Hey all! I know I’ve been quiet for a while. Part of that roller coaster ride. I’ve been really busy with work, and today is my anniversary! One month in Chisunka and making fantastic progress! Last week was crazy and this week has just been a trip! This week is child health week. Twice a year it’s a huge push for child monitoring, immunizations, and community trainings. Preparations started last week and finding my pace, I took the opportunity to avoid screaming children on Monday. Now before you ask yourself why I’d skip out on what we’d been preparing for, and miss an opportunity to visit one of my eight zones, one per day, I need to introduce you to some structural information.

Each village has a VATF, or village aids task force. Now these task forces fall under CATF – community aids task forces, which are broken up into wards under the DATF, or as I’m sure you can guess, the district aids task force. Now bearing that in mind, it’s important to know that on this specific Monday, our ward’s CATF was preparing to participate in a learning exchange with two other wards under the DATF. This action, with gracious assistance from PLAN INTERNATIONAL plucked me away from my zone visiting plans and deposited me squarely in a chartered rosa bus headed to two other wards.

I won’t bore you with too many details, but the meetings, spoken all in bemba, served as a learning and sharing environment between the wards allowing for exchange of ideas, solutions, information, personal experiences, and support for one another. In addition, I got to give input on Peace Corps, our roles as volunteers, some information, as well as answer questions, facilitating cultural exchange, organization formation, youth and OVC – orphans, vulnerables and children – empowerment, project proposals, and some points about target audiences and marketing. Whew! All in all it was a fantastic day which allowed me to link issues and problems with possible logistical solutions, and identify a significant body of work over the next two years.

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent holed up at the clinic designing trainings and beginning the translation process, as well as identifying key demographics and vital statistics for my zone. That combined with script writing of proposed video trainings I want to create using my translated training materials kept me quite busy. I managed to create five trainings – planned, written, and now partially translated – the hardest part- covering project and problem identification, community sensitization and mobilization, group strengthening, creating a community based organization constitution and mission statement and developing project proposals.

Thoroughly excited, we started today with a 12 km ride to Kapansa, a village in my catchment. There we carried out our work doing immunizations, child weighing and monitoring. I got in some problem identification and participatory work with the NHC which should lead to some successful trainings in the near future. Five hours of screaming babies later, we called it a day and I rode home.