Sunday, November 18, 2007

A place to hang my hammock...

Lots going on lately. I found my house, I think I already mentioned that a few hundred times. :) So the last week has been spent trying to make it habitable. I got the keys officially Thursday night. Generally in Central America, if a house is not furnished, it means that it is really NOT furnished. No stove, no fridge, nothing. So I have been scouring the papers looking for appliances. I am going to have a roommate and he has put himself in charge of providing living furniture and a TV and Playstation. The last two I can really do without... mainly because I will probably become addicted. So I move in for real tonight.

Last week I also attended a retreat for VMM. It is the organization that is sponsoring my volunteership. I gotta say I was a little nervous going into it, truth be told because it is a Christian based organization and it has been a REALLY long time since I have been associated with non-sinners. ;) Granted it is a VERY liberal organization, if it weren't I wouldn't have applied for the position. But there was a moment when I was a little worried that I had misrepresented myself. During the retreat, I met the other volunteers in the area, there are a couple in El Salvador and also in Nicaragua and Guatamala. It turned out that I really enjoyed getting to know them. I also appreciate the diversity that was in the group. I realized also that no matter the language we use what inspires us to do this work comes from the same place.

There are only 12 of us (well 17 if you count the bichos) so the group is much smaller but life story-wise very diverse. There are two families in the group. One has two kids (The Morans) and the other (The Fosters) have three. I have to say, I think that is absolutely gutsy and amazing. I guess the idea of having kids period seems, to me, akin to having my arms ripped off, having kids and trying to navigate Central American buses would then be like being beaten by the freshly removed appendages. There is also a couple serving in Guatamala who are in their 80's. It is amazing how much the age diversity changes the dynamic of the group. In the Peace Corps, most of the volunteers were 22 and fresh out of college. Alicia, is my age and a nurse. We really hit it off which is great and also a bummer because she is serving in Guatamala which is a neighbor, but still a ways away by bus. But, we are already planning to take our visa trips together. (Another BIG change from Peace Corps.... most likely my residency plan will be leaving the country every three months to renew my visa.) I had to chuckle, Alicia said that she became a nurse because her father suggested that she learn a practical skill that she could apply wherever she wanted to go. Good advise. I then thought about it and realized that maybe sociology doesn't fit in that category. I don't know if sitting in a hammock devising abstract social theories can technically be considered a "practical skill." I'll keep working on that.

Anyway, I left the retreat feeling good and appreciative for having a community again. I think I had been mourning the loss of my PC community and didn't realize it til I found another one. So... all is good. All will be great when I get settled in the new house. I will try to send some pics, but my camera has been slowly dying so I will do my best. I have added links on the side to VMM and also to Alicia's website and blog. She is really a much better person than I am so I thought I would include her link in the spirit of diversity. :)

Salvadoran Vocab:

Bicho: insect, pest or child


Don Pablo said...

I'm taking a break from saving the city of San Salvador to read your blog. I put an end to drug dealing and prostitution in the city before lunch and tomorrow I will make San Salvador a dry city ending alcoholism. I may then tackle deforestation and start a recycling program in the city. All in a days work for Don Pablo. I think you should have written about me and not Alicia, all she's done is attempt to learn Spanish, I have SAVED LIVES and the city. Me. Don Pablo. The Great.

Anonymous said...

"Bichos", I like that word!

And Don Pablo, seems like a really handy guy. :)


Brent said...

Hi Kelley,
Alicia sent me a link to your blog. Just like her - it sounds like you are doing some amazing things. You guys and your "not me but we" attitudes. I prefer to go the "there's a me in team" route.

Well, just wanted to say what you're doing is great and I hope you and Alicia get a chance to hang out more. Keep an eye on her. She tends to attract 50-60 year old men and may need some backup once in a while.

PS - Congrats on the house.

Brent (Alicia's brother)