The Conejo Pintado.
It’s cute… and also my dinner tonight.
I am a woman.
I am strong.
I will be educated.
I will be heard.
I will lead.
I will make my presence felt.
I am the author of my own fate.
I deserve respect.
Turning awareness into action, and hoping to create a lasting message about gender equity in her community, a Peace Corps Volunteer used a screening to recruit volunteers to paint a community mural to celebrate International Women’s Day and in support of gender equity in Nepal. The Dhaulagiri Prabidhik Shikshya Pratishthan (a technical medical school in Baglung Bazar) donated their street facing wall for the mural and on it was painted an image of a Nepali woman with Nepali text translated above.
Comment: iamsidibe said “Photo of a photo taken at my mother’s Peace Corps host village in Senegal. My mother lived in Senegal for four years where she built a school, dug wells, planted trees, and well, made me. Earlier this year, I visited her village family and they showed me this picture. Life had come full circle.
#tbt #senegal #babel #peacecorps #villagelife #henna #impact #touch #memories #myheartisinafrica”
RPCVs Sean and McKinze Cook (Georgia 2010-2012) always wanted to start their own business, but had no idea what it would be — until they were noshing on some of their host community’s cuisine. “One day near the end of our service, while brainstorming what life after Peace Corps could look like, our host mother called us in for an afternoon snack of khachapuri. As she buttered and sliced the gooey, cheesy, delicious bread, we knew we had to find a way to introduce it to Americans.”
In early 2013 Sean and McKinze opened Kargi Gogo, a food cart in Portland, Ore., that serves authentic Georgian street food.
This photo was taken on the island of Grenada. This photograph is from Grenada's inaugural Camp G.L.O.W. (Girls Leading Our World) 2012. The mornings began with outdoor yoga. In this photo two campers are working together to achieve a partner pose.
- Peace Corps Education Volunteer Katie Moran
I have been working with these kids for about a year, they came in barely knowing how to strum, some not even that. Nowadays, they pick up songs and rhythmic patters in a heartbeat. They are some of the most rewarding kids I have had the privilege to work with. Yet, they have no idea how big of an impact they have on my life.
At the community center Mita Rory, a place that supports 180 families giving homework help, family support, and regular beneficial presentations, a group of 12 women work together to help run the community center and to improve their community. One of their projects is a soup kitchen that provides lunch three times a week to approximately 400 children of the community. The women work together voluntarily using local government donations in order to cook and provide meals to these hungry children. Every three months, the community center is provided with food donations, which are supposed to last them until the supplies are replenished. Unfortunately, due to the poor conditions of the kitchen, food donations are always spoiled or ruined, preventing the soup kitchen to provide meals to children.
The kitchen at Mita Rory was, essentially, a rotting wooden shack that constantly leaked from rain and became home to dozens of rats. Due to water damage and hungry rodents, the food would become unusable, and the lunch program would be suspended until new fresh food was supplied again, leaving hundreds of hungry children that depend on this program. The women cooked what usable food they had inside this shack by burning wood or carbon, causing a cloud of smoke in the room affecting their health as smoke filled their lungs and stung their eyes. It became clear to the 12 women in charge that rat traps and patching holes in the roof was not the solution and that, if they wanted to continue the soup kitchen, they needed to improve their infrastructure.
Every week, the women met to devise a plan as to how to gain the funds to improve their kitchen. For months they tried soliciting help from the local government, but were denied. Eventually hope came from a local NGO donation, which provided the community center with new kitchen equipment. The community center now had pots, pans, plates, cups, and tables but where still left with the wooden shack. With a little more insistence from the women, the community center was provided with a new refrigerator and a large oven that would eventually be used in cooking/confectionary courses for community members, in order to provide new work skills and generate income. Still, the women were left with their wooden shack, and were in fear of installing their new equipment for it would surely be destroyed from the leaks (maybe even the rats). Exhausting all resources, it was finally time to take advantage of outside resources and apply for a Small Project Assistance (SPA) grant through Peace Corps-Paraguay.
The community center was awarded with approximately $2,600 to be used for construction and was put to use right away. Community members came together to tear down the old shack piece by piece, saving any materials that could be used again. The women worked together to help monitor expenditures and evaluate the construction’s progress as they proudly witnessed their dream slowly coming true. As they realized that more money would be needed to finish the building, they set up their new oven and began cooking for a bake sale in order to gain the extra funds needed.
Soon enough, the building was put together and the tables were placed in order to serve its first lunch on “Día del Niño” or Children’s Day. Here, 500 people were able to come together in the newly built room, to have their first sit down lunch as they appropriately celebrated Children’s Day, marking the first of many lunches in the building.
No one knows better than Peace Corps Volunteers that long-held norms and beliefs about gender can constrain female students, women’s cooperative members or female farmers – not to mention wives and mothers – from participating fully in their country’s development. In spite of the fact that women and girls are an important part of development, challenges to realizing gender equality remain 39 years after the United Nations proclaimed International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, 1975, and which we celebrate this Saturday. Every day Volunteers are inspired by their female community members as they take small steps to get their fair share of education, information and decision-making.
Taking a break from a leadership development meeting, Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine visited an orphanage to spend a few hours playing with infants, along with host country counterparts. About 55 children live at the orphanage, ranging in age from newborn to 3 years. The Volunteers also donated coloring books, markers, and diapers to the orphanage.
I’d like to say that I am usually a more inventive cook, pero me da pena cocinar in my family’s kitchen as I feel I’m in the way half of the time, so I try to keep my meals under 20 minutes.
Above you see peanut noodles. Cooked some pasta — AL DENTE (Fun Food Fact: Dominicans cook pasta for a good 30-45 minutes until its disgustingly mushy). Steamed veggies on top of pasta pot using a colander. Tossed everything together with some peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and some hot sauce. For something so simple this is delicious.
Easiest meal yet. I took some of the white rice my family makes daily and stir fried it with some soy sauce, broccoli, and egg. (Another Fun Food Fact: Most Dominican families will make the same lunch daily which they refer to as la badera — this consists of rice, beans, and some type of protein, usually chicken)
Probably the healthiest meal I have made and everything came from the colmado for under 130 pesos which equals to about $3 USD. (Fun Food Fact: Most families I have spoken to shop solely in local colmados and not in the bigger supermarkets that exist in Jarabacoa. Colamados are probably best compared to bodegas. They carry all of the staples like rice, beans, salami, junk food, and lots of alcohol. Some will have veggies available.) I mixed a can of tuna, tomato, avocado, cucumber, and carrot with some lime juice, salt, and pepper.
So there you have it! Maria inventando in the DR.
During Women’s History Month and throughout the year, thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers are working in communities around the world to increase opportunities for women and girls.
The islanders loved it when we would at least try to do some of their favorite things, like dancing. They were always full of praise and laughter whenever we tried. They were always so very generous in all ways. At first we thought they partied too much and were interrupting work schedules, but in time we learned how foolish we were and how important it is to have a balance of work and play. Play time builds community and without community the work is worthless.
- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Lee Dilley (Tuvalu, Pacific Islands)
Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Across the globe nearly 171 million children could be lifted out of poverty if they left school with basic reading and writing skills. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
Who are you reading aloud to today?
Girls enjoying school in Indonesia
Nepal - 2011