Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s so unreal to think that I’ve been in El Salvador for 8 months, and in my site for 6 months – my service is 25% complete!

I was so happy to get a chance to go home and visit for 5 days at the beginning of August month although it was not nearly enough time!

I’ll try to fill everyone in on I’ve been up to here in that last few months. June I was still working with and learning from the previous Volunteer here in site. We also had our second phase of training back in our training city and host communities. We got a little more Spanish training as well as more technical training and resources on topics like grant and project proposal writing, working with youth, fundraising, and other technical topics.

In July the other Volunteer finished her service and headed home. We had several going away events for here with the community – lots of dinners, mini parties and presentations. She had a really great relationship with the whole town, and everyone is sad she’s gone. It’s been a hard adjustment for me as well. We became really close in our time together here, and it’s been hard to lose my closet connection so soon after getting to my site. Now it’s like the training wheels are off and I’ve been dealing with a whole new set of challenges. We had In-Service Training for a few days at a beautiful hotel to learn how to complete and submit our reports and to do a review of the Municipal Development program. The Muni program was developed 10 plus years ago and is in need of revision as many of the conditions that existed at that time - those that the program was designed to address - no longer reflect the realities of many communities.

My town’s Fiestas Patronales, or Patron Saint Festivals were in August. It’s the biggest party of the year, and the whole town looks forward to it all year. There was a rodeo, carnival, pageant, parade, and dances almost every weekend, and I was the guest of honor at several events  I even dressed in drag for ‘Miss Puxtleca,’ escorting the men dressed up as women around the stage.

My work currently includes: working to make the youth radio sustainable and turn it over to the community, teaching life planning/career planning classes and English classes at the local middle and high schools, working with my counterparts in the town hall, teaching exercise classes twice a week, communicating with and updating the Engineers without Borders group on the progress in the work site, helping to solicit water and latrine projects in a local community, and working as Secretary of the Women and Youth Development Scholarship Program and helping two local girls apply for university scholarships through this program.


  1. Hey Sister-Girl,,,Uncle Don and I are VERY proud of you. You have easily hurdled over new challenges and adapted well in your new environment. You are a SUPER-STAR. Lots of love, Aunt Dee.

  2. I loved reading your blog up to this point! Sounds like you have been spending a lot of time volunteering and helping the community, and not a lot of time blogging. (maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.. ;)

    Don't forget to keep us all updated though! And I'm sure you will enjoy reading this blog again for many years to come.

    --Dave Harris