03 April 2010

Indicators of success

For Peace Corps, and any development agency I presume, it's necessary to have ways to determine whether or not you are making an impact, "indicators of success" and ways to "measure outcomes." The health project has its own set of indicators that presumably show whether or not volunteers are doing successful work (ie reduced rate of teen pregnancy at a PCV's school). After some consideration though, I have come to the conclusion that these indicators are not adequate for determining my true level of success in the village. I have come up with some indicators of my own that I will use to evaluate how good of a job I am doing in my last five months of service:

-For me not to be called mshamba again (see March blog entry)
-For someone to name their child Raula after me
-For at least 25% of my village to be able to do the hokey pokey
-For at least 25% ofm y village to be able to identify which continent America is on (ie for them to realize that I am not, in fact, from Europe, and that Europe and America are not the same place)
-For at least one person in my village to understand sarcasm
-For people to be able to identify which mzungu is me if I show them a picture of me with other wazungu
-For little kids not to bawl or run away screaming in terror when they see me

Another list

I was making a list of random things. Not sure what the list is of exactly, but these things are on it. I think it's things I like. Or things I am grateful for.

-The other day I was on my porch and I saw a complete rainbow in the field in front of my house. The entire arch was visible. I've never seen that before.
-Two health workers I have been working with asked me to give them a test on what I have taught them. And then spent five minutes talking about how excited they were to take the test and how well they were going to do.
-New-found appreciation for: toast and hot chocolate. (Ie you know you are in Peace Corps when toast is about the most delicious food ever, and something you look forward to, like I can't wait to get home tonight and eat my toast for dinner and listen to the BBC).
-Had a good conversation with my neighbor the other day. And realized that we are actually in really similar situations. That is, neither of us are from Nanganga but we came here for work. We are both often frustrated and confused by some of the customs in this area. And we both miss and fantasize about food from home frequently. (Apparently food in Northern Tanzania is better?)
-24-box of crayola crayons I bought on the street
-Walking through my village and randomly stumbling upon a guy selling hundreds of organic flavored instant oatmeal packets
-The boys from one of the schools that came to our boys' conference started teaching the other students what they had learned at the conference, with absolutely no prompting from the PCV at their school
-My PCV family, especially the volunteers in my region. And dance parties and bonfires and smores on the beach.

Things I find interesting

One of my minor but more enjoyable activities in the village is posting answers to health-related questions that people put in the question box I recently installed at the dispensary. It's interesting to me to see what people ask questions about. Here are some of the questions I have gotten so far:

-Who gets more enjoyment out of sex, men or women?
-My wife cheated on me with someone who has HIV, but since I found out I have not had sex with her. If I have sex with her will I get HIV?
-If a person does not have sex for a long time does it lead to any damage or sickness?
-What should we do to stop the spread of AIDS?
-What is the relationship between TB and AIDS? I have had TB twice and now people are saying that it is possible I have AIDS. Is this true?
-In Nanganga there are a lot of HIV-positive people but they hide and are not open about their status. Try to educate them.
-A lot of people say that condoms don't prevent HIV. What should we believe? Or are there people that have had sex with an HIV-positive person without being infected?
-Can a person that has not yet gone through puberty still get HIV or STIs?
-If a lot of communities are affected by HIV, why aren't all people just given ARVs in order to prevent infection?