My first month at site was spent adjusting to doing nothing. Sounds kind of strange I know. I live in a village of less than 600 people and I can’t even buy bread or phone credit in my one store. People in my village survive off of the land. Every day my host family gets up at around 4:00 a.m. to go feed the animals and farm. Being that it is summer, people are either doing this or on vacation thus although the school is open every day no one is working. I watched the entire series of Gillmore Girls and countless other movies. I have read three books, wandered through fields of sunflowers, caught up on the sleep I have missed out on the past 10 years, and yep that about covers it.
During the second week of July I took a bus to the Western part of Ukraine to participate in an English Summer Camp. It was like doing a complete 360! I went from having little to nothing to do to being busy for 12 or more hours a day. I had to get up at 7:30 for morning exercises with the kids. Breakfast at 9:00 and then I would teach 5 lessons a day starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m. Usually in the evenings we also did some sort of evening activity with the kids. I really did enjoy the camp though. Most of the classes were fun classes such as how to make lemonade, teaching them songs, watermelon seed spitting contest, basketball, and capture the flag. I did get to teach a couple of real classes on gender empowerment which was awesome and probably my favorite part of camp. I got to work with a variety of American teachers and Ukrainian teachers as well. I had a really great time and was sad to leave. I was only supposed to be there for two weeks but my friends talked me in to staying an extra two weeks to help with another session of camp. I’m pretty easily talked in to doing things.
After camp ended I stayed with my friend Valerie for a few days. We then took a train to Kyiv for a Peace Corps sponsored training. It was a pretty cool training. I met my director of the school there and we worked together to put together an action plan for a project. I will be starting an English based Leadership club. My hope is that within a few months the kids will primarily write a grant to fund a community project of their choosing and implement it. I will be working with a few of the teachers at my school so that the project will hopefully become a sustainable club at the school.
After the training I spent the night in Kyiv with a few other Peace Corps friends and some American’s that were visiting them. I got to stay in an amazing apartment in downtown Kyiv which would be the equivalent of Time Square in New York. We all went out and saw the city and danced the night away. The next day I hung out with one of the Americans. We went to a shooting range where I shot an AK47 and some sort of other Russian pistol. Later we went and got Indian food which is a huge treat here. Afterwards I booked it to the train station and made it just in time. I took the overnight train to Kherson and now I am home. School starts tomorrow and although I am not entirely sure what I will be doing aside from my club I am pretty excited to get things going. I will also be moving in to my own house very quickly. I looked at it yesterday and the repairs are almost done. I am waiting on them to fix the toilet (which is outside) and get me a refrigerator. Life is pretty great!