Thursday, July 29, 2010

Field Based Training!

On Sunday, we returned from the most exciting of training events: Field Based Training. For one week, the youth development crew (all 35 of us) split into three different groups and traveled to three different departments in Peru. My group traveled to Piura, which is the second northernmost department. It was absolutely amazing and you should check out some of the pictures here:

The whole week was action-packed and we usually returned to our hostel around 8 absolutely exhausted. So instead of trying to write it all up, I’ll provide some highlights and encourage you to look at the pictures here:

- I spent the day in Lima with three other trainees, Kelsi, Mario, and John William. We had a great time and had some of the best cerviche in the world. Piura is supposed to have the best cerviche in Peru but we were jaded after the cerviche at Punto Azul and nothing we ate lived up to it.

- The fifteen hour bus trip to Piura wasn’t too bad - our bus was a “sofa-cama” which means that the seats were larger than average and reclined a lot farther than a normal seat. It was definitely superior to any airplane I’ve ever been on.

- A pretty chill day exploring Piura City

- We visited the desert site of a Peace Corps volunteer, Jen. We were able to teach lessons to the kids at a school that she works with and I had a small victory when I was able to explain an activity in Spanish.

- I experienced the magic of Carbon Burger for the first time on Monday night. Just imagine, fresh made hamburgers on toasted buns, with a fried egg and crispy fries on top, with lettuce, aji, ketchup, and mayonnaise. And all for less than a dollar. Amazing.

- We took a rather perilous bus trip to the site of another Peace Corps volunteer, Glenn. If I could choose a place to live for the next two years it would be Glenn’s site. It was absolutely beautiful, small, and Glenn’s counterpart was very motivated. Unfortunately, Glenn’s site is not open for a new volunteer. Though I did try to convince the Peace Corps otherwise.

- We took a hike down to a waterfall and river and went swimming for part of the afternoon. It was amazing and the kind of thing that people pay hundreds of dollars to do. Another reason that I want to move to Glenn’s site.

- Glenn’s site was celebrating the opening of his computer lab. We were served the most amazingly simple meal of tea, sweet rolls, and cheese and then went to the school where we expected to watch a ceremony. But when we walked into the school, the whole audience gave us a standing ovation and then we had to sit in the front of the room as part of the panel. If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, they made us all dance for part of the ceremony. Awkward, circle dancing.

- Juliane and I gave an English lesson to groups of kids at the school at Glenn’s site. It went really well. We also taught each group of kids how to play the game “Chief”, or “Jefe” in Spanish. At the end of the lesson time, we played one game with all eighty kids. It was pretty awesome.

- We visited the Special Ed school where another Voluteer, Suze, works. The best part was playing soccer with some of the boys who go to the school.

- That afternoon we went to the afterschool program that Suze works at. We played field games, like capture the flag, relay races, and a penalty kick tournament. It was excellent and the highlight of the whole trip.

- We visited the site of another volunteer, Jess, and performed two plays about health lifestyles and a HIV/AIDs charla.

- We spent the afternoon at the beach. It was pretty cold and windy there but it was still amazing to spend the afternoon sitting and walking by the Pacific. It was absolutely gorgeous and a great end to FBT.

- We visited an artisanal market fifteen minutes from Piura City that had beautiful jewelry. I practiced a lot of restraint by not buying everything I saw.

In short, Field Based Training was a lot of fun. I promise to schedule just as much fun if you come to visit.

In other news, we receive our site assignments next week Tuesday and I’ll finally know where I’m going to be living for the next two years. The next five days are going to be rough.

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