Week 5: Field-Based Training

Hey everyone! We know it’s been f o r e v e r since we’ve posted, but fear not! We’re putting together three updates to summarize everything for you guys. Before coming to Peru, we had heard that the 11 weeks of training were going to be pretty intense, and that has most certainly proven to be true; however, so many wonderful and exciting things happened, so, without further ado, here is the first of those three updates!

Week 5, Field-Based Training (or FBT), was an adventure for all of us. For the first time, we left the training center and spent an entire week in the field to see what the life of a Volunteer looks like! Our group, the WASH group, split in two, with our group heading to the town of Cascas in the coastal region of La Libertad, several hours north of Lima.

Our week was filled with dozens of activities and training events. We spent time with two current Volunteers who live in that area who showed us around and introduced us to their counterparts and community members. It honestly went by so fast, but there was so much that the staff wanted us to experience! This was our first time giving presentations to real people in real communities, facilitating capacity training seminars for locals, going door-to-door to conduct household surveys, and much more. We even got the chance to participate in a routine disinfection of a nearby rural water system! This involved lots and lots (and lots) of chlorine, scrubbing brushes, buckets, and of course, PPE (personal protective equipment). We took turns climbing down into the empty 10,000-liter (2,500-gallon) reservoir of the water system to share the work but could only spend a few minutes at a time because of the high levels of chlorine. It was a lot of work and a little cramped, but we left it sparkling clean!

We also got the chance to visit the municipal building in Cascas and see the office of the Area Technical Municipal, or ATM. This is the person who works at the municipal level but is responsible for the oversight of all rural communities’ water systems in that area. This is essentially how the management and oversight of rural water systems works in Peru: small communities elect their own water committee that, through the assistance of the ATM, has access to municipal resources and funds to operate and maintain their own water system. Our role as future volunteers will be to work with both parties to conduct diagnostics of both the infrastructure of the system as well as the management processes. Some of us will be assigned to live in rural sites of a few hundred people, and others in larger towns of several thousand. Once we learn the details of our own personal site assignments at the end of week 7, we can look back at our experience here in Cascas and its rural communities to reflect on how we can use our time here, as brief as it was, to help us begin Day One on the right foot.

A bunch of us crammed in a combi – a small van that serves as public transport!

We finished out our FBT by spending a day in Trujillo, which was tons of fun! We got to explore the capital of this region and got a taste of an urban city after spending time in much more rural areas. We topped off our visit with a lovely meal together at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant!

Delicious vegan/vegetarian dinner in Trujillo, the capital city of the region of La Libertad!

That’s all for this post. Check out our next post to learn all about our Site Assignment and Site Exploration adventures!

¡Hasta pronto! 🙂

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