Site name: Bogdanci
How big is your site? What’s something that makes your site special or different?
My site is about 7,000 people. One unique thing is the director at the Gymnazia where I work and the mayor of the town are women. Also, Bogdanci is one of four cities in Macedonia with an NGO that designed and implemented climate change projects through USA Aid.
Where are you from?
How did you react to getting assigned to Macedonia?
I chose Macedonia out of three countries, so I am happy I am here.
What were you doing prior to Peace Corps?
The year prior to Peace Corps I was working with a before and after school program, teaching dance, and working with an NGO related to gender issues. For the four years prior to that, I was teaching in an international elementary school and working with an NGO related to gender issues.
What is your living situation like? (i.e. homestay family, separate floor, independent apartment/house)
I live with a family. My bedroom is on a separate floor, but I have a shared kitchen and bathroom arrangement. I like the space I have for myself, but navigating independent cooking would be easier if I had my own kitchen.
What was one of your best moments or memories in your service?
So far, working in the vineyard with my family, attending the high school Christmas party, and attending a 12-year old’s birthday party have been the highlights of my service.
What was one of the hardest days of your service? Why?
The day that a factory had an explosion was the hardest day of my service thus far. Though I have other days of ups and downs in work and family and life, the explosion made everyone very nervous, worried, and for a moment threatened my service opportunity in this community. That was really scary. I am so glad I am still here.
Tell us about some of the projects you’re working on outside of your primary job?
I have helped fund V-Day Macedonia’s 2015 production of the Vagina Monologues and worked on a PCPP grant to fund activism workshops in relationship to the show. I am working with an NGO designing youths activism fitting for our community. I am teaching yoga and body jam and building social groups around these activities.
What do you do to fill your time when you aren’t working?
I take FutureLearn courses, read, write, and exercise.
Anything else to add?
It really has been the hardest job I have loved. I feel it is primarily a time of self exploration. While my community’s needs and openness to me determines a lot of what I can do, I truly feel so much of my experience is up to me. That is both rewarding and sometimes overwhelming!
Learn more about Audrey by reading her blog at livinmak19.blogspot.com.