My new home
This is a picture of me pointing to my new home...I'm practically as far west as you can go. So, I only have to survive a few more days of training before I am officially sworn-in as a Peace Corps volunteer on November 30th. The past ten weeks have flown by, and it is definitely going to feel strange to leave Los Palacios for El Imposible. I feel fortunate to have been placed with such a great host family whom I have grown very close to, and I will really miss them….I definitely feel very much “at home” with them.
It looks like I will be living without electricity for awhile, and I will be bathing and washing my laundry in the river. It may seem strange to be polluting the water in a National Park, but it is really the only option for the community. There are no projects in the works for bringing electricity or water to the community because the ultimate goal of SalvaNatura (the NGO which oversees the park) is to have the entire community (about 27 houses) relocated to another area outside the park in a year or so. My new living situation is quite interesting, to say the least, and I think I will try to scope-out some other options once I arrive at my site. For now I am all set to live with a middle-aged, single Salvadoran man who lives in El Imposible...not the best situation. I really want to live in the community in which I will be working rather than in the pueblo, and for right now this is the only option. I’m going to have one of two rooms in an adobe house, but I don’t think I will be spending too much time in there. It is pitch dark and roasting hot in the room during the day because the only window, which isn’t even a foot wide, is filled in with wood for some reason.
While I was on my site visit I stayed with one of the park guards and his family. He has worked there for 25 years, and his house is right at the entrance to the park. While I was staying with them I noticed a nice looking toolshed that I think has the potential of being a perfect casita for me. It is close enough to the park guard’s house that I bet I could string some electricity over, and it is just the right size….there is even a perfect place for me to hang my hammock. The main problem is that there is nowhere else to store all the tools. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I’m definitely going to look into this more once I get there in December. I certainly never thought there would be a time when I would get excited at the potential of moving into a toolshed….keep your fingers crossed for me.
Overall I would say that my site visit went really well, and I’m excited about living there. The park is beautiful, and the people I had the chance to meet were very friendly and welcoming. While I was there I also had a chance to serve as a translator for three Scottish gals who have been traveling Central America for the past 4 weeks. In order to hike in the park you need to have a local guide, none of whom speak any English. Many of the guides are interested in learning English so that they can better communicate with tourists, so teaching English will probably be one of my secondary projects. So, since the girls spoke very little Spanish I went along on the 4 hour hike to try to translate when it was needed. It was a lot of fun, and it gave me the chance to learn a bit more about where I am going to be living. There are over 400 species of trees in the park, and there are 25 species of snake, including the boa constrictor and 5 poisonous ones…I hope I never see them. There are also a ton of medicinal plants, butterflies, beautiful birds, and cool animals like ant eaters.
Oh, so it looks as though I will be referred to as Kelly for the next 2 years because no one, including myself, can correctly pronounce my name in Spanish…fortunately my last name can also serve as a first. I'm not sure what my new address will be just yet, but I'll probably send an email out once I know it. Also, if anyone has any connections and can find some kids books in Spanish (used or new), please let me know. Books are always a great resource to have, and I would like to have some on hand at my site for the kids to read.
That's about it for now. I'm going to be spending the rest of the day hanging-out with my training group for Thanksgiving. Each of us prepared some type of food (I made about 8 pounds of mashed potatoes), and we are going to have a big dinner this afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving!!