Sunday, February 24, 2013

When I first thought about joining the Peace Corps I always thought of the number 27, since that is how long our contracts are supposed to be, 3 months of training and 24 months of service. Since I am primarily a teacher and the school year ends in May, I will be finished with my job and my secondary projects in June, which means that I will likely be able to leave earlier than originally thought.

It’s interesting that all the other Peace Corps Volunteers were right in saying that once you get settled, your contract is over. I am finally coming into my own in Dimako, everyone in the village knows me or at least knows of me and my work. They are comfortable with me and I am comfortable with them, unfortunately it seems like I will be leaving tomorrow. Time is flying, I can’t believe that it’s almost March , soon will be our COS conference, where my stage will meet together for the last time and we will talk about what happens to us after our service. Which is causing some of us stress, myself included. The future is very uncertain for me since I don’t have a job or even know where I’ll end up living, although the current plan is that I will move to DC.

But currently I am the happiest I have ever been at post, work is going better and my relationships with my colleagues is going well. This week was one of the busiest, but also most productive and rewarding weeks I’ve had since I’ve been here. I gave tests to my students for the 4th sequence, which means I am 2/3s done with the school year. Also I worked at the health clinic all week along with the doctor. On Tuesday I was in Dimako for the vaccinations, but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we went to surrounding villages, which are smaller, and therefore do not have access to a clinic except for these monthly visits from the doctor.

I was surprised to see these villages, although I pass by them every time I go to Yaoundé I have never stopped in them before. I know that I live in a village, but it was interesting to see that Dimako is the big town for people in these villages. I saw just a fraction of how hard their daily life can be. Most of the women who came with their infants were happy to see me and welcomed my presence which was nice. The doctor invited me to talk about health issues with the women. Although at first I was a little nervous, since it’s not at all my area of expertise, I fell into it just like teaching. Some of the women asked great questions about their health such as how to better space out their pregnancies and the proper nutrition for their children. At first some of the women were shy but they opened up when I told them that I didn’t know everything and we all learn something every day.

In one of the villages there was an interesting debate between the women and the local relais, who is trained to help people in the village with small health problems. Many of the women were complaining about having too many children, that their husbands don’t help them and if they refuse to have any more kids then they will go get a new wife, which is apparently a common thing. I am not sure if this debate would have taken place if I wasn’t there, but I was glad to witness it all the same. All in all the baby weighing and the vaccine giving is going well.  I decided to not give shots, I was a little too scared, but I give the polio vaccine which is just orally administered therefore is not as frightening for me.

In other good news the computers that were lovingly donated by friends and family arrived and are set up in the school’s computer lab. The 5 computers were all installed and are running well. I even installed typing games for the students to help improve their typing skills. The computer teacher at my school was very helpful in making sure that all the computers are running well and the principal even put in an AC unit to help ensure that they won’t overheat. The students are all really happy and whenever they have free time they hang out in there working on the computers.  

Computer lab at my school

The new Peace Corps office in Yaounde. We should me moving here in April.

Waiting for the Prefet to come to Dimako

Therese, my friend, and I

Ostriches in my village

Women's meetings in Dimako waiting for the Prefet

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