Lauren's Peace Corps Experience in Honduras

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed and experiences described in this travelogue are mine personally. Nothing written here should be interpreted as official or unofficial Peace Corps literature or as sanctioned by the Peace Corps or the U.S. government. I have chosen to write about my experience online in order to update family and friends; I am earning no money whatsoever from this endeavor. Please do not copy or forward any of these contents without my permission.

Friday, March 11, 2005

My imminent site assignment and other stuff

Hi everyone!

I wanted to finish up what I was saying yesterday. I guess I finished talking about the taller (pronounced tie-yehr) so I will move on. On Wednesday I had an interview with my project director. He came into Santa Cruz to interview us all on how our training is going and our site preferences. This is a big deal to us. Next Friday we will find out where we will spend the next two years. Rumors are flying, the littlest comments are blown out of proportion, speculation is high. The following analogy might assist some of my friends: it's like the night before you receive your bid to join a sorority and everyone on your first-year hall is speculating this and that, trying not to get their hopes set on one certain thing, preparing yourself for your second and third choices, and being scared and really excited at the same time. It's like that :) For the rest of you, that analogy doesn't work so you'll have to use your imaginations!

Anyway, I tried to be really honest with our director and he's really nice and sincere and I know he will do the best he can to match the right place to the right person. Basically we can tell him all we want about our preferences but there's only so much he can do. Organizations and individuals in these different sites apply to have a Peace Corps volunteer and then he tries to match the best volunteer based on job skills and location preference and personality. I told him I'd like to work with an NGO, basically a nonprofit, and try to utilize my public relations-marketing-event planning experience in some way with the organization, maybe by planning AIDS events or raising awareness about certain health topics. I really want to work with youth on HIV knowledge and self-esteem, and I'd like to have a strong, involved counterpart, who is basically your assigned partner/co-worker that you coordinate activies with and is your first contact in the community. I told him I didn't think I would like to be a volunteer up on the North Coast with the Garifuna population, because it is a very challenging assignment even though you are on a beautiful beach, it's not quite as safe, and the population is challenging to work with sometimes, especially since they speak their own language. As far as other random preferences, I told him communication with home is very important to me, so that I would need internet or phone fairly close, and that I'd prefer a temperate climate, another volunteer there in town as my site mate, I'd like to live in a mid-sized town or a small town close to a city, and some other small things that I probably won't get. So that's what I think I'd like but none of it is guaranteed and I think I will adapt and have a great experience with just about any site assigment I get. You don't really join the Peace Corps so you can be picky and choosy about where you would like to live and all these little preferences, and they give you much more say in the matter than I expected. So now I get to play the waiting game! Ahhhhh! :)

Yesterday during Spanish class we took a field-trip to a beautiful waterfall on this guy's property. The only sad part was it was not the usual scorching heat, but instead kind of misty and chilly. But a few of us braver souls went in the water and felt the mist from the waterfall. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera but believe me when I say it was beautiful - tall white cascading water, big green mossy rocks all the way up, and a small river running by at the bottom where there is a nice pool to wade into. The owner was a doctor who talked to us afterwards and he was really inspiring. He is young, possibly early 30s, and he has great big plans for the area. He wants to build a hospital there in Santa Cruz, he wants to find ways to protect some of the natural resources of the area that are rapidly being destroyed, and he wants to bring more tourism, prosperity, and education to the area. He's an environmentalist and wants to protect the rivers, the lake, some endangered species of flowers and fauna. He said that big ideas are much more important than big money. And I could tell he had some big ideas, it was great to see the enthusiasm in his face.

Well I am writing during my lunch break, and it is almost over. This afternoon we are planning our last charla for next week which will be in a high school right outside of Santa Cruz. Then it's the weekend! Tomorrow we are going to a national park called Cerro Azul to go hiking, I am excited. Then Sunday I think I am going with my family to the pool and possibly taking some of my friends with me. I'm excited to relax after all the hard work of the week! I wish everyone a great weekend, and keep writing!

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