So this past week I travelled down south to Pagala where after nearly 3 months at our posts my training group all met up again for a week of training. Since we weren’t supposed to leave our regions during our first 3 months it was the first time since swear in that I was seeing almost everyone from my training group that I had spent nearly everyday with for my first two months in country. It was great to see everyone again and finally make it to the end of our 3 month region lock down. Everyone knows I get antsy when I can’t travel or even just knowing that I can’t makes me antsy so it’s really exciting knowing I’m now free to not only move about the country as needed but to also now be able to leave country on vacation as I choose. This also marks 5 months that I’ve been in country now which is shocking. The time is going by so quickly and I can’t believe that by the end of January I’ll already be 1/4 of the way down with my service here. It really is true what they say that the days go by slowly but the months fly by.
Since it’s been a while since my last blog you might be wondering what I’ve been up to. Well I still haven’t started any projects or done any trainings but am in the process of starting an English club after school to teach English to students of every level. I’m hoping to get that started next week after I’m back from training. Otherwise I’m still in the interview/discovery phase of all of the groups and organizations in my town to try and best understand their work and where I might be able to help them. I’ve also visited a school in Madjatom (photos on my facebook page) that has asked for my help on building them a school building since they currently conduct classes in straw structures. They really impressed me by taking their own initiative to create an intermediate school in their town after recognizing that many students were not continuing school after primary school and then leaving for Benin (the town is on the border of Benin and Togo) to do domestic work since their parents couldn’t afford to send them to the neighboring town to attend school and pay for their lodging and/or transportation to and from and there was nothing more than a primary school in their village. So everyone in the community now comes together and pays dues once a year that goes into a collective fund to pay for the school supplies, chalk boards, straw structures, and salaries of a few professors to create an intermediate school for their children. They’ve been doing this for 4 years now and the state has finally recognized them as a school but has not sent them any funding or teachers, just a director for the school. I was very wary of doing any sort of funded project and still am, however, I’m seriously considering working with them to get proper buildings and supplies for their school since they did take the initiative on their own to do what they could instead of waiting for a handout or just letting the problem continue. So that’s something that is on my list to start looking into more in the next few months and deciding in what capacity I feel I can help them. I should also start working on trying to get the weavers that in my village more organized over the next few months as I want to bring them to the trade show next year down in Lome and they have a lot of work to do before they’re at a level to present themselves well enough at the fair. While it may not seem like I’m doing much I actually do feel pretty busy and see a lot of possibilities in my town and don’t think I will ever be too bored here!