Hello everyone! I’ve made a lot of progress since I last posted. Due to all the previous setbacks, I had to sit down and rework my workplan with one of my bosses. It’s a tight work plan, but doable. There just isn’t much room for error!
I met with the community leaders in Barlonyo these past two Fridays. The first training went really well. We talked about documentation in general: what to document, why documentation is important, and different ways to document. Then we talked about written documentation, focusing on taking minutes at meetings. Everything went smoothly and we even finished earlier than expected.
The next day was busy busy at the office. We were preparing to distribute maize, bean, and vegetable seeds to Barlonyo since the hailstorm destroyed their crops. The Red Cross was in the office with us helping. I was in charge of making the “AYINET” and “AJWS” stencils for painting the seed bags. The construction paper stencils kept falling apart once they got wet so we ended up making stencils out of old X-rays. Then things really got rolling! And then the power went out. Fortunately, we were able to borrow a generator, which was critical. When the Red Cross left the office at eight, I left as well to eat and shower, but I went back again at ten. When I reached the office, everyone was outside bagging beans. Half an hour later, we were all scrambling to transfer the beans inside the office before the rainclouds reached us. AYINET’s kitchen was literally taken over by beans, floor to ceiling. The reception area was full of bags of maize. After all the seeds were safe, I finally left the office…at three a.m.
After a few hours of sleep, I went back to the office. The Red Cross gave AYINET a break and took over loading the seeds onto two big trucks. . My job for the day was to photograph and take video. Good thing, too. I was too exhausted to spend another day throwing 20-kilo bags around! After the trucks were loaded, we headed out. One of the trucks got stuck on the side of the road on our way over, which was a slight setback, but the distribution itself went very smoothly. Victor, AYINET’s director, says any time there is a distribution you can never be sure what will happen. There is always the possibility of a riot breaking out. The success was exciting for all of us. So many challenges kept popping up, but everyone handled them well and with positive attitudes. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we had really fantastic results.
The following Friday Denis and I went back to Barlonyo for the second week of training. Although all the cameras died by the end of the training (poor planning on my part), everyone except for some people who came late got a chance to try at least one of the cameras. After I taught a few people how to operate cameras, they caught on quickly and did a great job of teaching other. I was concerned the training would either be too easy or too difficult, but it wasn’t either. I checked in to see if there were any questions often and people had something to ask about half the time. We also discussed the multimedia tools. We decided on stickers and posters with general peace messages that all the groups and the whole community will be able to use. Next Friday we’ll be going over video, but we’ll also go back to photography for those who didn’t get a chance this past Friday.
Saturday I went back to Alito for the second time. We got through written documentation, photography, and video. We also discussed multimedia tools and decided on stickers and posters. I’m designing the stickers now and I’ll be drafting up the posters toward the end of the week. Only eleven of twenty people showed, so we decided to wait until next week to talk about the importance of documentation and brainstorm specific ways it will be of use to the different groups.
Besides being busy at work, I’m still enjoying myself here. I continue to learn something new or make progress in some way every day. I’m actually getting quite good at speaking Luo. Also, I’ve been learning stick shift and yesterday I finally learned how to ride a motorbike! It’s not looking like I’ll be able to do everything I want to do before I leave, but that’s normal. I only have two weeks left, so if I’m able to do four new things I’ll be satisfied.