Six Months In And What To Show For It?

So it’s been almost six months in site (the 22nd) and truly time has flown by. It’s really hard to put down anything solidly accomplished for the last six months; no bathrooms built, no major projects completed and only 18 months to go. Factor in that all major projects are supposed to be done by month 21 and that leaves 15 months to go for large scale stuff and we still haven’t started the planning phases. So there’s a bit of stress not only on my end, but I think many of the 14ers are in the same way. But to be fair I’ve also accomplished a lot:

+Completed reservoir cleaning and tube disinfection (another scheduled for June)
+Solid working relationships with the municipality and the health post
+Participated in two sessions with Builders Beyond Borders
+3-4 hours a week teaching English and getting known by the youth
+International Women's Day Charla in the schools
+Strong community integration - about 90% of the town knows I live/work there, 35-40% knows kind of why
+Usually hear the shouts of 'Mateo!' 'Gringo!' and others from the community while walking around
+Actually like being at site and feeling at home.
+Will be presenting my work plan to local authorities in the coming days.

So maybe when I think about it, I'm pretty well planted.

Part of why I´m surviving Peru

So when I think about it, I’m passing close to six months at site and over eight months in Perú. And like it has been said before, the days are long but the weeks and months are short. Sometimes days crawl by forever; no-shows at appointments, meetings that drag on, and at times there’s simply nothing constructive to do. But usually reflecting on the week, or month, I find myself trying to remember what all seemed to happen so quickly.

This is also a bit of a milestone as I’m not really used to staying in one location for too long. Especially during college, I was living on campus for 3 months, back at home for a few weeks, back at school, a few weeks at home for the summer, and a few weeks in Wheeling and then repeat (or mix in a semester in Oman). So living in the same place isn’t something I am too used to, let alone living with the same set of people. But I’m somehow making it work here. I think a big part of this is due to the family I live with.

I was asked by a future trainee whether or not I was used to the cultural differences of living with a host family. In a better perspective, I feel they probably put up with a lot more ‘acustumbrar-ing’ (accustoming?) with having me around than vice-versa. I do take a lot of short trips here and there, and I don’t really have a set schedule. So sometimes I’ll be at home a lot, other times I’ll be out, or even out of the department for a while. I’ll make trips to Ica (I’ve gone to the south end of the country three times in the last four months). But they’re still really loving, supportive, and welcoming to me. They include me in every little family event or dinner, but were also cool that I asked to stick around instead of going to Trujillo for a family party (I wanted to stay partly for some Mateo time and also to hang out with my Peruvian friends and watch the local soccer matches).

For me, my family here is people I trust to ask questions about things I don’t understand or maybe have them explain some cultural stuff to me. Like why isn’t so and so well liked, or how this person got that job and all the inner-workings of the community. They’re well connected and well respected by most of the town, so when I say I live with them I think that respect carries over a little bit. Everyone in my town always says they’re a very kind and generous family, and I for one can definitely vouch for this.