So I decided that I want to complete another year of service in Benin. There are a few positions that I am interested in here. So I'm going to put in my applications and see what happens. I believe that if I want to have a career in the foreign service, staying overseas for a extended period of time would be beneficial. I hope to better my French speaking skills, increase my work load a little more, and gain more health work experience at the NGO level to increase my chances to get into graduate school. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is my first choice and anything that will increase my chances of getting into the program would be a help. I also am looking into Tufts, and The University of Maryland. We'll see what happens. I know I probably upset many people from home, but this is best for me. I enjoy the work that I'm doing so I might as well continue doing the things that I love. As far as I know, nothing has been promised to me at home so I might as well do what I can for myself here.
I was a trainer for the In Service Training last month for the 1st year volunteers. It was really nice getting a chance to see all of the volunteers from health, environment, and small business enterprise. I missed them a lot. We got to catch up on what's happening in our villages and I needed the time to hang out with them. It was refreshing.
I have been studying for the Foreign Service Officer Exam which will be on Feb. 28th. A week earlier than I was expected. I'm extremely nervous because many people don't pass. But I'll still give it a shot. You never know. It is a test on EVERYTHING! Math, economics, world history, U.S. History, computer technology, communications, cultural sensitivity, American Government, U.S. Society and Culture, world politics, geography, and grammar. Damn right? The worst part about it is that we dont have the resources here to study like we could in the states. Tips to do well on this test include reading the New York Times for six months straight.....and where will I find this newspaper here? Watch the news daily....what TV? So just wish me luck....I need it. If I fail it, I won't be too devastated. Apparently 10-40 percent pass....I know, I know. I don't sound very confident. Who would be when everybody, including the Embassy keeps reminding you about the stats?
I was a presenter at the 1st snnual stakeholder's meeting. The meeting showcased Peace Corps and the work we are doing in Benin. It went very well. The US Ambassador of Benin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs was there. So it was pretty high profile. I was very happy to be one selected to give a presentation. My workparter also got a chance to present the benefits of having a volunteer which worked out well in my favor. Good thing I do work in village. I plan on going to the Gender and Development dinner next month. The dinner is really good and I look forward to eating vegetarian lasagne. I ate the steak last year and ended up regretting it. The steak was good but not as good as the lasagne. So I decided to change my order this year.
I got some packages! I recieved an AWESOME package from my friend Kaitlin. She sent me EVERYTHING. Or at least close to it. Granola bars, beef jerky, nutrigrain bars, mac and cheese (Kraft AND Velvetta), ear plugs, Ebony and Essence magazines, a notebook, GOOD pens, gum, peanut butter and cheese crakers, and INDULGENCE trail mix. OMG!!! I think I gained five pounds alone off this package. I couldn't stop eating all of the delicious goodness! I still have some trailmix, granola bars, and my Velvetta left over. I plan to hold onto that as long as I can. The kids LOVED the magazines. They rip out the pages and put them on their walls in their homes. It's so strange to walk around in the bush, enter a mud hut and run into a picture of Beyonce on the wall. I find it to be a very interesting site to see. That's all for now.