I am so tired. Really tired, right now. But it's time to get this done. Also, they are setting up a Yunza outside, so I know sleep is about to be taken off the table (Will the Yunzas never end? Are there such a thing as better earplugs?) A whole lot has been going on, as well.
Life is so good. I know I am parroting myself here, but what a cool job. It's time for the 13ers to decide whether or not they are staying a third year and it's funny to watch. There is a vast range of reactions. I know a large handful that are just saying, “I am going home immediately on the first day allowed.” There are a chunk almost as large saying, “Well, this is home. Why would I want to go to the States and get a way less cool job?” And then there are the variety pack, those signing on for just a few more months, and those who really haven't decided. I even had a conversation with a Volunteer I know currently in the middle of his fourth year. I asked, “Well, aren't you cut off soon? No one is allowed to sign up for a fifth year...” (Yes, Peace Corps has term limits, for staff too.) He replied, “But I can extend my fourth year.” Whatever kind of awesome bureaucratic loophole that is. If I had to pick right now, I wouldn't go anywhere. This is the life. But don't freak out yet, Mom, I swore I would come home after just two and I will.
TEACHING IS HARD. I have always had a lot of respect for teachers, but never like this. I don't know what I am doing! Teaching is crazy. Teaching in the wrong language is crazier. Doing it full time... I just got home from a Clausura – where I graduated 26 of my 11 year olds, with certificates, soda pop, and saltines. They completed their 2 week course on Planning Your Future (how strange is that?) The course was twice a week for two weeks. Two of the other days a week, I have my older kids, 15 and 16, for Youth Entrepreneurship. These classes are all two hours in the afternoon. Planning a two hour class takes a LONG time. Planning it well, takes practice. Turns out half the time that I can't get nearly the amount done that I thought and the other half that we are going to end up outside playing icebreakers and team building games because I didn't plan enough. Turns out I SUCK at discipline. Who wants to be that guy? I don't even want to talk about my morning classes teaching English to 7 year olds...
Really, though, we are all having fun and the learning curve is steep. I start this week with the next group of over two dozen 11 year olds. Each two week period I will move on to the next, until the kids in town have ideas beyond “tienda-owner” or “mototaxi-driver.” The older kids course is a 6 week session that I am currently planning on just doing twice in a row. These kids volunteer for this, while the younger ones are required to attend my short course. After my two six-week courses, I get to form a team of my best students to create a business plan for a national youth business plan competition. I plan on us winning. The kids can win the funding to actually start their business plan. Since I have seemingly been assigned to be the Human-Form Economic Stimulus Package for this community, I think I am gonna try and own this project. Win. Banks are still going well. Need to update my numbers on that tomorrow...
I have been out of town for a week again. Yet another Peace Corps training in Lima. I feel like they drag us out for these things sooo often. No more until I go in for the business plan competition in August however. So I get to hunker down for awhile. And tomorrow, I have more things to do than humanly possible – between the library project, the 2 business courses, the community banks, and the English courses, I am a nutcase. The funny thing is, it's not even that many hours, especially considering some jobs I have happily worked in the past. I don't know why it feels busier. Probably a mix of language barrier issues (which I am convinced never go away,) cultural frustration issues (as I am also convinced the norms of Peru were designed to make me crazy,) and the fact that everything is such a rollercoaster ride. In fact, speaking of rollercoasters, my mother has been back and cooking me her absolutely wonderful but almost pure starch food for just a month now and I am seeing that I already noticeably need to get back to my workout routine. Suck.
The big awesomeness: the library project. All I can say so far is that I have seen extreme enthusiasm and a mention of possible available community funds. I am having a big meeting about it tomorrow or the next day, so I will update very soon! I have looked deeply into grant resources, pitched the idea around town, and recruited some enthusiastic and brilliant young team members. Here we go, Children's Library-Tutoring-Center-Science-Museum! This is going to be awesome. I could obviously use help with a name.