Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Progress Report: Month XXI


Diabetes Testing
There is a pause in testing new people as I compile the results. I gave my findings to a newspaper reporter and the nurses at the hospital. The reporter promises to write an article, and the nurses’ plan to follow-up on the newly discovered cases. Other Peace Corps Volunteers are scheduling testing programs for their villages in the remaining months. They also seem very committed to continue health programs after I leave.

Savaii Health Fair
What started as a thought during a restless night is now a full-fledged project (I dare not say nightmare). The dates have been moved to June 19-20. I have spent lots of time arranging space, entertainment, sponsors, participants, etc. When the nurses asked if it could be their fair, I almost kissed them. This needs to be their event with a lot of Peace Corps assistance, but in the background. There are still political hurdles to overcome. These things must be handled very delicately.

Where ever I go I carry samples of okra for people to try and seeds to plant. There are all types of missionaries in Samoa and I have to count myself as one. Conversions are slow, but one villager said she sold five okra pods for $5 ST, a very high price. She is now a believer.

Most of my success is in other villages. Some of these villages have Peace Corps Volunteers; others have village leaders wanting to help generate income. There are individual farmers in my own village with successes, but no village leaders.

I still maintain my own garden with okra, of course, corn, cabbage, peanuts, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers. This gardening thing has got a hold on me.

New Primary School
Construction materials are ready to be delivered as soon as the school committee returns from their fund raising expedition to New Zealand. Hitting up Samoans living in New Zealand with titles from Iva seems to be the main source of funds/taxes for village projects.

I have submitted a proposal for a security fence to enclose the ten-acre school site.

Final Goal
I hate using the word “goal”, except for soccer or hockey, but I want my picture taken with the Minister of Health as she undertakes a program to educate Samoans that obesity is unhealthy.

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