July So Far
We celebrated 3 years of wedded bliss at the same eco-lodge as my birthday but it was even better because Max joined us this time. He had a blast running around the beautiful grounds and chasing the property’s cat. Paul and I played games, sat in the jacuzzi, read books and magazines, and enjoyed the anniversary gifts we made for one another. It was nice to take a breather and have someone else cook our meals before getting back to work.
Mujeres Cambia Retreat
We had a lot of fun planning for the Mujeres: Cambia board retreat but nothing could beat seeing our hard work pay off. Six women, three children, and one husband came to our house for the weekend to participate. We talked about personal and group goals, explored our values, played several team-building games, and watched inspirational videos. All-in-all, it was one of our favorite activities we have done so far during our service and we can’t wait to do it again. The next step is for the women who participated to bring the lessons learned back to the other members. Each week during one of our meetings a board member will lead one of the sessions we did during the retreat for the rest of the group.
In addition to working together during the retreat we also shared personal stories and home-cooked (by Mari) meals while celebrating Alexandra’s birthday.
Diego on the Beach
Alexandra brought her son Diego and husband Edwin to the retreat with her. Diego slept through most of the sessions but we’re hoping he absorbed all of the lessons via osmosis!
This week we celebrated the Palmar festivals with the traditional castillo or castle of fireworks that is usually accompanied by the vaca loca (crazy cow) that runs through the audience shooting fireworks into the crowd. With any town festival comes amusement park style rides, the opportunity to buy a new inflatable toy (we got a red horse this time), carnival games, and dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
Visit from NRC Program Specialist
This week we also had the chance to show the Peace Corps NRC Program Specialist around both Palmar and San Pablo. She spoke with our counterparts and we discussed our current projects and our integration into our site in addition to visiting the Centro de Arte y Diseño and attending a Mujeres: Cambia meeting. At least two site visits by program staff are guaranteed during service and this one was our second. We have also had two other visits from PC personnel and there is another program staff visit scheduled for the fall. We had read prior to arriving that visits from Peace Corps staff can be few and far between but we are impressed with the amount of contact we actually do have with the Peace Corps office.
Paying it Forward
Gina, Mujeres: Cambia President, shared some of the lessons she learned during the retreat at our last meeting. Betsy also led a charla entitled, “Quién soy yo,” (Who am I?) aimed at exploring the many roles that women fill in their lives. From being mothers and wives to workers and entrepreneurs, being a women anywhere is a balancing act.
Watching the Castillo
Watching the castillo is always mesmerizing. The last fireworks display for the Santa Rita Festival was considered a disappointment by many. Not this time – we were treated to a rotating castle, two vacas, and one of the best (and closest!) fireworks shows we have seen. Although we still have two more weeks left in July, it is turning out to be one of the most productive and fun months yet!