Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yet Another Update: Gabane

Alright folks, it's time for yet another update on the potential site relocation. And I have to say, I am feeling pretty good about this update and am excited to share it (albeit with some hesitation, only because the story has changed a few times in the past and I fear getting too excited about anything until it's all set in stone but alas, here I go anyway).

This afternoon I spoke with my Program Manager (APCD), my Country Director (CD), and the Safety and Security Officer for Peace Corps. They met with two NGOs in Gabane: one orphanage and the other a home-based care organization. While both have a lot of potential as places that I can do valuable work, both my APCD and my CD believe whole-heartedly that the Gabane Community Home-Based Care Organization is the right fit for me. (And, after hearing everything, so do I.)

The Gabane Community Home-Based Care was started as a support group for HIV positive people in Gabane by two very passionate people, both who still run the organization (big plus). It developed into a home-based care program and then, recognizing the need to help the children that were being affected by HIV, they expanded to include an OVC center. The NGO is currently serving about 40 OVC between 3- and 6-years-old. The founders said they would like my main role to be expanding programming to include programs for youth between the ages of 12 and 16. They have a facility that could be transformed into a youth center and six computers that could be used to teach computer skills. They also boast land for a permagarden and access to other buildings for expanding services. I would also be able to do work with the OVC center and help with administrative organization and general systems strengthening. (Super exciting!) Whats more, the NGO is a community-funded project. (Hooray!) The majority of the funding comes from the Pelegano Crafts Village, which is a conglomerate of local artists, craftsmen, and artisans. As I mentioned before, I previously visited this place and met with the potters to discuss assisting them in designing a website to showcase their work. This means that I definitely can still help with this project.

In reference to the other NGO, they currently have a German volunteer that is helping with the preschool program so they aren't in dire need of another volunteer. My APCD believes, however, that I could help with fundraising for that organization (they need a lot of help in that area). My CD also thinks that the German volunteer and I could be fast friends and that would help with getting comfortable in a new village (probably in part because we're both white but that's neither here nor there, funny regardless).

I am going tomorrow with the Safety and Security Officer to see a potential house. Fingers crossed that it's somewhat nice and really safe and wonderful. If it is, I think I will be moving in the next week or so. I will keep you all informed! 

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