What a wild 2 weeks!
Trying to think ahead like I do I assumed since I would be in a location of great service I would participate in my two weeks of training and like normal, last Thursday, I would give you an update of everything going on; well I was wrong obviously. While I was in training sessions the majority of the time during the day, I spent my evenings catching up with friends I haven’t seen since swear-in, eating copious amounts of food, and visiting my host family.
The first week of trainings we spent the days doing a few technical sessions while counterparts spent time learning more about Peace Corps and the capabilities of us as volunteers, this training is called Early-Service Training (EST). By the end of the week we met up and participated in sessions together some of those sessions included visiting a local agriculture university in Morogoro. It was amazing to see all of the different creative ways of watering, housing, and tending to plants and at the end we were able to use the foods we observed to do nutritious food demonstrations. I choose to bring Lulu, the primary clinician of the dispensary here in my village, and while she is coming very near to the end of her pregnancy she was a trooper and sat through sessions every day even contributing knowledge where she could. We created an action plan for the duration of my service and if everything goes as planned we’ll be busy until I leave (fingers crossed)!
The second week of trainings was an In-Service Training (IST) which I applied for and was accepted. This particular IST was for GrassRoot Soccer (GRS) which is an amazing program that provides a curriculum specifically for girls as well as a co-ed curriculum to teach kids about various health topics concerning their personal health, sexual and reproductive health, and various other topics with a primary focus on HIV/AIDS education. To this training I brought the Community Development Officer (CDO) of my village, Elypendo, and a guy who plays on our village soccer team, Jeremiah. The whole week they were both amazing, asking and answering questions, participating in the activities with high enthusiasm, and when it came to the end of the week when we did mock teach backs they facilitated like naturals!
Counterparts are a vital part of implementing any projects in the villages. If chosen correctly they can help to make the project not only a success the very first time of implementation, but they can be the key in a project that is sustainable and continuous possibly past the duration of your service. After attending GRS with my two new counterparts it makes me beyond excited to begin the project here in the village.
While I was in Morogoro I was able to visit the family I lived with for my first three month in Africa. I didn’t realize I could miss people that I only knew for that short a time as much as I did. The first night we arrive for training it was fairly late and Nelly (the woman I lived with) was gracious enough to allow me to stay at her home. Waking up in my old bed the next morning was the most peaceful experience I’ve had since being here; it just felt right. We spent the day catching up, she cooked me great food, and later that afternoon I made my way to the training center to get settled in. I visited them a couple more time before I left and every time Nelly offered to make me food, which I could obviously never turn down, she asked me how training was going, checked in on my health and the health of my friends and family, and even asked if I would be staying the night again every time I came. I’m still very appreciative for the opportunity to have met her and her granddaughter and I believe that at least for the duration of my service they will continue to be a part of my life; who knows maybe even after my service as well?
I finally made it back to the village a little earlier in the week and spend the first two days cleaning my house and catching up on laundry. From here my GRS counterparts and I have planned to have a meeting with the village, the teachers, and the kids to talk about the GRS project we are going to implement. After those things are complete we can begin, so hopefully by my next post we will have started our first practice or at least be getting closer to starting so look out for those updates!
This weeks quick tip: before you offer your neighbor some of the delicious pineapple you bought just the day before and spent time cutting up and have yet to eat any yourself, make sure if you would like some for yourself set it aside before you take the plate over because assuming they will only take a couple pieces will be your mistake and they will take the whole plate and you will be left with nothing….On that note go buy a pineapple and have a lovely weekend!