It’s hard to paint a picture of the Peace Corps for everyone back in the States that I feel does what I’m doing justice. That being said, here’s some background info:
AZ5, which is my cohort, is the fifth PC group in Azerbaijan. We’re broken up into three sectors, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foriegn Language, my group) , Community Economic Development (CED), and Youth Development (YD), which is in it’s first year. We don’t see each other much, as our training varies quite a bit. We all have language class from 9-1 six days a week, but in the afternoon, our sessions our different because people are discussing things from the (in my opinion) fascinating topic of microfiniance, to the less-inspired ‘chalkboard techniques.’ To each their own.
Every so often though, we get to catch up with one another, like we did on our cultural visit to a 6th century Turkish castle (pictures coming). The other times that we all meet are on days called Hub Days.
This is when business that relates to everyone is discussed. Health, Security, and Safety are these sorts of topics. Yesterday though, they had some interesting things to say. First of all, we had the Number 2 from the Embassy come and talk to us about the United States’ foreign policy on Azerbaijan. Basically, this country has the highest GDP growth rate in the world, but they don’t have the act together to spend it very wisely. He was a really fascinating guy to listen to, and i’m really excited to be here, now.
I’m running out of time, but the other thing that I wanted to write about was of my choice to be here. Our supervisor, Rachel, said that every week we are here we are increasing our commitment, if we think this isn’t what we went to do, we need to seriously consider that, and perhaps jump off before we get outselves in so deep we dissappoint some people (like our school partners who apply for a year to get a volunteer). I had to think “Is this really where I want to be?”
The answer is yes. This is right for me, and I’m glad I’m here. I could be back in Portland pulling shots of coffee, but instead I get to do all this. How cool.