July 21, 2008
One year as an official Peace Corps volunteer, one year to go, and significant changes.
I officially changed my counterpart agency to Cabricán’s Library: Biblioteca Nuevo Amancer. This has two benefits: first, the guilt of not working with my assigned agency has been lifted from my shoulders; second, I feel a more fixed work schedule will be more conducive to accomplishing more in my second year.
It is easy for me to place the blame on Peace Corps for my original placement, and to only see the negative side of the equation. However, this would not be rational. As a result of my first placement, I have learned to be more out going, more proactive, and more responsible. I have learned to seek things out for myself, rather than waiting for them to come to me. With the failure of my placement, came new opportunities that are more related to my interests and abilities. I was also able to choose them for myself, rather than wait for Peace Corps to find something that might or might not work out.
It would be easy for me to write off my first year as a failure as I have often wanted to do. But this would overlook all that I have accomplished and all that I have learned.
My APCD (Assistant Peace Corps Director) came out to visit a couple days ago to officially change my agency and to see what I have been doing over the last year. Feeling pressed upon to show some RESULT, I took him out to Loma Grande to look at my world map mural.
The result surprised me. Seño Amarilis, who teaches the classes I worked with for Fundamentos Empresariales, explained to my APCD how the children had taken over responsibilities for snack sales at recess after finishing this course. They picked out their own products to sell, including healthy items such as fruit which weren’t an option before, and were allowed to keep half the proceeds. They came up with the idea on their own. The teachers had not mentioned this to me, and had I not taken my APCD out to see the mural, I might never have known. This taught me to understand, although I might not see the results of my work, every action has a result, and I should not be so judgmental of my efforts.