Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Assignment

This post is for those people who are interested in what I will be doing once I am in Honduras. This information is taken from the packet that was sent to me with my invitation. Followed by a mini Q and A for some common questions I have already received.

Country: Honduras
Program: Youth Development
Job Title: Youth Developer
Dates of Service: Dec 9, 2005-Dec. 2007
Orientation Dates: Sept. 19, 2005- Sept. 21, 2005
Pre-Service Training (in Honduras): Sept. 21- Dec. 9, 2005

"Youth Development Volunteers will collaborate with youth leaders, teachers, parents, and local Non-Governmental Organizations to create programs that will build self-esteem, teamwork, and leadership skills. Volunteers will promote activiteis for youth that expand their critical thinking ability and foster their capactiy to make good decisions, especially in dealing with issues such as gangs, sex, and drugs and alcohol."

"Part of volunteer work as a community outreach specialist will include increasing communication between parents and their children, and especially opening up opportunities for the youth voice to be heard and valued within the community. Volunteers will support dialogue between youth and adult populations, in order to draw different generations together, enabling them to work toward common goals that will benefit all ages in the community"

One of these common goals is to "train youth to become future youth service providers". Ideally I would be training older teens to be youth development workers so that they could continue to work with future youth in country long after my group would leave Honduras.

Q: Where will I be living the first 11 weeks in Honduras?
A: For the most part in Siguatepeque (see-gua-teh-peh-que), 2 hours from the capital, Tegucigalpa, with a family who is not yet named at this time but will most likely look at me and think, "why can't this Mexican speak Spanish?"

Q: What is the point of pre-service training (PST)?
A: I will be going to Spanish classes in the morning and in the afternoon I will have classes dealing with either youth development or how to prevent getting malaria on a daily basis. By the time the 11 weeks are up, I have to test at an Intermediate-Medium level in Spanish or I am on my way back to Chicago (and as punishment, back to Starbucks).

Q: Are you nervous?
A: Not yet. I am more excited about quitting Starbucks on Sept. 9th than anything else. I'm serious.

Q: How will you pack for two years?
A: I don't know how I will pack for the Dells this weekend, let alone for 2 years in Honduras. Very psychotically, I'm guessing. I'm sure crying will be involved.

Q: Are you worried about dying from a falling coconut?
A: Well, I've never given much thought to death by coconuts, but hey, I'll take them much more seriously now that I know about their dangerous ways.

Q: Will you come back to the U.S. for vacation?
A: Will you come visit me instead? (just think, the ancient ruins of Copan, the Bay Islands, second largest coral reef...OR we can travel to somewhere else in Latin America, I've already planned trips to Mexico and Peru!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From Dominican Republic to Banana Republic?

Ok, so I received my invite on July 15th to Dominican Republic. I was so excited. I was afraid that I was going to be sent to a central asian country where I didn't know the language or anything about the country. I began thinking of Carribean Spanish, getting more warm weather clothing, getting used to listening to merengue (and reggaeton) 24/7. I was assigned to a Youth Development program leaving Sept. 5th, however....

I get a call on Monday from my placement officer stating that I need to call her ASAP because there had been "a significant change to the program". When I called, she told me that the program is being cancelled and that I will have to be transferred to another country (oh no, I'm getting sent to central asia...). But she told me that I would be going to Honduras (also known as the original banana republic), departing Sept. 19th as a youth developer. (More on my assignment later.) This was great news because I could still learn and practice Spanish, work with kids, and I would have an extra 2 weeks to get all my things in order.

So I am calling to accept the position today. I will be leaving for Hounduras on Sept 19th, I hope!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

let the waiting game begin

I have contacted my placement assistant. I got certified in First Aid and CPR. I have mailed all copies of my forms to my recruiter and to my PA in Washington D.C. I have sent emails asking either of them to contact me in case they need additional information. Now the waiting game begins...I worry that I'm not qualified enough, that my timing is off, that I'll have to wait for a long time before I get a placement, or that I'll even have a placement.

I read the blogs of other Peace Corps volunteers and I sit here and wait patiently.