Sunday, January 27, 2008

Month Five Progress Report- Iva


Everyone said this past month very little Peace Corps business happens. They were correct. Peace Corps staff and volunteers, as well as, Samoans are either traveling (including Mary), have relatives visiting or are just overwhelmed with fa’alavelaves and church activities. It has been a frustrating month with wanting to do something, but finding no one in the mood to do them.

Village Computer Training/Telecenter
Schools are locked up with staff nowhere to be found. We just have to wait to restart our efforts at the primary and secondary schools to train teachers and to open up the computers for training Iva residents.
Our efforts with the telecenter are discouraging. Our original request letter can’t be located and follow up emails have no replies. We know that even the possibility of funds is not available until June.

Sewing Machines
A real bright spot. The machines have arrived, albeit a slight mix up with the order. The Women’s Committee is underway to construct a room for securing the machines and setting up lessons. They are doing the construction with their own money. They didn’t want to even wait to submit a grant proposal. The women get things done in this village!

Village Youth
Our January 3rd Sports Day was cancelled due to impact of the fa’alavelaves on the village. No new youth activities are currently planned, but there is great interest in having another, even bigger, talent contest with the winners making a CD.

Home Gardens
My backyard garden is now a Demonstration Garden for the Ministry of Agriculture. The goal is to interest villagers in starting their own vegetable gardens. So far there is interest, but no one has lifted a shovel yet. The ministry is happy to provide advice and take pictures of my garden. They don’t seem to have any money to help me out with seeds, and fertilizer. These I buy on my own. My original crop of cabbage is ready for harvest. There is no worry about it going to waste. I am starting a nursery to supply starter plants to those who have prepared a plot.

New Primary School
The Village Council (Matais) has decided not to wait for a proposal to be granted by the Japanese. A group of 20 Matais was quickly formed and flew off to New Zealand to hit up Samoans with Iva titles to contribute $150,000 (US). The existing school location is near the sea in a danger zone. Just when, where, or if we are to submit a proposal for a fence for the new school, is still unknown.

We notified the village that the European Union, a major grantor, now has an annual deadline for initial grant requests of January 31st. If they wanted, we would be happy to help submit proposals. My dream proposal, besides the telecenter, of a building a Savaii Cultural/Tourist Center for Iva has to wait until a location can be decided and land made available by some family.

No comments: