Friday, July 25, 2008

Misiones.....

Misiones…
Well today was the big day. We received our future work sites. Today was a very stressful. We have been waiting anxiously for the last 9 weeks to find out where we will be working and in what capacity. We have heard all about the different climates and different geographies of Paraguay. This morning seemed to last for an eternity as we did our regular routines in anticipation for our Site Directors to arrive. At about 3pm they arrived. If you have seen the video of our training compound you may remember that there is a very large ground-to-floor map of Paraguay. When the directors arrived, they wrote our names on small pieces of paper and put them on the wall, but not on the map in Paraguay. They places them in a line and had our training coordinator stand next to the list of names as if he was Vanna White. The three site directors had us all take a seat and they stood next to each other with a box of folders that contained all of our site assignments. They then each took an even number of folders out of the box and distributed them among themselves. One by one they then called out our names and announced where we would be going. As they announced our names our training coordinator (Vanna White) placed our names on the map in the corresponding sites. I will be going to the city of San Juan Bautista in the state of Misiones. San Juan Bautista is located in the south of Paraguay close to Argentina. This place is very green and one of the pretty places in Paraguay. The good thing is that all of the southern part of Paraguay is green. So, I feel blessed to have been placed in the site. The work that I will be doing will consist of numerous activities and secondary activities and projects, but I was placed in this site because of my management experience (McDonald’s) and experience teaching and training (McDonald’s). Also my main project will be civic education and working with neighborhood commissions. I am happy to work in these two areas because the civic education will means that I will have to touch the political matters here in Paraguay. Civic education will probably be done in the community, schools, even some of the universities (this location is not terribly likely though). The neighborhood commissions work will consist mainly of helping the people in the community group together into what is called a commision vecinal (neighborhood commsion) in order to get funding to perform local projects. This work is the most interesting because I will have to help the individuals work in groups and following the legal ramifications to have their group recognized by the municipality. This also means that I will be working very closely with the intendente/alcalde (the mayor in English). However, all of this sounds fun and good productive work, but of all of this, the most challenging work will be the group dynamics of getting people to work together that 1) don’t know each other and 2) don’t trust each other. So when working in groups like this and handling money, transparency is critical. Unfortunately for Paraguay, transparency is something that is almost unheard of. This will be a challenge, but I’m excited to working in this area and in this site. To top it off, my Site Director was able to place me close to two of my better friends Jesus and Joan. This was a big deal also because being placed close to your friends almost never happens according to Peace Corps. Lastly, I was placed close enough to Jesus that we will probably be working together in our different projects.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Cool! My dad is from Santa Rosa and I have relatives in San Juan Bautista. I will have to introduce them to you (and Karla) someday, maybe next year!