Saturday, December 10, 2011

Early In-Service Training

After 3 months in site doing my community diagnostic (gathering information on my community through various techniques, determining areas of need, and making a possible plan for my service), we are required to meet for a week to present our diagnostic and receive some more training on future areas of need (how to fund raise, grant cycles, classroom management, giving safe sex/STD/drug and alcohol charlas, etc). Our Early IST was in Olmos, Lambayeque, a coastal city of about 15,000 people, 5 hours north of Trujillo (2 hours north of Chiclayo).

It was great to see everyone from training, and find out how their last three months in site have been. We’ve lost one girl from our group, but other than her, everyone seemed very happy with their sites. Each region had that their specific stories, for example: The volunteers in Ica (where the Nasca lines are) had their stories about the crimes in their capital city (sounds rough) and of the desert; and the volunteers in Cajamarca had stories of having to leave early, and not being allowed to return, to avoid a strike that is currently going on where protesters have stopped all highway travel in hopes to prevent 5 new mines in the area. Each region sounded like somewhere I’d like to visit, but I have to say I’m very happy that I’m in Ancash.

As for my diagnostic, the take away points were that we in Yuracoto have a nice and small community with a few key problems: Teenage Pregnancy/Lack of family planning (having 3 kids at by age 18 and not having a husband or a job = a difficult future), alcoholismo (alcoholism), poor basic nutrition and hygiene, and kids that do not have healthy past-times (small gang issues).

The training went well, and coincided with World AIDS Day (December 1st). So with all of us there, we did a “practicum” and helped the PCV in Olmos put on a pretty impressive AIDS day activity. It was in the plaza de armas (town square) and the PCV did a great job of organizing everything. The local Health Post was there manning booths where people could get AIDS/STDs information, free HIV testing, and sexual health consultations. The local schools participated in a talent competition with themes that revolved around sensitizing people to those infected with HIV/AIDS and preventing the spread of the virus *. Prize of a DVD player and some soccer balls were distributed. Shortly following  is a video of me at the event, but first here is a picture of me standing next to a giant walking condom that talked (might be a bit of a turn of at the time of need), and a few other memorable pictures:

Video of me at AIDS Day:

 The PCVs also presented skits. Our skit (the video of our skits wouldn't upload) was a parody of a popular game show that airs here. The premise is that there are two teams of teenagers (one red team, one blue team) that play to win free bus tickets for a graduation trip. As the kids get questions right, they get subir al bus (get on the bus). As with any game show, news show, comedy show, pet show, gun show, dog and pony show, etc. here in Peru there are always two girls that just hold signs and dance, don’t ask me why, but they are rarely afforded a chance to talk or wear clothes that cover much more than a 15% of their bodies (my buddy Nick and I played that role).

*The message promoted was “Recordar los ABCs”/”Remember Your ABCs” (Abstinencia, Brindar Fielidad, o ponte un Condon/ Abstinence, Be Monogamous, or use Condom).