Thursday, November 10, 2005

the countdown begins

well, actually we have been counting down ever since we got to san vicente, but it´s really starting to mean something now. i´m talking about our site assignments. we´re all freaking out about where we´re going to be assigned for two years. most of us want to be up in the mountains somewhere, and not everyone, obviously, is going to be able to go there. el salvador´s such a small country though, so it´s not as if we´re not going to be close to the mountains if we are assigned to be somewhere else. but still...... anyway, we had our second site interviews last week and in my meeting i told rolando that i wanted to be in a small site and i mentioned how much i liked evita´s site during field based training. and he says ¨so you would like to be someplace like that?¨ and i wasn´t really sure how to answer that question. because through the grapevine we´ve heard that if you tell rolando you want to be in a cold place (really, there is no ´cold´ place here, but when they say ´cold´ they mean in terms of humidity....a cold site has little humidity....), he´ll put you in a hot place. if you want to be on the beach, he´ll put you in the mountains. and so on. so i said that i liked her site for the supportive school and the program and all that other stuff without mentioning the geographical location and all that. he seemed pleased with my answer, and then i couldn´t help but mention that i did like the cooler temp at night there. he asked me some more questions about what i saw myself doing with the school and all that and i told him and he said he was pleased with our meeting and that he thought he knew where he was going to put me already. so i glance down at the paper he´s taking notes on and i´m trying to look at what he wrote and i see the name of some town called ¨los marias.¨ so i go back into the training center and immediately go to the huge wall map of el salvador we have hanging on the wall and look to see if i can find that town. and i find it and it´s close to where evita´s site is in monteca. so i was feeling a bit relieved because la union is beautiful and i loved it there and all that. so while everyone else was freaking out about their sites, i had a little bit more calmness because of how my interview went.

well, on tuesday, rolando was in the training center because he came to hear rufina amaya´s story (the woman from el mazote). after she spoke, rolando called me over and said he needed to ask me some questions. he asked me if i minded working with kids from grades 1-6, as well as farmers, and i said no problem. then he asked me how i felt about doing square meter gardens with the kids. again, no problem. then he said ¨if i remember correctly, you specifically asked for a cold site.¨ i´m like ¨well, yeah, i guess.¨ but then i said if it was going to compromise the size of my site, then i´d rather have a small site. because honestly, i feel more comfortable with a smaller group of people, or a smaller school, than a large one. so anyways, he said ¨great¨and that i was going to get exactly what i wanted and i was lucky. he said something about having to talk to one of the other volunteers and ¨making some changes.¨ and now, i´m wondering if he´s not going to have me replace a volunteer that´s in santa ana. ugh!!!! for all i know, he is going to put me right here in san vicente. the thing is, i don´t even know what anything rolando said actually means. none of us know what he means when he says anything. this whole friggin´site thing is like getting CIA clearance or something. it´s all a game, i think, that these trainers play each time new trainees come in. obviously, we shouldn´t be so selective about where we think we want to go, but come on!!!! and the funny thing is - i thought i would totally be more comfortable in a place that was less humid, right? well, that was before we went to deininger park yesterday.

deininger park was awesome!! it´s in the department of la libertad and it was super, super humid. it is a protected forest area, that has a bunch of cool trails through the forest. the guide took us down to this huge cave and as we got deeper into it, we started seeing bats by the hundreds. it was by far one of the coolest things í´ve seen so far. the ground was covered with jocote (a native fruit of el salvador) cascaras and it was like being in a completely different world. we trekked through the forest and saw some of the most gigantic trees ever. the conocaste negra has got to be the most interesting and beautiful trees here. i´m definitely going to seek out a house in my site that has one of these trees somewhere near so i can build a treehouse. i´m not even kidding. at one point we got to the side of the park and were high on this hill and suddenly we had this most awesome view of the ocean. we sat there for a while and begged carlos to let us have lunch on the beach later. he kept saying he didn´t think it was a good idea because the field trip wasn´t supposed to be on the beach. so the rest of the hike we kept pestering him about it. we kept saying how our group was small and it´d be so easy (b/c the environmental ed group only has 6 people). anyway, the whole time during the hike i was totally digging the humidity. it felt really good - better than the sun beating down on my head all day long. i kept telling ashley (our fantastic tech trainer) how i wished i had told rolando that i wouldn´t mind a humid site, and she was like ¨really???¨ her site was previously on the beach in ahuachapan and she said it was hard because it was so humid, and most people can´t stand it. and seriously, i was surprised i was loving the humidity so much. ANYWAY, when we ended the hike, we had somehow convinced carlos to take us to the beach. so we ended up eating lunch at this surfer´s joint on playa (beach) del tunco. we had huge meals and i had a huge mug of limonada - even though i shouldn´t have because i didn´t know if the water they used was good or not. it was sooooo good though. so basically, we spent two hours chilling at this place and listening to tunes and not wanting to go back to san vicente later. we ended up going back to deininger park to go through the center - where i also touched some plant that you´re not supposed to touch and carlos freaked out. but nothing happened.

so that was yesterday. and i´m happy to report that my legs have almost stopped hurting from the volcano hike. but for those of you who know my awesome grand canyon story and about my ¨canyon toe¨ incident, you´ll be interested to hear that it is also possible to get ¨volcano toe.¨ hahahaha. and i, of course, seem to have a couple of blisters underneath my toenails again. but it´s not nearly as severe as the canyon stuff. and it´s nothing a little nail polish can´t cover up! good times.

so i think for travel weekend about 5 or 6 of us have decided to go to playa sunzal, which is a little west of la libertad and playa del tunco. it´s supposed to be a good place to learn how to surf, which i´m all about. sweeeeeet. or as i´ve learned to say in spanish.....¨dulce!¨

well, by next entry, i will probably know where i´m going to be. so i´ll either be having a pity party or a congratulations party on tuesday. it can go either way........

at the bottom of this entry, i´m posting a couple of pics of chinchotepec i found on the web. they don´t do it justice at all, especially since the volcano is basically what we wake up to every morning in molineros. i´m also getting more pics from people who went on the hike with me so i´m sure they´ll be better than these. i also posted pics from suchitoto on the ¨where i´ve been and where i´m going¨ entry. it takes forever to upload pics, so i still have not put any pics of field based training, even though i have them. next time, i promise (unless i´m drowning myself in cerveza from finding out my site location).