Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Batey!

I'm back from visiting my Batey...we have our official swearing in ceremony tomorrow, and we'll return to our sites to officially move in this weekend.

I really like my site!  It's one of the poorest places I've been, but that's to be expected in the Peace Corps.  It has three (dirt) roads, three churches, a primary school, a community center, and about 1000 people.  There are lots of kids, who are all really friendly and already run over to hug me when they see me!  Lots of people have expressed interest in taking computer or English classes.  Supposedly, the first three months are just my 'diagnostic,' where I study the community but don't actually work on any projects.  However, I think my role in the community is already clearly laid out and they want me to start sooner.

I'll probably do a lot of work in the primary school (K-8th grade).  I was already introduced to all the classes, so there are 300 kids who know my name, and I know about 5.  They also have a computer lab (built by Save the Children), which they've barely begun to use, and they're going to give me free reign to do what I want with it.

The hardest part, I think, is going to be the fact that the kids have never had any consistent discipline, so a lot of them are cute little brats.  There's a lot of hitting that goes on (parents hitting kids, kids hitting each other), but I certainly don't want to participate in that, and it would be nice to get everyone else to stop also.  I've got a bag of cheap candies...whoever gets hit (without hitting back) will get a candy.  We'll see if I can outsmart the seven year olds.  One of the PC nurses also pointed out that hardly anyone invests emotionally in these kids, so I can hopefully make a difference just by caring.  Advice on handling dozens of misbehaved kids would be appreciated...

Anyway, here are a few photos.  I didn't take very many, but I'll have two years to document the 3 street town!

Some of my new friends.  After I'd been in town for only six hours, I told them I was staying for two years, and they all cheered!

At a neighbor's house

All the fences look something like this.

My new church, in the nearby town.  It's one of the prettiest churches I've seen in the country.

My shower (with a dirt floor)

And no ceiling

My room, with Netalie, my beloved mosquito net.

View from the top of the ladder in my shower.

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