I’ve successfully made two improved stoves this month! That’s the same amount of stoves I made in site all of last year. I’m hoping to make more in my community as word hopefully catches on and more people become interested.
|One of the improved "Inkawasi" stoves I built recently in my community|
|A neighbor's pigs enjoying their new home-made concentrate mix|
The girls from the youth group participated in a 3-day camp where they participated in various life-skills activities as well as fun obstacle course games and ice-breakers. As part of their participation they’re supposed to organize and participate in an activity back at home using the information they learned from the camp. So it’s up to me to help them put this activity together. They decided they want to give a charla on early pregnancy to the 5th grade class at the local elementary school. All sounds great so far, right? Not so. Trying to get these 6 girls organized and working together productively has been one of the most trying activities for me during my service. It’s obvious that these girls are reluctant to have to do anything after having participated in this fun sleep-away camp with all their friends. I’m pretty sure they were surprised to find out they actually had to do some homework afterwards, and are now procrastinating and taking it out on me for trying to get them organized and working. We set a date to work on the activity and maybe 2 of them show up, or when they do all show up they all want to leave early before we’ve finished what we have to do, or they goof off and talk over me or ignore me when I ask them productive questions to get them moving. The other day I almost started crying out of frustration after a meeting with them, since we got very little done in the 2 hours that they actually stayed to work. Towards the end of the session I had to leave the room to get something, and when I came back half of them had slipped out of the house and already started heading home. I had to call them back so we could review what’s left to be done and to agree on the next meeting time. It’s driving me crazy how irresponsible and lazy some of them are! I don’t know how to handle these kinds of things very well, especially since it’s not my charla, it’s theirs. They’re the ones who will be presenting this information to a classroom full of kids, not me, so if they don’t show up and practice what they’re going to present, then they’ll feel pretty stupid once they realize how dumb and unprepared they’ll look in front of an audience. I’m trying to help them get organized and practice what they’re going to say, but no one wants to participate. I’m the one trying to prevent a car crash here, ‘cause I don’t think they realize how difficult it can be giving a public talk, and I’m worried that they’ll fail because I didn’t prepare them enough. I just don’t know how to wrangle all of them together and keep them focused to get the damn work done. We had one more meeting a few days ago, this time with a new strategy of having the meeting at one of the houses where most of the girls in the group live, and luckily everyone showed up this time and did a great job getting the work done. We're scheduled to do the charla tomorrow (March 12th) in the afternoon for the 5th grade class, and I'm praying the all show up and do the work they've agreed to do.
On a positive note, the community bank that I started all on my own a year ago has finally closed their first yearly cycle, and in the last meeting they received back all their savings and the interest they've earned over the loans from the past year. They finally got to collect all their money for their year’s hard work in saving it, and then we opened the next year’s bank cycle that same meeting, with 3 new members joining. It was a big success and I’m really hoping they use the money they’ve saved for something good, like improving their house or investing it into some other type of income generating activity. That’s part of my job, to show them how they can use the money they’ve saved to make even more, like a baking sales project. Most of the women in this bank have participated in my baking classes so I’m planning on discussing that idea with them. I have high hopes for this little bank, and will work closely with them until the very end of my service, helping them in any way I can.
|Me with the old and new members of the 2nd cycle of Banco Unido after a successful first meeting!|
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