Three weeks left.
I think at this point, we’re really focused on passing on our work to the staff – and making sure everything we do continues – as it would be bad if it’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
This week, we’ve been working hard trying to accomplish everything we want to. In the field, we went to: Kang’ona to discuss their pigs’ progress, and HIV Training with the Youth. We went back to Kang’ona to see if they had shared their knowledge from the pigs training and to debrief from the experience to make sure they understand what it takes to raise pigs. It’s nice to see that they are aware of the responsibilities – and they already started organizing the materials to build the pig pen. We assessed the site and their progress – and reported back to Dominic. They have to now find a builder for the pen to figure out the plans, and we’ll supplement them with cement, nails and pigs, when necessary. It seems like they won’t be getting pigs by the time I leave – but it seems like they’re making progress – and it will continue when we leave. For the HIV Training, it was great – as Lucia facilitated the session very well. We provided her with a lot of the information and she delivered it well. She communicated to the youth that facilitations are not focused on forcing people to change their habits. Our work is to ask questions and allow them to make the decisions themselves because it is only in this way that people will actually continue this. We covered topics such as prostitution, cultural practices (such as one where if the brother dies, the brother’s wife is forced to sleep with the brother-in-law to cleanse the spirit), polygamy, and voluntary testing. This is only the beginning of the training – and I’m excited to see them interested in going out and teaching the community.
In the office, we completed: evaluation of the school, creating a policy/contract for the sustainable pigs project, creating a volunteer application form with a new policy, and creating a guide for updating website. Overall, this week has been a lot of office work. We evaluated the computer school in Ungweru as it fails to generate profit. We talked to various people in the workplace, headed to town to get quotes on better internet packages (which is a huge expense), and made observations in the school. In the end, we made recommendations to help the organization to better their profit margins – so that the money can be invested in the community programs. Aside from this, I created a policy for the sustainable pigs project, so that different communities can fully understand what we’re doing – as well it will serve as a written contract for us to retrieve pigs. By retrieving pigs, hopefully, Ungweru can serve more communities – as there is VERY LITTLE money invested in this project – and I think it is a great project, since it allows communities to do something they are proficient at. The volunteer policy is to increase human resources at Ungweru. The organization needs more manpower – and especially, when we leave, they must find it elsewhere. Right now, the organization is hesitant to take volunteers – as volunteers here typically expect employment from their commitment. Hence, this guideline serves to provide clear expectations for the volunteer. Additionally, I suggested that it would be a great idea to implement a term system – where volunteers will only commit to 4 months (like us). This way, the volunteers know that it is only a volunteer position- and Ungweru can make use of their work. Lastly, the final document that we worked on is a guide for updating website. I’m very proud that the website is complete – but for a website to be fully functional, it must be actively updated. Hence, in order to have this, a guide would be important to have around. Currently, it is 12 pages with lots of screenshots for easy access. In the next 2 weeks, there will be a website training, so individuals will have an idea on how to update the website.
I bought some souvenirs and other local curios during the weekend because I realized that we’re about to leave. I bought/am planning to buy things like: African Shirt/Pants, Wrappers, Wood Carving/Drums, Mzuzu Coffee, and other things to have a little memory of Malawi when I return home. I’ll miss this place. On a more positive note, the plan to go to South Africa is a GO! We’re going to go to a Safari in Kruger National Park and then visit Cape Town (the new 7 natural wonders of the world!) It’s going to be pretty exciting! Booked the ticket and safari – as well as reserved the hostels!!