Saturday, March 17, 2012

i recieve payment in food

Oh man… it’s the start of the Peruvian school year (*remember I’m a youth development volunteer). And honestly (oh god, I’m totally jinxing myself) things have been going pretty well! I present my community diagnostic on Tuesday morning (ohgodohgodohgod).

Oh wait, I bet you guys have no idea what a community diagnostic is… okay so for the first 3-4 (…or 5, okay 6) months my time in site was dedicated to completing a diagnostic where you assess your community.

Wow this is sounding super boring. Just know that I assessed my community and its development opportunities (especially related to youth).

So yeah. Also I’ve realized it’s hard for gringas to get people to attend their meetings so, my plan – make the meeting/presentation as fun as possible! Games! American cookies! PowerPoint presentations!

That last one probably sounds like no fun to you city-folk, but dude. Multimedia high-five. Our school just got a second projector and a laptop and a real screen! Like one of those pull down ones! Uh, huh, you heard me right, a real screen! Does this mean educational movie-nights are in my future?! Yes please! (…dork)

So other than my diagnostic presentation, I also am starting my sex-ed and adolescent health classes on Monday! So. Psyched. Two times a week during “tutoria” – kind of like home room. Condom races here we come!

And I’ve been teaching my professors English. Which is going really great. Today they were throwing out sentences left and right. And they brought me a liter of yogurt, a liter of juice, and a huge package of crackers. I love having to receive payments in food.

Um… what else?

Oh! Today I got two pairs of St. Patrick’s day themed socks in the mail from my mom! One of the best surprises ever. I laughed all the way to the internet cafĂ©. Although Danny Cackley’s letter I received last week might be the best. And coming in third was the hammentaschen Keren’s mom sent. Yum. How am I not Jewish yet?

Been missing friends a lot still. CESCA – Francesca Ioffreda is coming to visit me in late April and THEN (!) my parents arrive the day she leaves. I tear up just thinking about it.

Okay I’m bored and sleepy. This was such a weird blog post, sorry bout that. There’s a video blog coming up in a week or so…

Happy St. Patricks Day!

P.S. Sorry I'm not adding photos, internet is slow. Check the facebook if you want a photo update...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

what's in your backpack?

Recently I’ve been really inspired by The Hairpin’s “What’s in your bag?” series . It’s a strangely addictive series, and I always check for a new one when I have internet. I thought maybe I’d give it a go myself. So, without further ado, Ali Foley, what’s in your bag?


1. My Peace Corps Nokia cell phone w/ pom-pom charm and my room key. Key-cell phone combo? Oh yeah.

2. Kindle. Do not leave house without reading material. You will end up waiting in your classroom/the municipality building/the ‘bus stop’/etc. bored to tears if you forget this.

3. Reading material my socia (community counterpart) lent me. It’s a couple of Oscar Wilde stories in English.

4. My plan for the 2012 school year. I wrote this out while I was waiting in my classroom (see #2, I had forgotten my kindle).

5. My pretty little Quechua notebook which I won during training! I take this everywhere. [Cuadernuta Apakullaa] – impressed? Yeah?

6. Tweezers… which I haven’t used lately…

7. Hand woven straw wallet bought from another volunteer in Lambayeque, Peru. His host mom makes them and they’re fantastic!

8. My point and shoot camera. Always bring along as you never know what weird thing you will see or do.

9. Sunglasses. Also always bring with you. Even if you are the only person in your entire town who wears them. Sunglasses case is one of the best purchases I have made in my entire life. Worth all 6 dollars. Also, the handy microfiber cloth that comes with is great for cleaning computer of all the bugs you squished into the screen last night.

10. Agenda. Also do not leave home without. You are now a highly organized individual who even has their workouts planned out until July.

11. Well-used mini recycled-paper moleskine notebook from parents. Great for jotting down vocab/slang/doodles/lesson plans. Also great for explaining what recycled materials like paper can be turned into. Thanks mom and dad!

12. USB. Also bring everywhere. Helpful for bringing documents to printing shops and receiving music/TV shows from other volunteers.

13. Orbit gum from a care package. Again, thanks mom and dad!

14. Staples… I don’t know why these have been in there for so long.

15. Postcards I’ve been meaning to send to friends and family for ages now. They’re on their way, I swear!

16. Three-prong plug adapter. Also an essential.

17. Leash for Canela (our family dog). Caballero, another family dog and my favorite dog ever, just disappeared… my family thinks someone poisoned him (a sad common occurrence in these parts). So when Canela (our other puppy, who also is adorable) got sick this week, I didn’t hesitate to bring her to the vet. I had to buy her a leash, even though she’s so tiny I mostly just toted her around in my backpack (including during a meeting with a mayor- he never even noticed - ha).

18. Sweet braided headband BFFL Ryan, PCV in Ica, made me for Carnaval in Cajamarca.

19. Zip-loc filled with mini-med kit. Very handy for short trips to the city and long bus rides.

20. Mechanical pencils and Sharpie. Could not live without them.

21. Sunscreen. Also extremely important, the sun is crazy strong here. I ran out in Mancora (PCVs get sunscreen for free) so Charlotte and I had to buy this… unfortunately it gives you extreme ‘white face’ and I only carry it around for emergencies because its small…

A note on my backpack:
My backpack is my life. All my life I’ve carried a backpack, but this time its extra-true love. I take this guy everywhere. It has lots of awesome pockets and a super-protective laptop sleeve. It’s a Columbia backpack that I bought on which I’m obsessed with (and gives PCVs a great discount). Not trying to sell it to you, just giving credit where credit is due.

*Notice the lack of toilet paper, trash, and my DSLR. Failing to bring toilet paper everywhere I go means I’m, how they say, ‘le screwed’. And I’m sure you’re thinking, Ali, you’re editing out all the trash and receipts you have floating around in there – actually, I was just in my capital city yesterday, where I bring all my trash, so I just dumped it all – take that. Finally, note to self, bring DSLR everywhere you go – must take more photographs and envy Pim and Lisa less.

One more thing: check out my 3-yr old host cousin’s fabulous gold shoes and amazing color-coordinated outfit (peach sweater, pastel blue pants, pastel pink socks, gold shoes… get it girl!).