Thursday, May 6, 2010

Victory is ours!

This past month has been crazy busy and I'm greatful for it. Next month looks like it will be filled with adventures and hard work too so I've got that to look forward to. Yesterday, I got some great news about our recycling project, all of the main infrastructure is in place, tanks and transportation, so now we are ready for phase two, which will be training a group to manage the project. There is already a fairly effective aquaduct committee so I hope we can just copy their structure and organization. This will probably be much more challenging than gathering the equipment but it is still such a huge relief that the project is ready to go. I do have one thought on my mind that concerns me though. The recycling center is a two hour drive from town so I'm not sure if the gas we are burning in transport is actually MORE harmful than the good of reusing material. If anyone knows how to do a cost/benefit analysis on this kind of stuff, let me know. In the big picture, I suppose it's better that we haul the trash. The town will be cleaner, we will no longer have to inhale burning plastic constantly when people burn trash, and there will be fewer cans and stuff to choke the fishies and turtles. I hope we're doing the right thing.

In other environmental news, I helped my counterpart with an Earth Day event in the school and, as always, it was totally insanity. We came up with a plan to show a movie about the beauty of nature and then do drawings and write little poems for the Earth. It should have been super fun but as soon as the movie went on the kids started running around and screaming... not talking in their seats, mind you, SCREAMING, so the few kids that were trying to watch the movie couldn't. It was a real shame. And even greater shame was that the teachers present did nothing to control the zoo. Nothing. So, like any good PC volunteer, I asked my counterpart if we could shift tactics and turn the movie off so we did. I invited the students to come to the Centro to do the drawings and read the Great Kapok Tree. It was great. The opposite of the school experience. Sometimes I feel like the school environment here is more damaging to learning than not going at all... given the attendance rate, the students feel the same way. People talk a big game about how important school is but nobody really enforces that sentiment with their kids. It's frustrating.

I was also a little frustrated with the tourism group here. I held a group organizing/ goal setting skills workshop and only three people showed up. I guess it's not so bad because I invited 20, hoped for 10, actually expected 5, so in the end 3/5 isn't so bad. They also showed up 1:30 late. But, even though I was frustrated with the turnout the even went well. They participated, seemed to have fun, and we all got to enjoy arroz con pollo. Everybody wins. I'm very interested in working with the tourism group but I think the bottom line is, the community is not interested right now, which is a shame because they are letting the extranjeros continue their stranglehold on the industry while they are missing out on opportunities. I get the sense they don't think they CAN have a part of the action, which is a belief I hope I can change.

Today I have two trainees coming to visit to see what the PC life is like. I'm excited to meet them and hope they have a good time. I think I'll introduce them to the English teacher and we'll do some more work on the recycling thing, stuff like that, and then for fun, hopefully surf. I tried surfing for the first time this month and it's a blast. I couldn't stand up but I caught a few waves. It's a real rush. I think surfing has the potential to become my favorite sport because there is no boring standing around. In baseball, you stand around until the ball comes. I do the same when I play soccer with the kids too (but that's cuz I'm too lazy to run after the ball). But surfing requires 100% focus, all the time. It's like that moment when you're under the ball waiting for it to come into your glove and nothing else matters, except it lasts longer. Right now, I'm not a strong enough swimmer but I'll get there. The second time I went the waves were pretty rough and I could barely stand up, much less take the board out.

Other than that there is not too much to tell. I've definitely settled into a rhythm and things are pretty smooth for the most part. To whoever's reading this, I'd love comments about how you're doing. I miss news from back home!

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