It’s been a really long time since I blogged, but I thought the one year mark was a good time to pick it up again. This past weekend we celebrated one full year in-country. It’s so hard to believe that a whole year has gone by already and we are basically half way through our service here. It really flew by and I know this next year is going to go by just as fast. Looking back over the last year, it’s really hard to sum up how I feel about my service so far. So much has happened, and I’ve grown and changed as a person a lot, but I still feel like I should be or could be doing more at my school. Projects just take so long to get off the ground and it’s hard to feel like I’m making an impact. I’m working still on getting a library built and I have leads on people who want to help donate books and materials for the building, but nothing is confirmed yet. I’m hoping to finally get the building plans drawn up this week so I can submit them to the counsel (everything has to go through the government here and the bureaucracy is a serious pain to deal with) so that we can get the project approved and hopefully get some help in terms of materials from the government. Then, I need to get a confirmation from a hardware store I’m working with that they will supply the materials, after that of course I need to find funding to pay the builder so I can get the building built, and then after all that I have to get my hands on enough books to fill it up not to mention furniture and all that. Bottom line is, it’s a huge project, but I’m just going to keep trying. Other than that, I have some smaller projects going on—on Friday I’m handing out 400 hand-knit teddy bears from a great organization called Mother Bear Project to the students from standards 1-5 at my school which should be a really great (and adorable!) event. I also have a PACT club started which is a peer leadership group which meets once a week to discuss issues facing teens and pre-teens like peer pressure, teen pregnancy, etc. that has also been a long time coming and I’m happy that it’s finally happening. Next week another long time project is (hopefully) finally coming to fruition as we are holding a career fair for the standard 7 pupils with speakers from different careers coming in to talk to the students about the choices they have if they work hard and stay in school. I’m hoping it will at least provide them with a little perspective about what is out there and what they can achieve. Another project I’m working on is the GLOW (Girls Leading our World) camp which a group of us are organizing and will be held at my school at the end of november. The camp is intended to give girls a chance to learn life skills and leadership skills in order to help them make good decisions and stay healthy. We saw a need for something like this in our region as the kids have never had a chance to go to camp and in a very patriarchal society a girls empowerment camp seemed like a good idea.
So, some things are coming together. Mostly, I’m just really proud of our group as a whole as we’ve made it so far with only losing one couple which I think is a testament to the support and love we all have for each other. I know I would never have made it this far without my friends here and I’m really happy to be a part of Bots 11! So, now we have about 14 months left which simultaneously feels really long and like not nearly enough time. Either way, I’m excited for the adventures ahead. My life here is super unpredictable and I love that, even if it is stressful and unnerving sometimes, ultimately it’s my favorite part of Peace Corps. So, here’s to one more year!