One Month Anniversary

Trip Start Oct 04, 2010
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4
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Trip End Dec 17, 2012


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Flag of Costa Rica  , San José,
Friday, November 5, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been
in Costa Rica for one month today! 26 months left to go! Just
kidding, I’m not really counting down just yet. Training is as
intense as they said it would be. I feel like I’m back in high
school, with long days in class and a lot of homework. Here’s a
sample of my weekly schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
6:30 Get up, shower, and have breakfast
7:50 Leave my house to
walk to Spanish class, which is 20 minutes from my house in the
community room at the Catholic Church. There are 6 trainees in my
community, and communities are divided based on program and Spanish
level.
8:15- 12:00 Spanish class. We spend time learning Tico
words and phrases, getting to know the town and its inhabitants, and
completing assignments for Tech. class
12:00-1:00 Lunch. My fellow
trainees eat lunch with their families, but I don’t have time to
walk back up, eat, and come back. One of the trainees lives two
houses down from me, and his host dad brings us lunch. Sometimes I
eat with one of the host families, and sometimes I go to the Internet
café.
1:00-3:00 More Spanish class
3:00-4:00 Hang out with my
classmates for a while, then walk home
4:00-9:00 Spend time with
my host family, eat dinner, do homework
9:00 I’m going to sound
like an old lady, but I usually get pretty sleepy by 9:00. Bedtime!
Tuesday and Thursday:
5:30
Wake up, shower, eat breakfast
6:40 Walk 20 minutes to town center
to catch 7AM bus
7:30 Arrive at nearby training community for
Technical classes on Tuesdays, and Culture/Health classes on
Thursdays. These are the days I get to see all the other trainees,
and it’s really nice to catch up.
12:00 Lunch
1:00-4:00 More
class
The rest of my day looks like Mon, Wed., Fri.
Some of you may be wondering what
exactly I’m doing in Costa Rica. Some of you may have been here on
vacation! Trust me, there are many parts of Costa Rica that the
average tourist does not see, and these are the communities Peace
Corps works in. Peace Corps Costa Rica has several programs in the
works here. Among them are Children, Youth and Families (CYF), Rural
Community Development (RCD), Community Economic Development (CED, my
program), and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL, first
year of the program). Each program focuses on different aspects of
assistance. My group consists of CED and TEFL volunteers. The TEFL
program is new and will consist of volunteers helping English
teachers improve their English, so that they can teach their
students better English. Some are also working directly with
students, but PC is stressing teaching teachers to make the program
more sustainable.

CED is a program which focuses on
exactly what it says: community economic development. To this end, we
will be working in communities to further three goals:
  1. Improve and apply business
    planning and management skills
  2. Improve and apply Information and
    Communication Technology (ICT) skills
  3. Improve and apply English as a
    foreign language skills

The CED program will work to promote
economic development of current and potential micro-businesses on a
community level, with a focus on women and children. During the first
three months at our sites, we will be completing a community
assessment using a number of tools (which we are learning in
training), such as seasonal calendars, daily schedules, priority
matrices and interviews, among others. From this assessment, we
should be able to identify a community need, from the community’s
point of view. The community I’m in will determine the projects I
undertake.
For example, this weekend, I had the
opportunity of visiting an awesome volunteer in Alajuela. She had
several projects going on, from working with a coffee cooperative to
improve tourism, to teaching English to a group of women business
owners and service workers, to teaching a Junior Achievement class to
fifth graders. She’s also working on starting up an organic
farmer’s market, and installing and demonstrating a biodigestor
(which turns gas from animal feces into gas for stoves). It was great
to see her so comfortable and busy in her site. I hope my community
loves me as much as hers loves her!

Anyways, I’ll be in my training
community following the aforementioned schedule until December 17th
when I move into my final community site and get started on my own
projects!



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