Six days shy of 3 years abroad...
Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
49Trip End Aug 27, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Over the last few weeks, I have also learned a few new things about myself a) I can live with a mouse in the house even when it jumps out of my roommates backpack when she trying to get her computer out of it or when it gnaws at the edge of my bed when I am trying to sleep, b) I can kill and dispose of mutant grasshoppers and crickets when they enter our house in scores after the rain, and c) I did not spontaneously combust after stepping on a cockroach barefoot during a blackout, although that might only be because I didn't initially realize what it was until it occurred to me that nothing had been left on the ground that could make a bursting sound and sensation of that nature (thank God Leeann was around to tell me that I didn't actually step on anything at all and that I should stay in her room because she was not in fact cleaning anything in the hallway while yelling "eww, Oh God, Eww"!!). Insignificant as they may seem, these are actually milestones far greater for me than living away from the comforts of home for 3 years, and I am sure you will all be proud ;)
In any case, these achievements will surely better prepare me for what is ahead of us starting Friday at the camp which the children are beyond excited about (I was just visiting the center yesterday and many of them swarmed me to ask details about the camp and to make sure we don't leave them behind)! After I last posted about the success of the fundraising campaign and receiving the Roraima fund, I now have to mention perhaps the most important milestone- the fact that we earned about U.S. $150 more and have raised over U.S. $1500 total from the generous donations of community members here in Georgetown as well as many of you who donated online. I think the campaign was a huge success and am sending a big thank you and shout out to everyone for their generous support. I very much look forward to updating you about the success of the camp (if I have any energy left) after we return two Saturday's from now... I am certain the camp is going to be great and the children are going to get a lot out of it while also having a lot of fun.
In the meantime, I just want to update you on the goings on of the last few days. I may or may not have mentioned that in early May we implemented a points system at Red Thread for the youth to improve their work ethic, participation at Red thread and essentially use any benefits they gain from that to do better in school. We had some trials and tribulations as we went along (kids can always find good and convincing excuses for why deserve more and someone else deserves less... if only they could use those excellent reasoning and analytical skills for practical purposes!!), but in the end we chose 3 of the youth based on points scoring merit, and one boy who was consistently there to help the volunteers out with other students and their homework while we were overwhelmed with work ourselves. As a reward, Pere and I took them out for swimming, Pizza and icecream on Sunday, and while I think they enjoyed it, the biggest reward for us was hearing them say that they wished the other children could have been there as well and that they should bring back some of their pizza for them. From where they started, to now, it sounds like the Youth Network has played a big role in enabling them to be more self relective and aware of how their actions affect themselves as well as others.
The following day I got the opportunity to join a group of women in a community about 20 minutes outside of Georgetown. Red Thread is trying to establish Community Outreach Groups for survivors of domestic violence in different regions of the country. This was the first meeting that they held in that community through a core group of women which compose a church group. It is always easier to organize with already established groups who can then network with other people rather than trying to start from scratch and then have things not really come together. The difficulty still, is trying to convince women that even though domestic violence may not be affecting their lives directly, they should still take action because it has reverberating effects on the entire community (children that come from violent households are much more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence, and if a mother is just trying to survive physical abuse, what resources does she have left for parenting... many children end up at risk of living a life of delinquency even as adults). For this reason, Red Thread attempts to train women in different communities about the laws surrounding domestic violence and sexual offences so that women who do experience this in their community have somewhere to turn for information if the police are not doing their jobs according to the law. The meeting went well, except the women held some misconceptions about domestic violence (i.e. it doesn't exist in their community) as well as corporal punishment (it's the only way to effectively teach their children right from wrong), but those ways of thinking can only be addressed with further access to information. Red Thread is planning to return to the community for a second meeting in the near future and it is yet to be seen how willing to work together the women will be on this issue. After all, it is difficult to get people involved in caring for others when they have a thousand and one things to do to care for themselves and their own families. As Wintress (one of the women from Red Thread) said however, "We all have little time and a million things to do, but if we can find a little time here and a little time there, we can piece it together and accomplish a lot of work that would never otherwise have been done". In a country where at least one woman is murdered a month due to domestic violence, the issue really is everybody's business and that little bit of time from each individual, could really make a big difference.
Anyway, I better get to work on my presentation for the Youth that I have to do on Self esteem... I have a feeling from the moment I post this blog to the moment we finish camp is going to be a an absolute blur from the flurry of activity ahead. Wish me luck, and thanks again to everyone for their support of the camp!!!