Well, it's rainy season alright, and right about now my clothes I spent all day washing are getting just about absolutely soaked on my patio. I suppose I should take them off, but there's too many, and I have nowhere to put them in my house where they won't get everything else soaked. Besides I'm a naive optimist... They'll dry tomorrow right? Right....
Ok, check! Winy blog moment is now over. Well, it's sunday, and just like in the States, I'm still repeating the same familiar phrase to myself over and over again: I DON'T WANNA GO TO WORKKKKKK!!!!!!!! I guess some things never change.
But I enjoy work, I do, work here is well... a bit different. It's not so much having to stare at a computer screen for too long, or getting stressed out about dead-lines but rather putting a smile on, a positive attitude with counterparts that are sometimes hard to work with, and multi-tasking different projects and completely different types of work. What am I currently multi-tasking?? Well, there is the ever-going bottle project (we are expecting to hopefully start building the benches in September), getting electricity and equipment for a new health post in one of my villages, getting a new water pump for my health center, helping to organize a youth sports "camp", prepping for projects for funding we will be getting in part of the HIV Committee here and of course, as always, my stove and cement floor project. But I love it all, I do, but like any human being I doubt wether I can actually do it all.
There is a saying here, which goes by "Poco a poco", or little by little. I think that's sort of the Peace Corps moto in general, it sure ain't a race, and when you're trying to balance all these different projects well, sugar, 2 years ain't nothing at all.
But I'll keep my head grounded and I'll chat about the projects I'm most excited about... Here it goes... Recently a few teenagers here approached me to form a youth commission in one of my villages. Of course, I was stolked!! How could I say no?? Right now these teenagers are trying to organize two days of sports, games and events for the youths in the aldea. Problem is.... They have no idea what they are doing! So I am trying to guide them, and giving them the responsibility of doing most of the work (getting tropies, water, refs, invitations et al). I suppose the kids thought I was going to do it all, and I think they were quite surprised when I told them that this was THEIR project and that they needed to do most of the work.... I know you must think I'm pretty mean. But we're talking about sustainability here folks, and if these kids can pull through and actually have a succesfull event, they will be able to do anything, and most importantly they will BELIEVE that they can do anything else too. It's a larger self-esteem charla under wraps here folks! We have our first meeting with the mayor tomorrow about it and I think the kids are super nervous!
Moving on... My poorest village here (also the one where I am doing my improved stove and cement floor project)recently had a health post built. This is the village where I have been doing most of my work and honestly, it's been a struggle to get this health post open. The health ministry agreed to build the health post, but it still remains unequipped and without electricity. We just had a meeting with the local mayors, and it looks like we will be able to have an "assamblea" or community meeting about the problem. The idea is to have the people themselves help build tables, chairs, non-medical equipment for the health post, so they can feel as if they truly own this project. But the health post has a long way to go, it is very small (the village's population is 9,000), and does not even an adequate coat of paint!:
The bottle project is going poco a poco, I'm still a little disappointed to see that the main sports field, where we will be building the benches, still has garbage! One of the other ideas that we've had to promote awareness about the problem is to have a monthly "movie" documentary night with kids from the school and their parents... (If you have any documentaries in Spanish pleaseeeee let me know!!)... We were also thinking of integrating a scavenger hunt based upon garbage collection and environmental education during the youth sports camp I previously talked about. Anyway, all in all, promoting behavior change about the problem here sure isn't gonna happen just with this bottle project! Either way it's super cute to see these kids excited about their bottles (check out the kid in the middle with his HUGE bottle!!):
And last, but definitely not least, is the main project I've been working on: the stove and cement floor projects. I've been doing my home visits now since
May, and although I started off not liking them, I've really gotten to enjoy the home visit days... At first, they can be quite a debbie downer... You're never quite sure what's more depressing: seeing the conditions and problems in these homes or feeling yourself get used to it, as they do, as if it were part of your every day life. After many home visits, you become numb, a robot, and you have to constantly remind yourself that these are not normal conditions, that these are things that can be changed. I suppose that's why I usually only do 5 visits a day... But I guess that's where my project is for right? Anyway I've narrowed down the families I want to work with, and they've agreed to come to all the health lessons planned in order to receive their project. Although I was a little hesitant about the project at first, I've gotten alot more comfortable and confident about it, especially as I've gotten closer to each of these 50 families. But what about funding? Well, I have the chance to use a SPA project through USAID, butttt I'm having a hard time getting my community and muni to give the 30% community contribution that SPA requires. SOooooo it's onto the next best thing... fundraising. Ew, I know. But I'm currently working on an oober fancy fundraising page that will blow your mind away. So keep your eyes open, and help a sista out!
Well that's all for now, I'll leave you with a oober cute pic taken during one of my house visits: