i´m back, i´m back, you know it
After receiving various complaints on my silence from various angry wannabe procrastinators at home in the US, I have decided it is time to get my writing back in gear.
So much has happened, I couldn´t possibly summarize it all. Most importantly, I have had a few successful environmental education events for kids. For example, in October we celebrated "World Bird Festival" by starting first with giving talks about bird biology in every single 6th-grade classroom in the district, even trucking in the few kids from the poorer, rural annexes. In total, we (or the biologist who did almost all the talking, hehe) talked to almost 250 kids. Then we sponsored a drawing contest where the kids had to identify a few birds from their community and identify all the body parts, which they learned about during the talk. The prize was a trip to the Mangroves...we chose about 12 from each school, a total of more than 60 kids. They were "little scientists" for the day, using a telescope and identifying birds using a bird ID book, as well as painting their surroundings and playing a predator-prey-refuge game. I realized that the 11-year old age-range is my favorite because they are young enough to be fascinated by the natural world without inhibitions but old enough to not make me feel like a babysitter. They loooooooved that telescope. They keep talking about that telescope.
Now I am starting a program for a group of 15 kids in about that age range that I´m selecting right now. The purpose is to develop their leadership potential through activities building their communication, decision-making and teamwork skills, creativity and self-esteem as well as to learn about the environment and become little experts on the Mangroves. They will apply these skills and knowledge through carrying out activities in the community: painting walls with environmental messages, performing plays, using the radio and TV to communicate with the public, etc. The idea is that one day, these kids will be town leaders. Through this small group of kids, I am hoping to take a baby step towards improving the future of the local environment by addressing current problems: dearth of participation from the general public, awareness of environmental issues and strong, effective, knowledgeable leaders. By fostering a culture of community service in these kids, I hope to change THEM so that in the future they can be strong leaders. We´ll see how it goes. I hope I get results...at the very least, I´m excited to start! And I thought I hated kids.
Just in case, I should mention before my mom gets her hopes up that I am still fervently anti-baby. I like borrowing kids for a few hours, and then sending them back home to their parents. My host sister, Jenny, who got married in September, just gave birth to a girl a few weeks ago. It´s really cute, but less fascinating than I thought it would be. Pobrecita Jenny is following a tradition (I suppose it´s a tradition -- my host family does things out of the norm a lot) where the mother is supposed to stay inside with the baby 24-7. The dad comes and pops in for a few hours sometimes. Ugh. That is so unacceptable. He is surely working for many of those hours, but I highly doubt he´s THAT busy. And why doesn´t dad receive some of the responsibilities of having a baby, hm? In this culture, not breast-feeding is unheard of, so I suppose he can´t wake up and give the baby a bottle while Mom sleeps. But at least be there for moral support and love, sheesh.
If anyone likes to surf, chill out in a very laid-back town with a few American-type restaraunts and a lot of yummy Peruvian seafood (CEVICHE), Huanchaco, which is a beach community next to Trujillo, is awesome. And it´s cheeeeeeeap. I stayed in a decent hostel for 20 soles a night (conversion 1 nuevo sol = US$3.20). And there are a bunch of places that offer lunch specials ("menú") for 5-10 soles where you get ceviche, a main dish and a drink. There are more expensive places, too. Such as the delicious seafood restaraunt in which I broke out my American credit card for a meal so I could evaluate prices using American eyes (so damn cheap!) rather than Peruvian eyes (so damn expensive!). Thumbs up for going there for Christmas, although I´m still broke broke. Especially after realizing that TWO of my 100 sol bills are COUNTERFEIT. dammit!
In other news, nobody from the US has visited me yet. I´m a loser, thanks. That, or everyone will come in my second year and I´ll never be in site until I´m gone for good. Hm.
That was pretty decent to revitalize this blog, eh? At least you all had something to read instead of writing that memo for your boss.