This week was our first real week of Peace Corps Training. We’ve officially moved beyond the boring sessions of introductions and definitions. Now we start the dirty work. Don’t ask me what that is exactly because it’s going to take a little bit of time to figure out where I’m headed project wise, but it’s nice to finally be able to go to the schools and start learning about their reality and needs. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever had to introduce myself to this many people before. Knox’s Pumphandle prepared me for all of the hand shaking, but Grenadian introductions don’t stop after you get to know each other’s names…no, they definitely want your life story & relationship history along with your name, age, and career background. (one teacher made sure to tell me that that I have to marry an Indian boy so that my kids will get my Indian hair…) Overwhelming much? I’m sure that there is going to be much more of that in the future.
Introductions aside, I think I’m going to thoroughly enjoy my stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer (even though technically I’m not considered to be a volunteer yet). First, let me describe my setting. I live in a very small village on the coast of Grenada. In one of the earlier posts I complain about not being able to have the real rough & tough Peace Corps experience because of Grenada’s relative accessibility and tourists. I don’t think that’s going to be a concern anymore. When I say rural, I mean rural, and I’m in love with it. Besides the houses tucked away into the lush forests on the mountain sides, my village has a small shop, a school, a couple of churches, and a small park. Yes, that means I have to get on the bus and take an hour-long journey to town if I need anything or have to pay the bills. It also means that I live in a very small community where everyone takes care of everyone else, definitely not the neighborhood I grew up in. & the view…who could forget the view!! Mom, Dad, & future husband, I am going to live in house that sits on a ridge and looks out to the ocean, no room for compromise, sorry. Everywhere I go I have a view of the sea. Today was a rather rainy day and I felt like the heavy clouds were skipping over the water, it is beautiful and breathtaking.
After visiting the schools I’ve realized just how privileged we are in the U.S. Our school system always seems to be so dysfunctional, but at the end of the day our kids have so many resources right at their fingertips. Of my two schools, one is definitely better off when compared to the other and I can’t wait to dive in, get dirty, and start some sustainable programs that will hopefully peak these kids interests.
Schools here are chaos! There are kids running around everywhere! It’s a lot of fun, but it’s going to take me a while to get into “teacher” mode. So many calls of “miss” follow me around that I can’t even remember who called my name. On Tuesday I think I had 15 girls in my hair, trying to see if I was wearing a wig. There is so much energy! However, many of the classrooms here are harsh and abrupt. It’s sometimes very scary to be observing a class because of the teacher-student relationship. Dad, now I know what your education in India was like…thanks for immigrating to the U.S. There is a lot of work to be done, especially relating to literature and remedial reading. Many kids have been discouraged by their environment and the people in their lives. I’m hoping to be able to connect with these kids and really help them value their education and realize that they don’t have to settle or be discouraged by their situation. Hopefully, I’ll be able to succeed. Peace Corps mission, here I come!!