Your $1500 in donations got me here and let me do amazing things volunteering at this I'm trying to raise $575 to come home after 15 months! Make a donation (every dollar helps!) and read all about this unexpected adventure I've had. Thank you for your endless support!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Autumn Begins (a very wordy, long-needed updated)

Okay, so I made a promise that I would update my blog every week, and clearly that has not happened. It is just too often with all the things I have to do! I am repromising to update every 2 weeks.

Now that that's taken care of, let me tell you what I've been up to. For one, I've been super sick. I have had all kinds of illnesses since I've come down here, including the flu, stomach problems, tonsilitis, a cold, allergies, and now I seem to have some sort of lung infection. My lymph nodes swelled up to the size of an egg in February and after 5 days of antibiotics, went down. However, the problem returned in March, and even after 10 days of antibiotics and several weeks of "watch and see" the node is hovering around chestnut size. There is a bet in the house about when they will return to normal (my idea, I have already lost). I am now taking antibiotics for my lung problem so perhaps it will help my lymph node along, too. I am also going to try being vegan for the next week to jam-pack my diet with vitamins and see if that makes a difference.

The clouds over Misti finally cleared!
Attendance has gone way down at school because the regular school year has started. As little as 25 students have attended in the entire school some days this week! Students have their regular school day, go home and eat and have to do chores or take care of siblings, and then can't attend. They also might not want to spend 3 hours at school after they just went to school. We are restructuring our schedule again, this time to offer English classes for everyone as usual, an hour of homework help for older kids, and games and movies for younger kids. We'll all go to cancha (playtime on the sport court) after those two hours.

My most exciting news is that I GOT A JOB! I am working as the teacher for the conversation club at the North American Peruvian Cultural Institute (El Cutural), which is a fancy English school partially funded by the U.S. State Department. They teach American English and have certification programs that allow students to get certified by American universities, and they also encourage and facilitate study abroad programs to the U.S. I will earn enough money to stay down here without donations (as long as I move out of the volunteer house into a homestay) and because one of our volunteers will keep the club running, they are awarding us five 2-year scholarships to El Cutural, which we can award to our brightest students. I teach 4.5 hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which has been fun for me.
All of the TNT volunteers at one of our recent
volunteer meetings

In terms of future plans, as I said in my last post, I have decided to stay at TNT in Arequipa until September. I really love what this project is doing and I want to see some things that I've been a part of starting become realized. I am going to probably take on more of a marketing role for TNT very soon, and pass on the majority of my school coordinator duties to someone who will be returning to take on that role in September. If I stay in the office most of the time, the chances of me being so sick all the time will probably reduce, and I'll be able to make more of a difference for the organization.

That's about it for me! A more exciting post to follow in two weeks, hopefully with some better pictures.

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