it's the final countdown (to be sung like the song)
i will be completing my service on may 30. i thought i'd post a final blog to tie up all the work during my service in morocco. i recently had a submit a description of service that puts into one document all the work that i've done. is it bad that i'm just going to copy and paste that? okay, well i am: (to note: it was written in third person and i'll replace my name with "the volunteer," as this is an "anonymous" blog,.)
this volunteer's main responsibilities during service included:
*working with the ministry of health and peace corps to install a medical waste incinerator in the local health clinic. the volunteer was responsible for educating the clinic staff on the impact on community health especially in the transmission of hiv, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases. she was responsible for monitoring use and trouble shooting issues that arose over the next two years of her service.
*initiating and writing a plan to create a solid waste management system for the village center. the plan included specific details relating to landfill type, placement, a continued funding plan, and community education activities. the plan was translated into arabic for local commune use.
*providing formal and informal educational sessions in the fifty-five village region of her village reaching approximately 102 people. the lessons focused on maternal and child health, family planning, safe water sources, trash management, nutrition, and hygiene.
*providing educational sessions in local elementary schools reaching approximately 382 students. the lessons were focused on dental hygiene, hand washing, nutrition, and in-home water treatment.
*planning and leading two young women’s health groups for girls ages 10-20. meeting for four days, one and a half hours a day, the 29 young women participated in health education sessions and activities covering topics such as dental hygiene, nutrition, waste management, and fitness.
*participating in an educational booth at the 2007 kelaa m’gouna rose festival. 15 peace corps volunteers spoke with 526 people about hiv/aids awareness and prevention.
*leading training sessions about how to teach effective health lessons to rural population for 10 women in a women's association. the women then participated in a week-long women’s health conference.
*overseeing a week-long women’s health conference put on the by the women’s association. the 10 women visited 8 villages and spoke with 587 women regarding family planning, hiv/aids prevention, nutrition, and dental hygiene.
*participating as a camp counselor at a six-day spring camp in oujda in April 2008. the volunteer was responsible for co-running an advanced english class, coordinating and teaching a daily health club, and working with the other counselors to organize nightly activities.
*running a health club at oujda spring camp for 25 students ages 14-18 for four days. the volunteer planned and taught lessons and organized activities covering general hygiene, fitness, and hiv/aids awareness and prevention.
*organizing a HIV/AIDS awareness theme day at oujda spring camp. 102 students
participating by wearing a red ribbon, learning about hiv/aids/sti prevention, and helping to complete an hiv/aids awareness mural.
*writing a grant proposal and securing funding through peace corps small project assistance (for $1008) to complete a piped irrigation system in a rural high atlas village. the system increased available water supply by 15%, thereby increasing crop output. this helped to strengthen the community’s overall economic self-sufficiency and stability. to encourage capacity building, the volunteer provided the association with french instructions on how to write proposals and complete projects, as well as several ngo addresses. this association now has the capacity and information to write proposal and find funding on their own.
*collaborating with a local teacher to request and collect english, french, and arabic materials from various organizations to create an elementary school library.
attending, with a local association member, a two-day workshop focusing on creating an effective association, and funding, planning, and completing projects.
every three months, i am required to submit a report to the ministry of health outline and quantifying the work that i did in those past months. in total, during my service i gave 4173 health lessons to an estimated 1420 individual people in a variety of settings and covering numerous health/environment related topics. yea for me! ;)
i was with one of the program managers this week to check out the progress on the irrigation system. while we were at the president's house for lunch, he brought out the traveling sink (just a basin to wash your hands in) as well as soap. he told the program manager "nadia always makes us use soap before eating." i asked him to explain to me the purpose of the soap. he responded, without skipping a beat, "because the soap helps remove microbes." awh, i couldn't have been more proud. and even better that it happened in front of my boss J. i have always felt that my most important role as a volunteer is to make sure people have the proper health information and then work toward positive health changes. so even, if that family only uses soap in front of me, at least they know they should be and the know that it would improve their health if the did.
i recently met my replacement. i'm really excited that there will be another peace corps volunteer in my village. hopefully, he'll enjoy it there as much as i did.
after i post this, i'll be going back to enjoy the last week in my site. i've been eating lunch on my "terrace" trying to enjoy my last glances at the mountains and my beautiful view. i'm so pleased to have seen the development that has happened since i've been there. in the past two years, they've gotten cell phone reception, a new paved road, and now there's talk of building a secondary school and brining internet to the village. it's an exciting time there. i've had a wonderful time working and living in my site. the people have been wonderful, the view is die for, the water is fresh and cold straight from the spring, and i'll never have the chance to live in a mud house again. that village in the high atlas mountains will always have a special place in my heart and i will never forget it.
goodbye to my house. goodbye to laundry in the irrigation ditches. goodbye the mountains. goodbye to the neighbors. goodbye to those crazy taxi rides and winding roads. goodbye to the cows who walk next to me to market (only one of us is walking back). goodbye to the call to prayers. goodbye to street food of beans and kebabs. goodbye the writing reports in internet cafes. goodbye to a great peace corps staff. goodbye to the friends i've made. goodbye to morocco.