Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Everyone!
We're back in Kara for the day…enjoying a hot Thanksgiving by the pool
;-) We came in this morning and are spending time on the internet
before heading to the pool and the restaurant for a cheeseburger.
Some of our friends are coming in this morning as well so we are
excited to spend the day with them.

We have been very busy in village with gardening and teaching. As for
the garden, we've had some problems with pests but Nathan is working
hard on natural pesticides (hot peppers and tobacco) and we hope to
have radishes in the next couple of weeks. Plus my cabbages are doing
well and they should be ready when our parents arrive in late

I have been busy teaching at the middle school as the English teacher
has been away for a week and a half at a training. It is exhausting
to teach four classes a day! I tried to incorporate lots of creative
activities and the students seemed to enjoy the change in pace. Plus,
I led a couple of PTA meetings at the village schools concerning why
it is important to send girls to school. At the last meeting, I had
75 parents come! A record…plus I think they really enjoyed it. There
was lots of discussion about why girls have more domestic chores than
boys and thus less time to study. We made a list of all the daily
chores and the girls totaled 9 to the boys 4. The parents decided
they are too old to change their ways but they would try and more
equally distribute the chores between their children. The chief asked
if he could come by the house and have Nathan teach him how to do
laundry! I laughed so hard…but invited him over! We'll see ;-)

We are headed to Tsevie next week for the last week of training with
the trainees. They swear-in next Thursday. And I have a new dress!
I hope to post again to the blog as well as add video and pictures.
So check back in then! Hope all is well with everyone! XO

An example list of chores (I'm sure there are others!):
Pull water from the well (2x/day)
Cook (3x/day)
Sweep (2x/day)
Wash dishes (3x/day)
Wash clothes (3x/week)
Buy goods at market (1x/week)
Sell goods at market (1x/week)
Harvest crops (daily if needed during the school year)
Take care of the younger children (daily)

Sell animals at market (1x/week)
Take animals to pasture (1x/day)
Feed chickens (2x/day)
Plant crops (during the summer…not the school year)

Thursday, November 5, 2009


(that's me standing along with the other editors Chrissy and Jess who are sitting down)

Hi All,

I'm still in Lome and decided to check in with you all! All is going well here. I am exhausted and again, I can't say this enough, who knew it would be so hard to format a newsletter?! I need a good nights sleep! Here's the intro letter to our newsletter...

Hello everybody!
Welcome to our first issue of Perspectives. First of all, thanks to all who submitted an article. We have a lot of great things for you to read and enjoy. We would like to continue to improve Perspectives and better define its purpose. In addition to sharing gender-related projects, we hope to create a forum for dialogue about our experiences. We also want to provide a creative outlet. Be looking for the specific focus of our next issue through EMS (our mail system). However, in this issue you will find the following viewpoints:
· Work (projects volunteers are working on, such as a computer camp in this issue)
· Committee (update from the gender and development committee)
· Food (recipes! 3 Indian ones this time)
· Staff (an interview with a staff member...the Security Officer in this issue)
· Celestial (star charts!)
· Emotional and Creative (everything from poems to reflections to drawings)
We hope you enjoy. We welcome feedback and of course future submissions!

As you can see, we are having lots of fun with the articles. Tomorrow it's off to the printer (ie the copy machine in the PC office where double-sided copies must be fed manually...yuck). Hope all the volunteers enjoy reading it. And hope you have a good night...Sleep well! I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back in Lome...

Hi All!
I hope this post finds everyone well! I am in Lome for the week working on a GEE newsletter. I arrived yesterday and will be here until Saturday. I'm enjoying the AC though the work is much harder than I thought...who knew Publisher could be so difficult?! But we are pushing on and hope to be done by Friday! Keep your fingers crossed!

On Saturday, I'll meet Nathan in Kara where we'll spend the night. All of the new volunteers who are posted in the Kara region will be there for the evening. We plan on eating lots of guinea fowl, fried yams, and local salad. And maybe a beer ;-) It should be a fun evening!

I am busy at post conducting PTA meetings (APE - Association de Parents des Eleves) in order to better inform them about the GEE program. The teacher who went with me to the science training this summer is helping me lead them and translate everything into Kabiye. So far the parents have been very interested and receptive. I probably should have done this when I first arrived at post, but, hey, better late than never, right? Plus I have a woman make local beer for everyone've gotta get parents to the meeting somehow! hehe Think they could try this at your local school? Better attendance?!

I am also doing a Peer Educator Training. I have forty girls and boys at the middle school who are doing the training. I am the trainer, along with the four students who went to Camp UNITE this summer. We have four afternoon sessions, in which the students will learn about HIV/AIDS, self confidence, good communication, and gender equity. We're going to sing and play games as well. Plus they will all receive school supplies upon completion. We are one week in and will have another session this next Wednesday. So far I think they are enjoying it!

And of course, as you can see from the pictures, below I am staying busy cooking and gardening. Be sure to check out all the pics! I'm sorry I can't write more...Publisher is calling! Until the next time, take care. Miss and love!

More Cooking...

I'm still experimenting...Here's the latest creations!

Chocolate fudge for our friend Winah's 2nd birthday!

Spaghetti with garlic bread and homemade ricotta cheese.

A closeup of my cheese...yep, that's right...HOMEMADE!

Blueberry muffins! Thanks Aunt MC for the dried blueberries ;-)

Girls Garden

Nathan has started a girls garden to help girls raise money for their school fees. They are planting cabbage, onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Here are a few pics of the work in progress...

All the girls by the well!

Nathan watering my cabbage - yep, I have a small section in the garden.
Nathan helping his friend Jermaine put up posts around the garden.

Home Garden

As I have mentioned in other posts, Nathan and I now have an "urban" garden outside our house. Here is Nathan...
Along with our planted tomatoes, radishes, and moringa trees!


Our next door neighbor's dog, J'adore, had four puppies two months ago. They recently came over for a bath and a bowl of milk ;-)