This is my first time in United States, and I think it was a wonderful idea to start in DC, all activities were interesting and well organized, however I would like to mention Mr. Akram´s presentation, for me, he was great, it was very illustrative to learn about…
I realize now that serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer is unlike any volunteer or life experience I have had prior, and may ever have again. The Peace Corps experience is about human connection, about giving a community hope, teaching them new skills and above all, helping them to help themselves.
It is not about bringing in aid, dropping it off and waiting until they need it again. It is about working one-on-one or little by little to reach a goal. It is about taking time. The Peace Corps experience is about truly immersing yourself in another culture to figure out together what is right for them.
Volunteers in the Tamba region of Senegal took the fight against malaria on the road, biking to nine villages with messages about preventing and treating malaria. Knowing that some volunteers bring a variety of surprising talents to country with them, they decided to make the project as inclusive as possible. A “tam-tam” drum, used to get everyone’s attention and bring the villagers to a centralized location, opened each event. The volunteers introduced malaria concepts with skits, then asked a community health worker to do a health talk about malaria and to answer questions from the villagers. Finally, the volunteers demonstrated how to make neem lotion, a natural mosquito repellent made from cheap, readily available ingredients and the leaves of the neem tree.
“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”- Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and the first elected female Head of State in Africa, at Harvard University’s 360th Commencement Ceremony
Yai Gong, my 104 year old grandmother in the host family I lived with in Northeast Thailand, is pleased. She speaks only “Issan’” and I barely speak Thai. Her days consisted of sorting chili, making sweep sticks and chewing beetle nuts. No spoken communication happened by we shared watermelon and everyday she would ask about my wonderful teeth. One day I polished my nails and decided to pamper her too. Soaking her hands, putting lotion on them and finally a pale pink color. All the time she was very interested what was happening as I jabbered on in English, Thai and Lao. Finally, a small, sweet smile came to her face. Cultural exchange in a manicure.