Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Week Has Passed

April 18, 2011

One week ago I staggered off the plane to my new “job”. For those who doubt it is a job let me reassure you that Peace Corps is a job. The pay is almost non-existent, the difficulties immense. Maybe that is why they call us “Peace Corps Volunteers”.

My job title is ”Coordinator for the “Samoan Health Challenge III” (SHCIII). The title implies coordinating something. In a way this is true, for the pieces of the puzzle do exist. They just need to be defined, found, and then put together.

As coordinators know events don’t happen serially, but in somewhat chaotic parallel trajectories. I am in the process of defining and redefining the program. Along my path of discovering, how am I ever going to get 5,000 Samoans to wear vinyl pink wristbands, take a pledge to “try” to get control of their weight, create an eight-week program, conduct talent contests across the country, deal with a Country Director who is worried that someone may die during the program, and get Miss Samoa to be the program’s lead spokesperson? I lay in bed at night wondering about this monster time bomb I have created.

The program, as it is today, is on track. Just where the track is going I really don’t have any idea. I do have all the necessary “MBA-type” steps in place. Here are a few:

The SHCIII Primary Goal is to have 5,000 adult Samoans participate in the program and to have 50% of the participants be able to either, walk one mile or lose 8 pounds/4 kilos, as well as, know and understand the program’s theme. This is accomplished through groups of 20 or more individuals, led by a group leader, and supported by a staff of volunteers.

SCHIII Secondary Goal is to identify as many as possible those individuals already showing signs of or having diabetes and hypertension with referrals for appropriate medical attention. This task is to be conducted primarily by the National Health Service.

The SHCIII Theme is:

Exercise determines your fitness.

The amount of food determines your weight.

The type of food determines your health.

The SCHIII Slogan is:

Look Better

Feel Better

Be Better

SHCIII Calendar

Week of 8 May- Begin promotional campaign

Week of 29 May- Begin Group Registrations

Week of 19 June- Begin Group Sessions

Week of 7 August- Last Group Session

Week of 14 August- Begin Regional Talent Contests

Week of 21 August- End of Regional Talent Contests

Week of 28 August- SHCIII Grand Talent Contest

-What is a Group?

A Group has of 20 or more men and/or women, at least 21 years of age. The Group can be made up of individuals from any village, organization, business, or family.

The Group should have a common place and time to meet.

The Group needs to have use of a bathroom scale and measuring tape.

Session Topics

Session One: Introduction and explanation of program, talent contest. Ask why participants joined “The Challenge”.

Session Two: Samoan lifestyle changes

Session Three: Exercise determines your fitness.

Start talent contest planning

Session Four: The amount of food determines weight.

Session Five: Biblical references to health.

Registration for Talent Contest

Session Six: The type of food determines health.

Session Seven: Relationship between weight, and overall health and vigor.

Session Eight: Wrap-up Q&A. Final weight-in and mile walk.

A successful group is one in which 50% of the registered participants either lose 8 pounds/3.5 kilos of weight and/or are able to walk one mile/1.6 kilometers.

The Talent Contest

The talent contest is an optional part of SHCIII.

There are two parts to the talent contest:

-A Regional Talent Contest at a nearby site.

-A Grand Talent Contest to be held in Apia for Regional Contest winners.

-Prizes are to be awarded to both Regional and Grand Talent Contest winners.

For a group to qualify for the talent contest, the group must be a “successful group”.

A group can only have one entry.

Any number from the group and only registered group members may participate.

The performance can be a dance and/or song.

There is a 5 minute time limit for each performance.

Overtime performances are to be penalized.

The group is to provide its own music, sound system, any props.

Performances are scored by a panel of independent judges.

The order of appearance shall be based on a random drawing.

Performances are judged on a 10 point scale on the following:

-Quality of Performance

-Originality of Performance

-Effectiveness of Portraying the SHCIII Theme.

-Effectiveness of Portraying the SHCIII Slogan


Participants- 5,000

Group Leaders- 250 (also participants)

Volunteers- 75 (non-participants)

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