Hi there, thanks for taking the time to peruse my thoughts!
Here I sit, less than a week away from swearing in as a real life Peace Corps Volunteer. Gone will be the days of being referred to as a PCT, of having to pay to talk to my gov’t issued friends on the phone, of having a clear schedule in mind for each day…
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. After months and months of (sometimes agonizing) waiting and anticipation, we finally received our site placements last week. I will be residing in Trelawny parish, near to the coast and the St. Ann parish border. As I try to stay true to PC rules of the interwebz, I won’t share my exact location here. But please by all means, if you’d like to know or if you’d like my mailing address, feel free to email me (dominique.gebru[at]gmail[dot]com) or send me a message on Facebook.
Trelawny is the home of famed sprinter Usain Bolt; Falmouth, the parish capital, had running water before New York City; it’s cooler there, so I have to sleep with a blanket at night and I don’t feel like such an idiot for bringing sweaters. It’s also pronounced exactly like Professor Trelawney’s name, for all you HP fanatics out there.
Today, I was asked to be the Warden for my parish. Essentially, I’ll be responsible for disseminating information to the other volunteers in my parish. I’m also excited for the additional trainings we’ll get to do, as it will mean interacting with PCVs in a different manner than we did during training. Look out, this lady’s got responsibilities…
I’m delighted to report that I love my school so far. My principal and counterpart are both very hardworking and easy to get along with. The classrooms at my school only have 3 walls, so I’m living my dream of working outside! Site orientation week was a blur. I went with my counterpart and a few of the top students to the parish library in Falmouth for a Caribbean Quiz challenge, which was similar to Schools Quiz Challenge (an awesome, nerdy show on TVJ). We lost, but it was a fantastic match. I was happy that I knew the answers to some of the questions.
On Thursday, I got to partake in a field trip with Grades 1-3! The bus picked me up from my house on its way to Falmouth. We visited the Fire Brigade building (most state-of-the art on the island, really impressive facility) and the cruise ship pier in Falmouth. It was weird being in a tourist setting for the first time ever since my arrival on the island. There were so many old white people and they ALL wanted to take pictures of our students in their uniforms! We then headed to Montego Bay to see Sam Sharpe Square and the Civic Center, which is currently under construction. It was a long day, but I was grateful for the opportunity to see more of the country and to bond with my students in a non-school environment. I got especially close to a tiny girl in Grade 1–here we are at the end of the year, and she’s only 5 years old! Really bright though!
With regard to my housing, I’m trying very hard to not fall victim to site envy. While many of my fellow trainees were lucky enough to get housing in self-contained units, the nature of my site was such that the ONLY option was for me to live a 10 minute taxi ride away from school and in a family’s home. It feels a little ridiculous that at the age of 24 I’m stuck living with a family, essentially being babysat and sharing a kitchen (not sugarcoating it, I hate that part more than anything else). I’m trying to look on the bright side. If anything else pops up, I would possibly be able to move, but after talking with many community members, it doesn’t seem likely that any other options will arise quickly during my two years.
Enough of that negative moment. Please enjoy these photos from the last few weeks of my life (click on them to expand). Oh, and send me emails! I’ve been feeling particularly lonely lately, and I promise to return the support in time.
As always, one love. Respek.