At the end of May my boss came to my site to officially present me to my community at an event called my “site presentation.” The idea of the site presentation is that you organize a community meeting so that Peace Corps can explain why you are here. My presentation went way better than I could have imagined.
The director of the school where I will work organized the presentation and I made cake and invited my host family and the team at the community clinic where I work. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
It was beautiful! When I got to the school the professors and director were running around getting everything ready. I went into the office to help the director with my name and when I came out again the school patio was filled with chairs and the entire school, plus several parents, and the clinic staff were waiting.
They put on music and had a microphone. The program unfolded like a real community event would. One of the professors introduced each part of the agenda. We started with the anthem of Paraguay. Next, the director talked about how I’m here to teach about health including self-esteem and starting a school garden.
What made the presentation special was that the students performed music and dance. First, one student played the guitar and sang a song about welcoming foreigners as friends, then several students performed a traditional Paraguayan dance. Next, the students performed a modern dance –which was surprising, amazing, and almost brought me to tears. They danced to a song about New York City.
The director of the health clinic shared some words and so did my boss. Then it was my turn. I wrote out my speech—I hated that I had to read it, but I figured being understood but reading was better than being confusing and not reading. I spoke in a mix of Guarani and Spanish.
The event was exhilarating and, for the first time since getting to my site, my doubts melted away…I can do this crazy thing call Peace Corps service.