"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Monday, November 3, 2008

3 Hugs and updates

Here is a picture of Ryan and I after finishing the seedbed for the vary or what we call rice.

I’m reading a book now called Two Ears of Corn and its called that because its based on agricultural development work and growing two ears of corn where none existed before. This relates to me getting 3 hugs in my village where none existed before either. This happened to me the last time I came back to my village a few weeks ago and was a lovely surprise. Some of my lady friends at site were waiting for me by the road to help me carry my stuff in which was so nice since I had a lot and couldn’t have done it by myself. My mom at site and her best friend have been giving me hugs since I told them it was American culture to do so when someone comes back home and this time I got 3, one from my neighbor this time who followed suite with my other friends. This is the part of my experience here that I really enjoy, getting to share my culture with them and vice versa. They have really adopted me into their village and way of life, but in a way where I can still be myself.

Other stuff that I have going on is our tree project, building the church, planting my rice, farming stuff, teaching about compost, and showing them new techniques on farming. (I’ll put pictures up of all of these so you can see what I’m talking about). For our tree project I’m doing it through the Peace Corps Partnership Program so you can contribute to our efforts of raising almost $300 dollars to start it off. We’ve started building the beds for the seeds already and have planted some Eucalyptus and Moringa seeds. Moringa is a great tree that will also be used for food and nutritional purposes since when you eat it, it contains calcium, protein, Vitamins A & C, and potassium which are all lacking from their diets. They are really excited about this prospect of gaining better health for themselves and by using these trees they can be cut back and will still re-grow. These trees are an excellent way to have healthy food options in our village.

Another update news bit is that one of my fellow stage mates Ryan stayed at my site the last week with me working on projects with me which was exciting! My village loved having two volunteers there it helped me get a lot of things done as well! We companion planted popcorn with beans in one bed and carrots with eggplants in another. We did demonstrations for this using a method called double digging which loosens up the soil and provides more air to get to the roots so the plants can grow better in essence. We also did a composting demonstration with them that was very interactive and they basically built the whole pile themselves so that was fun and they enjoyed it. One of my friends in the village also gave me some vanilla clippings, so we transplanted six plants in my yard. I should have some vanilla in five to seven years they told me! haha I’m not sure if I can get any before that, but I do hope so! Ryan and I also planted the rice seeds in their seedbed before we left, so they will be ready to transplant in my rice field when I get back! I’ll need to do some preparation for my bed, but other than that it should be ready to go!

We just started a women’s group as well, so we’ve been having meetings trying to determine the structure and goals of the group which has been a challenge since they’ve never sat down to do these things before. They are really bright and hard working women and already have some great ideas, but we are just working on the basics of why they want to start a women’s group? What they want to accomplish with it and finding out what their motivations and goals are. I know it’s going to take some time with them, but I think they are capable of doing these things and as long as I can keep them focused that we’ll get it done eventually so that they can start with a strong foundation of what they want to accomplish so they can continue to work on this themselves without my help one day. That’s my goal for the group at least. The main challenge is getting them to thing long-term and seeing projects that can build off of other projects that will be sustainable and won’t require too many inputs but they can see results from. Right now the main project they want to work on is raising ducks, which I think is a great idea and we’ll be applying for money soon for this. For now we are just going over the basics so that we can take our time with this project so that it can be a great success for them. Patience is key here, things just don’t change over night!

Things are good here and I’m getting busy working on stuff, so it’s been exciting this time of year. I’m looking forward to the election and getting to watch some of the news coverage hopefully! Hope you guys get out and vote, I sent in my absentee ballot a few weeks ago! If you don’t hear from me before Thanksgiving then have a good one and hope to hear from you! If you think about it then write me something, I’ll be glad to hear from you!

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Brittany is solely responsible for the content of this blog; the views herein expressed are hers alone and are not necessarily those of the Peace Corps or of the United States Government.