What can I say. Week Five was one for the Telenovelas.
Sunday was a day of recovering, laundry, unpacking, eating, napping, eating, napping, and catching up with host families after a week away for FBT. We returned bright and early to el Centro to resume classes and training as usual (bwa.ha.ha.) on Monday.
You can pretty much take ANY 30-minute sample of ANY hour during Week Five and get the following rollercoaster of emotions:
Monday morning combi commute as told by Sad Lunch Banana…
…followed by receiving mail as told by Happy Travel Jess
Monday was also marked Cabot’s 12th birthday, the first one I have missed. Zero rollercoasters found there. Luckily, Mr. C-dog has been upgraded in the love and family (and cushy new bed) departments at Camp Cunningham.
Week Five was also our LPI’s. This is just a casual sit-down conversation with a language facilitator in a secret back room closet with interview spotlight interrogation lamps to formally assess our language proficiency in order to be allowed to serve on behalf of the U.S. Government. Just kidding. Viviana was nice about making me flop sweat.
Four days later… I leveled up from Novice-Mid (January) to Novice-High (March) to Intermedio Bajo (April.) One more level to go to reach Intermediate-Mid!
Pictured below is one stress management tactic we use to make it through classes. I know if one of my U.S. brothers actually reads this blog (Jim) he would approve and simultaneously critique this analog fantasy duel made out of ticky tacky papelote sticker stuff. (Got tired of coloring.)
Ready yet? All that’s left to share is what has been blowing up all trainee FB, IM, and SnapKats accounts: Site Assignment Day! When 48 people found out where they will be spending the next two years. Or longer.
Here’s what I know (so far) about Oxapampa: It is in the departmento of Pasco, about 9-18 hours (like that? Acclimating to Peru time) east-north-east of Lima. The two WASH trainee groups visited during FBT and each person has reported to me I am “SO lucky” and the town is “freaking awesome” and “I am coming to visit you.” That’s some solid reviews.
- I am the second CED volunteer, however my predecessor was only there for a couple months. So I will technically be a first volunteer for my sector. (Making brand new partner friends! Explaining what the heck I’m doing creeping around here offering to help.)
- The leading industry is small business (think coffee, ranching, artisans) in need of Marketing, financial literacy, and Ecotourism. (Yes, I am freaking psyched.)
- It has a German influence. And there is bratwurst and a brewery.
- It is a town of around 14,000 people around 6,000ft. (Jungle Lander!)
- My future host family is a Mom, Paulina (64) & her daughter Jenny (42), They have three mascotas. I am being provided a small bed and mattress.
- Oxapampa has two other PCVs – referred to as “site mates” – two women volunteers in WASH (Peru 27) and YOUTH (Peru 30) as well as eleven other Peru 31 volunteers in our region:
I am attempting to contain my excitement about
meat, cheese, and beer how Oxapampa is high mountain jungle: lush, green, and full of countryside I can’t wait to go explore. Including meeting this guy:
Weeks Six, Seven, and Eight are spent at our new site (solo) with a 50-page scavenger hunt notebook of community analysis questions. We live with our new host families and hustle for meetings with future community partners and spend our time seeking out and starting relationships in our new homes.
Back in my current home, in the neighborhood Santa Maria, my family of ten has added an 11th member, Ramsés, about four weeks old.
See you all in Oxapampa!