Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Village of Lozovo: A Journey Through Paint

Things are still going great in Lozovo. The 9 of us Americans here have embarked on a new project.... We are painting a pretty intense 3-walled mural on the inside. We have been working nightly on a mural of Lozovo, a traditional Macedonian feast, the journey to the neighbouring village of Milino, and possibly even attempting Skopje and part of America. We have been working from about 4pm-10pm the last couple nights. Or I should say, working and enjoying the fabulous hospitality Mama and Tatko are providing us all with. Our wine glasses are never empty, multiple shots of rakija are passed around, and we have been served two very delicious meals as well as constant snacks (I swear every time I turn around, Mama is bringing out a new plate of something delicious). This is the Macedonia everyone should experience- the extreme graciousness and hospitality.

This is the Lozovo wall. Claire and I are working on the цирква (church) and the winery.
Trend, the local coffee bar. It is wood paneled, so I used a fork to give it a wood-like texture.
Andres, Me, Julie, and Claire painting away.
While blending the many greens in the grass, I found it much more effective to use my hand.
Shannon used the one colour effect on her camera. 
The Lozovo wall.
The Wednesday Night Painting Crew with Julie's Mama:
Julie, Mama, Andres, Me, Claire, Shannon, Amy, Kenzie
Language is going extremely well. It is fast paced, but I am certainly learning a lot. On days when I am frustrated either because I can't understand what my family is saying or I am unable to communicate something to them, or I am overwhelmed by everything we learned in class, I just take a step back and remember I have been in this country for just over a month. I came not knowing the entire alphabet even and now I am able to have a decent conversation in Macedonian. I know my sentence structure is lacking, but I am able to put the words I want to use together. Even if the words aren't in the correct order, the Macedonians understand what I am trying to say (i.e. Yesterday I with other Americans paint Lozovo picture Julie's house- It doesn't make sense grammatically, but you certainly know what I am trying to say!). At the end of October we have a practice LPI (language assessment) to see where we are at. At the end of PST, Peace Corps requires us all to achieve at least an intermediate low level of language. If we don't reach it, we are required to have tutoring during the start of our service and then take the test again a few months later. I am not too worried as I have seen I can communicate on a very basic level already and we still have a month and a half of PST.

Tomorrow we have another Hub Day in Kumanovo with all 36 of the PCTs. Last time we talked a lot about STDs, this time, we are talking about the History and Politics of Macedonia. Then starting next week, we have one week of Practicum. Since Lozovo only has one elementary school, most of us are traveling to the nearby large city of Veles. I will be working with an English Language teacher who teaches 1st and 5th grade, so it will be nice to see two different ends of the spectrum age/language wise. I am with my teacher Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I shadow another English Language teacher who travels to the small villages around Lozovo. Then Thursday and Friday I am back at my original school teaching a few lessons (potentially). The following week is a big week for us....we find out our site placements a.k.a. where we will live for the next two years! 

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