observations of a peace corps peru 13 volunteer


Peru 11ers are currently in the process of leaving…(although a surprising number is extending for additional time) and they will be quickly followed by peru 12ers, which will leave the 13ers to be the “seniors” among PCVs. kind of scary. i remember during training how i would hold on to everything the volunteers would say to try to learn something about what my life would be like at site… i felt like they all knew so much. now i’m in their position and don’t feel nearly as knowledgeable as i should be. yes i know the language a lot better and i know how to use the combis and i have some Peruvian friends, but… i am sorely lacking in the concrete facts of Peru. i am not well versed in the history… i haven’t been to the museums in my capital city… i still don’t even know all the ins and outs of the informal business sector. i would certainly not consider myself an expert of this country, although i probably wouldn’t say that about myself regarding the US either… 

the second year in site is a lot more “stable”… our week-long medical checks will be the last time my group will get together for any training until our COS conference 3 months before our final day (end of August 2011 - we are allowed to leave up to 30 days before that date though). so many volunteers say that their second year is their most productive. and i couldn’t agree more. you’ve spent enough time in your site to be pretty comfortable, you’ve met a solid number of people, and you’ve done enough activities to know which ones are the most meaningful to you. 

this past year i’ve done the following activities:
- youth group with 10 year olds
- consulted 2-6 artisan groups regarding business issues
- yoga/exercise classes for older women
- english tutoring
- attempted a business directory
- offered business english classes to restaurants (no one showed up)
- computer class to 5 year olds
- connected a microfinance NGO to some artisan women i work with
- started 2 community banks 
- attempted to work with another NGO in my community

and here is a list of the following activities i will continue:
- community banks (continuing old ones and starting new ones)
- computer class to 5 year olds
- exercise classes
- working with 2 artisan groups specifically in organization and design skills
- maybe a youth entrepreneurial group 

i’ve realized i am not interested nor particularly good at teaching/working with youth. i’m also not a fan of “charlas” or lectures on any given subject. 

i’m excited for this upcoming year and know it will go by just as fast as the last one. 

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