Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long-Field Training in Altos!

My sister G (training group) arrived in June and as part of their training 5 of the trainees came to visit me and stay with families in Altos for 5 days. They helped me with my English and Photography classes and with the library and meetings that we had with the library committee. Then we ended the week with two days of activities about civic education with kids from Pirayu the first day and Altos the second day. They are a great group of trainees and I know they will make great volunteers and I hope to work with them on other projects in the future!

Here are some pictures from the week!

These were pictures that we took after the photography class we did a mini-excursion to practice the techniques that we talked about in the class.

This picture was taken during the english class, the trainees prepared a fun memory game that the kids seemed to enjoy where they had to match the picture with the word in English.

The icebreaker that we did before starting the library committee meeting. What would your ideal library be like?

From the old train station in Pirayu. I still don't understand why they shut it down, I would sooo prefer traveling on train than on bus.

The plan for the "history and culture corner" drawn by the trainees. Awesome!!

We did activities about civic education with kids in the library.

Day trip to Atyra! Some of the group climbed up to the clock tower.

Sundial. I think it was 11:30 but the only part I understand is that my hands are close to the number

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Library is Open!!

The library has been officially open for two weeks and we have over 1,000 books!

This past week the students were on winter break so the library committee and I organized a camp for kids ages 8-12 to give them something to do and by the last day we had over 60 kids! One day we had a youth theater group perform a sketch about acceptance and tolerance and had the kids reflect on what they thought about the different characters and their attitudes. Then we did a lot of games where they had to work together in teams to achieve a common goal. Another theme of the camp was civic responsibility and we talked about the different community institutions and their roles in the community. On the last day we had a very successful scavenger hunt where the kids had to go to the different community institutions and perform different tasks in each location and after completing all the tasks they would receive the final clue about the location of the treasure i.e. a bag of candy. It was a great way to end the camp and we had a lot of fun!

The orange team completing one of the challenges on the scavenger hunt.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How fast things change.

I think the typical story of a Peace Corps Volunteer is the following: Inconsistency. Some weeks and months there is not too much going on and you spend your extra time on hobbies or passing time with friends all the while trying to think of new work for yourself. Then, all of a sudden, you are overwhelmed with work all week and all weekend, without a moment to breath and when you are about to go crazy, BAM! you get sick. This has been my usual pattern ever since I arrived in Altos, so maybe that pattern is a sort of consistency.. ha.. But that is exactly what happened to me this past month. We got handed over the library local by the municipality at the same time I was getting the camera kits for Ahecha (photography workshop) and I was put in charge of planning the despedida (good-bye party for my training group) and preparing for a 5-day training of the new volunteers in my site. All of this was during the weekend and on the weekend I had two weekends doing a tourism workshop, a trip to buy goods for the library to one of the bigger cities about 5 hours from where I live, and then the actual despedida and the 4th of July celebration weekend in Asuncion. Along with my usual English classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and a couple other promises I had made to help out here ad there, I was quite busy and overwhelmed. The day before I was scheduled to go to Guarambare to help with a training session, I got very sick (as expected) and I wasn't able to go to Guarambare and I had to cancel a trip I was going to take to the southern part of the country to a town called Ayolas, to attend a leadership camp with a youth from my town. It was unfortunate timing because, as I write this, they are probably having a wonderful experience on an island that was converted to an ecoreserve but I knew my body just could not handle the long trip and I desperately needed rest. It's weird when you are secretly relieved to be feeling horrible and unable to get out of bed because you know it is exactly what you need.

Today it has been raining non-stop so I have done all the work that I could and have now retired to reading and interneting to catch up with my blog and other things I have been severely neglecting these past couple weeks.

I have been teaching English since January, not because I had a burning desire to teach the language but because there was a obvious need and desire to have English classes that were accessible to people of all economic backgrounds. However, these last two weeks I have been teaching photography in an 8th grade classroom and I truly enjoy every aspect of these classes and that is good feeling!

My photography class is sooooo basic, but it's good. None of the students I am working with have a camera in their homes and literally the first day with the cameras was all about how to turn them on, using the wrist strap so that the camera doesn't fall... and very little about technique. Given, the cameras they are using are not professional by any means but we are going to focus mostly on composition of a photo more than anything else. This week I just told them I want them to get to know the cameras and try to take pictures using each setting- for portraits, landscape, motion and all that. Each week after this they are going to have an aspect of photography to focus on. One week will be lighting... taking a photo from the same place at different times of day, one will be portraits and so on... I think it should work out well!

I also got my new camera brought to me by Shavonda! BIG THANKS for bringing it all the way to Paraguay!! And I love it! It is a canon 780IS and it is perfect for my needs :) I hope to upload some new photos that I have taken very soon. There was a traditional fiesta for San Pablo and San Pedro on the outskirts of my town that was very interesting. I hope to post the pics soon and I will give more detail!

lots of love,