Friday, April 17, 2009

My life. As of now.

It’s been so long, I almost don’t know how to start. I apologize.

Its been months, and I’m not even sure where we left off.

What I am utterly confused about is this… I went home for Christmas and New Years, and it was so great to see family and friends, 10 months had passed since I’d been home – seen my brother Benjamin as he had left for the Army, and seen friends – but I wont lie to you, nothing sat right with me at home. It was great to visit, but home wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I finally felt my lungs fill with fresh air and peace when I arrived what I will call home, Los Tornos. I almost hate to say it, hate to admit it, but this is where I belong… at least for now (and I’m pretty sure my Mother is dying reading this right now, but it’s the truth). I have a special place in my heart for my community, my work and my kids at our small rural school, I love them dearly, and for now… this is where I reside.

Despite our different views, my little brother by the way just graduated the Army boot camp and airborne, top in his barracks. I will say this – Not every family gets to have a Peace Corps Volunteer and an Army Soldier all at the same time – But I know this is where God has him, and he loves what he does, and I wont lie – he’s good at it – I am very proud of him, and I too know what its like to leave everything behind.

As far as work… My life as a Peace Corps Volunteer is nothing less than adventurous. Let me share with you, my life…
Monday thru Thursday 9 am to 1 pm – I spend my day in the School with my 30 alumnos or students, Thank God last week we received our second teacher from the Ministry of Education, the first time in the history of Los Tornos! However, we still don’t have a Kindergarten. (You have to have a total of 30+ students to have 2 teachers in CR Schools, and por fin we reached it!) In the School I teach English and Computation, we finally finished our Computer Lab (6 computers, a laptop for the teachers, printer and digital camera), donated by an US Family. I also play soccer at Recess with my kids, and have fun! They love red rover!

Fridays I have the pleasure of hiking about 50 minutes UP a mountain just to get to one of my other towns to teach English at la Escuela Cebadilla, where I have 19 kids to teach English.
Wednesday in the school I also lead an Adolescent Girls Group, Chicas Poderosas, where we talk about Self-Esteem, Nutrition, Exercise etc…

We just received a grant to bring Baile Típico or Traditional Dance to our school who currently does not boast any form of extra-curricular activities or opportunities for the children of the community for lack of financial resources. For lack of accessibility, the children grow to know only coffee farming, the production of dairy, and working in tourism. For lack of diversion or activities the children of our community easily fall into alcoholism. Baíle Típico; is a large part of the cultural hertigage of the Costa Rican state of Guanacaste. The funding needed to support this program provides the trajes típicos or tradicional dresses that will be made by the women of our community, and a stereo system. The program preserves our culture for future generations, while embracing their own heritage as Ticos, or Costa Ricans. Whats surprising is that even the boys in the school are super excited about it! Love it!

I just had meeting with a Director from Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica and next week we are having a community meeting with Boys and Girl Scouts, to hopefully get my community involved in this fabulous program, I just hope that the community LOVES the program and runs with it, and I will be there for all the support in the world.

Arte por la Paz, Art for Peace is an Art Program against violence domestically and in war that teaches kids to have open discussion about real life situations while incorporating various forms of art. Next week I am giving the project in the school, and then in May get to take 5 kids to Liberia with me for a full day of art where I will also teach a session to about 50 kids.
Pilates and Yoga Classes, with mostly the women and children of my community just once a week on Tuesdays in our small community center.

I do A LOT of support for Project Proposal & Grant Writing… Escuela Cañitas for Basic school infrastructure repairs, putting a Cemetery in La Cruz (one of my 4 communities!) Organizational Development, for the Assosiation of Integral Development, which is like Basic prioritizing, Project designing & planning, making agendas… stuff that just seems so common sense… but its apparently not.

Our Communities Sports Committee is another big project of mine, we hold soccer games and events and take care of our Community Center and Soccer Field, and do what we can to better them… Right now we are trying to get our soccer field lit, so it can be used at night, when most of the community is free and not working.

SO.... Basically that’s my list of projects/life for now as I know it. I enjoy it here. Love it here. Most of the time that is, that’s not to fault the regular homesickness, loneliness & feeling as if I’m all alone… not understood… and plain and simple solitud. It’s good for me… I think… But I’m still waiting for someone to give me a puppy to cure some of my loneliness!