Volunteer Visit…From the Other Side

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During training, I had the chance to travel to a volunteer’s site to experience a different pueblo and ask tons of questions. What goes around, comes around, and Jo Anne and I hosted two aspirantes from the newest group of volunteers for three days. We thought and prepped a lot for the visit. We wanted the aspirantes to get to see what a two-year site experience can be like, while showing off some of the unique features of our own lovely pueblo.

Nataly and Pashara arrived Saturday morning and we had a full three days for them, which included a scavenger hunt. They met our friends and host families, played hacky sack, walked some of the hills, checked out a finca, learned to crochet and started mochilas, learned to weave and started straps for mochilas, roasted coffee, cooked delicious tacos, made s’mores, and more. Needless to say, when we finally let them sit down on Sunday they instantly fell asleep. But they woke up with energy to take on more.

It was great to get to know some of the new volunteers and to hear their stories, questions, excitement, and concerns. It was only about seven months ago I was at my volunteer visit, and it is amazing how much has happened since then! Talking through their excitement and concerns was fun and rejuvenating. Putting some of the best parts of our pueblo on show also was a nice reminder of how fortunate I feel to be at my site.

There are so many ups and downs to Peace Corps service, as with anything in life, but it feels much more pronounced here. The roller coaster of emotions can hit hills in either direction at any moment. Being able to handle the ups, downs, and flat moments has been an adventure in and of itself. I’ve found you have to let yourself have the downs, celebrate the ups, find new people to meet and things to try, hang out with friends, and sometimes, you just need to stay in your room and have your own space. Life is a balance, right?

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