Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mi Hermano Perdido

It's been a rough week - the very definition of emotional rollercoaster.  I have cried this week and I have also been so excited that I literally almost threw up.  Let's start with the good stuff.

WE GOT SITE ASSIGNMENTS THIS WEEK!!!!  I will be living in the town of Santa Cruz, in the department of Cajamarca for the next two years.  I will be living there with a family of four and working with a group of artisans.  I have two sisters, one that is 14 and one that is only 2 years old.  My host mother there is also the President of the artisans association and reportedly a pretty amazing woman.  I am the first volunteer ever sent to this town.

This is all very exciting and somewhat away from what I expected.  I had requested to live in the smallest town possible and this place has over 10,000 people.  I had hoped to work in agribusiness and instead will be helping an already decently well-formed business group.  I am in gorgeous mountains, as I had hoped.  Even better, I am in the same department at Ashley and Biz and Ellen, so I will get to see them all often.  I am confident that I will love my site and my work, even though they aren't exactly what I had requested.  I just may have to garden on my roof is all.

The build up to finding out site assignments was crazy.  We found out on Tuesday and many of us barely slept the night before.  It was like Christmas Eve times a thousand.  The morning of, we had to have classes and a huge taco feast before we found out.  I had gotten myself so worked up by the time we knew that I had overproduced adrenaline and had to spend the next few hours trying not to throw up.  It was absurd.

The next couple of days we went over expectations of our counterparts and our new host families, and discussed more safety and health stuff.  Our standard days, but now we were divided up by region instead of program.  It is becoming clear that many of us will likely never see each other again.  On Thursday, we got cell phones, which was extraordinarily exciting.  We can now communicate with each other without having to wander around to each other's houses constantly.  Of course, I have to walk out to the street to use mine anyways.  Directly after receiving these, we took off to Lima to meet some artisans and then have a pizza party at Papa Johns after.  It was time for us to say goodbye to our amazing tech trainer, Bron.  She is off to grad school in Switzerland.  We will miss her.  There were tears at this point.

Right when we got to pizza, we received some devastating news.  Our new cell phones starting ringing with people back in the center, in youth development, telling us that our friend had been fired and was being sent home.  I think I mentioned him in my first blog - the biggest class clown of our group.  He is a huge personality and at first when I met him I couldn't say anything but, "This guy..."  Once you got to know him a little bit, however, he was one of the coolest, kindest, and biggest-hearted dudes out here.  I think our superiors never really got to know him.  I think they were worried about his brash exterior.  I think they really blew it by sending him home.  He would have been spectacular at site.

He was also in a serious relationship here, with another friend of mine.  She has decided to leave as well.  I wish them both the best of luck and hope they come back and visit us both.  It has been pretty sad around here the last couple of days and it feels as if the higher-ups aren't particularly willing to answer questions about it.  Suppose we all just need to watch out for ourselves.  We already miss our friends.

Friday night we had a sleepover at the training center, which was pretty rad.  Today I leave to visit my site for a week.  I am nervous.  I am excited.  It is time to really test out my Spanish skills, meet my new people, and find out what it really is gonna be like.  Soon I will be a real Peace Corps Volunteer.  When we coe back in a week, we have one more week of debrief, then our swearing in at the US Embassy in Lima.  And then it's on.

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