**This is an article I wrote for our Peace Corps Azerbaijan newsletter, the Azlander! Enjoy :)
July 6, 2009: Yay Camp, Day 1 (dun dun dunnn)
8:00 am: Jaclyn wakes up in her village home to Jane’s energetic, “morning person” text about camp, reminding Jaclyn what she’s to do today. Jane has been awake since 4:59 am.
8:10 am: A student arrives an hour and a half early at Jaclyn’s host family’s house. Jaclyn sends her 11 year old host sister to deal with this Anxious Annie. Jane starts and finishes calling all 150 of her students reminding them of the camp today.
8:20 am: Jaclyn actually gets out of bed. Jane has already made a trip to the local Lankaran Starbucks, read the newspaper, and finished the NYT crossword puzzle…twice.
8:45 am: Jaclyn has now eaten breakfast and sent some text messages. Jane has woken up the PCVs at her house with the smell of fresh bacon and pancakes, as well as a happy wake up song.
9:00 am: Jaclyn has on clothes and even one eye of mascara. Success. Jane has given everyone in her house makeovers, including Josh. That stache will have a special shine to it today.
9:10 am: Jaclyn receives a call from her driver that he’s gonna be 30 minutes early, if that’s okay. Jaclyn is confused, but gives in hesitantly. Jane is in the middle of a first-day-pep-talk with the PCVs, which includes props and scratch-n-sniff stickers.
9:20 am: Jaclyn, feeling anxious and still confused, takes a 5-minute power nap before heading out. Jane is headed to her school, 7 PCVs in-hand.
9:30 am: Jaclyn arrives at her school in Liman, to a crowd of smiling, excited, scary-looking kids. Jane has set up the check-in, prepared all the classrooms, and even dealt with her apprehensive director and the cleaning ladies.
9:45 am: Jaclyn finally leaves Liman, only 3 kids short. She warned them she wouldn’t wait… what a badass. To make up for the shortage of students, two mothers have deemed it necessary to come as well, complete with picnic and annoying infant. Jane is putting out the proverbial fires, organizing groups, and changing the temperature by giving into Kat’s desire to lead the students and other PCVs in an environmental “cold” dance (you know, like a rain dance, but to bring cold breezes instead)
10:00 am: Jaclyn and her village group arrive at School #10 in Lankaran. Jane is singing the Teetaneec (aka Titanic) song to calm students down, and wow them.
10:20 am: As planned, camp is off to an awesome start. Students are so anxious and excited. PCVs are freaking out about the heat but elated to be surrounded by 100 Azi children-duh. J
Yay Camp, the 2nd Edition, has begun in Lankaran! This year we expect about 180 students (yikes!), both from Lankaran School #10, as well as Liman village School #1. Jane and I are so excited to have so much help coming from every single area of Azerbaijan- Qazax, Zaqatala, Agcabedi, Xacmaz, Goycay, etc etc. We could not be more thankful to the PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) coming; this camp simply would not happen without them. We also have about 15 extremely talented Azerbaijani Student Leaders, who will be invaluable to the camp and the PCVs. The three weeks include an Environmental Week (July 6-9), a Sports/Games Week (July 13-16) and an Arts/Crafts Week (July 20-23), everyday beginning at 10am and finishing at 2pm. During these weeks, we have activities of all shapes and sizes planned- everything from planting plants to building a trash monster, from a Wiffle Ball tournament to a Field Day, from making God’s (Evil) eyes to tye-dye t-shirts, wrapping it all up with a ceremony for the students’ parents, friends, and directors.
Even though Jane is an annoyingly self-proclaimed morning person, I have really enjoyed working together with her planning such an intense event, and it’s so rewarding to see it all finally coming together! Maybe some of that morning-ness will rub off on me, and I’ll at least get used to the fact that I have to wake up in the 8’s for the next three weeks. I have a feeling that anyone who has ever been my co-worker, friend, mother, sister, aunt, etc. is doubting that this will EVER happen! :)