Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Day in the Life

The days are falling into a bit of a routine now, so I thought I’d write to let everyone know what a day in the life of a trainee might be like. First, I wake up at about 2:45am to the sound of roosters crowing in all the houses surrounding mine and all over town. I drift in and out of sleep to the sounds of roosters, street cats and dogs, people, TVs, and trucks until about 6 or 7. Once up I take a shower (or a bucket bath if the shower isn’t working) and get dressed. Breakfast is usually cereal or beans and eggs with corn tortillas. The tortillas are small and thick, don’t really taste like anything but are a HUGE staple and are served with every meal. Every Tuesday we have training sessions in San Vicente with the whole big group, and on those days I meet up with my small group in Tepetitan and catch the 7:30 bus into the city. The rest of the days of the week our classes are in Tepetitan in the house next door where another trainee is staying. We have Spanish class form 8-12, lunch 12-1, and then either more Spanish or work on our community contact and community project tasks until about 4.

The community contact activities are things like visiting a local school, interviewing the director and then teaching an English class, interviewing townspeople about the Alcaldia (town hall), visiting the Casa de la Cultura, etc…Basically these activities are supposed to a practice for us before we get to our site, where well have to do all these to get to know and get involved with our communities. As I mentioned before, for the community project we have to work with a group of local youths to execute a project to benefit the community. We had our first get-to-know-you meeting with a group of about 16 youths on Monday. The meeting was scheduled for 3:00, but of course everyone is on Salvadoran time so no one showed up until 3:45! Once everyone was there though, it was a really good meeting - the youth had a lot of great ideas for projects, although most are too ambitious for us to accomplish in 6 weeks with no money.

After classes and activities, I come home and hang out with my host family, the extended family of my host family and the other trainees, and study/do homework. Most evenings we have pupusas for dinner, and after dinner I usually watch my telenovelas ‘Un Gancha al Corazon’ and ‘Fuego en la Sangre.’ I’m usually exhausted in the evenings, so I go to bed around 9 every night…so yeah in bed by 9 and up around 6… I feel like a completely different person! You’re forced to be a morning person because it’s impossible to sleep through all the noise in the mornings!

There are usually activities planed for us on Saturdays, but Sundays we have free. The first weekend I was here I was able to go to a Quincenera (like a sweet 16, but for turning 15) and a wedding with my host family. The next Saturday the Munis and Rural Health each had field trips to sites. We went to San Luis del Carmen and Suchitoto to visit the Volunteers there and have them show us around and explain what work they do there. Suchitoto is really pretty, and a big tourist spot – definitely somewhere I’d try to take visitors! This Saturday all the communities had to travel into the capital city to meet at a museum – a long journey with about a million different routes and hot buses packed with passengers and vendors. Next weekend we’re each getting assigned to a current Volunteer in their site and are going to spend four days with them.


  1. Hi Sis. So good to hear about your "most excellent adventure". I'm trying to get a visual on the new hours u r keeping, and getting up with the chickens. That part can't be any fun!! Can I assume there is not now or ever will be airconditioning??!! Anyway, look forward to more of ur saga. Love ya.....

  2. hey punk! how funny is aunt suz "getting up with the chickens" bed by 9 up at 6, welcome to my world!!! good to hear your "sister" is warming up to you, i knew she would come over to your side. just your personality. don't sweat the "routine".. your in el salvador, how cool...what is the country like on your bus rides to various cities? hilly, mountainous, forestted? can't wait to hear about the trip your planning to the volcano...don't forget to take a human sacrifice with you, you know, to appease the gods!!!

  3. Wish we could be there with you to see all these cool and different places. Do you have earplugs? I have chickens here too they are called Westin and Brooklyn!! TEE HEE You should have stayed with us a couple of nights before you left, so you would have been ready for the noises. LOL We love hearing from you can't wait to read what you are up to next. Your dad is funny (human sacrifice) TEE HEE! We miss you kiddo!

  4. for some reason i din´t notice that the tortillas didn´t taste like anything. but now that you mention it.

  5. wow- a morning person?! you are going to come back tanned, fluent in spanish, and a morning person?

    america is not ready for the new you, i'll try and prep her :) and rustle up some more chai!