Saturday, September 6, 2008

My site mates...

September 7, 2008

I have new site mates… although; they’re really not that new anymore.

Katy and Joe, a couple from California were assigned to Cabricán in July. There are now four of us just in the center of town. Of course, there are really more than four of us, if you count volunteers from other programs, and Aaron.

Aaron, is the equivalent of a new site mate, as he was assigned to the municipality of Huitan, a one hour walk or 20 minute bus ride from us. One of Katy and Joe’s good friends from training, we’re always inviting him over for group dinners.

I wasn’t very enthused when I found out there would be four of us. Gringos stand out a lot here, and it’s more than noticeable when they start to over take a town. It also makes it harder to find work for those that are here. Katy and Joe were supposed to be working with the health centers giving charlas on health, but there was already a volunteer from Japan who had filled this role. Also, having so many volunteers in a town makes it harder to integrate. Peace Corps claims to limit two volunteers to a site, but this is clearly not the case.

This is not to say that I don’t like having Katy, Joe and Aaron around (at first my frustration with Peace Corps came off to them like they weren’t welcome). They are great people and I love hanging out with them. We’ve continued the Cabricán tradition of group dinners and even added game nights. It’s especially nice to have Katy here because we get along so well (the only downside is that we apparently look so similar local people can’t tell us apart).

Katy and Joe have found a project in one of Cabricán’s small outlying towns: Mirador Los Corrales. They want to build latrines for this community that lacks both running water and electricity and are in the process of looking for funds. In the mean time, they are educating people on health and sanitation, and Katy is working with the older kids in the primary school on self-esteem and other related issues.

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