29 February, 2008

Individual Directed Activity

I just got back from my first visit to my site. It wasn’t technically considered a site visit, because I still haven’t technically received my site assignment, which happens on Monday. So this was considered an Individual Directed Activity, although for all intents and purposes it was a site visit. I hit the camionetas (retrofitted school busses with lots of Guatemalan flair if I haven’t mentioned them before) at 8 AM Sunday morning and got to the entrada to Nuevo El Palmar (they call it Nuevo because Antigua El Palmar was literally cut in half by lahar activity about 20 years back, and it is bad for business to have a giant gorge running through your central plaza if you are supposed to be seat of a municipality) at around 2 PM that same afternoon. From the entrada, I proceeded to jump into the back of a pickup truck loaded with finca workers and headed on into Las Marias, the community in which I will be working for the next two years. Because I have a special knack for transportation screw ups, I decided that rather than get off in Las Marias proper, I would stay in the truck until it stopped, which was about two kilometers past town, but when I had been standing looking confused not to be in a town for about 30 seconds, people started asking me if I was looking for another gringo that lived around there, I said yes, and got a ride back into town where a little girl walked me to Adam Blankebicker’s front door.

Adam has done some pretty great work in the last two years, and it seemed to me by all the warm welcomes that I will have some pretty big shoes to fill and some pretty high expectations to meet, but at the same time I will have a community that is anxious to work with me on all sorts of projects. I got to witness an all community meeting where the Water Committee introduced Adam’s Small Project Assistance project (a special source of funds available to PCV’s through USAID), I had the opportunity to meet all of the teachers that I will be working with, talk with one of the two members of the Santiaguito Observatory staff, and even meet with the Alcaldeza (female mayor, one of the six in the whole country) of the municipality.

All in all, I am psyched to be looking at going into such a great site, with so many opportunities to work with motivated people. I am pretty nervous too, but I think that will die down once I start working. I posted a few pictures, and I promise to take more the next time I get out there, which should be in another week or so. Happy leap day! Peace.

No comments: