Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Introduction!

It's a little confusing that I keep switching blogs. myspace is fun, but they delete your entries, which I think sucks. Especially if you're using your blog as a journal type thing, which I am. I want to document my Peace Corps experience from start to finish to both let my family know what's going on and to have as a record of something really special that I'm planning to do. Hopefully it will accomplish both.
I applied for Peace Corps last September (2005) and had an interview October 11. I'd just moved to Denver so my interview was on the 27th story of this beautiful building downtown. I remember it because it had just snowed a bit and the mountains had a dusting of snow. It was so pretty. My recruiter was Jonathan Bringewatt and the interview was very casual. He asked me all sorts of questions about myself, my life, my experiences abroad. He asked me one instance where I thought I'd shown leadership. He asked about my relationship with Antonio and how we were going to cope with the separation. He asked me about cultural experiences that impacted my life. He asked me, if we were just sitting having a conversation about my experiences abroad, what would I tell him? I told him about witnessing a stabbing in Honduras, a hit-and-run in Mexico, and the man who walked four hours to our medical clinic in Honduras after chopping off three fingers in his truck motor. Not sure that's what he wanted, but he ended up nominating me for Central/South America to a beekeeping program leaving in September '06.
I started my medical packet in February after my insurance kicked in from work. PC will reimburse up to $165 for tests, which obviously does not cover everything. On top of that, I had to go to a dentist, have my hearing checked, get my immunization record, and have my eye doctor send a bunch of information. They reimburse for those things as well, but not enough to covor what you actually spend. The doctor took 8 vials of blood testing for a bunch of STDs, Hep, and other things. I had to have a Pap and my doctor tested my thyroid. Anyway, I'm healthy as a horse and I'm pretty lucky since some people have tons of problems getting medically cleared. I sent everything in and was cleared in two weeks. I crossed every t and dotted every i which really helps this process. After being medically, dentally, legally, and financially cleared (Legal and Financial clearance entails listing all your loans and credit cards and stating how you're going to take care of your bills while you are gone. I had my Dad sign a paper saying he would take over credit card payments and that I would defer my college loans.) I spoke to a placement officer in Washington D.C. and we discussed my desire to work with bees and about my relationship with Antonio. By that time, we had broken up a few weeks previous so it was no longer really an issue. I told my PO that I didn't really have a problem with bees, but I was a little nervous about Africanized bees. She ended up suggesting agroforestry in the same country as the beekeeping program so I could implement them if I wanted, but it wouldn't be my primary job. She told me my invitation would be in the mail. She wouldn't tell me what country, but did say it was South America. According to an unofficial program directory I found on a yahoo group, it looks as if I'm headed to Paraguay. Paraguay has the only beekeeping program leaving in September and it also lists agroforestry leaving in September.
I've been researching Paraguay blogs now. I'm trying to put together a packing list. My Dad is buying me an awesome pair of boots. I need to buy quick-dry zip-away khakis, a leatherman, a backpack, a few long skirts, extra batteries for my laptop, converter for electrical plugs so I can still use the appliances I'm bringing (namely my laptop), and a light sleeping bag.