Workshops, Fish Harvests and Celebrating Two Years
Well once again time seems to be flying by. Sorry to those that like to read my “bush reports” since I haven’t been keeping up with my entries. Honestly I’ve been really busy with work and Peace Corps related activities. The month of April consisted of holding a 3 day HIV/AIDs training for 30 Headmen in the Chief Madzimawe Chiefdom. Kristina (my good PC neighbor) and I organized and facilitated the workshop and had New Start (NGO) come out and conduct Volunteer Counseling and Testing (VCT) for over 40 people in the community to get tested for HIV. In my opinion it was a successful workshop as we discussed at length how they as leaders of their communities can help prevent the spread of HIV. I hope it helps make a bit of a difference. I’m happy to say though that this was my last big workshop in PC. I love doing these workshops, but they require lots of planning and many headaches when things don’t go as planned. Then I went to Kapatamoyo and watched my farmer, Mr. Chulu harvest his first pond. I must say how proud I am. He’s the first farmer I’ve worked with from start to finish and it was great to see him succeed and harvest the first RAP standard pond in eastern province. He harvested 16.5 kg of fish from his 10x15meter pond. This is considered a great harvest. He sold the fish for 15,000 kwacha per kg. He was really happy as was I.
At the end of April, I attended my Close of Service (COS) conference. Basically its three days of PC putting us up at a really nice resort, Chaminuka and reviewing our service, discussing admin items to finish up our service and time for reflecting upon what we’ve done. It was an extremely emotional few days. The last night we held a candle ceremony and had a chance to thank other volunteers or members of staff that have helped us during our service. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It really hit me that my service was coming to an end and how big of deal this really was. It was a really great couple of days and fun to party with the people I care most about. Chaminuka is about 45 minutes out of Lusaka where we went to a “cheese” cave and drank limitless wine, went on game drives in the game park, took boat rides and drank really good beer, wine and spirits. Fun times. It was really great of PC to put us up in such a nice place.
We came back on May 2nd and I’ve basically been hanging in the village, visiting fish farmers and trying to enjoy these last few months. Its hard to believe its been almost two years since I left the states. In the next blog I want to reflect more on my service but for now I just wanted to catch everyone up on the past two months. Last Saturday I went to the harvest of another group of my farmers. They harvested 13kg, not too bad. Its been really fulfilling to see the “fruits of my labor.” Its also hitting me on how difficult its going to be to leave here. I’ve developed some really close relationships with people and my family here is like my own in the states. Its definitely bitter sweet and saying good-bye is going to be one of the hardest things I have to do.
Well I’ve had a lot of time to think about the next phase of my life. Plans are always changing, but for now I’ll be heading to Cape Town on August 15th with my best friend Cait and then heading to Cairo, Egypt on August 27th and arriving back in the states on September 19th. Then I think for the first month I’ll be hanging out and catching up with friends and family and be in Robin’s wedding….which I can’t wait!!!! Hope all is well with everyone at home. I miss you guys and can’t wait to see you again!!!