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Emails from the Peace Corps, No. 13

  • Sep. 1st, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Hey my fluffy marshmallows,

 
I think I probably used the marshmallow thing before but I'm almost a year in and my creativity, as well as my English, has highly dissipated with the passing of time. So, with my discombobulated English I'm going to write this next mass email about things I've done, seen, and well, the regular.

No really funny stories as of late – which is probably why I haven't written in so long. Or, there have been funny stories but I'm so used to it now that it's not memorable. In less than a month I will hit my one-year mark in country. Crazy. The new volunteers came in on the 21st of August which makes my class of volunteers move into our junior year as Peace Corps volunteers.

When I think back on my year here I feel like I've done some things but it's not exactly as "world-changing" as I thought it would have been. My Peace Corps life is not exactly how I imagined. My community is not what I pictured my village would look like. Poverty is not what I pictured poverty to be. The "third-world" is more developed that I thought it'd be. They say Peace Corps is an eye opening experience – and it has opened my eyes but differently than I had imagined, also. So, right. Peace Corps broke all my pre-disposed notion of about everything that I was thinking about before I got here.

In the past month I've done a couple of things. I finally started my women's nutrition course in my community. They meet once a week for about an hour and I tell them about nutrition basics like food groups, vitamins, malnutrition, etc. Then after "class" we cook something related to the class – each woman/lady/girl brings some ingredient that goes into the dish and we all eat together and usually give a lot away to people who are around. It's kind of fun. I'm not sure about the retention level of these women but I think they're having a good time.

I also participated in my very first medical mission – nursing students from the University of Southern Maine came down the DR to do basic diagnoses of villagers in the mountains of Santiago and brought them medicine. Peace Corps was there as translators for the nurses and doctors and it was AWESOME. I felt so fulfilled the entire time because we were actually having some sort of tangible results to our work – unlike our official peace corps work that is the spread of knowledge and know-how. We traveled all throughout the villages surrounding a community called Las Lajas about 40 minutes from Santiago. There was lots of walking and speaking in Spanish and saying things like "gripe" (cold) and "dolor" (pain). The nurses asked all the Peace Corps if it was required to wear long pants because we all were and to them (they're from Maine) it was burning up outside. We laughed. I also had one of my youth ask me once if Peace Corps provides Havaianas (flip flops) to the volunteers because we really all do wear them. So, that was great.

And, 26 volunteers, about 55 youth, and I participated in that diversity camp that you all generously donated money to. It was a hit. Thanks! We talked about Dominican Culture, Dominican-Haitian relations, American culture, Sexuality, Disability… they played a lot of games and they really all just had a great time thanks to your help. They saw Haiti in a different light than normal, realized that all the stereotypes of Haiti and Haitians aren't true. You guys are amazing. Without you there would have been no camp. So, the next time I ask you for money you'll know that we'll do something amazing with it so you shouldn't hesitate. J

Next email will have a photopost—probably in the next week, si dios quiere. I love you all. Take care. I can't believe McCain chose a woman vice president and that taco bell has come out with a new taco that's pink. WTF is going on in America?

 
Love!
Maryam

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