Bloggy BLOG BLOG.
I realized I have not written in a while, and I am also behind in e mails to friends and family- this is mostly because I don’t really have anything exciting to say. BUT I suppose I should give a general update on life. I have received some more questions from people making me realize I have done a poor job of trying to explain what I am doing here, how my living situation is, and just how I am in general. I will do my best to explain this with an edited version of life in PC SA.
I am now out of the ‘Lockdown’ phase, which was our observation phase. During that time we had to complete a needs assessment. I did mine pretty well, there are a couple things I could add too to make it better, but I am confident that it good enough. I turned this in almost two months ago to Peace Corps, considering this was supposed to be a big deal I hoped it would be at least read by someone, commented on and maybe we would get a little feedback, however, this has not happened. I guess I am still in grad school mode, and need to snap out of it.
ANYWAY, so lockdown is over, ‘real’ work begins.
The first mountain for me to climb is getting the DIC (drop in centre for orphans) more productive. We currently have motivated caregivers and (some) food to feed the kids. Drop in centres are supposed to also work with the kids of life skills, fun activities, homework – and other things like that. Apparently once upon a time this centre did that, but now there are no activities and kids are not coming consistently making it difficult to start activities. So, this is where I come in. The caregivers told me the biggest challenges are 1)the inconsistent timing of children coming/kids not coming at all & 2) not sure what to do with kids/having no activities. Seems to me if we can get some activities going then maybe the kids would have reason to come, and they wouldn’t come just to eat shortly before we close. So, that is what we are doing. So I am doing a series of workshops with the caregivers about all of that. I am focusing a lot on planning and goals. I hope to eventually have them making daily lesson plans, weekly and monthly plans. This is something that is pretty standard for DICs, but has not been done here. I am also trying to tap into my creative side and am teaching them activities we can do with the children that do not need resources. For example, we are saving newspapers and will have a fashion show and contest who can make the best wardrobe out of newspapers. We are also making a volleyball net out of old plastic bags. I have to admit these ideas are not original- they are out of an awesome book I bought. It is exciting though, after the first workshop I did with the carers about the importance of play and how to facilitate they were already playing with the kids that afternoon.
One very, very important step I am taking is meetings with another DIC. A PCV (I would like to give a shout out to Elizabeth/Metja of Moshate) who is another SA 23- her and I are having monthly meeting between us and our respective OVC/DIC Coordinators. These group meetings make it easier for us to share ideas and I think make it easier for the staff members to express ideas and learn from each other. It also holds them/us accountable for changes we say we will make.
Another project will be working with the primary and secondary schools. This, however, will be challenge to say the least. It is exciting but scary. The primary school wants me to pretty much get the teachers to teach and implement lesson plans, haha, oh yea no problem. The secondary school I think wants me to teach, which I am very willing to do if we can get the schedule to work out. I would most likely be teaching some health stuff which would be awesome! BUT we’ll see.
Long term project for me is a mentoring/afterschool program. This is a major project that will take a lot of planning, and I will need to get a grant. My plan is to train some of the secondary school students to be mentors, have them mentor some of the primary school kiddos and ppl here at the centre- and also have them be able to train more mentors. This will also be an afterschool program focusing on all the fun stuff that we should be focusing on. Ya know, female empowerment, physical activity, passing school, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, fun stuff, sex ed… all that good stuff. There is currently nothing to do here, so, kids have sex and drink a lot. The sex ed is sub par and there are very few good role models. The challenge right now is finding some good counterparts to work with- once I can figure that part out I can write the grant. Oh yea, and I have to find a bunch of other donations and plan it all. No problem. But this will be the big project that when I walk away from here, if it is successful and looks like it can run without me being here- I will be happy.
What other questions have I had?
Missing home-Yes, I miss home, a lot. August in MI has always been my favorite, this will be my first time not spending at least half of it there. Shame. I miss everyone very much, but feel very lucky I have access to the internet so I stay semi connected.
What do I eat?- A lot of rice. A lot of eggs. A lot of beans. A lot of apples. A lot of junk food if it is around, although I am really trying to cut that out. I recently did some real grocery shopping, so i have had some more veggies, and made some wonderful hummus. I cook over a propane stove which is pretty awesome. My workout regimen is improving, so that is also good- but damn, I miss running on bayshore. I MISS ELTON (my bike) SO MUCH!!!
Water/bathing- I fetch my water using 3 buckets and a wheelbarrow. It isn’t too far away so not bad. I go usually every other day. The municipal taps are spread out around the village, but rarely work so I go to a house that has a bore hole and buy it for 1R per bucket (25 L). The family is nice, doesn’t really speak English but sometimes they don’t make me pay which is cool, but really that price is super low so (for me) isn’t a factor. My limiting factor for water is laziness. I use buckets to bathe, I have got myself down to using very little water. It is a pretty pathetic game I play seeing how little water I use.
How is language going?- its not. My tutor is not nearly as awesome as our language teachers during PST and the ppl at my org are more interested in learning English than teaching my Sepedi. I understand this, and support it. They have to write all reports in English (which is stupid), and if they ever want a better job need to have better English, so it is important for them to know English. I am still trying to learn more, but am struggling. My PC experience would be DARASTICLLY different if I spoke the language, it’s frustrating, but whatever I guess that’s life.
What else have ppl asked? I don’t remember. But please feel free to continue inquiring about whatever, I am happy to answer!!!
6 months down, 20 to go.