As our second official day in Isla Pucu began, I woke up to a beautiful breakfast prepared by my host abuela (grandmother). The breakfast consisted of buttered-bread and a special type of hot milk that was a little bit dulce (sweet). It was muy delicioso. After eating that, my host sister and I walked to a near-by corner store to buy some salt for her grandmother. The interaction between the store clerk (who was an older lady) and my host sister was heart-warming. They were so friendly towards each other and it seemed as though they knew each other on a personal level. That’s different from what you would see in America where a person and a store clerk would just exchange a quick “How are you?” and the price.
Once we took the salt to my host grandmother, we chatted with a friend of my host sister who was around our age. Though my Spanish has been a bit shaky thus far, during that conversation, I felt confident as we chatted about our name, age, and what it’s like back in America. Next, once we were done chatting, her friend rode off on his bike, and we were off to the plaza. The plaza is the meeting spot for the LearnServe members when we have work. Since I’m not totally familiar with this community, my sister walked with me. When we walked up to the group, Toshia asked me, “Why are you and your host sister exactly alike?” That comment was not only funny, but it also made me feel good on the inside…
For the remainder of the day, we traveled with Ashton (our Peace Corps guide), looking at the three schools that we’ll be working in with the children starting lunes (Monday). We’ll be working on various projects that include health/nutrition, sports, painting and my favorite, recycling, and a lot more. We’ll be split up into three different groups and placed at the three schools. After visiting our schools, we went on a community clean-up. We split into two separate groups, and circled different parts of the community. I’m happy to say that it really wasn’t bad. The community is fairly clean.
Later on in the day, we went to the comedor, where we talked as a group with the kids and the cooks, enjoyed rice pudding prepared by the cooks, and read to the kids. Reading in Spanish was very difficult for my peers and I, but in the end, the kids seemed to enjoy it. After that, we went to a close-by school and enjoyed an hour of fun that included racing, soccer, snacks, etc. before being released off to our host families. It felt so good to interact with the kids of Isla Pucu and see the smiles on their faces.
Later that night, there was a fiesta in the community! Of course my host family and I attended. It was outside, and the food was cooked on the grill over the top of the fire. It reminded me of a traditional American cook-out. There was a marriage booth, clowns and a stand-up comedy act. The music was just beautiful. I felt like I was dancing the entire time, and I could tell that the people of Isla Pucu appreciated our attempts to dance and adapt to their culture, even though we’re unfamiliar with it. The party overall was magnificent and it was a great way to end the night.