Recess #Tonga #PeaceCorps #PeaceCorpsTonga #Tonga78 (at Vaotu’u Free Wesleyan Primary School)
"I feel very fortunate to be a part of something that is so inspiring and positive."
One day a GIANT stick bug fell out of my roof. How cool is that?! It climbed right back up the wall, except for a brief stint where I tried to pick it up. Did you know stick bugs have wings? I did not, and it sure did give me a start! They can’t really fly as their wings are disproportionately small to their bodies but it does let them glide or rather fall gracefully from predators or overly curious Peace Corps volunteers. After that I left it alone and it is probably still living in my roof. I mean, I can’t tell since it’s a stick bug and my roof is made of sticks but I don’t see why it would want to leave.
OH MAN, WHAT IF MY ROOF IS REALLY JUST MADE OF STICK BUGS AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW? Definitely a possibility.
For anyone who is interested in development, the Peace Corps offers an entre into the highly-competitive world of international aid work.
It is easy to romanticize a life with limited connectivity: candles, campfires and conversations. And how creative of the Ugandans to keep their insulin floating in a ceramic pot buried in the dirt. But the reality is that the only difference between the boy in southwest Uganda and the boy in anytown, USA is one was born powerless, the other empowered at birth. The Oxford dictionary defines power as “the ability or capacity to do something.” It is how things get done.
Photos from the local university’s Green Day event, a fashion contest in which 12 English students competed to be Mr. Environment or Miss Nature. They were required to wear clothes made out of recycled materials and give a speech about the importance of protecting the environment. These are some of the female candidates.
Peace Corps Volunteer Karen Chaffraix is working with her community members in Senegal to install the first bathroom facility at a nearby elementary school. The new three-stall facility is complete with running water for hand-washing and will help prevent water contamination and disease through safe and effective waste disposal.
“Continued community participation is essential to the success of the project,” Chaffraix said. “Hopefully those involved will be empowered to undertake future projects and will contribute to improved health and sanitation for all.”
For those even slightly familiar with Peace Corps history, you’ve almost definitely heard about Sargent Shriver, the first agency Director and the person credited right after President Kennedy with the agency’s founding.
Lesser known but equally due founding credit is Franklin H. Williams (above left, with Shriver), an African American civil rights lawyer, diplomat and foundation president who worked to improve interracial relations in the U.S. He joined Director Shriver as his Special Assistant in 1961 and later became the agency’s Africa Regional Director.
Williams’s career was illustrious before and after Peace Corps. He began his law career at the NAACP, first as assistant special counsel to Thurgood Marshall, where he argued cases before the Supreme Court, and later as the West Coast Regional Director. At the NAACP Williams conducted drives for legislation on minority employment and won the first judgment in a case involving school desegregation. As Assistant Attorney General in California, he created the state’s first Constitutional Rights Section within the Department of Justice. After serving on Peace Corps staff, Williams served as Ambassador to Ghana in the administration of President Johnson, and from 1970 to 1990 he served as the president of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an organization established to enhance educational opportunities for Africans, African Americans and American Indians.
Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are supporting the new government-wide Let Girls Learn effort by increasing opportunities for women and girls through education. Let Girls Learn launched today to raise awareness about the need to support all girls in their pursuit of a quality education. The effort, coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes $231 million in new education programs in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Jordan and Guatemala.
A group of second-year volunteers have been working on a project to bring indestructible soccer balls to Togo to use for HIV/AIDS and malaria educational projects. This spring, a whole lot of these balls arrived in Togo - and last week, they arrived in Datcha. Each volunteer could request balls to use for sensibilisations in their village, so of course I requested some for my girls’ soccer team. We talked about malaria, from transmission to prevention and treatment - sleep under bed nets! Go the dispensaire and get tested! And then we played.
I walked into the front office area of my new home and workplace in the northern Philippines. “Welcome, Ms. Kathy” was lovingly written on the white board. I went to the road to look back at the building and saw a big pile of dung just off our driveway. I asked my new social worker colleague what kind of animal left this behind and he smiled broadly: “Carabao! To welcome you!