I just finished up with my one year Medical Checks. I had a yearly physical, dental check-up and presented all the work I have done in the past year in Peru, plus a project plan for year 2. Wow, I cannot believe one year has come and gone. For some volunteers it went slowly, but I can't get over how fast it has gone for me. I guess time flies when you are having fun.
A lot has changed since my last blog. I am working in some new and exciting projects. First I am working twice a week with a group of students in the high school who have started a small business venture making arts and crafts out of local shells. We do a business workshop on Tuesdays where they learn all about running the business, then on Thursdays we have a lot of fun hanging out and being creative with the shells.
Another project that is keeping me busy is a 2-day drug awareness workshop I am facilitating in the high school with all students from Cuarto and Quinto (equivalent to 9th and 10th graders in the U.S.) I can't really explain how I got involved in this project, but it has become very rewarding and looks like it will develop into some larger projects in the coming year.
Of course I am still working in the Comedor on various projects. I am helping with some grant writing, hosting an all girls leadership camp and lets not forget organizing my monthly health campaigns. They continue to haunt me at the end of every month ;)
A failing project that keeps me awake at night is the Community Bank. This is a new project for business volunteers in Peace Corps Peru. It helps show people the importance of savings and credit. I really want to start a functioning bank before my two year stunt is up, but it looks like the community is doing all they can to keep that from happening. Not to worry, I will trick them into starting a community bank if I have to. This is one project that I will not let fail...
If you are wondering what has happened to any past projects I have been working on, the likely answer is that it's either on hold or the community partners working on the project have disappeared...
In other news, I am moving out of my current host families house and must find a new family to live with. I originally felt like it might be time to find a new house when my host family got it in their minds that I was their personal ATM machine, but then other issues developed (nothing extremely serious), and I thought, "better to mitigate this situation and move out while we are all still friends than let things go bad over the next year." It has all worked out for the best though, I think my host family will miss the monthly rent I was paying, but at least we will still be family, and I will continue to spend time with them over the next year.
Current Status: currently on a house/family hunt and looking forward to a fresh start!
I also participated in a Marathon in the Norther Coast of Peru, I only ran a 10K and (although their records show differently) I am positive I finished in UNDER my goal of 1 hour :)
As you can see, everyone took the marathon very seriously. These two guys ran the 5k with a Caja (box) of beer. They would run for a little while, then stop and drink for a little while and continued this pattern until they finally finished 4 hours later. At one point I passed them and they handed me a cup of beer as if it were water. In case you are wondering... of course, I drank it ;)
Needless to say, I continue participating in community events like baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, holidays, etc... We always invite Winnie the Pooh aka Winni Da Puh for all you hispanohablantes out there.
I can't forget to talk about my visit to America, it was amazing, overwhelming, short, long, comforting, happy, sad...etc. I cannot begin to explain all the emotions I felt during my trip "home". But I will say that it was good to be back. I started off in LA with my little brother, then we road tripped up to Durango CO, where my sister was getting MARRIED. Yes, MARRIED! I think it was all too much to wrap my head around, especially coming from a year of being in Peru. I have to say, it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen, and I was so proud to have been a part of it.
I have a few visits coming up from friends and family so I am excited about that. It should be interesting to see how they handle the lifestyle here, haha! I also am starting to think about my plans for the end of this year. I can't decide on staying for a third year, or trying to start grad school... oh the places you'll go..
Thats all for now. As they say in Peru, "Nos Vemos"