Nicaragua Vacation Filled with Glitters

Glitter: did an overnight hike up a volcano and camped close to the top!

Glitter: did an overnight hike up a volcano and camped close to the top!

 

by Anne Ruelle

Spring 2015

High: El Salvador does not experience spring in quite the same way as the States, but May is typically the month when we get our first storms after a long dry season.  Rather than going from snowy and gray to green, the countryside goes from brown and dusty to green.  The farmers start planting their corn and beans and hope the rains will be sufficient for a good crop.  Temperatures also start ticking down in the slightest bit, which is welcome after sleeping with two fans and a frozen water bottle at my side!

Low:  There are still days when it is very, very hot and a short 15 minute walk is enough to drench (not an exaggeration) me with sweat!

Glitter:   I used some of my last vacation days to spend two weeks in Nicaragua with another Peace Corps Volunteer.  We had a fabulous time.  We ate fantastic ice cream, went to a chocolate castle, rode horses in a coffee plantation, and did an overnight hike up a volcano and camped close to the top!

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

Glitter: My Dad & Pepe the Goose

Volcán Santa Ana

Volcán Santa Ana

by Anne Ruelle

March 2015

High: My mom, dad, and little sister came to visit!  We climbed the tallest volcano in El Salvador, Volcán Santa Ana, went to the beach, and they came to my site to feel the true heat of Salvadoran summer in the East.

Low:  On the work front, projects are moving slowly and things that worked in the past are falling through.  April will have to turn things around!

Glitter:  My dad befriended a goose named Pepe when we stopped on the side of the road to rescue some ducklings who had fallen into a gutter.  He held him and even cuddled with him!

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

High: El Salvador’s Diverse Landscape

DSC00456 (1)

by Anne Ruelle

February 2015

High: This month, there were a lot of volunteer events, which meant I had to travel quite a bit.  From the cool mountains of Chalatenango to the surfer beaches to urban San Salvador, I experienced the full extent of El Salvador’s diverse landscape.

Low:  With elections on March 1st, it was difficult to organize community activities because many community members were preoccupied with the political campaigns.

Glitter:  We got to reunite with a volunteer who had to end his service early for medical reasons.  It was great to see him again, if only for a little while, and after seeing him another friend came to stay with me for election weekend to bake and make travel plans to Nicaragua.  With six months left, we have to take advantage of every day!

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

My Glitter: 14 Students Going to High School

DSC00179

by Anne Ruelle

January 2015

High: This month, eight other Peace Corps Volunteers and I held a GLOW Camp (Girls Leading Our World) in a town called Alegría.  13 teenage girls from our different communities attended and spent 4 days in icebreakers, team-building activities, and crafts.  We also led sessions on self-esteem-, leadership, goal-setting, and healthy relationships.  It was incredible to see how quickly they became close friends and were goofing around and dancing.

Low:  Time is moving by quickly and sometimes I feel caught between what waits for me after Peace Corps and all the things I want to do with my community before then.  It is going to be a bittersweet year.

Glitter:  This year, 14 members of my community are going to high school.  They are in a special program a distancia because they don’t have the means to pay to go every day of the week, so they go just on Sundays and study at home during the week.  Many are students who just finished middle school but there are also some adults who are in their 20s and even my community guide who is 50.  Last year only four students from the whole community went to high school so this is a huge improvement!

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

Home for the Holidays

by Anne Ruelle

December 2014

snowHigh: Spending two weeks with my family for Christmas.  It was the first time in 18 months that I saw my brother and my dad and it felt so good to be home with everyone.  Having a full kitchen, dishwasher, and washing machine was heavenly.  My boyfriend from El Salvador was also able to come with me and I loved being able to play cultural guide with him, finally returning so much of the kindness and hospitality that Salvadorans have shown me throughout my service.

Low:  I had a bout of migraines for about a week in San Salvador, which meant I had to cancel the year-end celebrations I had planned with my girls group and savings committee.

Glitter:  Christmas is my favorite holiday and it was incredible to spend it with my family.  It even snowed, so we went sledding and made snow angels.  It was such a great two weeks that all the days blur together into a ball of happiness, smiles, and good food.

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

Project Progress in El Salvador

anne2by Anne Ruelle

November 2014

High: With the women’s association in my community, we met with a soap artisan who is willing to give a workshop on how to make natural, artesanal soaps!  This is a huge step for women in my community and we have made a lot of progress towards writing the project profile to request funds for the project.

Low:  I wasn’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, as I had used up my time out of site visiting some close friends in other parts of the country.  I spent Thanksgiving as a typical Thursday, though I was able to Skype home and hear about all the desserts my dog ate.

Glitter:  We celebrated my birthday again!  I went to visit my host family from pre-service training and they bought a chocolate oreo cake to celebrate my birthday since I couldn’t see them in August.

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

Celebrating One Year in El Salvador – October’s High Low Glitter

el salvador

by Anne Ruelle

October 2014

High: This month, I celebrated one year of Peace Corps service.  With one year to go, I am feeling more comfortable and grateful to be where I am than ever.  I spent a week with my fellow volunteers in our Mid-Service Conference, where we presented on our work so far, our hopes for next year, and received some technical sessions.  My time no longer seems to be accumulating but rather dwindling!  All the same, I am starting my second year with energy for new projects, wisdom from successes and failures from the first year, and heaps of love for my community.

Low:  Each day has its challenges, some more than others!  This month has had some disappointments with one of the organizations I am working with on a community center that was recently built in my community.  Being a young, foreign woman, the older men in the organization often don’t take my ideas into consideration.  However, it just gives me more fire to work with the women and girls in my community and keep thinking of ways to challenge men’s sexist thinking.

Glitter:  A fellow volunteer who lives about two hours away had an international food celebration in her site on Halloween.  Halloween isn’t celebrated here, but I was able to go to the event with almost 15 people from my community.  We had a great time eating food from the US (aka, COOKIES), Italy, Mexico, and El Salvador.  There was an eating contest and we even bobbed for apples in non-potable water (my colleague has told me she is not responsible for any parasites I ingested).  It ended with el baile de los enmascarados, the dance of the masked ones, in which basically a bunch of men and boys put on scary Halloween masks and danced around people, making all the girls run away squealing.  My group got in the truck quickly because we had to get home before the rain.

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

HLG from El Salvador – September

recycled-el-salvador

by Anne Ruelle

September 2014

High: In the very first few days of September, we held the first ever Parade for a Clean and Healthy Community to raise awareness for how garbage should be disposed of.  The students from the school made signs encouraging people to put their garbage in its proper place and not to burn it.  They also performed two skits and some came out in costumes made only of recycled materials.

Low: I have been healthy so far, but I’ve started hearing of a few cases of chikungunya nearby, a very painful virus transmitted by mosquitoes.  I’ll have to be super vigilant about bug spray.

Glitter: September is Independence Month for El Salvador, with Independence Day being celebrated on September 15th.  There were night processions with torches, more parades, a live band playing traditional “campo” (country) music, fireworks, and traditional foods served before dawn (3:00am…I didn’t quite make it).

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

High Low Glitter: El Salvador

happy-birthday

by Anne Ruelle

August 2014

High: August has always been the best month of year, mostly because it is my birthday month. This year has been no different. The rains have cooled the temperature a little, we organized a free pap-smear clinic, and we received materials to start work on a public space where we can hold community meetings. Projects are picking up and it is very exciting to be a part of it.

Low: Honestly, this has been a fantastic month. My low is the easy “it’s always hot.”

Glitter: For my birthday, we celebrated with cake. balloon animals, a piñata, and a swarm of over 20 kids. It was crazy but a blast! In the evening I celebrated again with my neighbors and we ate a fruit cheesecake brought in from one of the big cities here. This is the second of three birthdays that I get to celebrate during my service.

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.

High Low Glitter: El Salvador

el-salvador-glitter

by Anne Ruelle

High: The relationships I have been able to make.  This year, I have found my loca familia salvadoreña and incredible friends, and have been welcomed by an entire community of people willing to take me on as one of their own.  Their smiles are some of the most beautiful and genuine I have ever seen.

Low: Seeing the hardships my community members face, whether it is gender-based violence, a dried-up harvest, or lack of basic necessities like water.  Also, it is HOT, but that’s life!

Glitter: I live in a hammock paradise! Often, hammocks are the only furniture and serve as beds, couches, and cribs.  Whenever I arrive at a home, I am always invited to take a seat (or a lay) in the honored hammock.  Not many people can say their work is done from a hammock!

AnneAnne Ruelle graduated from Providence College in 2013.  By working to promote social change and forming strong relationships, she hopes to be a part of creating a more just, equal world.  She is currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Organization and Economic Development project in El Salvador and lives in a hot, rural community in the East.  She loves eating pupusas, salsa dancing, and learning Salvadoran “caliche” (slang).

The contents of these posts are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or Peace Corps.