Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Sorry there aren't any pictures this time. I had some problems resizing the most recent photos from Kibakwe and beyond. I promise there will be many new pics next time. The latest news from Kibakwe is as follows: both Carla's and my grants were approved and the money was deposited into our accounts, so we've been able to start planning our Training Of Trainers(TOT). These will be one-day training sessions on how to teach about HIV/AIDS. My grant is to teach local AIDS groups and youth peer educators while Carla's is to teach Kibakwe area primary and secondary school teachers. We're organizing all of the logistics of these training events and they will be taught by our head doctor and the nurse midwife. Everyone is very excited about this and we're hoping it will all go well. In other news, I was recently elected Volunteer Action Committee (VAC) representative for the Dodoma region. This is the Peace Corps equivalent of a labor union or student council. We meet for three days in Dar es Salaam four times a year and discuss volunteer issues and present them to administration. We also write a quarterly newsletter detailing issues discussed and updates on our respective regions and their volunteers. I have started an art club at the secondary school and we meet once a week for two hours to draw. All of the students (about 10 or 12 usually) love to draw and some of them are really talented. I'm planning to involve them in the painting of a mural on the side of the village office within the next few months. I've been trying to teach them different techniques such as how to enlarge a photo or drawing without using a projector. Those artists out there will know what I'm talking about. Overall, the art club has been a very positive experience and the kids have loved having an outlet and an activity after school. Since we're coming up on the dry season (once the harvest is done) most people in Kibakwe will be at a loss for anything to do until the next planting season starting in late September, early October. For many of the students various after-school clubs provide a positive alternative to drinking, drugs, and prostitution, all of which are growing problems in Kibakwe. I'm expecting that after the TOTs we'll be busier than ever since we're inviting 50 people to each event. This means that our social and work circle will increase greatly. I expect many more visits from teachers and members of AIDS groups after May. All we're trying to do is get the people of Kibakwe motivated to start doing these events themselves and provide them with the necessary tools to continue after we leave. We always stress to people that you don't need lots of money to educate and that eventually we will be leaving Kibakwe to go home, but you can continue this same work by yourselves. Every day in Kibakwe our goal becomes more and more clear and the people who are capable of helping us achieve it become more evident.

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