So life in the campo is going well. No major complaints as of yet. Have become accustomed to all the things I wasn’t so used to at first. Some examples:
-Eating fried salami, boiled yuca, bread, and cheese for breakfast and dinner every day ( no really)
-Killing tarantulas with my machete
-Super awkward silences as during house visits as I meet people.
-Receiving a gift of fruit during a house visit. To date I have gotten: 30 limes, 6 pineapples, 6 avocados, a sack of cherries and countless cups of juice (passionfruit, mango, pineapple, cherry)
-People asking me why I am wearing shorts all the time and how can I possibly ride a bicycle on the crappy mountainous road we call our main road.
-Asked how many mangos I have eaten today by any and everyone in the community (Today I’ve had 4)
-Being told i look just like a volunteer named Augustine that was here 10 years ago. And then asked if I am his brother or if I know him.
These are just some of the things that I run into on a daily basis here and thought you readers out there might appreciate.
I am currently in the diagnostic phase of my service which means I have to perform a community diagnostic to meet everyone here and understand what sorts of needs there are in the community. This involves going house to house and meeting people and shaking hands the first time. Then i go back to each house and conduct a short interview with the head of the household. Typically Peace Corps wants 100 interviews but luckily there are only 70 houses in my community so i only have to do 70 interviews (hooray!) So far I have 51/70 and they are going well. There is a history of really successful volunteers around here so that is really helping me making people more at ease to talk to me.
My diagnostic phase will continue up until July 31st when I go to my 3-month IST and hammer out a project plan for the next year. I will keep working hard here until then and hopefully have a great diagnostic to present at IST!
In other news, I only have 45 days until I get to see Marie! I am extremely excited and cannot wait till she gets here. We have planned ourselves a little getaway to a beach in Puerto Plata. We have made it thus far and will continue to do so without problems. We are both eagerly anticipating seeing each other. I know its going to be amazing when she gets down here! =)
So far, I really love it here and I am excited to see what sorts of projects we can make happen here. As for now, I’m going to go eat a mango. Nos vemos!