Well, as many of my close friends know, I’ve been going through a pretty large transition as of late. The past two weeks I’ve been craving vacation days, and have been doing the bare minimum work-wise. Turns out, this was a blessing in disguise. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the biggest projects I am working on is to raise money to help relocate a local orphanage/center for people with disabilities. I was to meet with a man from the ministry of urban development to go over our plans and budget two weeks ago. I was unable to meet with him at that time, and our schedules would just not match up. I had begun to feel very stressed about the project, until today. I met with the Center’s director who informed me that the prefet to Baham is considering giving an adjacent parcel of land to the Center–and now we will be able to build everything, without reservations about space! This is fantastic news! If I had met with the man before and turned in the budget, we would have missed this great opportunity. Sometimes, although we feel like things are running behind or not working out, in the end you just may be surprised.
On a sadder note, my friend Denise, the wife and Directrice of the Center, had a baby who passed away two days after being born. I felt absolutely heart-sick for her. I could see she was deeply pained. This is not her first time losing a child. Child mortality rate is very high, although I cannot state the exact record for Cameroon. I feel more determined than ever to help build this place, and see this project through. As soon as the request is posted online on the Peace Corps website, I will be sure to make numerous announcements here, Face Book, and on Twitter. Please, if you are reading this, keep us in your thoughts, and be sure to check here often to monitor the status of the request. It seems like a large project, but if everyone chips in just a little, we can make this a reality!
Another fairly large project I am working on is in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment. We are requesting funds from Friends of Cameroon, to compile a 50 paged environmental/health club manual filled with lesson plans, activities, and resources to help start and maintain Environmental/Health clubs in each of the 59 schools in my district. We are also planning on buying each school a copy of some educational documentaries. Imagine the awe of seeing a video of the arctic when you’ve never before seen snow! Things move at a much slower pace here, and I’m trying my best to be patient and persistent. My yoga practice is really coming into play here. Yoga is all about breathing in uncomfortable situations and poses. Sometimes I feel that this experience is a two-year asana. Respire, Liz, respire.