Miss Sasha.

August 18, 2011

{little e adores sasha}
I am feeling quite grateful.  Perhaps it is that extra glass on Albariño I had tonight, but I'm going to say no.  I have been blessed.  And tonight it is all about someone who came into our world a year or so ago and helped us with the kids, and then came into our hearts.  Miss Sasha (or "Fafa," as Little E calls her).
{she is such a natural at caring for others}
It is true we have had many truly wonderful sitters though the years (um, how could we not??) but immediately we knew there was something so special about her.  The kids loved her.  They hugged her when she walked in the door and giggled at her jokes.  She had an affection for them that was so genuine (I remember when she early on came up with the nickname "Little One" for the baby).  She would speak in different accents to the kids when they got cranky.  She sent me links to yoga classes taught by her friends after particularly difficult mommy days.  She is a gourmet cook and cloth diapered like a natural.  She is 24 and has lived all over the world.  She was the type of girl that you couldn't wait for the kids to take their naps so we could just hang out and talk already.  And she spoke Italian to the kids, OK?
{with her dear friend kira in vence}

Last Monday she left for 27 months to be a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Yep, she's that good.  And tonight, I received the following email from her (which would obviously be the impetus to this rambling post).  Go ahead and skip over this if it is not your sort of thing, but if you wonder (like I do) what it's like to enter the Peace Corps, please read on.  Sasha is a truly special person.  We have been blessed to have her in our lives.
Buenos, friends and family! It has now officially been a week since I arrived in Guatemala for my 27 months of service in the Peace Corps. The rural life is taking some time getting used to as I spent my last night of civilization with a dear friend who I met studying abroad in Florence, drinking champagne at the Four Seasons in Georgetown (thank you Peace Corp stipend!). The next day I was with 9 other volunteers looking like a bunch of deer in headlights as we got on our flight from DC to Guatemala. On our arrival we were briskly whisked out of Guatemala City by a police escort and by night we were boiling water for safe drinking. So much for a light transition…
Within this past week I have received 4 vaccinations and taken 2 servings of malaria medicine. I wasn’t privileged enough to experience the psychedelic side effects of Aralen, but unfortunately I did have multiple nightmares accompanied by fears of mudslides and volcanic eruption from one of the 23 surrounding volcanoes. With the amount of rain coming down on our tin roof and the numerous lightning storms, I have had quite a few restless nights.

So, many of you asked me what I was going to be doing down here in the Peace Corps. Like you, I was a bit dumbfounded and uninformed of what I was actually going to be taking part in. Well, I finally found out and I’m here to save the world!
Ok, as much as I wish I was Captain America, I haven’t reached that level quite yet. For now my world consists of the rural villages of Guatemala and they need to be rescued from chronic malnutrition. I was surprised to learn that GUATE is the 4thworst off country in the world when it comes to being malnourished. In a place where 49.8 % of the children under the age of 5 and 66 % of all women suffer from the lack of a balanced diet full of veggies, I for one am THRILLED to push my culinary and nutritional knowledge on these poor tortilla loving Guatemaltecos. 

Until I am officially sworn in I am known as a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee) which is lowest rung on the Peace Corps todempole. Each day consists of 8 hours a of Spanish emersion classes, medical sessions with such invigorating topics as: “how to be diarrhea free” where the 2 hour sessions concludes by telling everyone there is no such thing as being diarrhea free in Guatemala, it is inevitable. Lots of information and frijoles are being crammed into this small group of 10 gringos but I think we are ready to stomach it. It’s quite a nice bunch and I am one of the two Californians, we shine pretty bright down here in Guatemala.

Every ex Peace Corps volunteer has said that this stage is the hardest part. Being true, I already miss the comfortable accommodations of home, the freedoms of America and most of all my amazing circle of friends. I’ve had a couple days where I’ve had to ask myself, “what the heck am I doing here?!” and I can’t always give myself a legit answer but somehow I have managed to talk myself into this, and yes, I am staying. My birthday is going to be an interesting day as I am not allowed to celebrate in an American manor (ie: lots of friends and booze). Therefore, it might consist of me, my host mom, her 40 yr old daughter, some relatives and maybe 2 other Peace Corp volunteers; and if I’m lucky, a piñata. It will be an experience incomparable to any of my past birthdays. Your state-side care packages will be more than welcome to lift my droopy spirits!
I would now like to take this opportunity to give you all my updated address as I may have given some of you an incorrect one via facebook, apologies!
PCT Sasha Escue
Cuerpo de Paz
Apartado Postal 66
Antigua Guatemala
Sacatepequez 03001
Cental America
Envelopes are the best way to send anything as boxes seems to get lost in the post.

I feel like this experience is going to go by so quickly so I will try my best to keep everyone informed. I have a blog in the works and I will get that link out as soon as I’m ready.
I miss you all so very much.
Lots of love and muchos besos!
{i do love her, can you tell?}


  1. Jora,
    I have just begun to read your post a few days ago, but love it! It is so beautiful. Today's post hit a very tender spot in my heart though, because I have been standing in the same exact spot as Sasha is right now. I was a PCV in Guatemala from 2007-2009. My husband actually did the exact same work as Sasha will be doing, Food Security and he was in the PC in Guatemala from 8/2007-11/2009. Living in Guatemala was the most profound experience I have had in my life and I miss that beautiful country dearly. I even told my husband last night I was homesick for my town. It can be difficult at many times and lonely, but the more immersed you become in the culture the more warm and open the Guatemalans become. They will welcome you into their homes and treat you like their own child and when it comes time to leave it will be the hardest thing to do. Please tell Sasha good luck! and we may see her some day down there...my husband and I are planning to go down next summer to visit. Thank you Thank you for this post! Ellen D.

  2. How amazing.
    I know firsthand how difficult it is to find people to help/care for your kids in the same way you would. It sounds like you were very lucky to find her -

  3. Aww... so cute. She is very special. We'll have to send her care packages!

  4. Sasha is the type of person I hope my children become. You and your family are lucky to have her in your lives. Thanks for sharing! (we may be sending a note or care package as well!)

  5. I love her insides (Peace Corps--doing it, not just thinking it would be good to do; loving your kiddos) and her outsides (those amazing, abundant freckles make me smile). I wish her well.


  6. Even though I only met her for a moment, I have to say she was totally charming. If only I could find a babysitter with half of her talent! Wishing her all the best on her mission. xo

  7. What an amazing little gal! Best of luck to her in the Peace Corps. And yes, what a blessing to find her for your little ones.

  8. thank you for sharing jora. what a wonderful young woman and such an example to us all! xo

  9. Sasha sounds like a gem and you are all so lucky to have her in your lives. One of my dear friends was in the Peace Corps and she is one of the coolest, most interesting and warm-hearted people I know; I can only imagine that dear Sasha is the exact same way.

  10. Of course she is, a friend of mine (an Italian guy) is in the Peace Corps located in Rome and he is very special, exactly equal as you describe Sasha's.


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