The next adventure
Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
21Trip End May 31, 2007
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As many of you already know, I have been home in Green Bay, for about a month after the Peace Corps program in Uzbekistan was suspended at the beginning of June. I have had a wonderfully good time visiting family and friends and also just relaxing with my parents at home. My time in the United States is again coming to a close, as I leave for Jamaica in less than 48 hours. Yes, that's right, I've decided to continue on and partake in another assignment.
After the initial shock of my decision to try this again wore off, I have become increasingly excited about my next adventure. Jamaica will be completely different that my experience in Uzbekistan, and in many ways I feel that Jamaica is a much better fit for me. As I have been saying, "it's more my style," for instance, it's an island (I love the water), the people grow coffee, they have good beer and rum, the Blue Mountains and there is tons of hiking available, good music, lots of cultural activities, dreadlocks, and I'm sure once I arrive I will realize so many more joyous aspects of life.
Transferring to Jamaica means that I'm starting over which means another staging (in Miami) and another training. Since I really want to be a volunteer, this time really doesn't bother me, and this time the training is only 7 weeks, not 11 weeks like Uzbekistan. Another positive (this one is huge), after I become a volunteer I don't have to live with a host family! I can if I want to, but it's not required, and I have been told that many volunteers live alone or with another volunteer. If I live alone I could take my meals with a family, which would enable me to grow closer to the community in which I live and work. There are lots of possibilities, but I'm grateful for the built in freedom to choose.
As a volunteer I'll be in the Community Environmental Health/Water and Sanitation Program, as a Community Sanitation Health Advisor. My major duties will be to "participate in broad based community development activities and to facilitate through the sharing of skills, technologies, training, and demonstration so that communities, community animators, and stakeholders will:
· Improve their environmental sanitation practices
· Conduct health education in communities and schools
· Have increased knowledge of and adopt sustainable environmental sanitation interventions
· Increase their access to and maintenance of appropriate water supplies and excreta disposal facilities"
I am excited to be working with this program, because of how it brings together a lot of skills I haven't concentrated on during my college education: education, health, and the environment. Every possibility of this assignment leaves me ready to get started and eager to experience what I wasn't able to do in Uzbekistan.
This month between assignments has allowed me to decompress after my time in Uzbekistan. I've been able to think about my experiences there, what I learned about myself overall, and what I learned about myself in a challenging situation. I know more about what I need to do for myself to be successful and happy. Now going to Jamaica, I have a second chance to have the best Peace Corps experience possible for myself. As I sit here, not yet in Jamaica, I can't really say how I actually will react to this new environment. I don't want to compare what is happening in Jamaica with what happened in Uzbekistan, nor compare the people I meet, nor the culture, they are completely different, and both uniquely wonderful. But who knows how I will react. I am fortunate though to be going through this with two terrific people, Drew and Aubrey, both Master's International students from Michigan Tech. I will definitely lean on their support and it will be beneficial to have them to share this unique place with. I look forward to embarking on this journey with them in two days, and also seeing them grow over the next two years.
As I get ready to begin this new adventure, I want to thank all of you, my friends and family for your overwhelming support while I was in Uzbekistan and I know I can count on you in Jamaica. My hope is to keep you updated with my adventures through this new travelogue and letters, and I ask you to keep me updated with what is happening with you. Below is how you can contact me:
C/o Suchet L. Loois, Country Director
U.S. Peace Corps
8 Worthington Avenue
Kingston, 5, Jamaica, West Indies
If and when I get a phone, I'll inform you of the number.
Some tips for mail:
· Takes 1 to 4 weeks
· Number letters as a way of tracking them
· Always send packages to the address above (July 8, 2005-August 26, 2007)
· It is not advisable to send packages through UPS, DHL, and FedEx because of they are held at the airport and a fee is incurred by yours truly and remember I'm a poor Peace Corps volunteer
· Packages must be light than 22lbs