Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chincha Part I

So a week away from the training center for Field Based Training, and now I have all of these new emotions and thoughts to sort through. Field Based Training (FBT) was supposed to be a time of seeing what happens in the field and what kind of work will be good for you. There are two kinds of work found in Youth Development in Peru. The first is working with a Center-based organization, think orphanages or group homes. The second involves Community-based work where a volunteer works with three or four or more organizations, schools, churches, etc. in a given community, but all in all, the volunteer is largely on his/her own. I was part of the group sent to explore center-based work in Chincha, Ica – south of Lima.

I think, based off of my limited knowledge, that center-based work is what we are used to in the states. It’s very similar to any work in any bureaucratic organization like social services or public schools. I imagine doing this work would be just fine for me, but after my week in Chincha I’m hoping for a community based site which shouldn’t be too difficult seeing as there are 14 community based sites and only 4 center based sites available for my training group. Let me explain:

We arrived in Chincha late Sunday night and checked into our hostel. Our hostel was nice and for a time actually had hot running water, which was a change for most of us. For the most part, we spent that first evening just hanging out and resting, a thing we actually get very little practice in during training. The bus ride over was interesting for me given that it was the first time I actually questioned why I had joined the Peace Corps for the first time. I know week six, not bad. I quickly brushed those thoughts aside realizing that Chincha was the first taste of the unknown outside of the safe confines of training, our training staff (although we did have a few trainers with us), and our total group of 30 from Peru 9. I thought it was an important moment though to realize that I was human and that I was going to experience some real emotions during training rather than staying so busy that I don’t have time to think about it.

The next day we met all of the volunteers currently serving in or around Chincha. There are only five from two sectors. There are two youth volunteers and three environmental volunteers. We toured the city and learned about how the city works. Later we had a volunteer panel where we heard about the experiences of the volunteers thus far, three of them COS (Close of service) in just over three months. All in all, I’m impressed with the volunteers they are great ladies (yes, five females). It’s always nice to hear about other volunteers’ experiences, but you do tend to hear the same answer for many of your questions…“It depends.” We also found out that this would be a working week, not the semi-vacation I had hoped for, but that’s okay. Now that it’s all said and done the experience was so valuable.

On Tuesday we went to Hogar de NiƱas (Home for Girls) in Chincha to have a fiesta with the girls there. This is a center-based site. A rotary club from Cananda started the hogar. It’s a home for girls found on the streets, taken out of their homes for abuse or neglect, or girls that were sexually abused or exploited. I have been to orphanages before in other countries, and I guess this isn’t truly an orphanage like the ones I have been to as many of these girls still have parents, in fact their parents come and visit or call or possibly both. We played games with the girls all morning, and it was really fun. And it’s good to know that adolescent girls don’t change that much between the U.S. and Peru. Yet I found myself not wanting to work in that environment right now. I realized that the US system is much like that, and I could end up in that system for the rest of my life.
One of the major lessons I learned at the hogar is that throwing money at something doesn’t make it better. The community and the world have been incredibly generous with these girls, but what these girls really need are people who are willing to spend time with them. They need family.


DaniMac84 said...

Arianna!!! I miss you so much! I feel awful for having neglected you and your blog. I hope you are having a wonderful time and adjusting well. Missoula is not the same without you. My job here is going well- the kids are great, my co-workers are fabulous, and my future is unknown. I have yet to figure out where I will be, but I know (fingers crossed) it will be in chicago. I love you and will talk to you soon!!!!!!

Mardy said...

We visited an orphanage in Romania--it was actually a home for special needs kids whose parents left them there--so I can sortof understand what you mentioned about the home for girls. Just human contact seems to make a huge difference. I'm so proud to know that you (my little sis) are doing so much for so many in Peru.
Love you!

Jackie said...

Hi we don`t know each other I am a photjornalist and would like to knoe more about it, are u still in Chincha