Sunday, July 4, 2010

June 19

I just got back from a week of visits with current Peace Corps Volunteers and to our future sites. To say the least it was a pretty exciting and illuminating week. I'll be honest, I'm very proud of myself for just making it through it. That makes it sound like it was awful, when in reality it was really great. I was just very very nervous about it beforehand. I wasn't really nervous about the PCV visit, but there isn't a current volunteer at my future site, so I was very nervous about that. I knew that I had to spend 4 days alone at my site, introducing myself to my community and just hanging out.

So we flew out on Saturday and spent a night with a volunteer, Michael. We weren't supposed to stay with him but we had trouble finding a boat to the place we were supposed to be going. So, the next day we managed to get a boat and made our way to visit another volunteer, Shelly. Her site was super awesome. It was beautiful and fun and the people were awesome. We got to turn a compost pile, which we were told might be full of snakes because snakes love to hang out in them. Luckily, there weren't any. Most of the time we just walked around talking to people and hanging out with people.

Then on Tuesday they dropped me off my site. It was very intimidating. Three current volunteers and two trainees and I all came to my site. They brought me up to my house and we opened it up to find 2 bats flying around and a dead rat in the middle of the floor in a pool of blood. Someone tried to move the rat with a dustpan, but the rat was apparently not quite dead, so it started sluggishly moving. Pretty gross. My place was pretty dirty, since no one had been in there in about 5 months. I was pretty proud of myself for just dealing with it and hanging up my hammock and going to sleep with huge spiders, bats and gigantic toads jumping around (not to mention whatever other animals I didn't happen to see). My community is super awesome. They're super chill. Everyone was really welcoming and friendly, but not in my face. Sometimes in training it seems like everyone is constantly in my face, trying to correct something I'm doing or just staring. At my site people were just nice and treated me like just another person. I was super amazed that no one corrected a single thing I did in 4 whole days!

My village is also really pretty. It's on a big river and then there's a small creek near my house. Both have white water rapids. It's pretty hilly and rocky. I have an orange tree in front of my house and then a lime tree behind my house. There's also a belibon tree. It's a large green spiky fruit. If you know what durian is, it kind of looks like that. But inside are pods. They're nuts that you cook in water and salt and then peel and eat warm. They were pretty delicious. they reminded me of a less-Christmasy version of chestnuts roasted on an open fire. The lime tree is apparently my tree, so I'll be making lots of lime-ade. Yumm!

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