All throughout the year we have optional trainings that we are allowed to sign up for and attend depending on what our projects are and what we need to learn for them. Along with these trainings we also have two official “In-Service Trainings” (ISTs) that everyone is required to attend. The first one took place back in December and was used for evaluating our first three months at site and making plans for new projects after our first 3 months at post and our community studies. The second (and final) IST took place this week. The second IST is meant to touch base and give volunteers a chance to attend sessions for projects that are cross-sectoral.
So I guess I now know everything I need to know to be a successful volunteer?
Monday was just for the volunteers.. for talking about the results (and quality) of our first reports and for discussing opportunities that will be opening up to us in the following year.
Tuesday our work partners showed up and we commenced two days of “sector specific” workshops. Tuesday happened to focus on bees and bee raising... Wednesday (day three) was all about animal breeding (specifically chickens, rabbits, and bush-rats). While these sessions were incredibly informative – I don't really see myself doing any large scale animal projects (imagine that). I do however plan on doing a small rabbit project at my primary school for educational purposes, so things like – feeding and vaccinating animals was useful. I have already learned most of what I need to raise rabbits from my supervisor but its good to hear the opinions of multiple sources.
Thursday was the day of cross-sector sessions. I attended a session on Malaria and one on Latrine building. My counterpart and I are talking about the possibilities of doing a latrine project with the women in the farming groups that I work with.. so that the women have a place to go to the bathroom (as opposed to just going in the field).
Friday was mostly just an evaluation of the week. I attended an optional session on Grant Writing while my counterpart went to a session on hygiene (to continue with the cross-sector information). I found the grant writing session very helpful. Even though we have already learned all about writing grants it was good to have a more detailed session that specifically goes over the problem areas of our grant forms. I feel like I learned much more in this grant session than I had in previous grant writing sessions.
It is really strange that our final IST is now over. We are officially no longer new volunteers. The volunteers from the training group before us will be going to their close of service conference next month and the new group of volunteers will be arriving in June. We are slowly moving into positions for second year volunteers and we are finding out which volunteers are planning to stay on for a third year.
This also means that there is no “official” Peace Corps reason for all of us to get together again until our close of service conference – which is a whole year away. This was a sad realization for me because I have some great friends who live in parts of the country where I am not likely to get to see them. It is crazy to think we might not get to see each other for a year!
Is time moving this fast at home?