Obviously I’m still trying to catch onto this whole idea of blogging. I’m starting to catch on though. I promise. Anyways, I’m sorry for not getting a post up for a while but here it is:
Happy Peace Corps Week from Ethiopia! February 24 – March 2 is Peace Corps Week and Peace Corps is celebrating its 52nd birthday. Neat to think that I’m part of an organization that has been around for so long. In honor of Peace Corps week I hope everyone back home enjoyed all the chaotic wintry weather that has hit the mid-west especially back home in Mid-Mo where it seems to have hit pretty hard. If you were one of those lucky people that had no power for some time – welcome to my life. 😉 Just this evening my power has been off and on numerous times. Luckily tonight I had leftovers so I didn’t have to cook in between power outages. As a Peace Corps volunteer I’ve learned to appreciate all the little things. I thought I did before but I really had no idea. Reliable electricity, cellphone reception, a hot shower, a variety of delicious food is all a distant blur to me at this moment in time. I’m surviving just fine but as a Peace Corps volunteer I’m learning to live with little, if I get something in a care package I treat every item like gold. What I do have I use it wisely and in creative ways. I don’t consider my current reality a sacrifice but rather a learning and humbling opportunity to realize all the things that many of us from the developed world take for granted everyday.
As for my work in Aman it was slow over the past month. 1st semester came to end as I mentioned in my last post and students and teachers were busy with final exams and what not. Then I was supposed to spend a week out of site in Jimma the main town up the road for my group’s regional in-service training. Well, I ended up only staying in Jimma for one night for the training. I ran into a slight health concern (a new pastime of mine) and after speaking with the Peace Corps Medical Office in our Addis office we decided I needed to go into the capital. I was having chest and back pain that was really starting to bother me and we wanted to make sure it was nothing too serious. Lucky me, since I was in Jimma there was an airport. I got to take a flight into Addis. This is special because PCVs usually aren’t allowed to fly into Addis from Jimma. It was nice considering I hadn’t been on a plane or almost any non-cramped form of modern transportation since June of last year. Anyhow, I got to Addis and after various tests including an ultrasound on my heart (it is fine and dandy) we discovered that the pneumonia I had a week back and all the coughing I did resulted in a tear in a muscle or piece of cartilage that just so happened to be in the same area as my heart that was causing me a lot of pain. So with that realization my Peace Corps medical officer sent me packing with muscle relaxers and strong pain killers in hand. The next day I was on my way back to Jimma to see the other volunteers off since I had missed the majority of our training program. Oops. Health first. So needless to say last week was a bit hectic but it was nice to get a little vacation from Aman. Now I’m fine and just dealing with the normal stomach issues probably because of something weird I ate.
At my primary school this week I got my English clubs back up and going for 2nd semester and today and yesterday I hosted the International Creative Writing Contest for Aman High School students and the 6-8th grade students at my school. Next weekend I’m going to host the contest for the Mizan-Tepi University students with the help of the lovely card playing VSO volunteer Diana (check out her blog).
Tomorrow morning I have my 2nd teacher training. I had to change the date for it numerous times already and today when my principal said we have another meeting tomorrow and you can’t have yours I “went off” in the nicest way possible as to not offend anyone. So as far as I know I’m good to go in the morning and the English teachers will be excused from the other meeting. If they would give me my own room I wouldn’t have to take the space they need. However, they’ve known about my training program for a while so I’m not sure why they double booked the venue. As far as getting my own classroom it is still a work in progress. I submitted today a proposal and action plan for my English Language Improvement Center (E.L.I.C.) which is the reason I really need my own classroom. Giving the ferenji, white man who speaks perfect English a classroom of his own is proving to be quite the task. I now have the Mayor’s office, the town administration’s education office, teacher’s association and others on board or at least aware of the situation. So I hope with my proposal and my continuing begging I will have a classroom of my own to start putting my ELIC together soon.
I’ll be in Aman for the next week and a half then I’ll be headed back to Addis along with all of the other 200+ Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia for our All Volunteer Conference (AVC). I also get to stay a few extra days for a short training of trainers since I was elected to be on our Peer Support Network (PSN) in November when my group had our IST in Ambo. I’m pretty excited for our AVC not only to get another vacation from site but also to see old friends and to meet new volunteers. We’re all spread out all over Ethiopia and with me being in a location at “the end of the road” I don’t get to meet many new volunteers or volunteers from other sectors so it will be nice. Will write again soon”ish”. Be safe and stay warm to all of those back home. God Bless!