grades 5-8) all in one room.

I am leaving for the village tomorrow and will be there for a couple weeks before I swear in as a volunteer. The village made a “schedule” for me of things to do for the first two weeks. Pretty much the whole schedule says “meet with ____” :) It will be nice to have a much more relaxed and less crazy schedule for a while.