Thursday, September 6, 2012

Travel Log: One Volunteer's Perspective- Part 1

Day One: We have arrived in Jinga! It was 38 hours from one bed to the next, so needless to say we were exhausted last night! The place we are staying is absolutely beautiful! It's on Lake Victoria and because we were two women traveling without husbands they gave us the best rooms. Upstairs with a view! The nice thing is that these rooms are inside the main house, so they don't have doors to the outside. Silly, but makes us feel secure. We will start our training today, working with Vanessa Crowley and Manuela, her program associate. This year we are doing Life Skills workshops. In a nutshell involves a lot of teaching! It wil be set up in a style like we do. Classroom style. A lot of people come from surrounding villages, then take what they learn and teach it to others. Some of the teaching will be basic, while other parts will be to dispel common myths and thoughts the people are raised to believe. The workshops will cover health, life, relationship and cultural teaching. Vanessa has spent a lot of time with the people, and developing the curriculum we will use! Have a wonderful day and thank you for listening to me ramble! Day Two: We felt very rested today after going to sleep with a wonderful sound of rain last night! It was a productive day and we really got a lot accomplished. Vanessa is so well prepared and Fount of Mercy is doing such a good work here. The organization itself has been evolving for about 6 years or so and it's really exciting to have been in on the beginning stages and seeing the changes that have evolved within the organization itself. Trial and error and being flexible and making changes as needed are key to getting any system to function and truly be purposeful and productive! So often we want to come just do and give to them when we see people in such need. And that in itself is good. But for change to really occur and be lasting, teaching is so important. I'm not referring necessarily to scholarly education. I am learning so much myself! Communication skills are just the beginning. The people here do not express emotions like we do. It's not cultural. Then misinformation regarding health, illness, pregnancy and prevention of disease perpetuate the cycle of illness, AIDS, death and street children. I know these updates get long. I'm going to study and prepare some more! Good night all! Kathleen Hanrahan Lindemann

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