July/August- The USA Count Down Begins!
In July not much happened besides working on my Master’s International Paper and presentation. I will be so glad when this is done. I hope to present on the 23rd of August and then will( if I pass) have my MPH!! Also in July I went to visit the new Public Health training group. It was weird to be back as an actual volunteer and not a trainee like I was last year. The group seems very cool and eager to start their adventure in Kenya. There are some new volunteers coming close to my site and I look forward to working and hanging out with them. Well I said hello to a lot of new volunteers this month but also had to say goodbye to a lot of the old volunteers. They were closing their service in July and it was very hard to see them leave. They had shown us the ropes and been there for us when we needed them. It was a bitter sweet moment knowing that I would be in that position in 1 years time! The first year has really gone by fast and everyone says that the second goes by much quicker.
So with actual work like I said I was pretty busy with the MI project but I did manage to get a team together to participate in the Math and Science Olympics put on by PC volunteers in the schools all around Kenya. This competition will take place in September where each team will have a chance to become the regional champion after completing a math and science test. The school to score the highest will then be able to participate for the national title! I love competition and Science so I thought this was something I would enjoy. Also it gets the kids continuing to study and stay motivated on these subjects, which tend to be the hardest among the subjects they study in secondary school. I will let you know how our team does. Go KIMALEWA!
The other thing that has really been taking my time is my garden. It is my very first garden and it is thriving. Thanks to many of my Kenyan neighbors suggestions. I am trying to be an example in the community on how to plant and harvest more nutritional foods. I hope to harvest most of the things once I return from my trip back to the states. My neighbor will be watching it while I will be gone. Lets hope it continues to grow. The patients and family members of the patients that visit the hospital are very curious of the garden and I have been trying to educate them on the garden and the benefits of growing more than just maze and beans. We will see how it goes. Here are some pics of the garden thus far.
Regarding my organization, we are getting funded with 300,000=/ which is close to about $4,000 to implement HIV/AIDS related activities. So I hope when I return from my vacation I will be part of the implementation process. This is a lot of money and I hope we put it to good use. The plan is to desensitize the community on PLWHA (People living with HIV/AIDS) and how they can contribute to the society and hopefully we can work on the stigma associated with PLWHA. In addition we hope to counsel discordant couples (couples in which one is + and one is -) about the importance of using condoms. This is something I have not actually worked with and I am excited to learn and participate in the implementation of this.
The last thing that is very interesting is that I am hopefully going to attend a circumcision ceremony. In the Bukusu culture it is a tradition to circumcise the males during even numbers years. The males are aged 12-16, and this ceremony symbolizes his coming into manhood. There is a lot of traditional activities that take place – well what I have heard- but I hope to attend and see for myself. Oh and the circumcision is done with a knife and now anesthesia. If the boy cries or shows pain this brings embarrassment to the family and the boy is deemed weak. I will let you know how this goes as well…lol
Finally at the end of August I will be very busy with meetings, trainings and medical business. I was chosen to be a warden of my area, which means that I will be in charge of getting all the volunteers in my area to the consolidation point if anything occurs with safety in the country. The training for this is on the 17th of August. Then shortly after this I will attend Mid-service medical where I will go through a lot of tests and meds to make sure I am still healthy to serve the remainder of the next year. Finally at the end of August I will attend cross sector, which is in Kisumu, and I will be attending trainings on HIV/AIDS. Then last but not least on August 31st I will be boarding a plane for the USA!!! I am going to attend my friend Libby’s wedding, my highschool reunion and just get in much needed quality time with everyone back at home. It has been over a year and I really need this rejuvenating vacation. I will be in Princeton from September 1st until the 17th so I hope to see you all soon.
Well I thinks that sums up my last few months
Sending love from Kenya