PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS BLOG IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF MY HOST COUNTRY OR OF THE PEACE CORPS.
Playing In The Big Leagues
I’m finally living in site and soaking up the hot, humid Chinadegan air! I absolutely love it but still have a lot of work to do on immersing into my new home. Swear In was June 5th and it was beautiful. Our group was accompanied by some special guests like the US Ambassador, the director of MINSA (ministry of health, Nicaragua), the director of MINED (ministry of education, Nicaragua), and our Peace Corps Country Director. And, nearly all of our host families were able to attend as well! Once again I was reminded that I am exactly where I need to be.
The ceremony was pretty emotional. It was just so hard to believe that after all this time, I was finally going to be able to call myself an official volunteer! (the years and years of dreaming and even more so after the 3 months of training, crazy!) For all my campies out there, it felt like the first time being a part of the "goal-of-the-summer circle" that we do to start off every summer on the last night of staff week at PVC. After the years of being a camper, the moment finally sinks in there that you´re now a part of something bigger. It’s a moment full of fear, excitement, joy, anxiety, and unpreparedness but it´s more than anything beautiful. You´re literally about to take everything you´ve done up until that point, to start a whole new adventure. And now, I´m sporting my "staff bead" (Peace Corps pin) proudly and ready to take on the next chapter of this incredible opportunity.
Settling into Villanueva has been easy with the awesome family that I have been assigned. I had a couple of fix up to make in my Harry Potter room, but it´s starting to feel a lot more homey since I´ve put up my pictures, posters, and cards from the beautiful friends and family back home. It´s been really fun to share stories of all the faces on my wall with my family down here. It helps me cope by telling ridiculous stories about you guys so thanks.
Work has been a lot of fun and my counterparts have sure kept me busy! I´ve given charlas at every school in town so far, at the casa materna, and the health center. I also have been helping my group start the "Familias Fuertes, Familias Saludables" program in my town which has been fun. (picture above is from our last meeting!) The program is a 7 session series that meets with adolescents and their parents to learn how to be parents to teens, how to strive for your goals, and ultimately to prevent teens from going down some bad paths. So far, so good!
I hung out at the Casa Materna last week and did some manualidades (crafts) with the women. I´m hoping to be able to hang out there once a week to start a yoga program and also start working in the garden to teach the women about nutrition. Oh, and I need to spend a day going through pinterest to try and figure out some crafts to do with the ladies. Maybe if you have some ideas, you could post them in the comments for me!!
Last week I got to explore Leon a little with some other volunteers. It was beautiful! We attended game 4 of the Leon vs. Matagalpa national baseball championship, holy moly what a blast. We stuck out like sore thumbs in the crowd of Nicas but cheered just as loud, rooting on Leon!
I´m not too sure if it has totally sunk in that I am going to be here for the next two years, but I´m sure that day will come! I am on a crazy journey down here and would love to ask if you could continue to keep me in your prayers. I got a whole lot of learning and growing to do down here :)
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Hola, I'm Justine