The beginning of September marked the civic month, as september 15th was when El Salvador gained their independence. for the first week, they had a civic event in the park everyday, with an artistic work, usually a dance or the band from a school played, and someone from one of the institutions in the pueblo gives a speech. as has become customary, i sat at the table of honor, much to my surprise at hearing my name called everyday. this has become a common occurance. i have headed a parade in town, given a speech on behalf of the city hall at the opening of a youth soccer tournement funded by world vision, who are very active here in Caluco. People have really accepted me with open arms here, and I feel very honored and humbled by their hospitality.
The rest of these last couple of weeks, i continue to attend meetings at the city hall, travel to the rural towns for women´s groups meetings and just generally chat with people. I am starting to get anxious about starting a project, but I need to continually remind myself that I need to get to know the people very well first, and let things develop. I have started teaching an english class to the 4th grade at the school in caluco, since their teacher is out on maternity leave. it is only 45 minutes one morning a week, as that was all i wanted to commit to. there is a fine line between helping out, and simply doing a teacher´s job for them. lots of teachers ask me to teach their classes, but this is neither sustainable nor my job. it is difficult to explain this to them, that i am here to help, to provide training or knowledge rather than just doing it for them, which is a huge mistake that development agencies have made in the past. the english teacher at the school also asked for my help to practice speaking, since practicing a language is vital to retaining it. recently, the school director asked for my help in starting a girl´s softball team, which is really exciting. i am so glad i decided to bring my mitt! the subject of girl´s education is something that is particularly grabbing my interest right now, so maybe this will turn into more. But for now, i am trying to become a familiar face. my biggest break through yesterday-my old neighbor lady started up a conversation with me about the weather, rather than just eyeing me suspiciously when i say hi!