Monday, September 18, 2006

9/18/06 (Day 6): Cold Showers and Cooked Chicken

"In our shower are two huge plastic pails that are used to catch the wather that constantly drips from the shower faucet. Unsure of whether or not this water was for drinking or cooking Benj and I took very careful, freezing cold showers this morning. It turns out, however, tha this wather us used for bucket baths because it has the opportunity to warm up a little in the pail before it is splashed over our dusty bodies. It also has the crucial use of flushing the toilet after the water turns off at 9pm every night.

La Senora Carmen really wants us to eat meat. She didn't know that we were vegetarians and when we first told her yesterday afternoon she gasped and said 'oh noooo.' We are her first PC couple...and vegetarians at that. She offered us ham for our breakfast sandwich which we politely didn't touch, instead eathing a fried egg with our delicious strawberry batido (milkshake). For lunch she also complied, making a manestra (stew) of butter beans with a side of rice and a brocoli, greenbean, avocado salad. Perfect! But for dinner, no questions asked, she made tallerines de pollo (Spaghetti with Chicken). She was respectful when I informed her that I was eating my FIRST chicken EVER in my life, but I'm not sure she would have been very impressed had I declined eathing it. So I took only a small portion, and she let us serve ourselves... I'll let my stomach get used to the juices first.

Today was a day of initial discussions. We played get to know you games, we had some lectures, we received our huge and comprehensive medical kits. I am increasingly impressed with whole training process. Each day is structured to build on previous days; activities are varied in terms of focus themes & styles & presenters. Our goals and expected outcomes are clearly defined...and they have provided us with a manual and many other otolsby which we can successfully achieve these outcomes. We have assignments and certain competencies that we must fulfill before progressing from 'aspirante' (trainee) to 'voluntarios' (volunteer). All the staff are eager to see us succeed. So far I feel like I will be more than prepared to enter the field in 10 short weeks!

And so, after a day of introductions to our practical areas, the language training, and the medical procedures...we returned home to la casa amarilla (the yellow house). Carmen greeted us warmly and we spent the rest of the evening helping her decorate a birthday cake she had been hired to make! Who'd have thunk that we would land ourselves in a house where a chocolate cake isn't such an anomoly? We spent the entire evening around the table, chatting, laughing, telling stories. It is comfortable. We are slowly gaining confidence with our spanish and able to fully participate in the conversation. It's fun. We laugh. Not a belly laugh yet, except when Benj made fun of our 17-yr old brother's squeaky adolescent voice. Humor is a powerful tool."