As my service begins to come to a close I am trying, in a variety of ways, to prepare for my departure. Hence, I stated my quest to replace myself with another volunteer. Recently I st down with my principals for a discussion regarding whether or not they were interested in having someone continue the work I've been doing. They enthusiastically agreed which gave me a positive feeling that I must be doing something right.
My own reasons for having someone else come in may be more selfish. In the scheme of things, I don't want the work I have done here to quietly slip away. I want constancy and follow-up, and for lack of a better description, someone here to continue beating positive education practices
into my teachers' heads. In addition, my schools have good management and a handful of people who do really care. In that sense, it puts them leagues further in terms of development than many other
rural schools. This makes me hopeful for them, and I want this to continue; something I think another volunteer could assist in perpetuating. Plus, I've had a good experience with my schools, and I want someone else to be able to have that experience also.
On this note, I talked to Peace Corps about the steps I would have to take in order to get someone else place out here. Unfortunately, I was informed that Peace Corps is not currently placing volunteers in this province until a year from now with the exception a few married couples. In regards to these couples, one would be working in education and one with a non-governmental organization. The verdict: if I want a volunteer I need to find a viable NGO
for their spouse to work at.
Hence, we return to my quest. I brought this up to the principal of one of my schools. She was a bit baffled as she, like most of my teachers, doesn't live in the village thus wasn't aware of any organizations out here. Together we did some homework and through conversations with locals found out that there was an NGO
and 10km away. Thus, we set out to find out what they were all about.
The drive there produced some doubts for me
. I live in a very populated village next to a paved road, but go about 5km "that side" the road turns to dirt and housing begins to spread out. After turning down a dirt road, getting lost 3 times, and maneuvering down
several treacherous ravines, we ended up smack
dab in the middle of nowhere which also happened to be the location of the NGO
in question. There
happened to be no one there so we asked some men who were busy tending to their chickens if they had any information.
We ended up with a phone number and called a man who was partially responsible for this enterprise. Michael told us to drive
out to the road a gain, he was currently at the church.
I quickly found myself in a Catholic Church, an anomaly in the village where the majority of the inhabitants ascribe to the Zion Christian Church. I have to admit that I felt comforted in this church where I immediately was able to identify everything
and recognize the practices unlike many of my experiences in the village.
Turns out that the NGO
stems from the Catholic Church. As I talked to the man in charge, Michael, an older man missing most of his front teeth which was evident from his frequent open mouthed grins, and read their mission statement, I began to regain the idea that perhaps this NGO
could work for a volunteer. Their
was working with HIV/AIDS and TB thus they did home-based care for people living with these illnesses as well as providing care for children left as orphans as a result.
We talked, I gathered information, and additionally arranged a meeting for next
week with the project manager who lives in a nearby town. I left the experience inspired by their mission and holding a tinge of regret that this hadn't been my experience here. All in all I hope everything pans out and both this organization as well as my schools will receive future assistance.