Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Month Two

June 11, 2011

After two months I feel real good about the progress of the Samoan Challenge. The reason I am here is to implement the program with the Peace Corps teachers. As of last week all, but one, of the Peace Corps Volunteers have received program packets involving 1,300 rural villagers. It is now up to them as to how successful the program is in their villages. Many are off to a fine start and I expect to vastly exceed the initial number.

The staffs of Peace Corps and Women in Business Development are in the program. There still are support issues to assist village Peace Corps, but the first big hurdle is passed. The total number of all participants so far is 1,660, each getting a wristband and informational packet.

It is a pleasure to be out among the Peace Corps Volunteers. They are a bright and dedicated group coping with an educational system strange and baffling. What gives me particular please is turning them on not only to the Challenge, but to hands-on side activities such as gardening, and making jam where they can see the more immediate efforts of their labor.

My target now is the big numbers of participants to reach my personal goal of 5,000. Several large organizations are asking for materials to work into their own health programs. The ready-made program that quickly fits into their own health projects with simple goals and easy administration has an appeal for them. It is time to reach out to the media and crank up the program a notch.

For my personal life, swinging a 7 pound pick in my garden, walking around town, printing and collating packets, taking the bus, travel to rural villages, and riding my bike leaves me very tired at night. By eight o’clock I force myself to stay up till 9:00. Then it is up a 5:00 am. Joining fellow Peace Corps from when I was here for a beer helps to maintain sanity.

There is a price to pay undertaking a project like this and it is being away from my family. My wife, Mary, is saddled with redecorating and moving into a new townhouse while trying to rent our unsold condo in Minneapolis. Sometimes I think that part of being away may be good. There is my daughter, Kim, who is expecting her first child, a boy, at the end of this month. She is constantly on my mind. My son, Nicholas, has his career and girlfriend, but not being able to do things with both of them leaves a big hole. My oldest daughter, Teri, and my grandson, Sam, are coping with divorce and trying to stay financially afloat. The best antidote for me seems to be to stay active and challenged.

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