So we’ve had a really exciting two weeks around here!
Friday (August 9) was a day of reckoning for us – we all found out where we’d be living for the next the two years. So, of course, the Peace Corps staff decided to draw out the suspense by playing a game with us – they hid the packets with our site information around the room and we had to hunt for them like Easter eggs. So, after several minutes of frantic searching, I discovered that I will be serving in the community of
Aguacate, a small Q’eqchi village (~400 people) in the southernmost district of Toledo!
And then on Tuesday I was finally introduced to my work counterparts, the Community Health Workers in Aguacate. Ms. Teresa and Ms. Hilaria are wonderful women, who both have a passion for helping other people. I’m so excited to get to work side-by-side with them for the next 2 years!
On Wednesday, we had a 3-day site visit, so I traveled with Ms. Teresa and Ms. Hilaria to Aguacate. To get there, you have to get on a bus that leaves Belmopan for Punta Gorda at 6:30 in the morning. At 10:30 AM, we jumped off the bus at a gas station/rest stop that the locals call The Dump, and then caught the bus headed to Aguacate at noon. An hour later we finally arrived and I had my first chance to see my new home.
The first thing I noticed was how gorgeous it is – the village is literally situated in the middle of the jungle, in the midst of the Maya Mountains. The road to the village crosses two rivers, and a small creek runs behind the village, where everyone bathes and washes their clothes.
I spent most of the two and a half days that I was in the village meeting with my counterparts, the Chairman and Alcalde of the village, my new host family, and many other people in the village! While Aguacate is somewhat used to outside NGOs coming into the village, everyone wanted to know more about the new gringa in town. I was excited to meet everyone and practice my Q’eqchi! I’m going to have to do a lot more practicing so I can talk to everyone in the village.
One of the best things about Aguacate was how passionate the CHWs and the Village Chairman were about getting projects started – and man, did they have a lot of ideas for projects we could tackle! The Chairman especially wanted us to focus on nutrition and hygiene in the village – right up the alley of a health volunteer like me.
On Saturday we headed back to Valley of Peace for three more weeks of Pre-Service Training, but I can’t wait to head back in September. Everyone I met was so welcoming and eager for me to live there, so I’m excited to serve there for the next 2 years. I can’t wait to see what my counterparts and I can accomplish!
I can’t believe time has flown by so fast – only 2 and half weeks left until Swearing In! I’m almost a real Peace Corps Volunteer, you guys