Month 8, Part I

From a month of nothing happen to a month that flew by from so much happening. It really shows how quickly things change during your service. Moments of extreme highs and lows, moments where time creeps by and disappears, and of course those moments when you feel the impact you make and then when you wonder what the hell you’re doing.

It is all part of the experience you sign up for. The good, bad, and ugly.

This month is all about finding love through peace. For me, this has been discovering peace within myself and giving myself much-needed self-love. I have started taking less care in others perception of me, focusing on what really will make me happy, and doing the things I enjoy. Of course, this is all part of my Peace Corps experience, not just during February. Peace Corps is about giving back, but not only to those around you, but to yourself. It is 27 months of pushing your own boundaries, testing your limits, recharging your mental focus, and just figuring out who you are. You get out of Peace Corps what you put into it and open yourself to. So for my personal journey in Peace Corps I want to focus on me, and do projects I am passionate about and make me happy. Notice a theme, love and happiness.

It has been a busy, productive and fun month! I have the good fortune that I create my own schedule and projects, and am involved on the ground floor of building up an amazing NGO. So for work this month I have been continuing my Young Farmers group, which I am happy to report has seen a 26% increase in youth participation and attendance in the last month. We planted at the end of last month in an effort to begin demonstration plots at the Food Hub; brocoli, watermelon, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cantaloupe. The dry season will continue until April when the long rains are expected to begin(we hope), so the kids have been diligently fetching water from the local pond and coming 3x a week, plus the Saturday meetings, to ensure the plants are getting enough water during the drought. Hopefully by May we have something to harvest!

On the business side of things… I have been developing a business plan for my NGO and a 12 week Youth Business training course. The development of a small livestock project is still in progress, with potential implementation as early as May. Progression begins with small steps.

Side note: I find being here alters ones perception of use. A pair of flip-flops that have broken, pants that are torn, a coffee mug that is missing a handle, chips, cracks, scratches, etc…all the little imperfections that would render items property of a trash can back home, are still entirely useable here. Shoes or clothes torn or broken? Take it to a fundi! Kitchen gadgets cracked or broken, if it isn’t leaking or can still serve a purpose, keep it. Used clothes are the fashion around here. And no one will give you a second glance if you’re riding your bike missing a pedal, true story, it happened. I’m not saying it is done regularly, or that everyone does it, but comparatively when things surpass their use here no one goes running to get a new one, it is simply and creatively “fixed.”

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