June52014

Hashtag Peace Corps Living/ Lifestyle (#pclivin/#pclifestyle)

#pclivin: You know how to take a bath with a cup of water in a small basin. #pclifestyle

#pclivin: You define luxury and hedonistic goods as flushing toilets and hot shower. #pclifestyle

#pclivin: You begin to think education (the right type) is the key to all of the world woes. #pclifestyle

#pclivin: You know how to waste time productively and unproductively. #pclifestyle

#pclivin: You sometimes…

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April282014

Hello, thank you all for your continuous support and encouragement through my Peace Corps service thus far. I am excited to introduce to you all a new project I am involved in and also ask for your assistance. I call it the bakery project.

As previously stated, I am currently living in a village in South Africa, volunteering through U.S. Peace Corps. I work with a community based organization that helps operates 4 drop-in centers, 5 early childhood development centers, a home based care, a bakery, and a technical/vocational school.

Click on this link to support this project: http://www.gofundme.com/833lv0

In the beginning of the year, I was approached by the women in charge of the bakery to assist them in running the bakery. Because of some unplanned events such as equipment failure and a non-fatal motor accident, the bakery found itself in debt. They explained the structure of the bakery and all of its processes to me. Some of the key issues that I picked up are listed below. I agreed to assist them for a short period of time to turn things around. I am currently the manager of the bakery with one of women working closely with me to take up that position within 6 months.

Click on this link to support this project: http://www.gofundme.com/833lv0

Apart from skills development, one thing that bakery is financial assistance for a short period of time. There is a huge market for the bakery’s product so a quick turnaround is highly possible but will require some cash inflow. I am therefore asking if you can please kindly support the bakery for a month so that it can recuperate it debts and stand on its own again. Your money will be used to purchase stock in bulk, pay for a month’s electricity, buy a water tank, some aprons, and other protective gear for the women at the bakery.



As the old adage goes, “Little by little fills the measure” thus we will appreciate every dollar you can donate $5, $10$ $15, $20, etc.

Click on this link to support this project: http://www.gofundme.com/833lv0


Thank you and please click on the above link for more information about the bakery.

Post 13: The Bakery Project Hello, thank you all for your continuous support and encouragement through my Peace Corps service thus far.
April62014

In 5 days, I will be left with only 12 months to go as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The journey thus far has been so and so. The first year went by slowly and confusing. I struggled to find what I wanted to do within the organization I am based with. I always told myself I didn’t sign up for Peace Corps to be a camp counselor but this past week, I found myself at camp for the second time this year. Crazy huh! The first camp was a boy’s leadership camp in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province. I was invited to this camp by fellow Peace Corps SA27 volunteers and I must admit, I had a great time. So during this short school break in April, I decided to have my own camp for high school learners in my village. Ok, that’s half lie. My counterpart who I took to a Grassroot soccer (GRS) training in October kept pushing me to do a GRS Holiday Camp and I gave in.

So, on March 31st, I took 33 high school students (co-ed), grades 10-12, to a boarding school right outside the provincial capital, Polokwane.  I trained 4 other people from my village how to run GRS (PC SKillz) activities to assist me at the camp. We were joined by another Peace Corps volunteer that brought the number of camp counselors to 6 (including me).

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) or the PC Skillz program creates simple and powerful connections between soccer and life. The Peace Corps SKILLZ approach helps young people have meaningful and relevant discussions about life, take small steps to achieve their goals, stay strong when faced with challenges, and protect themselves and others from HIV and AIDS. Peace Corps SKILLZ uses soccer language, metaphors, and activities to address key behaviors that drive the spread of HIV in South Africa, such as unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, older sexual partners, and gender-based violence.

All activities at the camp ran smoothly. My favorite activity at the camp was Gender Stadium. For gender stadium, participants form two circles, an inner and outer circle. One sex, male or female, occupies the inner circle at a time and talks about issues affecting that particular sex such as gender norms within their communities and cultures. While the inner circle speaks, the outer circle’s job is to listen and be quite. This active brought up some sensitive things such as gender base violence. It was interesting to hear how these teens thought they should be treated in a relationship. Some words that stood out for me during the gender stadium for both sexes include:

“it is okay to beat a  woman, women are like children sometimes. You have to correct them sometimes. This time it is not spare the rod and spoil a child. It’s spare the rod and spoil a woman.” – Male Participant

“It is never okay to beat woman. You cannot say you love someone and then beat them. You have a problem with a girl/woman, you must talk to them.” – A different Male Participant

“If a man does not beat you [a woman] for your mistakes, you [woman] will keep repeating it.” – A Female Participant

“Women, let’s remember that men are key to this world. We must listen to them.” – Another Female Participant

“Just because I am married or in a relationship with you does not make me your slave, a captive. It is never okay for a man to hit a woman.” – Another Female Participant

The camp counselors in addition to some participants made sure we drove home the key message which was it is NEVER okay to hit a woman, whether in a relationship or not.

All in all, this was a successful camp. The learners learned about the consequences of engaging in risky behaviors that led to HIV such as multiple partners, older partners (sugar mommas and sugar daddies), unprotected sex, and substance abuse and sex. The learners enjoyed themselves and did not want to leave on the last day. They have already started contacting me about when the next camp is going to be. I am glad I had this camp and might another one in July with fellow Jersey PCVs. Shout to Taylor Crosby for helping me out at this camp. Now she is some of the learners favorite American. That’s okay. Lol

Until next time, enjoy some pics!

Post 12 : Holiday Camp In 5 days, I will be left with only 12 months to go as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
April52014
February162014

Post 11: The beat goes on

And the beat goes on! Since September 2013, I have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful young man from village. This young man impressed me in so many ways and changed my perspective of some of the youth in my village. In a village that…

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January312014

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It has been months since my last blog post. Some people following my blog probably thought I ET’d (Early Termination of Service). Nope! I am still here. I am out here grinding it out. I have passed my one year mark, 15 more months to go. I will try and…

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January62014
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December142013

If Affluenza is real then Povernza is as well

Robert Jones was born into a broken home. He lives in a single mother household. His mother works three full-time minimum wage jobs so she can pay the rent, utilities, and put some food on the table. Rob attends one of our inner city schools that are…

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December122013
Take them off the pedestal!“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying”
-          Nelson…View Post

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