Alive and Sunburning in Africa!

Not much has happened since my last post. I have managed a nice little sinus infection that’s rapidly helping my ears fill with fluids and turn my body into a boat of ickiness. Lots of drugs and phone hugs are putting me back on the right path. ❤

I have unfortunately lost my counterpart for one of the school programs. I’ve been told that Peace Corps is about watching your projects fail and learning from the experience to push out one success. The most skilled volunteer could complete very little without a little elbow grease and a pushy attitude. I’m working on the ‘tude. Slowly working my way into helping out different organizations, and firmly establishing that secretary is not a hat I wear. I’ll teach typing, not do it for them.

…back to the school projects…

Lucky for me, the principal is obsessed with helping out his learners and he chased down (literally!) another teacher for me! We’re starting on a different project but I’ve hoarded all of the HIV club materials and am hoping to unveil them at a later date. I’ll be helping out with Life Skills. Many health and education volunteers work with the program. I am lucky to have drawn a counterpart who wants to focus on the issues concerning at-risk youth. We’re planning self-esteem sessions and I’m thinking hard on ways to encourage learners to support each other to make healthy (and just darn SMART) decisions. Lemme know if you have any ideas. I’ve raided the Peace Corps Volunteer Lounge for material but always feel bad about taking away books. I took some and photocopied others but it’s not the same as a MASSIVE binder. I love the clink of closing three rings. 🙂

I have also started giving homework help at the local Resource Center. It’s hard to remember what Teacher Otterson was writing on the board in 10th Grade Chemistry but I’m working on it. Pretty terrified for the mathematics the learners are bringing in tomorrow. I know, homework help doesn’t sound like a HIV-related program, so how does that apply to Peace Corps?

Drop-out rate for learners in Namibia is abysmally high. Through after-school programs targeting studies and fun activities, we not only keep kids off the streets (and out of bars), we push them to finish their studies. The multitude of job opportunities only increases as you progress up the grades. Hopefully with enough health material mixed into the program + a better job we can smash HIV prevalence.

I’m rounding up white boards and projectors for all of my projects. Just put a poster on my bedroom wall that reads “PEACE CORPS DREAMS & THINGS.” So far I have a few dreams (can we say craft co-op?) and Zumba classes. The staff at the hospital and another ministry are excited about dancing the weight away. You’d be amazed by what part of other cultures have made it to Southern Africa! There was even a Zumba Day event in the capital earlier this year!