Saturday, September 24, 2005

.....y buena!

it´s saturday and we´ve finally moved in with our host families. it´s been a crazy couple of days though. after our flight left at like 6:00 a.m. on wednesday from d.c., we stopped in houston and finally made it to san salvador around 11:30 a.m. or so. it was kind of weird flying into san salvador because the airport is fairly close to the pacific ocean and it seemed like we were getting a little too close to the water on the way in. we were greeted at the airport by the guy in charge of the el salvador peace corps office and he guided us through immigration and all that. the minute we got out of the actually airport building it finally hit us that we were in el salvador. i thought i´d be ready for the humidity given that june in ohio was pretty friggin´hot and humid.....but holy crap was it humid in san salvador. after getting horrendous pictures taken of us by the peace corps staff, we loaded all our stuff onto this bus and were taken to san vicente. so let me preface the following by saying that practically none of us got a ¨good night´s sleep¨the night before. we were all super anxious and besides, we had to get up at like 2:00 a.m. so it was nearly impossible to actually sleep. so basically, most ofus had been up for more than 24 hours at the time we were on the bus to san vicente. we were all tired, greasy, hair-matted fools at this point. when we got to san vicente, we were taken into the peace corps training center and welcomed and all that. we ended up being there until like 7:00 that night and seriously, none of us could hardly stay awake enough to get to the hotel. yay for us!! anyway, our hotel - hotel central park - was ok, although i suspect when it isn´t hosting peace corps volunteers, it´s being rented by the hour. it overlooks the parque central (hence it´s name) and it´s clock tower is still half falling down from damage done by the earthquakes in 2001. we also got a free ¨show¨from the local hooker down on the left side of the square who probably serviced about three guys in the time that we were out on the balcony. good times.

the next day was filled with training stuff, and our first dose of malaria pills as well as our typhoid shot. basically most of our training the first couple days was safety and security and what not to do if you´re a woman and don´t want to get raped. to tell you the truth, i was so tired the first actual day of training no amount of lectures on safety and security would´ve helped me if i´d actually been accosted.

last night (friday) we met with and moved in with our host families. there are about 4 volunteers in each community (all outside of san vicente) so we´re not totally alone. we´ll be with these families for 3 months, then we´ll move on our own to our ¨sites¨ where we´ll be living alone for 2 years. anyway, we rode the bus to molineros (the name of my community), which is an absolutely insane experience. the bus is already jam-packed, yet at every stop people get on the bus and try to sell vegetables and then jump off the bus while it´s moving and they play either spanish techno or horrible american music at full blast. it´s crazy.

anyway - we got to molineros and walked to the first volunteer´s new house and basically had to walk through knee-high water to get to it. we´re all not that great at our spanish so it was a little akward, but we managed with the help of our spanish facilitator. we left to find the next house and when we arrived, we were greeted by a guy in a bulletproof vest carrying a machine gun. the ¨house¨was actually a tienda (a little store) and this new house turned out to be mine. woohoo!!! actually, my host family runs a tienda out of part of the house all day. anyway - after some more akwardness, and my awful spanish, i actually became a little more comfortable. the other two volunteers went to their house and i was shown my new room. it´s actually pretty private (compared to other peace corps volunteers´rooms) and i was very surprised to find a machete hanging on my wall. i wonder what i´m gonna need that for???? i suppose i´ll find out at some point. we did use it cut the rope to hang up the peace corps-issued mosquito net, so i guess it´ll come in handy for other stuff other than killing people.

my family - at least the ones i´ve met are - my host mom Dona Ana, her two daughters Cindy who is 2 and Dayana who is 6, Ana´s mother and father, Rosa and Olvidio (sp?). they are absolutely wonderful and i´m sure i´ll have more to tell about them once i´ve spent more than one night at their house. one funny thing - Ana always has Dayana go with me to the latrine (it´s outside and apparently 6 year olds are great for protection), and when i´m in the latrine, Dayana sits outside and makes ghost noises (ooooohhhhh, oooooooooooh) the whole time. not sure what that´s all about but it makes me go hysterical.

that´s all for now. i´ll write more later when i have more time on the ´net! adios!