Last week, all the of volunteers who reinstated (returned after evacuation), got together for a Cross-Sector HIV/AIDS training... a fancy IST... in Diego. It was the first time I'd seen any of my orginal stagemates since November before we were installed at our new sites! That was way too long! I saw most of them more than that in America. Well, of course, good times ensued.
One of the days was spent at Brittany's site, Anketrakabe, doing HIV/AIDS education. Her community organized most of it because they are amazing! The elementrary school students sang orginal songs, as did the women's microcredit borrowers group. I've had the good fourtune to spend time with these women on a few occasions, including the Saturday before. They were attending a New Years party (that's right, a new years party, deal with it) in Diego and Brittany, Corie, and I were invited/crashed it. There was a lot of food and a lot of dancing, and a lot of heat, which eventually drove us away from the good times. Anyways, the wonderful people of Anketrakabe were outgoing and receptive to our presentation, participated in games, and readily answered questions. A Peace Corps funding program provided paint to paint the wall of the elementary school like the Malagasy flag. It was a lovely day of singing, dancing, education, and a little nationalism for good measure.
We also spent an afternoon at Amber Mountain National Park, which was lovely, though we were all exhausted and some of us had been there before. We didn't get to spy on much wildlife, but did see some fine cascading water and a tiny neon praying mantis.
It was amazing to spend time with all of my stagemates (both my education 08 and reinstatement stagemates). We cooked dinner at the Peace Corps house a few nights... it's amazing what kind of meals PCVs will come up with as a group and how wildly excited we get about it... strange versions of the things you miss from home made the best you can with what you have. We had "breakfast for dinner" the first night, and it was so good, we did it again. Another night we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. There were also rice crispy treats. Good work guys.
I'm trying to upload photos here and on facebook, but it's not cooperating... check back for more photos soon! (I hope!) ok, after one hour, i got one up... sigh.