Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cool Things

So I have reached my Happy One Month Anniversary of Peace Corps Volunteerdom! The saying is that the days go by slow and the weeks fly, and I have to say, I am totally de acuerdo. Sometimes I’m thinking, how in the heck is it still buenas dias and not buenas tardes?! And next thing I know, another week has flown by. Well, since I last wrote, I managed to survive a lovely case of Giardia..couldn’t go the hour on the camioneta into town to get my medicine. I suffered an additional day’s (suffering) wait after a failed attempt to get one of the ayudantes (the wingman that helps the bus drivers) to pick up my meds from the farmacia (I didn’t give him enough money, it was more expensive than we’d thought). Finally we sent Claudio, my counterpart to get it and it was worth paying extra to support his lost day of work because I felt like crapola and was ready to be better. So that over with, I am not into my first week of scheduled work..and it’s keeping me busy indeed. Unfortunately, there are always deviations to the best laid plan…Mondays are suppose to be my aviturismo days where I’ll take the guides out, one or a few at a time, and we go birdwatching! Basically I’ll teaching them to spot and identify birds, learn the names in English and how to find them in the bird books, etc. So anyways, this Monday, I’d intended to start by taking out Pascual but instead I learned that there was a package arrived for me and I had to go to El Palmar to pick it up. Can’t say I was too disappointed though, knowing I had goodies waiting for me, sent by a certain loving maternal relation. So early that morning I hopped onto the camioneta and rode the hour down to Cuatro Caminos where I switched buses to bring me to the entrance to El Palmar (some 25min) where I hailed a microbus to bring me 10min into the small town. I get off at the post office and find that I have to wait an hour because it was way too early for it to even think of being open and I hadn’t even considered the possibility til I walked up to the dark building. So I sat and read in the park (Mansfield Park, this being the book I was reading, not the park I was sitting in…Jane Austen) til 8:30 and still the place showed no signs of life. I asked some ladies sitting in the park and they told me it wouldn’t be opened til 9am. Sigh. So I walked around town and found a tienda where I bought some cookies and placticar-ed (chatted) with the man behind the counter, Gregorio, who told me about his time living in the states before he got deported. He showed me some really cute white kittens for sale in a wooden crate. I went back to see if the PO was open and still no. The women told me it’d be better if I just went to Dona Mirian’s house, the postmaster. So following their directions, I found myself back at the store and got additional directions from Gregorio and found I’d gone too far when I asked some other ladies, one of which was so kind as to walk me to the street I’d missed. I knocked on the door and her husband answered and informed me Mirian goes into Xela every Monday. But I was in luck because for some reason my package was there in the house! He knew who I was and what I was there for pretty much right off the bat. I wondered why my package was there instead of the post office..I felt better thinking special extra secure treatment for the blundering gringa. Without asking questions, I signed a form, showed my Peace Corps ID and got my chocolate.
Today, Tuesday is scheduled to be my day in the escuela teaching Environmental Education to the students. I’ll teach in the mornings in the Escuela Primario and in the afternoons to students in Secondario. Each week I’ll teach different grades for a cycle that repeats every three weeks. I’m in charge of the content of the course and I’ll adjust the complexity of each week’s theme to cater accordingly to the different age levels. This is kind of a big deal for me..I’m actually pretty nervous. I’m a nature girl, at home in the work has all been with birds, quietly studying them out in whatever wonderfully remote field location I’ve shipped myself off to. I’ve never been a teacher! So today I went to work out the details with the teachers and I walk into the schoolyard and suddenly I’ve got thirty little bitties surrounding me yelling out their names and asking if I remembered them and asking how to say things in English. I was charmed by the bitties, they are darn cute and I think I can have some good fun teaching them about nature. Nonetheless, I’m still anxious! How to begin (where do you begin?? There is so much information!), how to keep their attention, how to deal with the difficult students, how to decide how in-depth to go, how to get the message across..?!? Not to mention it’s all in Spanish. This is not my first language, people. But this is Peace Corps. You get thrown into something and you do all you can to keep afloat. I love nature. I love birds and I want to share my passion and create awareness, open minds to our surroundings and how we affect them, share how we should treat this mother earth of ours in order to ensure a better future. It’s all just a matter of how eloquently I can get all this across, all with a fair share (this I’m sure) of stumbling along the way.

Cool things-Saw a hummingbird attach himself to a rock wall to bathe in a gentle section of one of our beautiful waterfalls. And common bush tanagers hopping around in some viny growth that clung to the same wall and I watched as they shook and squirmed under the water drops that rained down on them in a natural shower. We had a visit at the house from a Morelet´s Tree Frog that hopped into the pila on a dark, thunderstormy night.

Sorry for the lack of photography. I will make up for it soon!


  1. happy anniversary you peace corps girl, you! i was so excited to see another post so soon...i think your package got to you pretty quickly and it sounds like you really earned it after all the trouble you went to to get it...i'll be interested to hear how the chocolate was and i hope you enjoy the book...
    you will be a perfect teacher because of your passion for the subject and for the will teach each other and have a great time doing it, i'm sure...
    how awesome to see the birds bathing in the waterfall!
    i love you...yr 1st mom

  2. youre definitely a volunteer; everything you write is laden with your 2nd language now. welcome to the world of misunderstanding and strange looks.

  3. If u keep writing in spanish, i'll have to hire one of my spanish renters to read ur blogs to me (HA). send me ur address, may have binnoculars ect... miss you, wcm Deb

  4. Hi Stace! nice to see your blog! I can't help but scan the photos of all the women you meet, and wonder if any of them are related to my kids. I hope one day we might find them. probably a needle in a haystack thing.

    sounds like you are really liking the work and country! i will read more soon! Much love,


I'd love to hear what you think, go on ahead and slap some words down!