So, I finally decided on a new name for my blog. Actually, it’s the name I had in mind for my blog all along… When I first found out I might be going to Colombia for my Peace Corps service, I felt a bit of guilt as a racked my brain for prior knowledge about the country and all that came to mind were Joe Arroyo lyrics. Arroyo was probably Colombia’s most famous salsa singer, and also happens to be one of my favorites. His song, “En Barranquilla Me Quedo” (In Barranquilla I Stay) became one of the theme songs to my packing/transition process, and I knew I wanted it to be the name for my blog, but I also thought it would be confusing considering I could be sent anywhere on the cost, not necessarily anywhere near Barranquilla. Well, that brings me to site announcements…
I’m staying right where I am! We knew that one of the trainees would be staying at our training site and that trainee turned out to be me. No, I will not be in Barranquilla, but as a suburban Chicagoan, I have no problem saying I live in a place that I actually live 40 min. away from.
Anyway, on to site announcements. Probably the biggest milestone in my training so far. Just so we’re all on the same page, I am two and a half months into our three month training. Right now, we all live relatively close to each other in small towns outside Barranquilla, but when the three months is over, we will all be sent to different sites throughout the coast. As you can imagine, its pretty nerve wracking waiting to find out where you will be living for the next two years of your life. On site announcement day, we all met at our training site, and were given “Volunteer Survival Kits” with cute little symbolic gifts such as chewing gum to remind us to “stick together” and markers to remind us of the “mark” we will leave. Aww… Then, they called us up one by one not by calling out names, but by giving hints about each volunteer and having us guess. Mine was about how I like to work with little kids at a center in my community.
I’m not gonna lie, I had a feeling I was going to be the one picked to stay in our training site, so I was not surprised when they called my name. There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to about staying in the same town. I will be working at an all girls school and will be doing a lot of work with future teachers. I absolutely love my current host family and will hopefully get to stay with them during this time. The town is very nice. It’s small enough to get the unique small-town experience, but not too isolated. It’s very centric and it will be easy for me to visit people and vice versa. I will also hopefully get to be involved with training when new volunteers arrive.
Now that site placement is over we only have a few weeks left until swear-in! This coming week we have our site visits (mine will sure be a journey!) and then we will be finishing up training. Time has really flown by and while I look forward to many aspects of being a “real” volunteer, I’m pretty nervous and also sad to see the other trainees head to far off lands. At the same time, I feel like more and more a part of my community every day. In fact, time to watch the US Colombia soccer game!