La Chele's life after Peace Corps

The grand adventure continues…

I’m breaking up with you! July 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 5:31 AM

WordPress, it was fun while it lasted, but you are too temperamental. If you want to find out what La Chele is up to now, you can find me at http://asupernaw.blogspot.com

Thanks guys!

 

AHHH!!! June 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 3:49 AM

I’m sorry guys. I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent formatting that last post and it looks like crap. I am about ready to abandon word press. I hope you were able to follow it!

 

I’m still here! I swear!

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 3:47 AM

…I just got slammed with work! Sorry I disappeared for a while there. The transition to a real job with real responsibilities has been a little rough, but I’m getting the hang of it! Too much time has passed by so this blog entry and the two that follow are going to be picture based. Enjoy! 

Back in May a group of 4 business school volunteers and 3 chiropractors joined us for a week. One Saturday, they invited me on a day long adventure. First we went to Boqueron, a volcano that erupted in 1671 and then again in 1917, leaving behind a mini-volcano in its crater.

Baby Volcano inside the Mama Volcano

 

Here we are!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Then we headed to Ruta de las Flores, “a wonderful 22 mile drive along a scenic mountain highway winding through thousands of acres of coffee fields and exemplary El Salvadoran villages featuring weekend artisan and food festivals.” Thank you Frommer’s for that perfect description! The first town on the route, Juayua, is home of endless food festivals and the Black Jesus. I visited the Jesus, and then ate grilled Pelibuey meat, a crossbreeding of sheep and goat.

Church of the Black Jesus

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We visited several towns after that. The most memorable was Ataco, where I spent a few minutes resting on a park bench with a drunk, was inspired by local artists’ Cristina Pinada and Alvaro Orellana’s artwork, and tried my hand at weaving a textile.

I guess it was a rough night for this guy.

 

Weaving... a great big lie! I didn't actually learn how to weave. Here I am posing.

 

This guy was actually doing all the work!

 

That is pretty much it for my day traveling along the Route of Flowers. It was beautiful, tranquil, and full of good food, good views, fresh air, and good company! Ideal! 

 
 

I’m Back in the USSR… or El Salvador! May 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 4:09 AM

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t written in a while but I figure starting a new job and moving to a different country pardons me from any delay in blogging.

Things are going well here. I am living in a house in Colonia Escalon, one of the older but nicer and safer regions of San Salvador. I am sharing the house with a fellow American named Alex who works for FIMRC as well, but in a different capacity. The house is HUGE!!! 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 eating areas, a covered patio with hammocks, a full-sized normal kitchen, a laundry room WITH WASHER AND DRYER (!!!), 2 living rooms and a sizable back yard. That being said, my room is the size of a walk in closet and looks a little like a dorm in an insane asylum, not that I have ever been to one… Nothing a little bit of paint and some curtains can’t fix. I also have my own bathroom with a toilet and shower. No sink though. Not enough room. I’ll post a picture once I am done fixing it up.

The job is going really well! I am working in a small clinic in a rural community called Las Delicias in the department of La Libertad. Its a 1/2 hour car ride from where I live and conveniently enough, I am able to hitch a ride with the doctor every day. Otherwise it would be a couple of hours in two different buses. The community is WAY bigger than El Potrero (600 houses vs 52; 3,000 people vs 200ish) and most of the residents are not farmers but rather laborers. They work in the fabricas, pick coffee, clean rich people’s homes, sell things in the market, etc. I always thought people who work should be better off but this is not the case. The number of available workers outweighs the supply of jobs and no one’s job is secure. Not being farmers, when someone from Las Delicias loses their job, they lose everything because they are not producing their own food and have no money with which to buy food. It’s a messy situation. I met the Salvadoran families I am going to be working with and am already brainstorming how I can improve and expand the insurance program. We have nine regular participants right now but I want to expand it to 25 within the next couple months. There is a group of volunteers coming from Wharton next week to help me figure out if this is a feasible goal. 

There is surprisingly not all that much to write about at the moment. Life here in El Salvador is not quite as interesting this time round without all the scorpions, latrines, and Rex. Don’t worry Mom and Pa! I promise not to go seeking out adventures here in San Salvador!   

Before I sign out I want to put in a plug for my nephew’s blog. Check out the latest video. It’s hilarious! http://jacktokarski.tumblr.com  

Buenas noches y hasta luego!

 

Music, Man! April 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 2:05 PM

The hills are alive, with the sound of music! This week was awesome, both work wise and in my personal life. I whipped out some excel workbooks and Foundation wide guidelines that received rave reviews. YES!!! (Written with sarcasm). No seriously, it was a great work week. And, our new website  was launched. www.fimrc.org. It’s SOOO much more credible looking than our old one, thank God!

But Friday night was WAY better! I know I mentioned before that I am crashing at our Administrative Assistant’s house and that her husband is a musician from Ireland. Naturally, they have TONS of musically inclined friends and I was lucky enough to see some of them perform last night! I want to pass on their names because they are all trying to make their way but if you could hear them sing, you would be as confused as I am as to why they aren’t being featured on mainstream radio all the time! They are AMAZING!!!

Lili Anel: A mix of jazz and folksy-country, this woman can WAIL! I don’t know why she uses a microphone because she most certainly doesn’t need it with her Tracy Chapman-like roof penetrating voice. On top of all that, she is funny and a great song writer.

John Conahan: The lights go down in the club except for a single spotlight on the microphone. A chubby, young guy who looks like he volunteers at civil war reenactments during his free time steps up to the mike. “Poh black Mary, she never did no wrong…” Confusion runs through the audience. Is this average joe really singing soul music? The rest of his band joins him and the next thing you know he is pounding on the piano, singing the blues. His sound is PERFECT. I’m not even exaggerating. I’m mesmerized. Two minutes later he is cracking jokes and has the audience in hysterics. He’s on I-tunes so check him out to see what I mean.

After all that we were walking home and popped into an Irish pub where Enda Keegan (another friend of John and Dorothy) was performing. And before you know it, John is on stage with guitar in hand putting on an impromptu concert of his own. Both guys are AMAZING singer/songwriter/guitarists and both are well-recognized and respected in the Philly music scene.

Ah, if only everyone in the world could be exposed to live music at least once a month…

Oh, on another topic, here are some cool websites I wanted to share with people. www.hulu.com – free, almost commercial free television programs and movies; www.jango.com – free, personalized internet radio (similar to Pandora but without a listening limit – I think?); www.woot.com – daily specials on products. Think $250.00 for an Acer Netbook with EVERYTHING on it.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Yale April 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 1:29 AM

This weekend was a bit of an adventure. My boss was heading to a conference at Yale University in New Haven, CT and invited me along for the ride. I figured, “What the heck! Might as well!” The trip itself took 6 hours rather than the 3 everyone told us it would take (google mapping sucks) but once we got there, I was in heaven! The campus is GORGEOUS!!!! I felt like I was becoming more intelligent just by sitting in the buildings.

There was a bit of craziness. I hitched a ride on a city sanitation worker’s golf cart while on the hunt for nylons and scared my waitress at a Thai food restaurant by drinking an entire pitcher of water due to the spiciness of the food. But other than that, it was a pretty chill weekend.

Oh, and, I heard Jeffrey Sachs speak about the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals. According to him, if every American forked over $33.00 a year, everyone in the world could have their basic medical costs covered. He even had the math to prove it! It’s disturbing really. Makes me want to read The End of Poverty but I already have two other books on my plate. Books…What a luxury!

 

Fish Town April 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — supernaw @ 2:29 AM

I’ve been at the new job for 2.5 days now and my eyeballs feel like they are burning a hole in the back of my head. So many databases to learn! So many emails! But I love it, I really do! Little by little I am learning more about the job and being assigned more and more responsibilities. So here they are…

Manage, expand, and document the Micro Health Insurance Program keeping in mind the goal of one day publishing a book about it; Help manage the budget for the Central American region (El Salvador, Costa Rica & Nicaragua) and Peru; Maintain active working relationships with 12 volunteer chapters and coordinate donations of medical supplies to the clinics; Help coordinate the Ambassador program; Travel throughout the Central American region to support the staff of the various clinics during peak volunteer season.

This may not make sense to anyone and I would direct you all to the Foundation’s website except that it is in pretty bad shape right now. We are getting ready to launch a new website so I’ll let you know when it’s up.

The exciting news is that after sending me to El Salvador on the 27th, a few weeks later they are sending me to Nicaragua to help with a volunteer mission there! Managua, linda Managua!

In the meantime, I am enjoying Philadelphia and Fish Town, where Dorothy, our VERY hospitable administrative assistant is letting me stay in the garret of her row house for the next couple of weeks. Here are some interesting pictures from this unique neighborhood.

 

 

 
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