memories of the first week
May 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
domingo, 15th: packed my bags and looked into another empty room. felt like leaving (oakland, buena park) again. said goodbye to some neighbors and friends. rode the bus to puriscal and sat down in a pizzeria. pizza was tasty, the bottom soggy. you’re always missing something.
lunes: slept nearly ten hours and still awake by 6:30. wicked. tuve un reuion con mi contraparte de PANI. while running errands with my host mom, ana grace, we also ran into a number of people she knew. 5km away from site isn’t far at all. sign of things to come.
martes: nearly another ten. i’m sensing a pattern here. awoke to a cacophony of street dogs howls and the five-year old human bullhorn that is sofia. had lunch with other pcvs in puriscal centro. purchased boots, hangers and un apartado postal. finally got around to studying spanish. three days in and i’m struggling to keep up with the rapidity of the local speech. ran the hills to set my head right.
miercoles: the nightly ten, the morning noise. visited the ministerio de salud in puriscal and looked around the cen-cinai, a government program that feeds young children and pregnant mothers while promoting healthy living practices and nutrition. killed time at soda el banco (small restaurants that serve comida tipica are called “sodas”) with a strong cup of coffee, then headed over to a monthly “think-tank” meeting in the ministerio de salud, followed by another meeting/introduction to iafa, an organization that promotes drug awareness and prevention. patterns, patterns everywhere. my. brain. is. fried.
jueves: adventure day. an hour long discussion with ana grace about the problems in cerbatana. my hands are still greasy from the delicious tortilla and fried egg i had just eaten for breakfast. enrique, my pani counterpart picks me up along with his colleague and two other peace corps volunteers (pcvs). we travel to lanas, home to 60 ppl and the location of a telesecundaria. telesecundarias are schools that often have no teacher. learning materials are almost entirely restricted to videos or broadcasted lesson plans. afterward, we head to another town only to encounter badly eroded section of the dirt mountain road. we backtrack on our indiana jones-like excursion.
viernes: my first day working on the farm. grab the fresh eggs, throw in some feed. fill large rice bags with compost, then restock the compost area with semi-decomposed pig droppings. clean out the pig stalls and “water” the pigs. this is not glamorous work. i like it. ana grace milks mocha the cow in the lecheria. she leads mocha and her calf out into the pasture, allowing us to clean the stall. this area also serves as the carniceria. don carlos, my host dad, is going to kill one of the pigs tomorrow morning. the rest of the day is spent walking to and from puriscal centro, 1 hr. 4o min. round trip.
sabado: i accompany tony and patty to the albergue, a shelter for children. over three hours, we lead several activities, including a brief english class, art and individual presentations, jump rope, and paper airplanes. hay un monton de cosas hacer. UPDATE: we ate the pig that don carlos killed earlier that morning. ana grace joked about the matter, feigning tears while visibly enjoying the flavor of the meat. jaja, qué bárbara.