Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week 3: It’s a good thing I like bananas

This week continued the regular schedule of language from 8-10, tea, tech session and lunch at 1230 and more tech sessions in the afternoon. Much of this week’s language sessions focused on our upcoming trip next week to see a current PCV.
Wednesday brought more shots: Typhium IV and flu shots. My Rabies shot last week left a wonderful bruise on my arm (see the picture in the previous blog post) so the nurse got to see her handiwork! I really do suck at shots…I always either bleed or bruise and they hurt like hell!
Wednesday we also went out into the surrounding communities with our language groups to practice PACA (Participatory Analysis for Community Action) tools we learned about the previous day. Our group did a community needs assessment and a priority ranking of those needs. The community we visited was a small, poor village near the training center that had many needs. Several were: the inability to sell their goods (crafts) at market, the lack of affordable seeds this year, no way to make money since the harvest hasn’t gone well recently, a lack of youth organizations and adequate and affordable schools, lack of transportation to other towns, including the town we’re living in which is a trading center and has a large weekly market, and finally safety concerns. Apparently, this area has seen an increase in kidnappings and murders – they called them sacrifices. One example they provided was that if a wealthy individual (they said accountant) wanted to build a new house, he would contact a local witch doctor to ensure the safety of the home. The witch doctor would then take a child and either kill him/her for their blood or behead them, either way putting the bones in either the structure of the house or buried somewhere on the grounds. We really didn’t know what to say at that point…it wasn’t anything we were prepared for. We later learned that generally it happens once in a community and then the sacrifices move to another community, but as you can imagine, it was the number one concern for the community. We didn’t have many answers for them at that time; we didn’t have much time to prepare for giving recommendations.
On Thursday we had a youth sports clinic with the PCV stationed in our town, Nick. It was a lot of fun, and while it wasn’t as structured as he had hoped, the kids had a blast playing football (soccer) and catch. We learned that it was Nick’s birthday so we took him to a local bar for a few drinks and fun.
On Saturday we had a mid-term assessment where they told us how we’re doing so far and asked us if we had any recommendations on what they could do better. My language teacher and the trainer I spoke with told me that I’m doing well; I just need more confidence in language class (which I know). I told them that I sometimes have a hard time maintaining focus in technical sessions. The Ugandan way of teaching is to lecture, lecture, lecture…that’s not the type of learning I do well! They’ve tried to adjust their teaching styles to American ways, but sometimes there’s still a lot of lecture!

No comments: