You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here…

Hello Everyone!

So apparently, you’re going to get updated every 3 months from now on so my next post will probably be my last post of my Peace Corps service! I’m not sure if you are all going to be like…

or

Either way, let the updates begin!

The last time I posted, I was just finishing my physical therapy and regaining the mobility in my knee! I am still working on getting fully recovered but I am WAY more mobile and getting more comfortable with my knee every day!

In April, my last Omnibus 110 friend left the country which was a difficult adjustment for me. We had been in Ecuador together since day 1 and not having him here has been a transition for sure. When he left I was like…

But I’ve slowly adjusted …

And soon it will be my turn to leave…

Later on in April, I was able to assist another Volunteer with the huge project of putting on an overnight camp called GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). It was co-ed camp held over a weekend where we held workshops on sex ed., gender empowerment, HIV/AIDS prevention, self-esteem and more! It was an amazing experience, I was impressed with the leadership of the teens and how much everyone participated and learned! One night we had a dance and we showed the campers some dances from the States like…

It was also extra special because we were able to hold the camp at a center near a beach so one night we had a bonfire on the beach and the next day we got to go swimming in the ocean! I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went into planning, organizing and implementing this camp, I am truly impressed and honored that I was able to help. At the end of the weekend we were all pretty much like…

Then at the beginning of May, I was able to hold a training for the substance abuse prevention curriculum Kid’s Connection Too. If you remember from previous posts, I am the official trainer for the curriculum and bringing it to Ecuador has been one of my biggest projects in Peace Corps. Well this training was extra special because we finally opened it up to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Volunteers!

Since we have limited to no funding available, we had to organize the training for a time that they would already be in Quito and I had to hold it after normal business hours. Even with this challenge, 11 Volunteers participated in a two night training!

But that’s not it! After mentioning to the Volunteers that the curriculum is in English and that we didn’t have the funds to translate it. They discussed it and have taken on the responsibility of translating the manual! When they told me that I was like…

This means that we will now not only be able to train Volunteers but also our Ecuadorian counterparts in this curriculum! Which means that it will be even more sustainable!

I am so grateful for the work that these ladies have put into this and how passionate everyone is about this resource!

After that training, I participated in my 2nd Close of Service Conference. Since it had been 2 years since my last one, I wanted to get a refresher on all the resources and advice that was available. It was wonderful spending time with my adopted Omnibus 114 and finally coming to grips with the reality that my time in Ecuador is coming to an end. Previously when I thought of leaving  I was pretty much like…

So during the conference I was able to think about closing out my projects, saying goodbye and also preparing for my future.

As far as my projects are concerned, since I’m leaving in August I have been working to train the Programming and Training Specialist for the Youth and Families Development Program to take over for me as the new Trainer for Kid’s Connection Too! Since she is an Ecuadorian staff member, this is also a lot more sustainable since she will most likely be around for longer than a year or two and can therefore continue training well into the future! I also was able to get permission slips from parents and film a mock class for future training in Spanish! All in all I’m pretty much feeling like this for sustainability…

As a part of this training process, she came to my counterpart organization and co-taught a group with me! It was a wonderful experience! The kids loved her and continue to ask about her every week!

Since then, I have held two more groups of substance abuse prevention classes and last week held our final graduations! It was so cute handing out the “diplomas” and seeing how excited the kids were to graduate. Some of the kids that had previously participated were even bragging about how many they have!

I’m definitely going to miss them a TON!

Also, this last month we received a new group of Youth and Families/Community Health Volunteers! Last year we didn’t receive a group because of the earthquake so this is the first group we’ve had in 2 years! I was actually able to go greet them at the airport and stay with them their first couple days which was a real treat. It brought me back to when I first arrived 4 years ago and I felt like…

I really enjoyed getting to know them and answering their questions, they are such an amazing group! Since they arrived, I have done a few training activities with them and actually all this month, half of the Youth and Families Volunteers will be doing experiential learning at my counterpart organization!

Since school vacations start this week, I have finished all of my projects at my counterpart organization but since we have vacation classes, I will be helping all the new Volunteers during that time! I love working with this new group and sharing my counterpart with them has been a fun way to end my service. All in all I just get to help out by being like…

 

Soooooooo, I bet you’re now all wondering, “What’s next!?”…

Nah don’t worry, I’ll tell ya!

This next month and a half, I am planning on using my remaining vacation days to see the final items on my Ecuador “bucket list” and of course finish all of the glorious paperwork that comes with Close of Service…

After that I will be going home for a week to drop off Pippin…

Go to my best friend’s wedding…

And then promptly go to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago with my Dad! For those of you who don’t know the Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James, it’s a pilgrimage that starts in France and crosses almost all of Northern Spain. It usually takes roughly a month to complete. I’ve wanted to do the pilgrimage ever since I studied in Barcelona in college and I now have the time to do it! I am also so blessed to have the opportunity to hike the pilgrimage with my Dad! I can’t think of a better way to reconnect after 4 years apart! All in all I’m pretty much a mixture of…

and

I’m sure once we get going I won’t be nearly as nervous but right now the anticipation is killing me!

After the pilgrimage, we are then going to meet my mother in Rome, spend some time together and then send Dad back home. Then my mother and I are going to travel Italy together to get in some girl time! For that part of the trip I’m definitely just like…

Then after traveling and reconnecting with my parents, I will then take off to backpack Europe on my own until I run out of funds and my bank account is like…

During all of this time, I will also be applying for Master’s programs and will hopefully be going back to school in the Fall of 2018. I’ll be keeping you posted on all of that progress as it goes!

All in all, I can’t believe that I will finally be leaving Ecuador after 4 years, but I am confident that my projects have the potential to remain sustainable and that it’s my time to go.

Well, that’s all I have for now! I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

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2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here…

  1. You, my darling daughter, are changing the world! You are a force to be reckoned with! Why don’t you just send these to the graduate schools as your application?

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