Training is an intense process. At the beginning of training I heard that some people think it’s harder than their graduate programs. Now, I won’t go that far, but I will say I am being put into fairly normal situations but unable to communicate in the way in which I would most like to. For example, in order to prepare us to work with youth groups (not just a religious term in the Peace Corps) they have broken all of the members of the Youth Development area into smaller groups to go to schools around Chaclacayo and lead class for one hour a week. Not much, right? Unless you factor in that I can barely speak the language right now, and if you put me in front of a classroom of 15 year olds I get nervous and am even more unable to communicate. Today my group and I made our introductions and all went well, but I was barely speaking. I was communicating through smiles and head nods. My Spanish just feels so limited right now. Once again, I’m trying to be patient with myself, but I don’t think I’m speaking enough Spanish throughout my day. At the end of class, the kids wanted to hear our National Anthem. Let´s just say I was more willing to sing THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, than to open my mouth to communicate.
Another key assignment involves each individual person developing a relationship with someone in Peru is working with youth. I found this great house for girls, and I think that I will try to continue to return there to meet with the Housemom, but my Spanish today was awful. Luckily, Loly was with me so I hope she got a lot of it and can re-explain it to me. I return in a week, and I hope that my Spanish is much better then.
We have a number of other small projects, research, and we have intense classes of learning Spanish. I try to remind myself that we’ve only been here a week and a half and that my Spanish will come, but sometimes it feels like we’ve been here for months. I’m trying really hard not to play the comparison game with the other volunteers, but it’s hard because so many of them speak so well or are picking it up quickly. Plus, there is always Peruvians around to remind that I’m not speaking to a full proficiency. Soon enough these worries won’t make much of a difference. I have a ton of time before I’m sent to my site.