Saturday, November 26, 2011
People always told me that the second year was going to fly by, and I just couldn't really picture that happening. Despite it being an amazing experience, time was not exactly moving by quickly. So, it's super strange to realize that I only have about 7 or 8 months left. This second year is truly flying by. Things have been really good since I got back from America. I've been trying to figure out why exactly things have been going so well. I've narrowed it down to a few things. First of all, I'm simply more comfortable in my surroundings. I'm comfortable in my village and have friends there. My language is at a decent spot. There are amazing volunteers here who I trust and adore. Secondly, I actually know what I'm doing here. For the most part, I know what projects I will be working on through the remainder of my time here. (I'll talk about projects later). Not knowing exactly what projects I will be doing is difficult. Thirdly, my head is more present in Suriname since I've come back from the U.S. I'm not constantly thinking about seeing my family and eating amazing food and taking hot showers. I've got my head in the game. I guess I'm trying to say that things are going pretty well. I should just be happy with that and not try to dissect it, but that's difficult to do when I have all the time in the world at site to do nothing but think. Everything gets triple analyzed.
I should probably explain these photos a bit. The first one is from a broko de in my village. It was a funeral party thing for the 8th day after a death. This one was really small because they also celebrated in the city. Usually, people come from all over the place and the village triples in size. This one was just amongst my villagers, which was pretty cool. Also, "broko de" means break the day, which translates into really loud music all night. Everyone stays up all night dancing until the sun rises. Since I'm a grumpy old lady, I can't stay up past 11 in the village. Because this one was a small broko de, they didn't rent out a sound system. The drum band in my village played instead, which I much prefer. I think they're really good. They have 2 really beautiful drums that they made themselves out of wood and dear skin. So, this photo is some kids in my village dancing to the drummers.
The second photo is a woman making kwaka, which is kind of like village style Grapenuts. It's made of cassava. Here is the last step in about a 2 week process.
Let's talk projects. The big project I'm working on is a life skills program for the kids in my village. I've been compiling activities from a variety of life skills materials (thanks Christine for the amazing life skills program you put together for 6th graders) into a year-long syllabus for the women in my village to utilize. With this, they will have activities to do with the kids for a full year. The subjects include communication, relationships, decision-making, HIV/AIDS, and workforce preparedness. With this project I'm writing a grant to get money so that we can get all the materials needed for this project. So, that's the big one I've been working on. All along, I've been doing after-school tutoring for the kids in my village, but I'm just expanding it with this project to cover more than just math and reading and other basics covered in school.
I'm getting pretty excited to see my family soon. I'll be spending Christmas in Tobago with my Dad, stepmom and two brothers. From there, Dad, Maia and I will be heading back to Suriname and they will spend close to two weeks here. I'm so excited to show them my home here and have them see my village, meet my villagers and meet the other volunteers. It's so amazing to be able to share this place with my family. It was so wonderful and important to me when my mom came to visit me last February.