Friday, August 12, 2011

Projects and Reporting and Evaluations, OH MY!

I realize that most of my blog posts are regarding my vacations but my day to day life at the house in Ba isn’t as exciting as a beach, hike or day-cruise. But, I’m here to do projects with the people of Fiji and I’ve been able to be a part of a lot of different programs and I’ve become project lead on a few as well.

The two projects that I was put as a co-project lead include Ministry of Health and Music Class.

In the Ministry of Health program, we work with the Nurses at the Ministry and go out with them to schools in the Lautoka Province and teach nutrition and hygiene to the school kids. We talk about the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables and minimizing our intake of sweets. Along with keeping our insides healthy by eating good foods, we talk about keeping our bodies clean on the outside. We talk to them about brushing their teeth, washing and brushing their hair, washing their bodies specifically washing their hands and feet to prevent the spread of germs. On occasion, we would help the Nurses administer Oral Vaccinations of a de-worming pill and an iron pill to the children. It was always so funny to see them so nervous to swallow these pills – some kids were WAY too dramatic about it. We kept saying “Lilo! Lilo!” (Swallow! Swallow!) to the kids but some just couldn’t get it!

When the 3rd wave of volunteers left Fiji, our numbers here got smaller and so some of the programs weren’t able to function as well due to the lack of man power. The Ministry of Health was one of those programs. It also didn’t help that when we would call to see if they needed us for the week, they were either doing a breast-feeding campaign all week or heading to the Ysawa Islands for the week. SO, that program has since ceased but the few times I was able to go to the schools and teach, I really enjoyed it.

The other project I became involved with when I first got to Fiji was the Music Class. We teamed up with FRIEND Fiji – an NGO here – and assembled a youth music class (even though all the people in the class were boys and our age or older..) in the Vakabuli village. This class had some major challenges to it, which made going to it difficult each week. For example, it would take us 1 hour to get to Lautoka from Ba, then we’d hit the bus that went up to the village – take a 30 min ride there, sit in the Village hall for 1 ½ hours waiting for the boys to show up, have an hour long class, then catch the bus back to town – another 30 min ride, then catch a minibus from Lautoka to Ba – 45 minutes. All in all, it was a long, expensive day for an hour to hour and half class. Despite the struggles we faced with this project, we were able to pull a talent show together for the boys to showcase the songs they learned. It was a really fun night where the boys performed 3 songs – “Lean on Me”, “Down By the River to Pray”, and “Amazing Grace”. Abbo, the member of the class most devoted to it, was able to arrange for a local church group to perform some song and dance numbers. We had a good turn out of villagers and volunteers and afterwards we were able to be treated by some lemon-leaf tea and tuna sandwiches that the villagers graciously provided to all the HELP volunteers. It was a really neat night and I’m kind of sad we don’t go out to that village anymore because I became good friends with the people there – esp the music boys!

Here are the boys of the class at the night of the Talent Show! (L-R: Sarah, Rusi, Abbo, Amanda, Suli, Me, Mosese, Semisi)

The final project I’m involved in and the one I’m most proud of is the Koroipita Youth Group that the girls in the group titled “The Reality Group”. Alex and I have been able to go to the Koroipita Village for the past 4 weeks and teach about issues such as trust, peer-pressure, relationships and most recently, teen pregnancy. We really love teaching the girls in the group and spending our Thursday nights with them. We walk away from each class in such a good mood and feeling like we are making some kind of difference, even if it’s a very small one.

Next week is our last week of the class – and it happens to be my last day in Fiji as well L . Were going to talk about self-esteem and self-worth and then enjoy no-bake cookies and pass out the t-shirts were getting made that have the girls’ personalized “I Am _____” statement on the shirt. They are very excited about the t-shirts and I’m very excited to hear from each one what they’ve learned from the class. Next Thursday will certainly be an emotional one! I’ll have to cart my luggage to the village and then head right from class to the airport to catch my 10pm flight out of Fiji!! So surreal.

Alex and I

(So bugged - was uploading pictures of projects and my internet wouldn't work...great)

There is just an update of the 3 projects I’ve been lead over. I’ve been involved in various others such as PRISM – a medical outreach program where we go to villages and measure height, weight, BMI and check blood pressure, pulse and glucose to determine their risk for diabetes. It’s a wonderful program that is being run here and its always a very busy day! I’ve also helped work in school gardens – turning the soil and de-weeding the beds with the kids. I was also able to help out at the Ba Special School for Education Walk-A-Thon that was held at the end of July – I manned the Fish Pond booth that was set up to help raise money for the school. Last month, I was able to help teach a hand-washing training to business owners in Lautoka at the Lautoka Food Handlers Training Meeting. I’ve only done this once and really, really enjoyed it – we are scheduled to teach again at the second wave of the training on Tuesday – I’m so excited!

Rest assured that I haven’t just been vacationing while I’ve been here! I’ve been able to not only see the country of Fiji, but I’ve also been able to form relationships with the Fijian people I work alongside with and be a part of various projects.

Au lomani iko Fiji – I love you Fiji!

No comments:

Post a Comment