Friday, July 16, 2010

Ninth Month on Site


Thanks for keeping in touch with my Peace Corps experience. Below you will find some updates from the Comarca Ngabe Bugle.

But first...Only 50 days to the wedding!

I have restarted my english classes. During my first meeting, we had about 15 people. Lots of interest currently, but we will see if they will do the homework!

In one community, we will be working on an addition to the aquaduct in August, spending about $500 to protect the spring source, add valves, and add five houses to the system.

In another community, I will be hosting a series of presentations on latrines, talking about how to construct, maintain, and plan for pit and compost latrines. The plan is to build in the dry season in January.

At the school, I have been dropping in a couple times a week to help out in the sixth grade class. One day when the English teacher couldn´t make it in, I lead the class in ¨Idoli says¨, based off the game Simon says. I used that game to help teach the various body part names in English. I´m scheduled to give a waste management class next week, however no recycling exists, so we will be talking about how to compost organic material and how to bury inorganic and toxic material rather than throw it on the ground. Last week I also gave a presentation on household water disinfection.

On the 4th of July I made it to the beach for a day to celebrate with the other volunteers with football, swimming, and the card game sheepshead. There aren´t too many people in my community who celebrate 4th of July--weird!

Later that week I traveled to a nearby volunteer´s site to help present on sexual education. Not many people have received too much instruction on this topic, so I think many people came away with a much better idea of their bodies and their functions. The topics included sex and gender roles, sexual rights, anatomy, menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. The next session later this month will talk about STDs, HIV, and AIDS.

After finishing up the sexual education presentation, I hiked up the hill to another volunteer´s site to help facilitate another water seminar. We had eight communities participate and had great participation and unusual punctuality as well!

During the water seminar we received a text saying that we were on ¨Standfast,¨ meaning that we had to stay on site until some unrest died down within the country. Strikes were happening related to the right to strike in streets, better wages, less taxes, and the loosening of environmental testing regulations. During the wait, many games of Settlers of Catan were played. I think all of the volunteers in my part of the country know how to play now!

Coming up, I will be hosting more english classes, aquaduct and waste management meetings, and then heading to Panama City for Train the Trainer at the end of the month in preparation for the arrival of the new volunteers in August.

Blessings to you!