Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another Busy Month

Hola mis queridos amigos y amigas...

Sí, it seems that once a month is about all I can handle on the blogging front. I would like to apologize to all of my readers for the radio silence on the blogg-o-sphere, but for those of you who know me, you are probably not at all surprised that I am so flojo (lazy) when it comes to keeping up.

In any case, estoy muy feliz to report again that, at the 11-month mark of my Peace Corps service, my life and work are continuing at a healthy pace this summer and that my spirits (and health) remain high. Julio and agosto were (and have been) busy months for me and my HIV/AIDS youth group. The jóvenes are out of school for the summer here as in the States, so we had several youth camps, conferences, and many other fun outings for the kids these past few weeks that have kept me busy and traveling with kids in-tow.

Julio in particular was a banner month for my work here with the youth group. My community of M----- A---- in Ocoa hosted a regional "summer camp" for kids from my town and from other towns around the three southern DR provinces of Ocoa, Peravia, and Azua. In total, 42 kids were there from 10 different communities along with seven of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers from around the region. The 3-day camp was based around a series of informational charlas about condoms, sex, HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancy. For fun, we also included workshops on art, a workshop on making and selling cleaning products locally for funding group activities, an activity that talked about the importance of taking care of the envorinment, and a training session on CPR/1st Aid.

When not learning about health, the muchachos y muchachas had lots of time to swim in the río, play basquetbol and voleibol, and learned the very American tradition of roasting marshmallows over a campfire and trying their skills at making S'mores. Remember that Peace Corps is as much about teaching other people about Americans and our traditions as it is for teaching proper health practices.

Besides having the kids learn and enjoy themselves, what was most fun for me about this event was seeing the enthusiasm of the local community in putting all this together. We had a team of local volunteers who cooked and cleaned for us during our event, donated food, beds, sheets, pillows, and transportation. All in a town that does not have electricity and where most people live day-to-day off what they can gather in their small plots of land. Once again, I am thrilled to be working in a country where the people are so giving of so much, when they have so little for themselves.

I am loving my work here and can't wait for the next big project to begin... Stay tuned...

Un abrazo muy fuerte desde la RD...