DISCLAIMER: This blog is dedicated to my explorations of travel, volunteerism, fun, and living life to the fullest. This web site is maintained by Audrey Kidwell, a regular person. It's content is the opinion of the ME, and reflects the positions of no one else.
About 2 weeks ago I went to Baco Raton, FL for an AmeriCorps retreat. We had a 3 day event, held at the FAU campus.
The campus is decent, but I only really saw a small portion of it. The retreat was a learning experience, and an overall fun one. The days were spent in and out of sessions on different topics pertaining to the AmeriCorps experience. I felt it was a much more beneficial training than the previous one in Atlanta. I finally got to meet all the other VISTA volunteers serving in Miami.
Getting to Boca Raton, was an interesting experience. I finally had one of my first public transportation experiences in America. I took the Tri-rail, which starts in Miami-Dade and goes to Palm County. Getting to the rail station was more difficult than actually taking the train. Living in North Miami put me close to the station, which is nice, not having to drive far, but it was the in the ghetto.
There is "public" parking, but consist of only 20 spots, which are all full on a Monday morning. After conferring with a fellow volunteer, i decided to leave my car, and hope for the best. In the end it was fine, but I get nervous about leaving my belongings in an unfamiliar place for the first time. The tri-rail was such a nice train!
On our last day we did a direct service project. Everyone was divided into 6 different projects. My group went to the local YMCA. We helped the teachers during their teacher work day. We literary pulled everything out of their classrooms washed it, cleaned the room and put everything back in the class. They were switching their summer classrooms into the fall. We also color organized the entire craft closet. There were about 10 volunteers along with 5 teachers, and we accomplished all their cleaning for their entire week in just 3 hours! I think I washed enough plastic fruit for a lifetime!
Other groups participated in beach clean up, mowing yards at the soup kitchen, worked at the butterfly garden. It was nice to physically do some volunteer work in the community.
Hey Everyone! The volunteer who replaced me, DOUG is trying to get latrines for our village, Nakaba! It's a wonderful project!
Here is the link to the Peace Corps page, where you can read the project description and donate. He still needs about 2500.00 more!
Here are some pictures to remind you of how awesome Nakaba is!
(Benga(my DOG), My head nurse @ a meeting, and my girls planting trees!)
I’ve been in Miami just over a week. So far it’s treated me pretty well (minus all the crazy drivers). After having a two week training in Atlanta for AmeriCorps, I met up with my father and little brother for the trip to Miami. We arrived on Friday and quickly moved me in. We spent the weekend getting things organized and in Sunday observed the day of rest by heading to the beach. I’m only 4 miles from a beautiful beach.
On Monday I made my first commute to the University of Miami, for my first day of work. I was greeted by a great staff. They seem very energetic, and friendly. My first day went over well, I took a campus tour, got to know the office, and the gist of things. Overall the week went by without a hitch. There isn’t much to do at this moment, since there are no kids on campus. Orientation starts in 2 weeks! Then things will pick up, and I’m sure I’ll be wishing for more free time!
The apartment complex is nice, but very big. There are way to many people here to get a good sense of community. The complex has 5 building, each building having 12 floors! I am continually running into new people. My room and part of the apartment is all organized and put together. I’m keeping it to a minimum, since I don’t plan to live in Miami permanently.
Here are some photo’s of my room, and the “park” from my balcony. Our living room isn't done yet and probably wont be for a while. We aren’t in a rush to decorate, and my roommate and I work all week long.
This past weekend I visited the Bass Museum of Art. (website). They had a special event where you paid an entrance, and got all the drinks and appetizers you wanted, and got to look around at some of their special exhibits. The museum was nice, but some of the pieces where a little random. One room an modern and renaissance pieces, and some where not explained. My favorite exhibit was done by artist Charles Ledray, called “Workworkworkworkwork”. He basically made miniature clothing, but it was more than that, the way he presented it was really interesting. . The event was a good experience, and I met some very nice people. I can now check that of fmy list of stuff to do, but I wouldn’t mind going back when it was in full force.
The rest of the weekend I finished getting my stuff together and relaxing, since my next few weekend are full due to work. I also got to experience my first TAX FREE WEEKEND!!! All basics are tax free clothing, school supplies, the list goes on. All stores across the state participate. I didn’t buy much, just the necessities, and I stuck to the list of what is tax free and what is not, so I saved some good money!! Also, the Wal-Mart parking lot was crazy! I waited in line for 10 minutes just to get a parking space, but the actual lines in the store were not that bad!
I like Miami so far, but I guess we’ll see after this year!