Monday, May 30, 2011

Low Point

May 30, 2011

It had to come. Now it is here. The low point of my stay.

The problem is Samoa Challenge does not fit into the primary objectives of the two organizations which are to help execute the program, the Peace Corps and the Women in Business Development. The Peace Corps Volunteers are all primary school teachers trained and assigned to teach English as a secondary language. Women in Business Development personnel are trained and are very good assisting rural women in various business activities.

Samoan health is certainly an interest of both organizations, but to ask them to interject energies and resources on a short term project not in the mainstream of their activities, such as the Samoan Challenge, is just unrealistic. Similar issues are why the Samoa Challenge from last year had such a difficult time.

The Samoa Challenge is an excellent and most needed project. There are numerous organizations in Samoa where it would fit in very nicely. For example there NGOs like the Diabetes Association, the National Kidney Foundation, the Heart Foundation, or the Red Cross. There are the governmental giants like the Ministry of Women who implement health projects such as the popular village jazzercise programs, and finally the Ministry of Health which is responsible for the country’s health and who ends up footing the bill for this epidemic of obesity and its related consequences of diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Any of these organizations would be a better partner.

A driving force, such as me, is needed to implement this program. To a large extent my past success is due to my fellow Village Based Peace Corps Volunteers from Group 80 and Jim Metz who identified with the project and felt comfortable operating in rural villages, as well as, the involvement of community nurses at the National Health Service hospital. Both groups had the skills and desire to make their health program successful with little effort or resources. These associations are missing in the Samoan Challenge of this year and last.

My strategy is to continue ahead, like Sisyphus, with organizations to which I have been assigned and hope for the best, but at the same time begin to involve those organizations who already have ongoing health programs to see if they might be better suited to continue the Samoan Challenge.

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