Sunday, September 6, 2009

The new country

Before going to Madagascar, I did lots of research about the country. I watched movies, read books and contacted volunteers currently in the country. This time I have done very little research. The main reason for this is the unavailability of pertinent and trustworthy information. I found much of what I ‘knew’ about Madagascar to be regional or incorrect, simply contributing to a false image of what the country and my life there would be like. All I need to know about Togo, I can learn when I get there, and then I will share it with you. For now, I will share a few bits of information, anything else you want to know, right now you have the same resources as I do.

I have heard nothing but good things about the food in Togo.

The indigenous culture is much more lively in W. Africa than in Southern and Eastern Africa.

There will be excessive pressure to drink beer.

Togo is famous for political instability.

While Ghana and Benin have been making steady process in developing, especially in their economies, Togo (right between them) has been making almost none or seeming to move backwards.

Same Sector, Different Job:

As promised in the previous entry, I can now provide some information about my new job. Those of you familiar with PC’s model know that our primary duties are only a small part of the work that Volunteers do. While working on their assigned duties, we also seek out other activities that may or may not focus on our primary project, but meet some need in the community we are serving. I have no idea what these secondary projects may be, but I can tell you what PC says about my Primary Project:

“As a Girl’s Education and Empowerment (GEE) Volunteer, your principal job is to promote the education of girls so that they can acquire the capacity to participate more effectively in the process of developing themselves and their communities.”

The New York Times published this article in the magazine section of their August 23rd issue highlighting the importance of Women’s Rights in Development.
Those of you who know my passion for education and development will understand my excitement for this new program.

But while I am excited to go to a new place and begin this job, I can honestly say that I am more anxious and nervous about leaving this time than excited and optimistic like I was when I left for Madagascar. My service there was difficult, most volunteers report that the first year of service is challenging and frustrating, but the rewards of the second year outweigh the challenges of the first. I was only able to experience the first year, and the evacuation also took a toll on my attitude and has weighed heavily on me as I mentally prepare for this new service.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What's next

After a great summer at home, I am energized and ready to out into the world again. It was great to see my family and re-connect with so many friends. I am blessed by your support.
Now I am preparing to leave to serve as a Girls Education and Empowerment volunteer in Peace Corps Togo. I am excited to have such a great opportunity and am looking forward to going back to work in a new place. More information will be coming about my new position and country of service.

quick recap

In June of 2008, I arrived in Madagascar, planning on a normal 2 year service with the Peace Corps.

In August, I swore in to be an Education Volunteer in the village of Vavatenina, in the East Coast region

In March of 2009, the Peace Corps Program was suspended in Madagascar and all of the volunteers were evacuated.

In June of 2009 I arrived back home in Lynnwood and re-enrolled to serve Peace Corps in another country.