by Anne Ruelle
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.
Anne 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.