Today was such a nerve-wracking day. We left the abbey this afternoon to travel to Babonneau, where our training will take place and we will be living. We will live with our families here for the next 7 weeks, then we will move to our island/site of service and stay with another family for 3 weeks. After that we will be on our own.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of people so full of anticipation as when we left this afternoon. We were all so nervous and excited to meet our host families. We have talked about just about every scenario that may arise when living with the families. What if they are too controlling? What if we commit a cultural faux-pas? What if we get sick? What if we don’t like the food? What if they don’t like us? On and on and on. We pretty much talked it to death. The answer to all those questions of course is to suck it up and keep an open dialogue with your family.
So, we arrived at the multi purpose center with little slips of paper that had our families’ names written on them. We got there first, so of course we got to sit there waiting while our anticipation grew. When families started showing up, we started waving our slips of paper like drivers at an airport. Slowly but surely everyone got picked up by their families. Each new meeting looked like old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years. It was really beautiful. Once the main group got picked up, there were a few of us still waiting around like the puppies who no one wanted. Luckily we were wanted, and our time came. Seeing the woman who pointed to me and nodded made me so happy. My host mom found her little lost puppy.
She and her sister both picked up their volunteers and our massive amounts of luggage. We were shoved so tight in the car, I held my 7 year old host sister on my lap so there would be room for the luggage. After we dropped off her sister and the other trainee, we headed just a couple minutes down the hill to her house.
They are in the middle of remodeling, and were just finishing up my room when we arrived. It’s a brand new room with fresh, lovely paint, and everything I need. While they finished up, my host mom showed me around her beautiful garden. She has lots of veggies started, and big gorgeous fruit trees. I spent a good amount of time unpacking and organizing while chatting with my host sister. She is the cutest little thing, and finagled me into giving her quite a few of my pencils.
After I unpacked, my host mom taught me how to properly peel and eat a mango and papaya. I made a huge mess. Apparently it is a skill I have yet to master. She also started teaching me Creole. Then we talked about women’s issues on the islands, the drought, education, religion, and all manner of things. She’s so smart, open, and kind, I think living with her will be a breeze.
My host dad was exhausted from the remodel, so he was working or snoozing this afternoon, but I’m looking forward to getting to know him as well.
They don’t have running water at the moment due to the remodel, so I got to take my first bucket bath. Good times.
This post ended up being much longer than I intended, and I definitely need to go to bed, but I was so pleased with this day that I just had to write about it. Training starts tomorrow, so it’s time for bed.