Not everyone wants to or has the freedom to pick up and go to a foreign country to start working for little to no pay. I have been lucky enough to find myself in such a situation and would like to share this with as many people as possible.After graduating with a BA in Human Services: Social Action/Social Change, I decided to put some of my ideas into practice. I moved back home, got a full-time job, and started saving almost every penny that I earned.

By the end of the summer, I will have saved enough to support me (very modestly) for three months in Mozambique. I leave September 3rd, 2008.I plan to return to the Community Center in Nhamatsane, where I worked for much of last year. This time, I bring with me new information, new lesson plans, and a new mission. In the nine months that I spent in Mozambique in 2006 and 2007, I tried many different ideas and made many mistakes. I have seen the things that work and the things that absolutely do not.

For these reasons, my goal this time around is to completely rethink the words "charity," "poverty," and "development." I feel that a project's capacity for changing lives is not merely determined by how much money it has (though that certainly is a factor!), but who it touches and how.

To be a part of something incredible, we do not have to write a check without ever knowing where it really goes nor do we have to pack our bags and get on a plane. If we all give what we can, I guarantee that we will see amazing results!

While I leave most of you behind in the United States, what I do is not a one person job. I sincerely hope that this will perpetually be a learning experience for all of us, which is why I ask that we share our knowledge, fresh perspectives, and resources with each other.

Enjoy the blog!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The business side of things

So aside from creating that brochure for the escolinha, I also created a ledger to keep track of all of our patients, when they were treated and with what. We mostly treat minor wounds and sickness that can be cured without anti-biotics or prescription drugs. But it is good for my students to see their own progress. So I printed that out just now. Also, I created my curriculum for the entire health class. The basic structure goes like this:

(i'm translating into english as i go. bear with me)

1. The job of a health worker

2. Hygiene and Clean water (which ties into bacteria and how sickness spreads)

3. Dressing wounds

4. Sicknesses of the skin

5. Nutrition

6. Taking care of a patient (which also involves a lesson on when to and when not to use medication and when to send a person directly to the hospital. it is important for them to know their limits and not feel that they have to cure anyone or try anything they are not comfortable doing)

7. Malaria (we arranged for someone to come to the escolinha and test all of our students (200 in total). my students will give a presentation before and after the tests.

8. HIV (during which time my students will be giving presentations in the community and getting people to come with us to the city to be tested)

9. cholera

10. women's health (which even in the US is in a sorry state. it's important for my male students to understand that taking good care of a pregnant woman is not a matter of chivalry or culture but of respect for human life)

11. Health of children and the elderly

And finally we spend our last week giving presentations and cleaning out our health post. We also plan to buy some wood and cloth to make a cot for our patients.

I also made these big posters with pictures of all sorts of fun skin diseases. I made a decorative sack of bacteria (filled with peanuts) to illustrate how bacteria passes from one person to another. I made a big poster with picture instructions on how to clean and dress wounds. And I made nutrition fact cards (which food goes in which group and how to eat healthily. the signs of malnutrtion, etc.) at the end of our class, we'll all cook a nice and nutritional meal together.

I am in the process of putting together the budget for the orphanage and I have already started cleaning the walls so we can paint them. i am so excited :-)

That is all!

Much love,


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