Meet my friend Steve. Steve is a Community Economic Development Volunteer in Peru. I met Steve out in Lake Tahoe, California where we both worked in similar positions that focused on community and regional development (I had a lakeside office, Steve did not). During winters, we played together on a broomball team, which is a ridiculous and fairly dangerous hockey-like ice sport that I will most likely never play again in my life. Today, Steve is going to tell us what it’s like living and working in Peru as a PCV.
When and where do you serve in the Peace Corps? Did you get to pick your country?
Currently, I serve in Motupe, Lambayeque, Peru. Motupe is an urban center, like a suburb of our department Lambayeque’s capital city. We grow the most delicious and juicy mangoes, along with other types of agriculture. I began my service in July, 2016 and will finish in July, 2018 (9 more months to go!).
10 months ago, I sat on a bus with my friend and Tico 31 comrade Princess as we made our way to our San Jose for our first IST (in-service training) just three months after arriving in our sites.
Princess and I are site neighbors, and I use the word “neighbors” loosely because we live almost two hours away from each other.
Princess lives in Sabalito, a city of about 1,000 people while I live higher up in the mountains in a rural community of 150 people.
Sitting on the bus, Princess told me about the challenges her community was facing, especially the young girls in the local high school where she worked. She told me the dropout rate for girls was 4.85% due to risk factors such as prostitution and teen pregnancy, and because she lives so close to the Panamanian border, drugs and poverty also play a big role in the high dropout rate.
We both eagerly made hypothetical plans together to do a girls empowerment camp at the high school sometime during our service. I mean, 10 months ago, we had plenty of time to make some magic happen.
Fast forward 10 months later to today and here we are, executing two 6-day GLOW camps after having successfully secured a $2,500 Let Girls Learn grant. Continue reading →