Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Announcing the New Regional Office Coordinator…Me

Yes, I am the new volunteer coordinator at the Peace Corps’ regional office in San Ignacio, Misiones. Unfortunately, the previous coordinator had to leave before his full term ended in December, so the position suddenly became vacant. I applied, was interviewed, offered, and accepted the position on Monday, April 11th.

I will be leaving my current and much loved home, Campo 9, on Monday, April 18th. Peace Corps will be sending a truck to help me move. We’ll stay in Asuncion for the night, and then make the trek to the new office the next morning. I’ll be moving in during Holy Week, so I’ll get to play house and set things up while most people are taking a holiday. That will help me get my sea legs before the big work starts.

I don’t have a house yet, but the lady I’ll be working with, Adrianna, is looking for one for me.

Yes, the animals are coming with me. I noticed the new office has a nice grassy yard, so Lila may live at the office as the mascot during the week, especially if my house doesn’t have good space for her. My little street bastard, Tucker, is also going to be coming. I intend to have plenty of Benadryl on hand to keep him calm during the trip, since he’ll be sitting in my lap. I have a travel crate for Lila, but not for Tucker.

The office consists of Adrianna, who will take care of the administrative responsibilities, Victor, the driver, security personnel, and me, the volunteer coordinator.

I’ll be in charge of about 50 volunteers.

I’ve been told I get my own office J

I get a raise!

San Ignacio is 4 hours south east of the capital.

My job will consist of supporting the volunteers in the area, especially during their first 3 months. I’ll visit volunteers, help with projects, plan joint projects, and build relationships with local organizations.

I’ll be working with volunteers in all of the sectors, Community Economic Development, Agriculture, Education, and Health. Basically my job is to run make our office into a miniature version of the main office in the capital. I don’t know much more than that because I’ve never been to the San Ignacio office.

Initially I’ll focus on getting to know the area and the volunteers and pick up and projects the previous coordinator was working on.

I told the women in my exercise class today that I was going to be working with them anymore. They seemed sad and a bit nervous about the future of the competition. I'm going to write up all of our exercises and script Friday's class and next week for them, so hopefully that will give them some confidence and they'll be willing to run things themselves after that.

Life is about to get very very busy

Friday, April 8, 2011

Back By Popular Demand

By popular demand, I’ve started up the exercise class again. We’ll have one more week of class, and then begin the competition on the 18th. Thus far we’ve had a pretty low turnout because we had to change the time from 6:30 to 6:00 because the sun sets around 7 and the field we use doesn’t have lights. Fortunately we were able to get permission to use the city government owned multi-purpose center, which does have lights. That means we’ll be able to change the time back to 6:30 on Monday.

I’ve made it to the interview portion for the Regional Coordinator position. I go in for it on Monday.

Tucker is officially bigger than Lila. She usually weighs between 10-12lb and he weighs about 16. There was a notable change between when I left on vacation and when I returned. His aunty Julia must have been feeding him well. I’d guess he is about 4 months old now. Having a dog again has been really nice. He needs two walks a day to keep his energy levels in check, otherwise he is unbearable. But it is good to have something to make sure I don’t lounge around in bed until noon. One of the reasons I wasn’t too keen on getting a dog was I was concerned about my little yard getting overwhelmed with poo. I grew up with 2 large dogs and 1 small one. They were quite an efficient little poo factory and I wasn’t looking forward to getting back into the business. But thankfully having one small dog is very manageable, especially since he usually poos when I take him for a walk. Considering there are cows, goats, stray dogs, chickens, etc using the streets as their latrines, I feel no need to clean up after him and it helps keep my yard clean.

[Tucker! Lila is not a chair!]

Lila is doing well. She wasn’t happy about the addition to household, but they have learned live with each other. Lila doesn’t avoid Tucker and Tucker knows that he’s in deep trouble if he chases her. Still trying to get him to stop sitting on her. Oh well, no one is perfect.

For size comparison purposes:

[Tucker and Moe sharing 1/2 the bathroom mat. He is just a bit larger than one of the floor tiles]

[Tucker taking up most of the bathroom mat]