The countdown begins

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Nov 07, 2007

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Saturday, August 11, 2007

Well folks, my journey has almost come to an end.  Can you beleive that only a few short years ago I was about to begin, excited, scared and fascinated by the world I would encounter? And now, all the answers lie beneath me....ok, that couldn´t be further from the truth! My experience here was nothing like I times better, and at times worse.  I am coming closer and closer to discovering my purpose here, which I will only be able to share with you all when I am on the plane ride home.  But here is what has been going on since we last were together....

My last months have been summerized by one thing:::: Camps CAMPS and MORE CAMPS!!!!  My only experiences in camps were band and church camps growing up (don´t snicker, I take my nerdom with pride) and now my experiences in running them has been an experience I´ll never forget!

Camp number 1: Las Taranas.  My friend Iris, another volunteer in the Info Tech sector has been dying to start an escojo group in her site. I therefore took four of my youth to do the whole 12 lessons on Escojo (which included human anatomy, how a pregnancy occurs and how it doesn´t occur, how to prevent HIV, self esteem, effective communication, among others) in two short days in her site of Las Taranas.  The kids had a blast and did such a great job in teaching all that I had tought them (my two years have finally produced success!).  I felt like a proud parent to see them reproducing all the knowledge I had given them. They also made friends with all of Iris´ youth...friendships I hope will last long after I am gone.

Camp number 2:  Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). Thank you Leah withers, first of all for your generous donation!  This year´s camp was a complete success, with over 70 girls and 25 volunteers present! I gave a talk on domestic violence, and brought four girls (two from Los Limones and two from Pimentel) to my second anual ¨Girls empowerment camp¨.  At the end, we all gathered around the bonfire and one of my Los Limones girls cried as she sang a song she wrote just for me about friendship. I was so very touched, as were my fellow volunteers.  We even got the mayor of Pimentel to sponser my girls, giving over 100 dollars to the cause! It´s also helpful that she´s a woman in a high government position. The T-shirts of this years´ camp:  A woman embracing the planet earth with the quote by Virginia Woolf (translated into spanish of course): ¨As a woman I have no country. As a woman, I don´t want a country.  As a woman, the world is my country¨.

Camp 3: Iluminando Quisqueya.  This camp wasn´t really the joy of my camp experiences. It was a camp initiated by another Escojo group in a nearby town of Castillo.  There used to be a PC volunteer there two years before, and her grofup is still active! They asked  Cindy from Hostos and I to help out and also bring fifteen youth from each of our towns to put on the camp.  However, the grant I had applied for from PC hadn´t arrived a week before the camp, not to mention that I didn´t have transportation figured out nor had we been able to plan much since we were at Camp GLOW the week before. The transport situation worked itself  and the kids had fun, but Cindy and I were pulling our hair out by the end, especially since some drama ensued between some of the kids and I had to break things up. Ugh.  THank GOD that´s over with!

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Some of you have been asking what my plans are after Peace Corps and I forgot to mention that I was accepted to graduate school at Tulane University´s school of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in their Epidemiolgy program!  I will be moving back to San Diego and then moving to New Orleans next summer to start in the fall 2008. 
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