Aloha from Loja!

¡Hola Everyone!

As usual, things have been hectic so it’s taken me awhile to get this written! We’re on our last week of training and if everything goes well I will be an official Peace Corps volunteer on August 1st so keep your fingers crossed!

There is A LOT that has happened since the last time I’ve written (I feel like this is a common trend) but in order to keep it short this entry will mostly be dedicated to my SITE VISIT!!!

7 word summary of this entire blog…. My site is like a DISNEY MOVIE!!!

How you ask!?

LET ME TELL YOU!!!

#1 It’s in the mountains!

pee-wee-omg

 

 

#2 Because it’s in the mountains, there are virtually no bugs! (Which is AWESOME!)

poo poo heads

 

 

#3 The streets are REALLY clean!

clean

 

 

#4 Everyone is SUPER NICE!!!

tumblr_me3ilgL8kQ1rurdm6

 

 

#5 Even the street dogs are SUPER NICE!!!

condolences

 

 

#6 There is virtually no crime!

dancing cops

 

 

#7 There is free Wi-Fi in their central park!!

Russell-Brand-Mind-Blown

 

 

#8 They have free jazzercise classes EVERY NIGHT!!!

no-one-on-the-corner-has-swagga-like-us

 

 

#9 My host family is AMAZING! My host mom calls me “mi reina” (translation- my queen)(other translation- ADORABLE!)

adorable

 

 

#10 I have an entire floor of my house to myself! (and a flushable toilet AND a “hot” shower)

Im-kind-of-a-big-deal

 

 

#11 My counterpart/coworkers/youth group are dedicated and organized!

enthusiasm

 

 

#12 I don’t have to take the malaria meds and have crazy dreams and/or possibly go crazy myself!

bonkers

 

 

#13 Throughout the day and night clouds just come and roll around the city (it’s what heaven is probably like)

wendy

 

 

In other words it’s GREAT! I’m very lucky that I am pleased with my site, it definitely hasn’t been the case for every volunteer after site visit some of my fellow trainees were like:

sobbing

 

And of course there are downsides to every site, but overall I couldn’t be happier.

So now I know you’re wondering,… What in the world are you going to do there!?

Wellllll since I’m in the Youth and Families program and my counterpart agency is the Red Cross in Celica I am going to be working with the Red Cross youth volunteers!

I will also be able to branch out and start some of my own projects during my two years there.

Some of the ideas that I have been considering include:

  • Substance abuse prevention
  • Forming an after school youth group
  • Forming a tutoring program
  • Parenting classes
  • Suicide prevention
  • Teenage pregnancy prevention
  • Yoga classes
  • English classes

Things like this…. But of course I won’t be able to know exactly what I’ll be doing until I get to my site and use my Community Assessment Tools to really figure out what the community wants.

Sooooooooo I  leave for my site on August 1st which is super exciting and stressful!

Also my address will be different than the one I had during training. So once I get my P.O. Box set up, I’ll make sure to post it so I can receive your letters and AWESOME packages!

I will also not have as much access to the internet once I’m in my site so everyone mentally prepare yourselves for that! 🙂

I must admit that I’m excited to almost be done with training so I can move on to working in my site, but it is going to be challenging moving away from all of my new friends and family in Tumbaco…

But of course I’ll be fine… you know me…

invincible

I hope all is well in your world, until next time…

Peace out!

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Epic Tech Trip!!!

Hello Again Everyone!

I’m trying to write a little earlier in the week this time since I have a feeling that this weekend is going to be a little CRAZY!

Next week we go for our site visits, which is basically a week-long visit to your site to check everything out and to get an idea of what your life is going to be like after training. I’m REALLY excited about meeting my counterpart and seeing where I’ll be for the next 2 YEARS!!!

fangirl

However, I’m not so excited about the Peace Corps night travel policy that will make my trip 2 days instead of one…

facepalm

…but you know, safety first and extra site seeing anyone? 🙂

Ok so last week was our Tech Trip aka. HEAVEN!!! After being in the mountains for the last month and a half we finally got to go and see the coast!

partyhard

Tech trip basically consisted of us going to practice what we learned during training in a different environment. The culture on the coast is veeeeeeerrrrrry different from the culture of the sierra! While we were there we got to interview the local population and have lessons with the local children.

On the coast the children are kinda like this…

crazy-kid-birthday-gif

AND I LOOOOVE IT!!! I got to teach an entire class of 5 year olds for a couple hours, which was SO MUCH FUN!!! But afterwards I was….

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I also got to help teach a class about tobacco to some elementary aged kids, which I did for a year and a half in the States but it was A LOT more challenging in Spanish! Still very fulfilling though and afterwards I was like…

bravo

More highlights of the trip…. WE GOT TO SEE DOLPHINS!!! WHAT!? YEP! DOLPHINS!!! We got to take a tour of the local mangroves and the dolphins just hang out all day eating fish! It was really cool… Every time one came out of the water the whole boat was like….

conan_thank-you

Also we ate the best empanadas EVER!!!

AAAAAAND on our last night in town two traditional dance troupes put on a HUGE performance and we were served Fanta AND cake!!! I repeat FANTA and CAKE!!! AAAAAANNNDDD we got to PARTICIPATE in one of the dances!!!!!

fab

BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!!!

There were so many other awesome things that we did but I don’t want to make this a novel about Tech trip so I will just let you know that one of the places we went to also had a pirate ship… dreams do come true…

tip-hat

Not much has been happening since we’ve gotten back except that I feel like every lesson has been about all of the crazy things that can kill you (or at least ruin your day) on the coast… I’ve been pretty consistently going like this to my classmates…

thumb-is-up

Because I’m in the sierra! Which I wasn’t necessarily celebrating until this week…

I also had my first close encounter with an angry dog… they have taught us that the stray dogs are sometimes aggressive and dog bites are pretty common among volunteers. Usually if an aggressive dog is approaching you, throwing a rock or even pretending to pick up a rock and throw it usually does the trick… Today I was caught off guard by a dog I thought was sleeping so it was really close and barking and snapping at my ankles so I pretty much just starting yelling, flailing and pretending to kick the dog, which worked! I never knew how I would react in that situation but apparently I’ll react like this…

colbert

It was pretty empowering though, now I’m not so concerned about the aggressive dogs!

Ok I think this is probably WAY too long but there was so much interesting stuff to share…

I want to give a shout out to all of my AMAZING/AWESOME/WONDERFUL friends that have sent me care packages/letters! I know it’s expensive but please know that it is DEFINITELY appreciated and every time I get one I’m like…

freaking-out-baby

Also MY FRIEND IS COMING TO VISIT ME FOR CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR’S!!!! Which is going to be the best time ever AND I won’t be alone for the holidays! If anyone wants to send some stuff with her instead of mailing expensive packages then I’m sure she wouldn’t mind bringing it! Just let me know!

Love you all and please keep in touch!

Peace Out!