This post is a little late, but I finished my Peace Corps service on August 4th (just a little short of 27 months), and left Tanzania on the 13th, so I won't be posting here anymore.
Quick update on a few of my projects I have blogged about:
-Water pump project: All seven water pumps in the village are now working, and dirty water and sand were flushed out of the pumps to help prevent future problems. Toolbox and tools for the village were purchased so that the village technicians can fix the pumps in the future. Pumps that did not previously have "pump-masters" were assigned them to ensure that children don't play with or break the pumps.
-Chicken project for PLWHAs: Chicken coop is built, the group has 14 hensand 1 rooster, and as of the beginning of August, 4 of the chickens have started laying eggs..
Also, in a previous blog entry I wrote about some indicators of success that I personally thought would show if I had had a successful stay in Nanganga. Some of the goals, such as someone naming their child Raula after me, or people being able to correctly identify which continent America is on, or for people to understand sarcasm, were sadly not accomplished. I did, however, succeed in my goal of not being called mshamba by a child again, which was probably the most important goal.
On a more serious note, when I first came to Peace Corps, I had a few modest goals. Learn Swahili. Make friends in the village. Make a difference in at least one person's life. Done, done and done. Will the projects that I worked on continue in the future? Will people remember some of the information I have taught about sexual and reproductive health? Will Peace Corps' presence in Nanganga make a difference in preventing HIV infections and combating stigma? Can Peace Corps be an instrument for doing good things in the world instead of serving as arm of US imperialism and/or just providing idealistic Americans with a free travel opportunity? I don't know, but I really hope so.
I know that I personally feel like I have learned and gained a lot from this experience and I am thankful for that. And I choose to be an optimist and will hold to my belief that Peace Corps' volunteers' work has potential to make a difference; whether this happens in reality is hard to measure. I will say that there are no village-based Tanzanian NGOs or government programs that I know of that are doing full-time HIV/AIDS and life skills education in small individual villages in my region. (Sure there are the government committees and community health workers that are supposed to do HIV education...but being that these people are usually poor substistence farmers and aren't paid to do this work, does this work actually happen on a regular basis? I would guess no.) Just saying.
Thanks to everyone that has read this blog or commented or emailed me, and to the people of Nanganga, you have been great overall, and I really appreciate you all letting me live with you for two years and putting up with my bad Kiswahili, cultural incompetence, and crazy ideas.
I don't know what is next for me, but if anyone has any questions about PC/Tanzania, feel free to email; I'll leave my email in my profile.