sinjin-avatar.thumbnail.JPGBY ST. JOHN BARNED SMITH The question I get asked the most by people back in the States is “So what do you do all day??” Just like everything else in Peace Corps, “it depends.” Since I finally arrived in site, I have been shuttling between families, living with each for a week or two, and then moving on. The idea is that I’ll integrate much faster into the community and meet a lot more people this way. Right now, I’m staying with the family of a man named Teofilo, who owns some cows and makes his living growing cash crops. He’s also the leader of the agricultural commission and on the board of the neighbors commission. (More on him and his family later.)

In any event, after three weeks, my boss came and presented me officially to the community. About 75(ish) people showed up for the event, which was held at the local high school/escuela basica. Antonio, the director of the escuela basica, spoke first. Then my boss spoke, explaining my official role to the community. After that, I spoke. Basically a “I’m very happy to be here and I hope we can do a lot in the next two years” kind of speech. Then Antonio, the director, surprised me. He’d gotten some of the high school girls to perform a dance for the event. After them, we heard a performance of a traditional song, and then there was another dance.

Finally, several school kids presented me with a canasta, (fruit basket) a 10 pound mandioca root, and two liters of milk. All in all, a fantastic day. As for my day-to-day schedule, I have been meeting regularly with different families that don’t have vegetable gardens, and helping them start them. For the people who do, I have been teaching them how to make better abono (or compost). In the afternoons, I visit new families, do laundry, play soccer, and sip terere. Then there’s the creepy crawly side of things. This morning I woke up to an annoying pain on the bottom of my foot. There was a small raised black dot in the middle of what looked like a blister. Turned out it was pique – or a larva that had burrowed its way into my foot. Don’t worry, I cut it out. MORE

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