This is not a paper I would turn into grad school that was proofread, spell checked, and cared about but never or barely read. This is a blog that people will actually read but not grade. I write like I think and talk, which is not organized or correct in many ways. I was diagnosed with chronic sarcasm as a child, its genetic.

The views expressed on this website are entirely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

“It’s like being 16 all over again, but smarter”

I have had my new site all to myself for a while now, I would say I am all unpacked and organized in my new home but anyone who really knows me would be correct in saying that is a big fat lie. Whatever, I am pretty much unpacked, it’s just the whole ‘organized’ part that I will never really be.

The ball is starting to roll at work, I am continually learning about the org so I can figure out what the hell I am going to do. I have a lot of ideas and thoughts, but like my room, they are not entirely organized- and I need some type of shelving to figure out how to make everything work. The biggest project, which will also be the most complicated, will be making the DIC (Drop In Centre) function. Right now there are several women who come and cook for the kids… when there is food. When there is no food, which unfortunately is semi often the kids do not come. We are currently receiving some funding from AFSA (AIDS Foundation South Africa) which pays for the food and some other things, but the food is not being managed well and runs out before the end of the month. So, first things first, I made a food tracking log and so we’ll be able to gauge if we are cooking too much in a day, legitimately do not have enough food, or if it is mysteriously walking away from the centre. Well that food chart hasn’t been filled out all month, so I talked with the manager again and he said he’ll make sure with this incoming batch of food the cooks track the food.

GARDENING!!! The org has a decent amount of land, two Gogo’s in charge of the gardens, and secure water. What we don’t have: seeds. Oh yea, and the little that does grow somehow never makes it to the kitchen, and the little that is sold- well money never makes it to the financial manager. So there is some serious work to do there. I am excited because I think I can get some seeds from the Dept of Agriculture, and I met a funder who will donate up to 20,000 rand in supplies from a builders warehouse place so I am pumped to get started on all that fun stuff. I plan to do a couple workshops/hands on sessions about composting and different gardening techniques to increase yield and save on water. I feel a bit apprehensive because my plan is to completely change the way they garden, so there will be obvious complications. I think I might leave one plot to the Gogo’s to do what they normally do, then do one plot my way and see what happens. Hopefully the veggies in the new garden will be better and I won’t have to do much convincing. Considering they have been using the same soil with little to no fertilizer for a long time I think it’s safe to assume there will be differences. We are currently saving material for the compost we will start next of next week, and after we have seeds and the donations it is GAME TIME! Now that I know we will be getting funding I am pretty pumped to start the garden project and hoping it will expand to having sustainable gardens at other community organizations and schools- so I am treating my first attempt as a trial run.
I am still pretty intimidated and apprehensive on the whole drop in centre front. There are no caregivers to work with the kids and no one really seems to be in charge. I need to find a magic wand, possibly one with a unicorn hair, because we are gonna need a LOT of money and committed staff, and in my experience it is hard to depend on others unless the money is flowing.

I was hoping I would have a bit more direction at this point. I don’t really like working by myself or feeling like I am forcing people to do things they probably don’t want to. It gets rather exhausting trying to brainstorm ideas when everyone around you is looking for a better job. It is a weird feeling being a month into this site being mine, but having been here a year. Sean, the PCV who I share a shopping town with put a very positive spin on it that “it’s like being 16 all over again, but smarter”. It’s true. Getting a second chance, a do over- to go back and be 16 but with more wisdom and insight. So that’s the cool part. But that crap part is getting projects started and feeling productive. I feel like projects are ABOUT ready to start and I am way anxious, I am about to be busy with fun stuff but what I’m busy with right now is all the boring stuff. But since I am getting ‘to be 16 all over again, but smarter’ I knew I had to get the ball rolling on at least one project that I would enjoy and would keep me busy that I could do by myself, so when other people drag their feet or get busy with something else, I can be productive. For me that is working with the teens and building a compost. HOLLER!

Good thing I packed extra patience!


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