Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Month

It has been 26 months since I left the US to be a Peace Corps volunteer. Thinking about it then, 27 months seemed like the longest amount of time in the world. I was pretty sure I would be able to do it, but it is a long time. Now, looking back, it has gone by so fast and comparing it to the rest of my life, 2 years really is not that much. I have not been posting recently because I have been so busy finishing up my service. Things to do before I leave: wind down my work (although I'm sure I'll be working up until March 14th) , empty my house, pack, complete a few documents for Peace Corps, medical check-ups to get rid of any parasites that might be hiding out in my body, plan my going away party, prepare myself emotionally to say goodbye to friends here AND on top of all that...plan what I'll be doing when I get home. Returned Volunteers have told me to enjoy the last days I have here and take as many pictures as possible. That is what I'm trying to do.
One of the things we had to do to officially be done with Peace Corps was an exit interview with the director of the health program. We talked about what i would have done differently if I could start over, my major successes, how I've changed etc... It's interesting thinking back on my time here. So how did I answer these questions?
Major Successes
-The soup kitchen is a major success and a major stressor. For those of you who do not know-the soup kitchen is for children who are under weight and under fed and whose families do not have money to feed them three times a day. These kids are amazing. Major stressor part of it is that we do not have a budget and sometimes the cooks do not show up. Budget-wise, we end up soliciting donations for various sources. The fantastic part is that we submitted a letter to this major energy company and they have agreed to fund the comedor for another year! That means we have one more full year of chicken, bones for soup, ground beef, drink mixes, vegetables and sugar. This is a HUGE help.
-Another major success is our new Association- Asociacion Huellas Juveniles (Youth Footprints Association-ASOHJUV). Through the Casa y Clinica, a group of youth have been trained in sexual and reproductive health topics as well as how to train their peers on the same subjects. This group of youth have now started their own non-profit organization focusing on the empowerment of youth through peer-to-peer trainings. We have been funded by a German organization and this week will be applying for funds to participate in Global Youth Service Day. Services offered by ASOHJUV are: free english and german classes, free psychology consults, a latrine building project, Youth Health Promoter Program, Domestic Violence Shelter, charlas in the schools and in youth groups as well as charlas about taking care of our environment and how to protect our human rights.  You can visit ASOHJUV's facebook page for more information:
For now, I will leave you with these 2 successes and will update you with what I would have done differently, my plans for the future and how I have changed in my next posts.

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