Site Announcement!!!

Today is the day that everyone has been waiting for since we found out we were going to be serving in Madagascar.  It is the day we found out where our sites were going to be for the next two years.  Before getting into the site placement announcement I should first give a little background into the process.  Madagascar is one of the only Peace Corps countries that allow the trainees a say into where their site will be.  Whether there is any weight to what the trainees say is questionable and it is relative to each individual case.  Peace Corps takes into count what the Medical officers, placement director, and language trainers have to say and then look at the trainees preferences.  What is certain
though is that the asked that we review the 31 site profiles and list our top 10, in order of where we would like to be, and our bottom three, where we did not want to go and list why we choose those sites.  This was a stressful period for many people and caused many people to create emotional attachments to their top sites.  I myself came to Madagascar with the idea that I wanted a small, rural town, in the coastal region and was completely prepared for not having electricity.  After reviewing the site profiles this completely changed for me.  Finding out that all but two of the available sites had electricity I wanted to make sure that those two were not on my list.  Further than that, I still wanted a warm coastal town, but was no longer looking for a small rural one.  Many of the “top sites,” most importantly the one site with a university job, were large towns.  In the end, although it was nice that we were given a say, I believe it would have been more productive not to have a list of the sites, or even know what they were, but to simply list our preferences on weather and grade level we would like to teach. 
            Since today was a special day in our training we were asked to come to PCTC to receive the news.  So after a few meetings, you can never go a week day without some sort of meeting, we all gathered in the “Tranobe (big house)” and for the first time had assigned seats.  After a short speech we were told that finding out where our site was going to be would be through a short scavenger hunt.  To start this scavenger hunt we reached under our seats to find our first clue.  After deciphering our clue, we went to the location it stated where we found a number with our name on it.  With this number in hand, we returned to the basketball court to find a huge map of Madagascar painted on it with numbered slips of paper taped in different locations on the map.  We then matched our number with that on the map and picking up our slip of paper, found on the opposite side the name of our site.  I think the map was a cool idea of presenting the sites to us, but the whole affair was less exciting and emotional than I imagined it would be.  A few people were either visibly excited or disheartened about their site placement, but most were just accepting with no really visible emotion response. 
            I myself fell into the later category.  I was excited about finally knowing where my site was going to be, but the whole thing was a bit lack luster for me.  The site I received was number 10 on my “top 10,” but it is a great site and I am excited to be going there and ready to go.  The site I received is the town of Vondrozo, in the Sudest (southeast) region of Madagascar.  It is 65 km east of Faranfagana, my banking town, and the ocean; both of which I will be able to visit at least twice a month.  In Vondrozo I will be teaching English at the high school, on which grounds I will be living.  I will also have electricity at my site which will be a nice luxury to have.  I also know that my site is in the warm coastal region, which is what I was really wanting.  Other than that, I do not know much about my site other than the little information that was in the site package, but will update the blog on my area once I get there. 


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