Thursday, November 27, 2008

I finally am WORKING!!

I think it's time for an update. So WORK has finally started in my village. I am very excited about it. Vaccinations have started and although I'm not allowed to give the shots, I was able to give vitamin A supplements, anti malaria medication, and medication for stomach worms. I strongly believe that because I have focused on integrating into my community first, the village recieved my first presentation very well. They wanted me to speak Fon and I did, they new my name, and are willing to help me in anyway possible towards future projects.

I am lucky to actually be able to use some of the tools we learned in training such as community mapping. It isn't very efficient if you live in a large populated area. My village is FAR from that. In fact, there wasn't too much to even put on the map. It's a great community building tool to not only bring the village together, but to see what their priorities are in terms of what resources are needed that are lacking. Ever since I got to my village, I wanted to build a well or two. Yet while using the community mapping project, I have found that there are water sources I didn't even know about. Including a hidden well. Very exciting. They really know their village. Also, the village wanted to draw in a cemetary and did not want to put exactly where the traditional healers lived because of tradition. Once we finished with the map, they came together and decided that they need latrines. Everyone goes into the bush and when it rains, Lord knows WHAT flows through the village. My village considered this a health problem and made it a priority. Not the well. They sure showed me. At first people were reluctant to say "I will work for free" in terms of digging, and building the latrines, but after explaining that this is their village, their children, and their lives who are going to suffer, they ALL stepped up. Even I'm going to dig too and they were very excited about it. They were all proud to take ownership of the project.

Last week, me and some other volunteers helped with eye screenings for over 200 children too. The children who failed the eye chart reading will be sent to Cotonou to see an eye doctor. Hopefully, we can get them some free glasses. They are getting free official exams and lense measurements. Things are awesome. I got packages too!! Thank you friends!! I really needed the love.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Learned some cool tricks!

Me WALKING with balancing at the same time. Yeah, I rock I know!
Yeah that's me. Getting my integration on. Hot right?!