The morning was a slow plodding one. We were so used to always on the move that the lack of defined plan was more disconcerting than the lack of professors. Breakfast was at eight, which was late for us by that point. Our one lone boy had got up at seven raring to go only to realize he had to wait an hour and so ended up being late after deciding to take a shower that took longer than expected. After breakfast was an introduction to Staying With Host Families, presented by the MVI's Host Family coordinator. It went over food, family life, chores, etc. It also ended well before the eleven arrival time of the families so were again left hanging. I bird-watched and twiddled my thumbs along with the rest of the group until eleven sharp when, as a group, we all headed up to the main building. Only to find that we had to wait a while longer, as our host families had their own orientation. We stood outside in the small parking lot, which turned out to be an exercise in taking our lives into our own hands. Not a minute in, a motorcycle, followed by a second motorcycle pulled up and tried to park, both at the same time, exactly where we were standing. Then, a jeep came squealing up the road, whipped around the corner and almost hit us as we attempted to get to the comparative safety away from the motorcycle parking zone. Stones were flung up in our faces as the jeep swung around the corner and was gone. Suitably shaken, we converged in the shade as the sound of a motorcycle and a car reached us. The car arrived first and began the slow process of parking in the space left by the motorcycles. The motorcycle, which we had heard first, had been driving behind the car and stopped to wait until the road was clear before continuing. A young boy and, presumably, his father were seated on the motorcycle. It took me a moment to notice, but the boy had a shovel griped tightly in one hand while his other held on to his father in front of him. As the car parked and the motorcycle revved up to go I noticed that the father had a machete griped in the hand on the opposite side from where we were standing, unsheathed and pointing forward like a jousting stick. Just as we thought we had seen it all, a deep rumble echoed up the road. A large truck with a plow on the front moved slowly towards us. In the bed of the plow lay a motorcycle. By that point I was done and ready to retreat into the forest and avoid roads for the rest of my life and was gearing up to say something to that effect and ask if the rest of the group was ready to join me when we were called in to meet our host families, replacing my fear of roads with sheer nerves.
My host father and brother had come to meet me as my host mother was working. They were both very kind and relatively quiet. My host brother speaks fluent English and proved it every time he spoke to me, which I was rather disappointment by. I had hoped to have the chance to learn vocab from pantomiming and describing words I wasn't sure about but likely would be using a translator instead. Still, useful for emergency situations. We three piled in to taxi and took off for my new home. At the top of a tall, tall hill, in a lovely little house I now live. There is a dog, named Manchas, who is part dalmatian and all sweetness and a cat, whose name I can't quite remember, who is fluffy and yellow and whom I am allergic to. Oh well, I'm used to it. My host mother came home for lunch and was much more talkative than her son and husband. I felt myself relaxing slowly in her presence. After lunch she returned to work and I set about settling into my new room. I unpacked, fluffed my pillow and went out into the living-room to sit with my family and work on my personal journal and setting up this blog. Dinner was delicious, if a bit more fried than I would like. (Fried sweet plantains are to die for) After dinner I washed the dishes and, when asked if I needed to, did my laundry. Music played in the background along with the televised news. I took a shower, using the water heater over the shower head successfully on my first time. (If you do it wrong you get a cold shower. There is a trade off, hot water or good water pressure.) I fell into bed and slept the sleep of the nervous and uprooted. That is to say, I didn't sleep well.