It has been one year since I have last posted anything on my blog. There is so much to tell... too much. So, I hope to give a brief over view of my year, my job, and my life. I spent my first three months in language training, in a small town called Uzyn. There, I lived with a small family of a mother, father, son and daughter, and went to language and cultural classes six days a week. The first week there seemed to last a whole month, but once I got into the hang of things, time flew.
On May 27th, 2006, after the three months of intense training, I was finally initiated as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I was assigned to a small city in the East called Severodonetsk, which means North Donetsk (which is an oblast to the south of my oblast, Luhansk). Here, I am working at the Lyceum school, which is a specialized school that students must compete to get in to. Students have the option to specialize in History or Science, and English or German. At the school, I teach both English and Healthy life styles, concentrating in the topic of HIV/AIDS.
The second part of my job finds me working at a local children's center, where kids from the age of 4 to 17 come to learn about different subjects such as music, language and child rights. In this center, I have an English club where students get to practice English by learning about different subjects, such as theatre, holidays, and cooking, and doing activities that will teach them new English words and let them practice what they have already learned. In this club, we had a large Halloween party (which is not a holiday in Ukraine) and raised money to help support the needs of the club and to allow the club to donate money to another child's organization of their choice.
The third part of my job is to help design, organize and implement community projects. I have several ideas for future projects, but the biggest right now is to put on a HIV/AIDS awareness and education day for the community. First, I hope to hold a conference where the leaders of the community (teachers, office workers, health workers and students) will attend and be certified as peer educators in the subject of HIV/AIDS. This is in the hopes that the new peer educators will practice and spread their new found knowledge. My second step will be to have some of the peer educators (students) take the information to the streets. We'll set up a booth with pamphlets to give away, and have HIV/AIDS merchandise that will be sold to help raise money for future projects and to donate to organizations in the community that work with families who struggle with HIV/AIDS in their family. Lastly, I hope to start up a HIV/AIDS drama club that will visit all 20 schools and perform an informational skit to help educate other students about this rampant STI.
Out side of work, I have made several really good friends. I get to visit them several times a week, and they've been great in helping me better my language skills. Like many of the locals, I enjoy walking around town: the parks, the woods and small "lake" (which I believe is just a large pond), the church... I often run into students or people I have met and will chat with them for a while. My favorite is getting to know the people who work in the markets; I'll stop and talk with them if I have some time, and they're always so friendly. I've been having a great time, although I am always pretty busy :) Well, I know it's all in a nut shell... a really small nut shell, but there it is. I hope to write more, about the students and people in my life, instead of just me and my job. I hope everyone is doing well and I apologize that I am just now only getting the chance to update everything. Later-