The Content of My Blog contains my views and thoughts. It does not reflect the views of the Peace Corps,the US Government, or El Salvador's Government.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ecuador! Since Medellin, we traveled south to Cali and Popayan then north to Cartagena to meet Mariel's brother and his gf,Annie. Then we traveled along the coast to Taganga and Parque Tayron, then bogota and then quito, ecuador! The past week was amazing we went from Quito to the jungle in Cuyabeno National Park To get there we took a bus from Quito, a van to the riverbed and then a two hour ride in a motorized canoe. From the moment we got in the canoe, the jungle was surrounding us with its different shades of greens, vines weaving through the trees, birds howling,churping and singing, and monkesys! There were squirrel monkeys playing in the trees above us jumping from tree to tree! That night we watched the sunset over the lake and went swimming in water where pink dolphins, anacondas, piranhas and other wonderful creatures lurk.
From The Jungle, Cuyabeno, Ecuador
The next day we went to an "indigenous village"...aka a small river town of rural people just working for tourist. It was pretty much more developed than my site in El Salvador...we get off the boat and people are weed wacking with weed wackers, like really?! Anyways, we watched some woman make yucca bread and she explained about yucca...def wasn't as good as the yucca in my site. BUT there was a monkey named Nacho we got to play with. It was so weird because I had never like held a monkey or seenone reallyup close and its ears and hands are so human-like. Also, besides playing with Nacho, we saw pink dolphins on the boat ride back! Yes,pink dolphins are real. They would stick their noses and dorsal fin up over the water as they were swimming by!
From The Jungle, Cuyabeno, Ecuador
the next day we went fora walk in the jungle. It was cooltosee some of the trees that are used in many common medicines or food products that we don't really associate with coming from the jungle. Also, we crossed a swamp and i sank into mud until my upper thigh it was hilarious watching and listening to everyone in the group cross. On the other side, our guide found a poision dart frog! I was so exited to see one because I use to think they were the coolest thing when I was little,largely in part to their coloration. After everyone trying to capture its colors on film, we walked around some more and then canoed backed to the lodge.
From The Jungle, Cuyabeno, Ecuador
That evening we went piranha fishing, which was cool to see a piranha. Also, we saw a three toed sloth, a small anaconda, and later that night we went walking throuh the jungle. Now, I was a bit scared walking into the forest at night because their are snakes, spiders, insects, fungus, and plants that are poisionous and/or harmful in someway. We found various insects, including a huge poisionous spider which i held by its leg! As we were walkning in the dark, the sounds of the jungle were incredible. It was like a nature cd, with all kinds of clicking, churping,howls,croacks, whistles and more. We finally ended the walk at a laguna area, where there were baby crocodiles!
From The Jungle, Cuyabeno, Ecuador
To see pictures from the jungle go to the linkto my picasa account. Actually, all my pictures are there and also, there is a link to Mariel's pictures too

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Since arriving in Colombia, Mariel and I have spent our time In and around Medellin. I loved Medellin! It is a huge city with around 2.5 million people who live in a central valley and the high mountains that surround the city. The part where we stayed, El Poblado is awesome. It has bars, restaurant, warm, friendly people, is clean and like 80 degrees at all time. Also, it is really bike, running, being fit friendly with public gyms, hours where they close down main streets for people to exercise and more. We explored the city a few days and then also took a day trip to El Penol y Guatepe which are two small towns about 2 hours away. El Penol is a giant rock you clib up, 740 stairs, to see all the surrounding hills and lakes. All these lakes and inlets are from a dam that was built miles and miles away. Themain town nearby is called Guatepe which is right on the water and has colorful buildings and a tiny main square. Another day we went Paragliding! This has been my favorite thing so far...yes, its only been a week. But, I was a bit nervous thinking it was going to turn my stomach or something while we were flying, but its sooo smooth and you are just gliding along overlooking the city at the same levels as the birds. I felt like it was lik sailing but only being thousands of feet in the air.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To Colombia

On to Colombia! After being home for about a month after I finished my Peace Corps service in El Salvador, I'm headed to Colombia and to South America. I'm traveling with my friend, Mariel, who did Peace Corps with me in El Salvador. Our plan is to travel Southwards from Colombia; meaning Colombia to Ecuador, to Peru, then Bolivia, Chile, Argentina or something like that. Now, some or all of you are thinking what am I doing or why am I leaving? Well really it's because I want to see and travel South America before I have any real responsibilities. When else am I not going to have any real strings attached? So, I'm starting off on another wonderful adventure to see beautiful things, meet, see, do and experience whatever may come my way! I'm excited for the journey. I have put a map below of at least Colombia and our route. Also, I'm planning on writing some in Spanish= roughly translating so if you see Spanish below that's why! A Colombia! Despues de estar en mi casa por mas o menos un menos despues de cuando termine con peace corps en El Salvador, estoy yendo a Colombia y Sudamerica. Estoy viajando con mi amiga, Mariel, quien hacia Peace Corps conmigo en El Salvador. Nuestro plan es viajar de Colombia hasta al sur; eso significa que vamos de Colombia a Ecuador, a Peru, despues a Bolivia, Chile, Argentina o algo asi. Ahora, algunos de ustedes piensan que estoy haciendo o porque salgo otra vez? Pues, la razon es que ahora no tengo compromisos y cuando en mi vida a demas de ahora que no tendre compromisos? Entonces, estoy empezando otro viaje increible para ver, conocer, hacer cosas lindas! Estoy muy entusiamada! Abajo hay un mapa de Colombia y nuestra ruta alla.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected is one of Peace Corps slogans. I had thought of it as pretty true due to the pleasant or not so pleasant everyday surprises, but now it is definately true.

I will be COSing (close of service) on or before April 30th. Surprise! The past few weeks have been crazy and rumors have been flying around about what Peace Corps is going to do in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In December, they first decided not to have any new volunteers come in 2012 in order to restructrize the program here in El Salvador. Just a few days ago, we got new news about how the group before me will be leaving before Feb. 20th and that we have new rules such as restrictions on going to San Salvador, etc.

All of these changes are being made due to safety and security issues that have been happening in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Mostly, these issues being violence related to gang activities. However, I do not want you to worry. I feel safe in Yayantique! I could say a lot about the whole thing, but the most important thing I feel is that you all know that I am safe. There has been a lot of talk and comments. But the best article I have see is this from a PCV in Guatemala, whose feeling I share.,0,5317022.story

I am kinda studded about the whole thing and vary worried about my community, all the PCVs communities and El Salvador. I know that PC wants to avoid any incident but I know that leaving early will/ has affected my work and my community...
I can't help but think of the bright future and happiness the 3 kids in my community who have won scholarships at the chance to study. I just hope this doesn't effect their future. Or of the ADESCO group who has had so many ups and downs but keeps fight and learning more and more about community development, leadership, team building, project planning and management. I hope they continue to luchar! Or the English teacher who is so excited to work with me and put into place many of the dinamicas (dynamics) and interactive learning techniques he has learned from the workshops we have gone to or the classes I taught last year. Or the recycling program we hope to start in the many places and people who I hope will continue on the path that they have started to improve their lives of their community. My goal is to do the best I can to make impower them and make the current projects and work I have more sustainable and hand it over to my community.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rain, Rain

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!! and don't come back!

In case you couldn't tell, it's been raining here like crazy for a week straight. Two tropical storms have come through and have decided to let open the flood gates on El Salvador.

PCVs, we have been on stand fast since Wednesday meaning that we can not leave or travel anywhere. This wonderful weather has not only brought down tons of rain, turning streets into rivers, turning soil to mud, destroyed homes, flooding, and more.

Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk in the rain and I walked up my street as far as a could. A small river had emerged and stopped me from continuing. It was more than 5 feet wide and was carrying water, trash, mud and god only knows what else. On the other side of where the street normally is there is a yard where kids play soccer and behind that an adobe (hard clay) house. This river was running right through this yard and through this person's house. They had put wood and plastic outside their doors to try to stop the water but I imagine they still had a few inches of water and mud on their floor. But I could see someone swinging in a hammack. And just kinda accepting there's nothing he can do just relax and wait it out.

It's so interesting how here people are just like yep its raining staying inside and try not to get wet. They aren't really upset that they can't do anything nor are they panicing. Yet, when we have like a baby storm in the US people freak..the world is going to end, buy all the food you can and batteries you can before anyone else. Watch the news 24X7 and increase the panic and fear and doomsday like theather. Yet most people are fine in their well (or at least not clay) constructed houses with cars, blankets and food. Maybe we need to learn a lesson or two on how to just chill, accept and wait that the storm will pass because it always does. We should just be thankful that we pass it safely and dry.

Since my walk, I haven't really left my house. No one wants to travel anywhere or step foot outside their house (myself included), but I am going a little stir crazy.This lovely weather has given me a cold :( and has made everything mold and damp.

So here are two links one is in Spanish but ya can see the pictures amd the other in english.
The towns below me on the hill are some of those most effected in the eastern part of the country! I'm very happy to be living in the pueblo on the hill!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 de octubre

I’m back in El Salvador after going to the states for a few weeks for Beth’s wedding! I’m sorry for those people I didn’t get to see or call.

But yes, since being back I’ve been working on trying to get the Adesco legalized, which is a community development association (kinda like a town association). I have been super impressed with them because while I was gone they had various meetings, recruited more people and have gotten serious about it! Hopefully, in the next few weeks they will be sworn in as an official legalized!

In the school, I have been trying to get this environmental mural done. Unfortunately, the school is going to be going under reconstruction and many walls are going to be destroyed and so where we had originally planned to do it we can’t. But the other day I was like damnit I want to get this doneee so I went out and bought the base coat and tomorrow hopefully we will start!

Last week, Nicole and I started a vivero (a nursery). We planted like more than 50 tree seeds, which we hope can turn into something big poco a poco that the community can take over! Another environmental/ green thing I’m working on is a community garden! This woman Emerita and her husband approached me about making an exemplary community garden in the church to teach and motivate others to grown. The past few days we have cleared the land and started to till it. The land is fertile but holy it was filled with weeds, grass, trees, plants, bean vines all at least up to my waist. On top of it, for the past who know how many years people have thrown random junk there or burned plastics. And the nice little creatures we have come upon…. Biting ants, termites, poisionious spiders, millipedes and other things. But I have a feeling that Emerita and Santiago are going to work with me and we are going to have an awesome garden!

Speaking of creatures…the other night I came home from Ana’s house. I turn on the lights, get some water and am putting stuff away to go to bed. And holy shit right near my water/ kitchen area a GIANT tarantula. I jump onto a chair and think what am I going to do. I wanted to like drop a cup on it and capture it because I didn’t want to get close to it to like attempt to kill it. However, all my cups are ceramic so I couldn’t do that. Eventually, me moving my chair scared it and it ran away but I’m a little bit scared of where I may find it next.

So Julie the kids asked for pictures…so while I was on top of the chair I got my camera and took a picture of the tarantula.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


In my community, my best friend is named Ana and she is great. She is this tiny 24 year old who has lots of spunk, likes to joke around, is very curious about the world, is an extremely hard worker, got a little bit of an attitude and well is awesome. Ana works her butt of and is a superviser in a tuna canning plant. She lives with her sister Claudia, 27 who is also wonderful. She's a bit more shy at first and more independent and a bit more rebellious i think. She has a 20 month year old baby, Gabriel who is one of the few babies I like. He's a pretty cool little guy. Also, Ana's mom and aunt live in her house.

Pretty much every night I go to their house to hang out. We talk, play with Gabriel, do errands, do some chores and then around 8 watch the telenovela "triunfo de amor"...i didn't really like telenovelas but i have to say im kinda into this one. Anyways, at night Ana's brothers usually come over too, Riego and Carlos. Carlos is more quiet and has 2 kids who are cute and we have like basic interactions. Riego on the other hand loves to talk and at first I literally didn't understand a word he would say to me. He spoke spanish with most caliche words. Ana would be like Riego stop laura don't understand and she would have to translate for me haha. He liked to tell me stories about his life (his teacher he loved, his believes on life) and lots about construction. He is a brick layer, carpenter and like did tileing. Very knowledgable and skilled in his craft especially for his age, 33. He was very friendly, funny and willing to talk and learn.

So about 2 weeks ago when I went over there Rigo was just laying in the hammack and not looking so good. His face was puffy and his skin had a yellowish tint. He went to the doctors and they told him he had anemia. Every night for about a week he just laid in the hammack not really talking much and not eating dinner either. Claudia took him to various doctors and they told him he had fluid in his lungs and problems with his kidneys. One doctor said he needed diaylsis, another natural doctor said herb medicine. He was sick, but with the medicine, his youth and his strength i just figured he'd be better in a month.

Monday after the bus charlas and soccer pratice I was walking home and Ana's aunt told me to go to Rigo's house because he wasn't doing well. I ran home changed and then went to Ana's house because I didn't know where Rigo lived. When I walked into Ana's house, a group of older women were praying and Rigo's body was lying on a cot. Rigo, the hard working, friendly, outgoing, warm, funny, young guy I knew had died.

Since monday, I have been with Ana and her family helping them cook, hand out food, go shopping and basically anything they need. Here after someone dies that night they pray, give bread and coffee to everyone and stay up the whole night. After 24 hours they bury the body. However, since Rigo died at like 5:30pm they had 2 nights of praying, food, and visitors. Ana and her family have been so strong especially since they have already lost their father and 2 sisters, all in the past 10 years or less.

I'm shocked how quickly Rigo died and how young he was. Also, that someone so young had could have such complications from their kidneys without any previous symptoms. Death is so close to life here. Also, I know I'm not the best at communicating from here sometimes but everyone at home especially my family (Dad and Beth especially you are wonderful) and friends I miss you and you all mean very much to me!

To Rigo, thank you for teaching me caliche, about yayantique, your trade and being so welcoming and friendly to me. You will be missed and very much remembered.