Social Impact Design

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I am officially a the real fun begins!

FBT PHOTOS- Training in the north of Peru, and visiting my new home
PHOTOS- Thanksgiving and Swearing in Ceremony
HOME - A few snapshots of my bedroom in Canchaque

The past two weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind of paperwork, fiestas, great food, great entertainment, and goodbyes.

I have finished my 10 weeks of training, obtained an "intermediate mid" level of spanish and made a lot of close friends. Its going to be hard moving away from everyone. We are all going to different departments across the country, and it will be one year before we see each other again. So much can happen in a year, and I am excited to see what everyone else will be up to (although they say we should not compare our projects with anyone else)

Everything has been building up to this point. The months and months of waiting for the Peace Corps office to get back to me, the weeks of technical training, hours of stumbling over hard pronunciations, the pounds and pounds of rice and potatoes, heaps of ají and all the hora locas.



My new site is beautiful, its starting to really feel like home. I bought a new bed, sheets, coffee mug, and dresser. Okay, so my room is starting to feel like home. Its been a little hard for me to get out of my comfort zone. But today was good: I went to the health post and talked to different counterparts who I will be working with to do my Community Diagnostic.

The Community Diagnostic is a document that I need to compile in the first three months. There are different activities that I orchestrate to help the community figure out what their strength and weaknesses are. I also go around house to house doing surveys to see who actually has the basic services: Running water, toilets, sewage, trash service ect. After the three months, I compile all the info and figure out what projects I should be doing for the three years.

Peace Corps training taught me that doing this Diagnostic can be very frustrating, but perseverance is the key. In America, if you talk to someone about a meeting, and they say they will come, it is considered rude and overbearing if you call them to check if they are really coming. In Perú, the importance of your meeting is directly related to how often you mention it to the person. If they don’t come to your meeting, its really your fault for not reminding them about it 5 times. Perseverance is hardwired into the culture. If someone wants to get a hold of me, they wont call once and leave a message. They will call 15 times in an hour. Its not rude, its just the way things are done.

On a side note, my host mom is going to teach me how to make café liquor tomorrow! Excited about that too. I will try to make these blog posts more frequent, and exciting for that matter. Miss you all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Field Based Training

The past few weeks I have been traveling to other volunteers sites, seeing projects and listening to the wise words of those who have come before me.

We took an overnight bus north about 8 hours to the department of La Liberdad. We arrived in the regiounal capital of Trujillo around 7am and ate a small breakfast of beef empanadas and bananas. Then guess what? another bus! after about an hour ride up the mountains, we stopped at the side of the road next to a small adobe house. Here we met Brian, a volunteer who has been living in a small mountain town (Otuzco) and making a daily commute to the surrounding small villages.

From there, we lathered up in sunscreen and hiked for about 30 minutes down a valley of Eukaliptus trees, across a river on a small wooden suspension bridge and up the other side of the mountain. We met up with a small Peruvian man who is the operatore of the water system that services about 30 families. We hiked another 20 minutes up the mountain to inspect the different components of the gravity fed water system. It was fairly new, built by Engineering without Borders, a NGO from Spain.

Later we inspected a "Eco Bathroom", an oder free toilet that recycles human waste into fertilizer. Basically it seperates solids and liquids with a nifty toilet. After going #2, you throw in a handful of lime or ash to keep the pit dry. Once full, you let it sit for 6 months and presto! great fertilizer.

Okay well there is a lot more of this story, but it going to have to wait. In the mean time, enjoy the photos below!