Sunday, November 2, 2008
Field Based Training complete...4 weeks to go!
It has been far too long since I've had contact with you all in the U.S., but I've been very busy. We just finished our week of Field Based Training, for which I was sent to Cajamarca, in the Northern part of Perú. I was with 5 other trainees and 2 volunteers at their sites. It was over 8,000 feet above sea level and it was raining on and off the entire time, but a pleasant change from the desert of Lima. (There is a possibility that this is an El Niño year, so it will be very interesting at my mountain site.) We taught about the environment to 3 different classes of various ages, were interviewed by a local TV station, did a one hour radio show talking about our work with the Peace Corps, relaxed for an afternoon at a hot springs, and got to see and experience the Andes Mountains of Perú.
Field Based Training is an experience that really involves putting trainees in some real work. Leading classes about the environment (in Spanish) proved to be fun but challenging. We lead classes of 5th, 6th, and 9th graders, all of which went fairly well. Our largest class day was 2 groups of 40 5th and 6th graders. We working the classrooms for about an hour (even though the actual teacher "had to leave" for a while) and then we planted trees with the kids and a worker from the local munincipality tree nursery. It was fun, but i realized the challenge ahead in the next 2 years as I watched the environment worker from the munincipality throw the plastic bags from the tree saplings into the river (as shown above)...it is difficult to help kids change their environmental practices when the adults are so set on their ways.
In the past month I have visited the oldest ruins in the Americas, Caral, which are small pyramids that date back 5,000 years, i've attended numerous family birthday parties, participated in a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament, improved my Spanish, felt a few eathquakes, and many other new experiences.