So, despite the continuing frustration of being unable to get my computer to connect to the internet (although I now think is a problem with the internet and not my computer), the last several days have been very rewarding. On Friday we had our first big rain of the season, complete with hail. It decided to start while I was visiting the new Despensa Familiar (a WalMart owned grocery store chain). Before you hit me or congratulate me on my visit (depending on your individual view on WalMart) I would like to be very clear that I will not be going back. I only went to see if I could find peanut butter or instant hot chocolate which are the two things I miss most that cannot be found in the local market alongside pineapples and carrots. They had neither. WalMart is back to being completely useless and a giant eyesore. However, I did get to try out the awesome lime green lace-up rain boots that I bought at the market in Antigua. They make all the rain completely worth it.

Friday night I had a candle-light meeting with our tourism committee (CAT which is made up of representatives of many different tourism and artisan organizations that we have here). Not many people showed up, but we were productive none-the-less, and I feel like I have some really concrete steps I can take to keep moving forward. I was also told, by the president of the committee, to take a weekend vacation outside of my site to have a breather, which makes me feel like my work and need for downtime is recognized. It won't happen for several weeks, and it will be filled with errands and work, but I do have a weekend away on the books.

Saturday I honestly have no idea what I did, but on Sunday morning I got up early to go out and observe a school that we have here that is held only on Sundays. The woman with whom I share an office (who has been a godsend in navigating the municipality) is a volunteer math teacher there. It is really amazing; different members of the community volunteer their time on Sundays from 8-12 to teach subjects like natural sciences, math, typing, and Spanish in an old building on the edge of town. She invited me knowing that I was working on environmental education. Before Sunday morning I really had no idea what they did there and I was just planning on observing to see what type of education the community was already offering. Instead, I ended up teaching an hour-long natural science class to 25 14-year-olds. Not to pat myself on the back, but I think it was really empowering for everyone involved. We did an interactive activity that illustrated the interconnectedness of everything in our environment. They are not at all used to interactive activities since nearly all the classes here are lectures, so they were taken aback at first and very shy. However, by the end of the class several of the students were asking me about global warming and what the environment is like in the United States. We also talked about the power that they have in their homes and with their friends. I can only hope that some wheels may start turning about the little changes that they can make that can have a BIG impact here.

Sunday afternoon Chase came to visit me, and since we didn't have a whole lot of time we just wandered around the city and chatted. However, we did find a restaurant that has really good burgers and even better French fries (they were almost like fries in the states). Also, he brought me another blanket which will be much needed now that the rainy season has started and it is a little chillier at night. I have certainly slept better the last couple of nights.

Yesterday I went to work for just a few hours in the morning, and spent the rest of the day sleeping. Thank goodness I haven't gotten seriously sick yet (no giardia), but there have been a few days here and there where I have no energy and just feel generally shaky and blah. So far I have just let myself sleep when I feel like that, and maybe that is the reason I haven't gotten anything worse. Haha! I have such good little white blood cells.

Today was back to action. I got into the office really early and got some writing done on my manual for the teachers on non-formal and environmental education. Then, for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon, I went to a meeting of all of the groups of the municipality. We had presentations on electrical and water development projects, reforestation projects, HIV and AIDS education projects, presentations from the municipal firefighters and many, many others. The alcalde (mayor) also presented me to the whole group. However, sitting with me through the whole meeting (in my lap) was a little baby bird that just about literally fell into my lap while I was waiting for the meeting to start.

Baby, as of yet, does not have a name. I looked and looked for a nest, but all of them were far too high up in the ceiling to reach, and leaving him/her was out of the question with all of the big feet and wild dogs running around. I think it is some sort of sparrow or chickadee, but I am not quite sure. I have sent pictures out to several people to help me identify the species so we can find out what baby's favorite foods are. So far I have been using a syringe to feed a watery corn mixture, and it has eaten a few fruit flies that I so skillfully managed to catch. At the moment, baby is curled up with its head under its wing in a towel between two old pop bottles filled with hot water inside a box next to my bed. Poor little thing has had a really big day and is downright exhausted. I didn't really plan on having a pet here, but I guess one has found me. Anyone have suggestions for names?

Well, it is about time for me to put my head under my wing as well. Tomorrow is lots more work and more meetings. One of the other volunteers has a workshop here in my site tomorrow and Thursday so I will have company here tomorrow night. It is pretty exciting having another volunteer here to get to know and it will be nice to have someone to visit with since the woman who owns the house I am living in is in Norway for three weeks. Her brother and the house keeper are here sporadically, but we don't visit quite so much. Okay, my battery is almost gone and the power just went out so it is time to sign off for now. Vaya bien! 

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