Thursday, February 26, 2009

Scouting's Spirit lives worldwide

I traveled to the town called Nyeri, here in central province, not knowing what to expect when I arrived. I had a map in mind as I had memorized it from the Lonely Planet guide. Naturally, upon getting off the matatu (van-like-taxi) in Nyeri, I was lost err I mean exploring (since Scouts are never lost). After some walking around to find some landmarks I knew on the map, I was able to find my way towards the resting place of Lord Powell.
Upon my arrival I met other Scouts who were also visiting Lord Powell's grave site. The Scouts I met were very friendly and invited me to accompany them for further Scouting-related activities.
During the weekend, I had a chance to meet with Scouts and Scouters from all over the world including: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, all over Kenya, the U.K., Senegal and another Scout from the U.S.A. Of all the Scouts I met during my visit to Nyeri, I was most touched by the friendliness of the Scouts I met while visiting Lord Powell's grave site. Departing from the grave site, we visited Paxtu which is where Lord Powell lived. His former home has since become a museum of the Scouting Movement.
Additioanlly, I was very touched by the Tanzanian Scouter who is also the headmaster of Lord Baden Powell Memorial High School based in Dar-Es-Salaam,Tanzania. All students, staff, and supporters of the school are all Scouts and Scouters from what the Headmaster was explaining. Could you imagine going to a high school like that? I think the idea is very worth while. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit their school in Tanzania.
Lastly, I have some announcements for Scouters around the world: Every Februrary 22nd (the birthdate of Lord and Lady Powell) there is a Scout camp and celebration in Nyeri - if any Scouts are interested in coming, please contact me as I would like to visit the site again, and I can provide assistance. Second announcement: Next year from July-August Kenya is going to be hosting an International Scout Moot. Again, if any Scouts are visiting, I would love to host a visitor and I too hope to join the program next year.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Helping the community

So today, Friday the 20th of February, 2009 I decided to walk around town and visit other organizations to see how I can further assist the community.
I found my way to the edge of town to find that a VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing center - for HIV/AIDS) had been previously established by another Peace Corps Volunteer. I was very excited to see that the works of previous volunteers still impact the community in a positive way.
I met with the Doctor and the staff at this facility and introduced myself and explained that I too am here as a Peace Corps Volunteer and that I would like to provide assistance to the VCT as I am able.
They have asked me to teach the staff at the VCT computer skills, which I am looking forward to doing. As my first computer course I am teaching is drawing to an end, I will try to re-arrange my schedule so that I am not teaching (or helping in some other way) in the same place Mon-Fri. Instead, I would like to work with different groups in different places throughout the week so that my impact can go further.
With this information in mind, I will be training others so that they may be able to teach during my absences. For example, if I am teaching the computer course say Mon-Weds, I can have lessons and/or teach someone else to teach/assist the students on Thurs & Fris so that I can be elsewhere providing other assistance. Of course the scheduling may become very tricky and may involve teaching/helping on the weekends also.
Either way, I look forward to providing further assistance to the community.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

At site for a month now

So I've been at site for a month now and I bet that since I have not posted a blog post in say 3 months, people back home are wondering what its like for me so here goes.

Currently, I am serving in Central Province in small town. I am teaching basic computer skills to community members. I am teaching M.S. Office - Word, Excel, PPT, Access -typing skills, how to use a computer, the basics of a computer, the Internet, and e-mail.

This is a sample day in my current life as a Peace Corps Volunteer:
I woke up at 6 am to have breakfast and leave my house by 7am. I walk to work and arrive at the National Irrigation Board compound before 8. I then prepare my lesson for the day. I teach from about 9am until I am finished lecturing on the topic for the day. After that, I let the students practice on the computers we have available.
Somewhere in between 11am and 12 noon I walk to eat lunch. Lunch is about a 15-20 minute walk and is usually comprised of beans, cabbage, some potato and meat pieces, and a side of chapati (it's like a tortilla, but better - look it up on Wikipedia), and a soda.
After lunch, I return to the office and teach once again at 2pm. The same lesson is given to a different group of students. Then I study Kiswahili and at 5pm my tutor comes to work with me until 6pm. Around 6pm, after the language lesson, I walk home and rest for the next day.

As it stands now, I have bought a bike but have been unsuccessful in my learning to ride as the road to/from work and town (in opposite directions) is composed of rocks and dirt which is not conducive to my learning to ride a bike. Plus the road is very very busy most of the time.