Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cola-flavored gummy snakes and other news

I just had my first Christmas in Suriname. It was pretty awesome. It was definitely hard being away from my family, but I think we all managed to make it very fun and special. Jessica's family was in country, and so they were kind enough to invite us to join them for Christmas. So, it ended up being 10 of us spending 2 nights at a fellow volunteer's house in the district. It was really great. Her family was so gracious and despite them not being my family, it was nice to be with a family for the holidays. We shot off a lot of would-be-illegal-in-the-U.S. fireworks, smoked cigars, played the guitar, watched movies, took naps in hammocks and ate. Oh, and Jessica's family gave us all stockings! And we had a white-elephant gift exchange. I got a terrifying-looking mug and batteries. Just what I wanted. It was wonderful to spend the Christmas with the other volunteers. They're my Suriname family.

I just got very excited at the Wenkii (store) to buy gummy worms, but they ended up to be gummy snakes, and they were cola-flavored. Still had the proper texture, and that's all that really mattered, so who am I to complain.

So I made a bit of a blunder when meeting the Captain's wife of my village. She had been in the city for the first three weeks I was at site, so I hadn't met her yet. She came to my house to meet me. I was doing dishes at the time, and so my hands were dripping wet and soapy. I told her that I couldn't shake her hand, because my hands were wet. Or at least, that's what I wanted to tell her. Instead, I messed up a bit and told her I couldn't shake her hands because my hands were WHITE. Ooops. Not good when you're the only white girl in a village. I didn't realize my mistake until she was already gone. I'm hoping she understood that the dumb foreign girl just doesn't speak very well, because I did dry my hands and shake her hand then. I felt like banging my head against the wall when I realized. Oh well, the next year and a half will be full of many more embarrassing mistakes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

November 29, 2010

Wow. Back in the interior. I'm now laying in bed in my new home. It's very strange to be here after so long of not knowing where I was going to be going or what I was going to be doing, but here I am. A little over a week ago I was told that they had a site for me. So I went to go see it and in a matter of days I was moved in. It was all very sudden.

It's all really good though. I was really nervous to come here. Anticipation can be awful. The villagers have been amazing. They all showed up when we came on Saturday in the big white land cruiser and helped unload all of my things into my house. They've helped me set up my house and have tried to make me feel as comfortable and at home as possible.

I already have some promising projects. A few women here have started an after school club to give lessons to the kids. So, each day a different age group has an afternoon of lessons. Today I sat in on the one with the youngest ones (5, 6 and 7 year olds) as they practiced writing. They were all very cute. I forgot the amount of concentration it takes to draw an f when it's an entirely new experience. The women told me that I can sit in on the lessons until my language is better and then I can help out. So, that's super exciting. I was just very impressed that they were so dedicated to education. After a long day of working at grounds in the sun, they come back and give lessons to the children, all on their own initiative.