Saturday, December 10, 2011

End of Phase III

December 10th
So a lot has happened since the last blog post. Thanksgiving and World AIDs day has come and gone and I’ve also finished Phase III training. Thanksgiving was nice at my village, but I’ve realized that holidays make me a little too homesick, so I may try to refrain from celebrating or figure out some new traditions to keep me from thinking of my mom’s mashed potatoes or my father’s gravy. What it came down to is that I just can’t cook very well…especially with a two-burner stove.
But, World AIDs Day was a hit and I’m very proud of how the event turned out.  I was able to coordinate for the District Administrator of Quthing to bring a tent and a PLWA (Person Living With Aids) speaker…ALL the way to my rural village. I think his staff was a little surprised when they drove over 3 hours to show up to an event in the middle of nowhere. We were able to reach out to the entire community through AIDs dramas, songs, dance, and speakers. Testers from the clinic came to the event to test for HIV and also brought male and female condoms to pass out. I was extremely impressed with the amount of women requesting female condoms and the instruction sheet for their use.
Two PCVs came to support me and also our PC Country Director came to see the event. Our Country Director helped me immensely by driving me around the villages to collect important items like the PA system, HIV testing equipment, and the petrol and generator for the sound system. I’m still amazed at how open the community was to the information presented.  At one point, there was a toddler holding condoms during a skit…I know that may sound shocking, but unfortunately, HIV/AIDs messages need to be presented all day-every day in Lesotho.  Also, a highlight was our village police rode in on horses at the end of the ceremony and did an act where one mad stood on a horse, whispered in its ear, and the horse immediately laid down on his side with the man still standing on him. Awwmazin.  
Phase III Training was really cool because we were able to ask PC staff all the questions that we’ve been wondering for the past 3 months. Of course, we could have just called them at any point during this past 3 months, but this training made us all come together to talk about our similar successes and challenges.  We gained more knowledge about establishing Income Generating Activities (IGAs), teaching computer skills, teaching Life Skills, Safety training, cross-culture integration, Sesotho language, etc.  
The best part of training was seeing my awesome CHED 11 PCV-mates and catching up on our past 3 months where we were separated from each other.  We spent many hours after school chillin on my host-family’s lawn and laughing together.
Just a quick nag: Ugh, my clumsy-self lost my backup cell phone on the taxi today. Not the end of the world because it was my crappy one that doesn’t have internet, but still…I had 100 R of air time on it and it got better signal at my site. Oh well, my great supervisor told me she’s going to buy me more airtime to make me feel better.

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