Thursday, March 26, 2009

Progress Report: Month XIX


The six-furlong pole is behind me with the home stretch in view. It is all out to the finish line, ego whipping my flanks.

New Primary School
The contract between the Japanese and the Iva School Committee is signed. Materials soon should be appearing after the village did its share of clearing and leveling the ten-acre school site. My being on television during the ceremony confirms sometime (I don’t know what yet).

Still to be done by me are proposals to find funds to fence in the school grounds and make a rugby field in front of he school.

Testing villagers continues with me riding around trying to find groups of people to test. I have contacted all the churches with four of the six being active supporters. The “Healing Church” somewhat reluctant; even though the hospital head nurse is a member.

Samoans are well aware of diabetes and hypertension. It is actually their number one concern. My results show 30% of adults, 20+, have either diabetes or hypertension. However, over 50% are obese and they make no connection between weight and their health. Neither the Health Department nor the Diabetes Association tell people that they are fat and need to lose weight. Several people have lost weight with remarkable results.

I have submitted a proposal for 12 bathroom scales in hopes of starting a mini weight-watchers program with a component on diet.

I am actively working with another village that received a grant for home gardens to improve health and also with another Peace Corps whose Women’s Committee is doing a community garden to raise money. Four other Peace Corps on Savaii are actively doing gardens in their villages. I help when asked.

My own garden is now planted with a lot of okra. I plan to raise enough to sell it at the local market, hopefully demonstrating that it is easy to grow, easy to sell, and good to eat.
Peanuts and sunflowers are also good cash crops I have planted along with stable crops of Bok Choy and tomatoes. My main objective is to raise seeds for other village gardens.

Sewing Machines
This is my big problem. How can I get them out of their locked location behind the President of the Women’s Committee house where they have been unused for almost a year? The pastor’s wife of the President’s church wants to teach young girls sewing and was shocked to learn that Mary and I are the ones responsible for the machines. I am trying to recruit an army.

The proposal for fabric is considered an extension of the sewing machine grant and is not being awarded. I am actually happy about it. The fabric would probably end up in the same place as the machines.

New Zealand Aid does not want to fund this project.

Baking Bread
I am now conducting classes on bread baking at the pastor’s house for a group of young girls and the pastor’s wife. I promised a bakeshop at the main market bread baking lessons. I should keep my mouth shut about my bread baking past.

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