Thursday, February 26, 2009

Progress Report: Month XVIII


The past month has been a busy one for me with more ups than downs. I have a sense of accomplishment.

New Primary School
Ten acres of jungle has been cleared, plotted, and over 50 truckloads of sand have been brought to the site. On March 17th or 18th, the Japanese agency, JICA, officially presents its portion of the grant to the village for building materials. The village is responsible for site preparation and all the labor.

Measurements and a list of building materials is being gathered so that I can write my next grant proposal for a fence to protect the property from vandalism and pigs. A request also needs to be made for a rugby playing field. Again these requests are for materials with villagers supplying labor. The most likely donor agencies are the European Union and the United Nations Development Fund.

Testing villagers is in full swing with no end in sight. They want to be tested and weighed. The men are the most reluctant to be tested and hardest to reach (so what’s new here?). Testing is done at community houses, churches, people’s home, and at my own. My sports bag is now my testing kit with a scale, measuring tape, diabetes meter, and blood pressure cuffs for various size arms. I must be a sight carrying it from place to place.

My biggest surprise is the total unawareness by people as to how big they have gotten. Scales don’t exist, clothes being tighter attributed to shrinkage by the sun.

Disappointments continue to prevail about gardening in my village of Iva. The President of the Women’s Committee won’t release her land because she doesn’t want anyone else to be making money off it. She is growing grass/weeds. There are fewer gardens now than when I came, those that existed being replaced with taro. My neighbor and his young wife have given up their garden after pigs invaded it. I continue to grow for my own sanity and diet. A recent attack by young piglets getting through the fencing; chickens and insects continue to thwart my efforts.

Hope springs eternal as other villages and more recent Peace Corps Volunteers seek my help and seeds.

Sewing Machines
Sewing classes have yet to begin and the machines remain in a locked room, inaccessible by anyone. However, if and when a proposal for fabric and accessories is written and granted, classes shall start anew.
No new developments, except I really like mine.

Money Lender
I am taking a harder line, but how can refuse to lend money to someone who wants to give it to their fat pastor so he can buy more food?

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