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August 28, 2003

Yikes! It's been a while since I've been able to update! I've had a bit of trouble getting internet access from my laptop. One of the trials of the Caribbean. So, today we found out our island placements! I will be living on the island nation of Grenada (gren-AY-duh) for the next two years! I am really not sure what I'll be doing exactly but I do know that I will partly be working with a school for special education and mostly likely be working with other teachers and parents in the area. I am placed on the eastern, Atlantic side of Grenada. The major city near where I'll be is Grenville. It is the second biggest city on the island. The entire island population is about 100,000 and is 12 miles wide by 21 miles long. From what I hear, the island has a little of everything...beaches, rain forests, (extinct) volcanoes. The southernmost tip of the island cuts through the equator and the climate is pretty much what I've had here--hot, muggy and buggy. I'm starting to get acclamated to it and hope that the process continues (quickly!) over the next few weeks. The last couple weeks of training have been good, but intense. We have focused extensively on "community development" and how to work to make sustainable change in a community. The Peace Corps' approach is for volunteers to spend the first 3 months redfining your idea of "work". Work can and should be getting to know the community, the people, the children with disabilities and their families, the schools, the principals and their teachers, the needs of the community, the influential people, etc. I was thinking today, imagine if every job we had had an expectation that the first "x" amount of time would be spent just getting to know the place you'll be working and the people involved in that job. How much more we could get done! Although I think (know!) there will be times of ambiguity, I am excited about this time to really get to know Grenada. Oh yeah, and to start scoping out the good spots for when you all come to visit!
There are about 10 other volunteers there currently and 6 others from my trainee group going. We leave Saturday morning at 6:30 am (ouch!) and need to be at the school to meet at 4:45am (OUCH!). We're having a party at one of the host families homes on Friday night to say goodbye to everyone which might make the morning all the more painful...It'll be sad to say goodbye to the people I've spent so much time with, but it's nice knowing I'm leaving one good thing for another!