Good Ol’ Horas Públicas

For three seconds, heading out of the community center to go home felt like it had the dozens of times I had done it during my first months here. That fleeting moment to feel like an entire period of time and it wasn’t the first time that’s happened lately. Nostalgia is in the air these days. At least for me.

Perhaps I’ve been feeling rather sentimental because we’ve begun a new program cycle – one that brings us back to programming with a greater educational focus. It is a similar beginning to the one that spring boarded my experiences with Building Dignity. Now that the kids are in school, Horas Públicas, an oldie but goodie, is back and tonight it came with full force. For many volunteers, it’s probably the least enjoyable and most stressful program, but for some reason (one that I am still trying to figure out) I’m somewhat fond of it.

Exactly 36 kids passed through the community center this afternoon to receive help with their school assignments and or, to have a space to work. With only four people, including myself as tutors for the afternoon, it was undoubtedly a big challenge.

I feel fortunate to be able to reflect on how I’ve grown since my first Horas Públicas seven months ago. Can we just take a moment to think about how that was seven months ago?  At that point, I was three days in and I still felt like I had just stepped off of the airplane, eyes red from little sleep and a mind that tired from racing to catch up to everything that was happening around me. Sure, engaging with the kids and putting in the elbow grease on balancing mathematical equations (as told by one of my first blog posts) turned out to be more transformative than originally thought, but in the moment it was pretty stressful.

Nonetheless, this afternoon didn’t feel overwhelming. Several months ago, I would have emphasized how challenging it was to have to work with such a myriad of homework levels that was scattered upon several different people. But tonight, the hardest part was trying to help three elementary school kids with their homework assignment that told them to draw human behavior. Horas Públicas can be somewhat hard to navigate (figuratively and sometimes literally – making ones way through a room of studying young people can be surprisingly difficult) but I’m proud to say that it isn’t as overwhelming for me as it once was. I think that’s something that can be said for many aspects of my life here.

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Rewinding of My Summer in Peru

This summer was like running a 5k – it’s a short race (3.1 miles) so it doesn’t seem that hard, right? This summer’s eight-week programming received a similar response from myself and a few friends. Eight weeks? Workshops that are only a couple of hours long, a few days a week? What will I do with myself? Little did I know that like running a 5k, it is not advisable to go into summer programming without having any sort of mental preparation (let alone physical), eight weeks is actually pretty long, and most importantly, hydration is key. (Thank you, 80-90 degree weather and humidity levels upwards of 60%.) And despite it’s “shortness” this summer has proven to be anything but uneventful.

Undoubtedly, the most meaningful part of my summer with Building Dignity was the music program. As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been in charge of the program since early January and it’s been full of challenges and successes that continue to motivate me to improve and expand the program. Recent developments have led to conversations about continuing music workshops in the community of Oasis, when we originally had intended on only offering workshops like music, English lessons and art for the summer. It’ll mean teaching in two communities (La Encantada and Oasis) and continuing the grand migration of instruments to and from the two locations, but I’m 100% committed. Because the music program is currently dependent on me being here, I’ve also started to compile an archive of all the materials, lesson plans and activities associated with the program, so that whoever comes after me can have a solid foundation of what the program has done and what level the kids are at.

Even though this summer has had its fair share of challenges, I am a little bit sad that it’s come to an end. When I compared the summer programming to the school year’s, I used to focus on how less tired I was at the end of the day or I would think of the all the ways that summer has been more intense. But as the summer wound down, I started to realize that the school year had it’s own set of challenges i.e. learning how to play guitar in Spanish, trying to remember how to do geometry when I barely even got it while I was in school, helping pre-teens with trigonometry…  I focused on how much I missed getting on a more personal level with the kids I helped tutor during the school year, as opposed to the less personal dynamic that was applicable to many of this summer’s programs. On the flipside, the school year is academically intense. I’ll still have music as a respite from helping research Peru’s legislative bodies and studying mathematical terms in Spanish, but the fun and free atmosphere of the summer will most definitely be missed. If anything, I’ve learned that some times ideas can change drastically depending on the perspective. By having experienced two different cycles, I’ve grown to appreciate things that I hadn’t really considered before and however stress-inducing this summer has been, I’m grateful for it.

It’s been a busy two months, with daily programming in two locations, visitors from the United States, welcoming new volunteers as well as saying goodbye to volunteers who I had known for as long as I’ve been here.  If anything, crossing the finish line (we’re back to the running analogy) that in this case, was March 1st was pretty satisfying. A pancake breakfast has not been included, but I think we can make that happen at some point.

Little Reminders

As mentioned in previous posts, a continual goal of mine is to always be aware. That can be sort of broad, but it’s the bare bones of the idea. Essentially, I want to do my best to find ways of challenging myself and continually think about how to efficiently and effectively do the best work I can. However, trying to continually think critically about how to improve programming or even find the time to be in the moment, is difficult. Nevertheless, sometimes the most random moments provide the best reminders of being in said moments. One came this afternoon, as I carried four guitars and a violin across Villa el Salvador.

This is not the first time I’ve done this. (Well, first time with a violin added to the mix.) In the past, I’ve had the help of one or two other people, but many a time I have made the grand pilgrimage from the Center for Development with Dignity (CEDED) to the location in the neighboring community of Oasis, to enlighten the youth with the power of music. I love going to Oasis and working with the kids there – it’s honestly one of my favorite workshops to do. But as I walked (or trudged) up the sandy hill to catch a moto taxi, with two full sized guitars, two little guitars and a violin, I had to take a moment and think, “You are hauling five instruments across Villa el Salvador.” Across Villa el Salvador is somewhat of a hyperbole, but I guess I was feeling a little dramatic and in need of an NBC camera on my side to capture the blank stare on my face that everyone was supposed to know translated to what I said above. Nevertheless, my 5-seconds of being Jim Halpert were over very quickly. I got a grip (literally and figuratively, the guitars started slipping) and realized that yes, carry this instruments I will because I really love doing this workshop, no matter how inconspicuous I may look doing it.

What I think is significant about the little reminder I just shared is that I hadn’t really taken a pause like that for almost the entire summer – let alone, a pause that wasn’t involving any sort of worry. The workshop that took place this afternoon was the seventh one and being a weekly class, it also marks the seventh week of music this summer. When I became the in charge of the program, I was scared. My anxiety was the motivator for overly-elaborate lesson plans and overall self doubt. However, as time went by and I learned more about what worked and what didn’t, I got more comfortable. Now leading the workshop by myself harbors no anxieties as it in the past and coming to that realization was pretty revelational. My summer has been hallmarked by my involvement with the music program and now I take a lot of pride in that.

My mission of being in the moment while also thinking ahead is a continuing challenge and it can also be said that it will be for long after I leave Peru. But as I think about how this goal will affect me in the future, I also really have to eat dinner right now. Gotta stay in the moment.

Los Martincitos

Even though I kept it on the DL (most of the time), I had been really excited about this field trip for a while. Not too long ago, I heard about the plan of having Voices of Youth refocus on the community service aspect of the program. Community service hasn’t been emphasized as much due to the goal of fortifying the social and individual dynamics of the group i.e. self esteem, confidence, etc. When I heard that we would be going to Los Martincitos (a center for the elderly) and serving breakfast/lunch and putting on a little performance, I was immediately on board.

Los Martincitos is a senior citizen center in Villa el Salvador where more than one hundred elderly can receive breakfast and lunch, as well as participate in the center’s various programs. Participants have families that live too far away to care for them, live alone or have very little to no support. With that said, the atmosphere at Martincitos is welcoming, incredibly friendly and genuinely supportive, so that participants can feel like their quality of life may be little bit better. With that in mind, the kids prepared a program with performances and activities for their special day of service.

Waking up especially early on Wednesday morning was reminiscent of the early mornings I spent getting ready for past community service events like beach clean ups, door knocking for canned food and preparing for benefit races. We met the kids at the location where our workshops in Oasis take place and soon enough we were on our way to Martincitos!

The kids were incredible. Understandably, they were a little shy when introducing themselves to everyone, table by table in small groups, but no more than five minutes later, I looked around the room and saw many kids leaning into those who they were talking with and engaging in conversation. One of my favorite moments was after we all met in an area after introducing ourselves and one girl told me that she thought the abuelos were really cool – they are!

After helping clean dishes from breakfast, the kids presented plays and jokes, all of which went very well – they really quite hilarious. After the presentation of the plays and jokes, the kids had various activities to do with the abuelos and abuelas. There were the choices of drawing, playing board games and or getting their fingernails painted. My group helped facilitate the drawing activity and while it took a minute for the kids to get engaged, the end result was priceless. Some helped draw, others simply engaged in jovial conversation. I spent a lot of my time talking to a man who had been participating with Martincitos for the past four years. He showed me a small photo album that was filled with pictures of him with past and current volunteers who work at the center as well as pictures of his family. When we finished looking through the pictures, he asked me if I had a picture of myself. Because I didn’t, I suggested that we take a picture together and that if he liked, I could bring it to him during the next time we visited. And we did just that.

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The couple of hours we spent at Martincitos were really fun and what made it even better was how enthusiastic the kids were. We weren’t even half way through our time there when many started asking when we were going to come back! I don’t know if/when Voices of Youth from Oasis will be going back, but in March, Voices of Youth from La Encantada will be doing a similar visit. Until then, I’ll be waiting to give José our picture and looking forward to what I’m sure will be another great experience.

To see photos from the visit, check out Building Dignity on Facebook and don’t forget to “Like” us!

Sick Day Blues

And a touch of introspection for good measure!

One of the first pieces of advices I was given pre-departure to Peru, was to be prepared for the inevitable conflict between the food and my digestive system. I’m glad I can report that I have been affected by no such illness. I just broke my clavicle. Ah, jokes. But really, I haven’t gotten sick – at all. Well, until Thursday.

Every day during last week I had felt a little unfocused and generally unmotivated. It was definitely frustrating. It all snowballed into an immense wave of exhaustion that hit right around 7pm on Thursday, which soon lead to me trying to keep down a fever and not fall over from walking as slow as a snail. The reasons for my continual struggle to keep motivated throughout the week suddenly became more clear as I lay in bed, re-watched The West Wing and “read” an embarrassingly high amount of BuzzFeed articles while trying to imagine what life was like without headaches, a fever and overall lethargy. I don’t think I had ever been so disappointed about having to take a sick day in…well a really long time.

The day that I missed was definitely not the most ideal of all the others in the week. Fridays are music in Oasis and it’s one of my favorite workshops. (That and music in La Encantada.) I’ve always been enthusiastic about being involved in the music program but the past few weeks have somewhat tested that, as I’ve taken a lot more of a leading role in their planning and instruction. More often than not, I’ve been worrying that the lesson plans I write won’t be successful or that no one will show up – and at the beginning those anxieties outweighed the enthusiasm I once associated with the workshop. But as of the past few weeks, I’ve started to relax a little bit and the experience is getting a lot more enjoyable.

On Saturday afternoon I taught music in La Encantada and I think it was one of my favorite workshops to-date. The evening went so well, I was afraid I would jinx it while on my way back home. One may scoff at the fact that only three kids came, but I was perfectly happy with it. It’s hard to teach guitar to a large group of people, let alone when you don’t have experience teaching guitar in the first place. (On a side note: my personal experiences with music classes in large numbers have only been in orchestras, which is a very different atmosphere and set up than the small guitar classes I’ve been in previously.) But this afternoon’s little group was just perfect. Quality about quantity, right?

On that note, I’ve also realized that planning and running the workshop didn’t have to be as stressful as I was making it out to be. The lesson plans I’ve written during this summer cycle have been chalk-full of definitions, exercises and activities with the intention of having the most comprehensive and fun two hours of music a person could have. However, figuring all of that out was stressful and the quantity of information packed into each workshop in conjunction with the once-a-week nature of the class was not very effective. So with that said, today I decided to keep it simple and keep it basic. I started us out by practicing a simple warm-up exercise, playing the strings fret by fret and going back down, with the kids playing along with me to a particular rhythm. The next thing was learning three basic chords – two ways because the group was so small and focused. After that, I wrote out a simple chord progression that we all practiced together. All that and a small snack at the end made for a very successful afternoon.

In reflection, I could have never imagined the progression of my involvement in with music at Building Dignity. In the earliest stages of planning how I would be involved with the various programs, music was definitely not as high a priority as it is now, for me. I envisioned a much greater emphasis on Voices of Youth, the youth leadership group. But as I am taught time and time again, everything is subject to change – in ways that are very small or very grand. After that, it comes down to how you adapt and collaborate with the people and resources around you. Pretty simple, right?

Beats and Rests

During the last cycle of programs, Voices of Youth was also being brought to a neighboring community called Oasis. In an effort to strengthen our relationship with the kids who participated in Voices of Youth, this summer we have started doing other workshops as well. Every day (except for Sunday) there is a workshop. In the past, I rarely went to Oasis due to conflicts in schedules, but with the new summer programming I’ve been going a couple of times a week. Said conflict was the fact that I had music in La Encantada while Voices of Youth in Oasis ran at the same time. That still holds true today, but now I get to go to Oasis on Fridays for their music workshop.

Last Friday was the first class of this summer and it went really well. Emily, Niko and me were there as well as the twenty-seven kids who came. It was a big group, especially compared to the groups in La Encantada of usually no more than ten. We split into three groups, guitar, cajon and violin. The violin group  consisted of older kids who specifically asked for violin, and the rest of the group was divided between Niko and I, for cajon and guitar, respectively. It went pretty smooth and everyone enjoyed that week’s lesson about how to read music.

This week was a little different. With Emily traveling on business and Niko having left to continue with his travels, I thought it was going to be just me. But luckily, Andy, who has been teaching guitar in La Encantada was available to help out. Even after doing a myriad of workshops with Interact, class presentations in school and even more recently, helping a little with lesson plans for Voices of Youth, I had never doing anything like write a lesson plan essentially from scratch for this two-hour class. It was challenging, but I found a lot of help from reflecting on what types of activities I did in school. For example, one review activity I had the kids do was inspired by a game my Calculus teacher taught me last year.

Today’s lesson was about beats and rests. The main activity was a make-your-own song type thing. Each small group got a long strip of poster paper with a music staff that had five measures on it. With the small packet of cut out notes and rests, each team had to create their own song so that each measure had the correct number of beats in each one. Each correct measure was five points and each error was minus one. I even threw in some bonus points for having a title for their song and or if they could play it! These kids love competition therefore, the game was automatically more interesting. One mistake I had made was not practicing what it sounds like for each different type of note (whole note, half note, quarter note, etc) for enough time, so the lesson might not have sunk in as well as it could have. Nonetheless, the kids caught on and they had a good time.

The past few weeks have consisted of many days that started early in the morning and ended late at night and sometimes work was brought home (i.e. music in Oasis). But even so, I think that they have been some of the most successful weeks of programming that I’ve participated in since I arrived. It may sound really self-indulgent, but really honestly every night on the short bus ride home, I think about how much I really enjoy what I’m doing and how much I will rue the day I have to go home. More often than not, that train of thought segues into something that makes me stressed out in the end because I’ve been here for almost five months and I just know that the next five will pass by even faster and how am I supposed to encourage genuine community building when I know I have to leave at some point and I don’t know if I’ll be able to visit again and then I get so caught up that I end up having to walk half a block more because I forgot to get off at the right place.

In summary, things are most definitely in full swing these days and I am trying not think about when I have to go home. (Although for curious minds, I will be coming back before the second week of June. More explanation to come soon.)

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My posts have been lacking in photos lately, so I figured I’d add this one. Yesterday, Voices of Youth went on a small visit to EcoRec, a local green house/recycling organization that is helping us plant vegetables in our garden. Fun fact: EcoRec is right across the street from my house! Really, I can see almost all their plants from outside my window.

Wrapping up 2013

After 9pm tonight, CEDED will say goodbye to the schedule we’ve been running for the past few months and be on vacation until early January. It’s hard to believe that we’re already at that time of the year, but here we are.

The past week has been a flurry of end-of-the-year activities and our plans for the last Voices of Youth meeting was no exception. With kids finishing their final exams, getting out of school for summer and all the holiday excitement in the air, it was fitting to have this Thursday’s meeting be a fun and relaxing. (For the volunteers, it was almost like an all-day Christmas party; preparing the food in the morning, listening to Radio Magica’s oldies Christmas music and drawing an ear-less Santa. Almost.) We played games, listened to Christmas music and ate food – all things that make for a good Christmas party.

We played two games: holiday themed pictionary and pin the beard on Papa Noel, aka Santa Claus. I was very enthusiastic about the whole idea because the one those games involved making a poster and I am all about the posters. All in all, it was extremely successful. The kids were really into pin the beard on Papa Noel. Voices were projected quite well to say the least. The most notable part was when a girl just simply screamed out of excitement/energy, I’m still unsure. It was good time.

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Everyone knows that a good party has to involve some good food and we made sure of that. Hannah made chocolate fudge (which we have learned is not so much of a thing here), I made snickerdoodles and we prepared hot chocolate. Despite it’s lesser popularity with the volunteers, we also bought a panetón. Panetón is a festive holiday desert bread that is really, really, really popular here. Oh the lengths we go to for the kids… All joking aside, it really doesn’t taste that bad. It’s like a less dense and taller fruit cake. Unsurprisingly, once we distributed the food, the panetón was the first to go. (But the cookies and fudge were a close second.)

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All in all, it’s been a very busy few weeks. It hasn’t left much time to really grasp how next Tuesday is Christmas Eve and that that weekend I’ll be leaving for Ecuador. With the time that I’ve had in between various other things (mainly the numerous trips on the Metropolitano to and from Centro de Lima), I’ve gotten to reflect a bit on my time in Peru so far and on the year as a whole.

I can remember quite clearly my thoughts about what the newly inaugurated 2013 would be like from last winter break. I said, “2013 is going to be so weird. I’m not superstitious, but maybe it’s the thirteen. I just think it’s going to be weird.” Hand me a crystal ball and call me Mystic Michelle. That was some pretty profound stuff. Essentially, my main idea was that all of the transitional changes that were to come i.e. high school graduation, starting college, etc. would just be different. Substitute “weird” for “different” and I think I called it pretty well. In any case, I think that this year I’ll keep my commentary on the more open-ended side of things.

Even though life is completely different than how I envisioned it would be one year ago (which totally fulfills my prediction if you do the substitution of “different” for “weird”), some things haven’t changed (or not). Like I was a year ago, I’m still churning out college applications with an anxiety familiar to someone who procrastinates as frequently as I do with things of such importance. I am hopeful that this doesn’t become some sort of pattern, even if it does put me in another country this same time next year. Applications really aren’t something to look forward to. But I digress. The fact of the matter is that despite the occasional feelings of ungrounded-ness from being abroad, at the moment I’m thinking very much about the months to come. It’s hard not to when the time has been flying as fast as it has been – it makes me think about how fast the next four will come and go. More than anything I feel grateful to have found this opportunity to volunteer with Building Dignity – an organization for which my fondness and respect grows every day I come into work. With or without a crystal ball, I don’t believe I could have ever anticipated or imagined how positive an experience I have been having.

With that said, let it be written in the books or literally, immortalized on the internet, that I simply say that I think 2014 will be eventful. (I think I’m pretty safe with that one.)

Developments in English at CPJ and Other Happenings

Insert obligatory I’m-sorry-for-never-updating-this-blog-often-I-will-reform-my-ways apology.

Not to make excuses (I’m doing it anyway) but I’ve been a bit busy this week. My days began early and ended late. From my first Tuesday day-trip in a month that happened earlier this week, to attending my first birthday party in La Encantada (it’s a big thing), planning this month’s volunteer meeting and holding down the fort solo at CEDED for the first time since my first week here, it’s been eventful to say the least. Also fun fact: I’m going on a trip to Trujillo (a city north of Lima) next week with other volunteers. But before I get to that, I’d like to acknowledge some very positive things that occurred this week.

When I first started going to Colegio Peruano Japones, I didn’t have much confidence in the value of my work there. But even though the preparation for their presentation isn’t the most ideal learning experience at first glance, making the most of the situation has turned out to be somewhat enjoyable. For the past two weeks I’ve been going on Wednesdays and Thursdays to help prepare for the English program presentation that will be on the first of December. I worked with the older kids on Wednesday and for the first time since I started working with them, we got to listen to the music of the songs that each different grade will sing. You’d think we would be doing that sort of thing a bit earlier than three weeks before the big day, but no. Nonetheless, it was actually really fun to work with them.

Because “Black or White” was a tad bit too difficult for the fourth grade group, we switched their song to “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles and now the fifth graders will be jamming to some MJ. I gave the fifth graders “Black or White” last Thursday and by this week, one of the boys had essentially all of the pronunciation down and even spent time practicing and listening to the song. Until that point, I hadn’t witnessed any sort of genuine interest in participating in this show and just this one boy’s enthusiasm basically validated all of the time and effort that had been put into working with the other groups. We sat down next to each other and sang along  to a karaoke track for “Black or White” about a half a dozen times. It ended up being me singing most of the time and him chiming in for the “black or white” part as well as some air guitar solos in between the verses and chorus, but I think it was time very well spent.

In the Voices of Youth world, things are getting pretty artsy. Literally. For the next few weeks, a local artist is helping the kids create a mural to paint in the CEDED! This Thursday as well as the following three (or four, I think) meetings will be art workshops that will give the kids an opportunity to create their vision for the mural. I think I might be a little more excited about it than the kids – I participated in the drawing workshop that was held this Thursday and here’s a picture of me during the meeting:

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Pretty in the zone. There may or may not be two other pictures that are of a very similar nature. I still feel guilty for being a bit too absorbed in the project but I hope that it translated in a positive way. I hope.

I think it really goes without saying at this point, but I am trying my best to keep up with this blog. I know for certain that I won’t be writing next Monday to Wednesday because I’ll be traveling. Nevertheless, everyone should expect a very thorough post-travels blog post later next week!

To quote something Hannah said in passing earlier this week: “Things are happening.”

CEDED Taco Night

Once again, Peruvian Food Monday will not actually be about Peruvian food. Next week, friends. Next week. Although, this post does involve food! Surprise, surprise.

About a month ago, we planned to have a communal dinner with the Voices of Youth kids. Cooking is a great way to bond and the atmosphere is ideal for having a time for everyone to just get to know one another. (No one has to tell me about the powers of food, that’s for sure.) We originally planned to make arroz con pollo and papa a la huancaina. But on the day we planned to make it all, the plans fell through due to the kids arriving a little too late and not enough kids coming. It was disappointing but we made the most of our time by having them brainstorm plans for their postcard project. The communal dinner plan was put on the back burner. But about a week and a half ago, the dinner plans were tossed back into the mix (I can keep going)  and it all came together yesterday afternoon.

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We reintroduced the communal meal idea and the kids voted on more exotic foods to cook. The consensus was Mexican food and after another round of voting, it was decided that we were going to make enchiladas. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make enchiladas because of complications with sauce preparation, so we changed it to tacos. Roxana brought a couple of kids to the market earlier this week to go buy the ingredients and everyone came yesterday to prepare the meal. Earlier on Sunday, Hannah and Roxana even made homemade tortillas to supplement our package of Old El Paso tortillas from the supermercado.

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There were three groups: a group to cut and cook onions and peppers, lettuce and tomato group and guacamole group. (My group was the lettuce and tomato group, but because the kitchen is only so big and it’s kind of awkward to help out with hand, I declared myself the photographer for the afternoon.) The groups worked really well together and anyone could tell they were having a genuinely good time. Although, the tear ducts of the onions and peppers group succumbed to the tear-inducing task of cutting the onions, to the point where they had to rotate between people cutting the onions and people going to the bathroom to washout their eyes.  I was quite impressed with their onion cutting skills – those onions were very neatly minced, let me tell you. Nevertheless, their hard work definitely paid off in the end.

Once all of the ingredients were prepared, we put them all out on the table and got to business. When some of the kids started to eat the tortillas by itself, we were reminded that a lot of them hadn’t had tacos before and that they might have forgotten what they looked like since the voting process of what we would make. It was really quite endearing. After clarifying how to build their own taco, everyone went to town. The most popular ingredient was the guacamole, which lets be honest was no surprise. Whose favorite part isn’t the guacamole?

It was a laid-back afternoon with good food and fun conversation. CEDED taco night: success.

 

Remember That Volunteer Meeting?

Long overdue would be an understatement. Apologies for this post’s tardiness! While I’ve gotten back into the groove of things here, I haven’t really gotten back into the ebb and sort-of-flow of updating this blog. I know. Excuses, excuses.

Remember all that time ago (less than two weeks), the night I broke my clavicle? That very night was also my first volunteer meeting since being here. This particular meeting was very special to me because I was given the opportunity to help plan it – something that was equally terrifying as it was exciting. I’ve written about it on a second blog – the one I write for the Omprakash Foundation. Please take a minute or two to check it out! 

Regarding post-op life, my clavicle is doing pretty well as far as I can tell. I’m sure my surgeon isn’t going to be super thrilled about how fast I got back into motor-taxis, but…yeah there really isn’t any way of compensating for that one. There’s not much I can do about it – unless someone would like to repave (and pave) some roads or drive me around in a car with top-notch shocks. Honestly though, the amount of pain and discomfort that I have decreases ten fold each day, so at that rate I’m thinking that this will be a very smooth recovery. On Monday afternoon I have a doctor appointment and I’ll definitely know more about the timeline of my recovery after.

So in the mean time, I will do my best to maintain some continuity this little blog. For a while it may be lacking in the picture department because my camera is right-handed and my right hand hangs out in a sling most of the time these days. But who knows – I may be back to my shutterbug ways in no time.