Camps, Conferences, and Critters from Beyond
Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
48Trip End Nov 07, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The very next day was Camp GLOW (Girls Leading our world) or "Estrellas de Hoy" (Dominican verstion)the camp to which I would take girls from my community (two from Pimentel, two from Los Limones) to teach them about leadership and fun with about 15 other volunteers and girls from their sites.
First, I must give a huge "shout out" to Nancy Hurtado and Leah Withers for their generous donations which made this camp a reality for these girls! These girls wouldn't have had the opportunity otherwise, and for that I thank you GREATLY! For the rest of you, you too can support youth in my community..just send me an email to find out how!
The camp was great, complete with nature hikes and a bonfire and s'mores, sports and activities ranging from leadership skills and teamwork to personality tests and women's health. We slept in tents undert the stars and everyone had a great time, especially us volunteers. I feel that these little "getaways" are sometimes what keeps me sane in the chaos that is PC life!
After returning from the camp, I had plans to take youth to the National Escojo conference where my escojo groups could have the chance to meet other kids around the country who also have a desire to put a stop to HIV and other STDS common to the country, and learn more about their cause. The kids from my Los Limones campo group were ecstatic. These kids don't often get the chance to leave their campo let alone for such a long time. COnferences like these are supported by HIV/AIDS campaign funding from the US and other organizations, so you know that when you support any campaigns such as these, they definitely do go to a good cause.
Unfortunately, my Pimentel Escojo group has been less than enthusiastic (the kids refuse to come to the meetings and are often seen avoiding me and running the other way when I come to tell them about the meetings) so I finally had to face facts that it just wasn't going to work, and there was no use beating myself up about it. This is the hardest thing to face as a PC volunteer, when something you have struggled with for months to work doesn't and you just have to give up or try again. I decided to put an official end to my Escojo group in Pimentel and look at the glass as half full that I had such enthusiastic youth in my campo project. I took two girls from Los Limones to the conference and a young man from Pimentel who would help me start up my group again in Pimentel (si Dios quiere).
The conference, like Camp Glow was a blast, and provided a great learning experience for both volunteers and kids alike. The second to last night, we had a dinner for the kids in the cafeteria where we the voluhteers acted as waiters and waitresses, serving the kids. We tried to make it like a restaurant experience, with candles on the tables and meals served in courses. Most of the kids had never eaten in a restaurant, and appeared to be a bit confused at first, but overall they enjoyed it and it was such a great honor to serve them and give them a treat for their hard work. After the dinner we hosted a dance where we served cake and punch and I was taken back to High school, but only this time I was a chaperone!
I gained a lot of great experiences and also ideas for the upcoming International Day of AIDS awareness coming up in December 1st. The kids were also brimming with ideas that we could execute for the day and were excited to get back to their communities and present all they had learned.
Once back in Pimentel, I went back to my old begrudged routine, and it felt strange to be hanging out in the Pueblo again after being gone so long. NOTE: this next section or "part II" of this blog is not for those who are faint at heart, people not sure about joining the peace corps, and anyone belonging to PITA. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Since being gone, there seemed to be an uprising of critters that had invaded my house, and decided that I needed company. That and the warm weather created a refuge for all my un-human neighbors. If I have gained anything from this whole experience, I would have to say that at least I have learned to face my fear of cockroaches and unghastly huge spiders; no, I haven't been able to overcome the fear, just face it. Baby steps, ok?
Anyway, my worst nightmare came true one night when I went to my bedroom to hit the hay, and what did I find waiting for me but two friends IN my bed UNDERNEATH and INSIDE my mosquito net, waiting to have a slumber party. In one corner, was Mr. Spider-as-big-as-my hand, and the other, Mr. Cockroach-as-big-as-a-baseball. I froze in fear, unsure of what I was going to do. My stomach filled with a sort of tightening as if I might throw up due to the intense fear and predicament I faced. The mosquito net, you see, is not only a refuge from Dengue-infested vermin, but anything else that may be crawling around that you would like to know is not in bed with you. We like to think our mosquito nets are impervious to Critters of the Night, but when I saw the scene that lay before me, I felt very betrayed by my once trusty mesh. I left calmly and armed myself with a bat, a broom, and my roach spray, just to be sure that I had backup. I have found that the broom-sweep technique kills the huge spiders indigenous to my room, and the roach spray would take care of the roach situation, and the bat was there just for moral support. I drew up a battle plan and decided to whack the spider from behind the net. I injured its leg just as the roach began to run, and turned to whack it with the same broom against the bed. I didn't think about the roach guts that would surely be splattered on my newly washed sheets, I had to stay focused.
As the roach was incapacitated and unmoving, I went back for the injured spider who had regained its confidence and had started to scale the wall of the net again. As I untucked the nettting from my mattress so it would fall on the ground and I would have better aim (but only little time to execute the operation) the cockroach on the other side started to run for it (he was obviously only playing dead and using the spider as a decoy to make its escape). I finished off the spider rapidly and screamed in triumph as I went after the roach again, when suddenly, another roach, a THIRD enemy, appeared out of nowhere and started running at me!! With broom flailing in one hand and roach spray spraying in one hand I managed to kill one roach while the other scurried under my bed, but surely within minutes of dying from the deadly spray it recieved. After the feeling of horror and nausea subsided, I felt triumph in the task I had just accomplished. I went to bed with the mostquito net firmly tucked in and inspected a hole in the net where the party guests had entered, tying it up tightly. I slept with the flashlight on that night and thanked GOD that the electricity hadn't gone out during the whole ordeal.
After word got out that I was a critter-killin machine, no other critters dared to enter the mosquito net. However, I did find that mice were not quite as afraid of my attack methods and decided to ransack my kitchen, leaving me a gift of mouse turds all over my dishes and just about everything else. They also found it especially fun to dart out from behind wherever just as I would come into the kitchen, causing me to scream out a line of spanish and english curse words. I had grown quite an animosity for the mice, and knew at that point there was war to be had.
I put mouse poison out, but I knew that nothing would give me more satisfaction than finishing off one of them myself . I prepared myself with the trusty bat (which was suppposed to be given to kids once they did enough community service to earn it). Everytime a mouse shot out I would run to get my bat, only for it to run up the side of my kitchen wall and out the gap between the cieling and wall. One day, however, as I went to look in my suitcase for something, one of the little jerks was scurrying around. He may have been slowed by the rat poison, becuase it was almost too easy for me to catch him by the tail. "Haha, your MINE!" I said in my most evil voice aloud. It may have been due to the lack of sleep I got the night before from hearing the mice run amuck around my kitchen knocking things over, but I suddenly felt like a madwoman. I took the mouse by its tail and grabbed my bat. I took it outside and in front of my nighbors watching, I killed the miserable thing with two blows and threw it in the street, wiping my hands in triumph. IN the united states I might have had a different reaction from the neighbors but they all just laughed at me and the way I so triumphantly killed my foe. I felt a bit bad afterwards killing such a small innocent creature and my love for animals came to haunt me, but then I realized this was man vs. beast and (wo)man had triumphed.