We’ve been practicing a lot lately. We practice using new languages, practice giving presentations about anything from HIV/AIDS to writing a business plan, and we practiced being real volunteers during a 4-day visit to a current volunteer’s site, known in the Peace Corps world as Long Field Practice.
We traveled with our language classes so I went to the big city of Caaguazu while Isaiah checked out the smaller Iturbe. His group was kept busy cooking banana bread with a women’s group, reading books at a local elementary school, giving a charla, or presentation, to a combined group from 5 high schools, touring the local sugar factory, and in general checking out the town.
My group completed a range of activities including interviewing folks at the local municipality to get an idea of services offered, dancing with a group of good-humored ladies named “La Mejor Edad” or The Best Age, and teaching a lesson to a classroom of energetic 7th graders about the importance of volunteerism.
After all that great practice using Spanish, not to mention living with a host family on my own for the first time, my confidence with the language took a big step forward. It also made me very ready to get to a site of my own!
Speaking of, we had our second interview yesterday about what we’d like in our future site. Now the team of placement pickers goes to town matching all the volunteers to the sites in Paraguay who have requested the work of a Peace Corps Volunteer. They take into account our preferences on things like the size of our community, skills we bring to the table, what would most benefit our future site, as well as what type of work the site is requesting.
Isaiah and I expressed preferences like thinking a smaller town would be a good fit for us, but overall are feeling pretty flexible about where we get placed. After all, we are going wherever we go together so anywhere with each other can be home sweet home.
But I’m still super excited to hear about where I’ll be spending the next two years of my life. We only have to wait until next Wednesday, which is when they make the big announcement, so stay tuned!