Smiles, Handshakes, and Interviews. Oh my!

Let’s talk week three of training!
(…or if you want the 1 minute lowdown check out this video.)

The week started off on a high note when I showed up to Spanish class and met this precious little girl! Her name is Dalaska and she has the most contagious smile.

During our break we had a selfie session… she was amazed by the selfie cam on my iPhone.

In August, after we complete training and swear in as Peace Corps Volunteers, we will all pack our bags and move to different communities across Peru. For the first three months in our new communities it is recommended that we focus solely on integrating, practicing Spanish, and completing a community diagnostic. I love this aspect of Peace Corps, because there is no rush to get started and they place a lot of value in forming real relationships with community members before jumping into business!

Of course this meant we needed to practice a community diagnostic during training, so Thursday we had a “warm-up” in Chosica. Our task was to ask a series of questions to two people in the municipality and three informal businesses, find out where the stops were for three different types of transportation, and ask someone how to identify a safe taxi.
Spanish class in Chosica, Peru

I talked to an old woman who sits and sells candy on the sidewalk and I was amazed by her ambition. She comes down from a town up in the mountains everyday with her two little buckets of candy, and she is saving poco a poco to open a tienda in her pueblo. After a good 15-minute chat our conversation ended with a free bag of crackers and little cinnamon candies. Food is considered a really special gift especially from someone who has next to nothing, so it made my day!

The next day we divided into groups and performed a mini community diagnostic in our host communities; for me that meant Yanacoto. I decided to try and fly solo for a few interviews and talked with two Internet cafes about their daily home and work schedules. As a group we also performed a SWAT analysis with four small businesses in Yanacoto, and the last one was a shoemaker who opened his kiosk three months ago. Yanacoto is moving up in the world!

To celebrate our successful week of stepping outside our comfort zone, on Friday we celebrated with some delicious MEXICAN FOOD!! Que rico!
Enchiladas in Chosica, Peru

The best part… mountains of GUACAMOLE!! This Texan found her home in Peru.
Taco is Chosica, Peru

I also found out that I am heading to Cajamarca for a week of training called Field Based Training, so keep a look out for some beautiful mountain pictures!