This week was a big week because we had our 1 year In Service Training. This means that my group and I are half way through the Peace Corps! Woohoo, we were all excited to celebrate our one year anniversary but also a little scared to realize that we are over-the-hill in Peace Corps standards. I went through a mid-service crisis a couple of months ago but I am doing better now. It was good to have everyone together for the first time in 9 months and to present our work to each other. I was actually very impressed by how much our little group of 20 Volunteers has done over the past year, I guess all our work adds up over 9 months.
After the training a few of us went to the north coast to a town called Monte Cristi (near where Columbus discovered the Americas). We did some snorkeling on a little secluded island that we had to ourselves for the whole day. It was awesome because I got to see all sorts of animals that look cool but can sting you and make you hurt. There were king fish and the black sea anenomies that can put you in the hospital. I was pretty jealous of the Environment volunteer whos job is to monitor the reef around the capital area by scuba diving all the time (he never has trouble soliciting help from other volunteers with his project). A friend got stung on her arm by a jelly fish and she said it was hurting pretty bad, it was confirmed by Peace Corps medical staff a few months back that you are supposed to pee on the sting because the ammonia helps clear out the venom (or whatever it is that makes it hurt). Joel had just peed, the other guys were in the ocean still and the rest of the group was girls so I got recruited to be the designated pee-er. It was a little awkward peeing on my friends arm but she felt better afterwards. That night we went to the Patronales for the town, which is the celebration of the patron saint of Monte Cristi. It was a good time, there were rides like at a county fair except the looked like they were all about to fall over. We took a ride on the sea dragon and the swings that go around in the circle. The swings made me want to throw up. No one wanted to go on the ferris wheel, one broke apart in one of the girl's sites a few months back and nobody felt brave enough to be the guinea pig this time.