Back issues are archived and links in them may not be current
May–June 2006— Volume 19, Number 3
......Peace Corps Encore!
Thanks so much for asking us to clarify Peace Corps Encore! for the NPCA group leaders. Above all, Peace Corps Encore! is a labor of love. As you know, Jerr Boschee, with whom I served in India from 1968-70, and I started PCE! in 2003 and launched it at the National Peace Corps Association biennial meeting in Chicago in August, 2004.
We are an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which supports the goals of the Peace Corps. Unlike Crisis Corps, which posts volunteers in emergency and disaster relief situations, our focus is on returning RPCV’s and former staff to short-term (typically, three weeks to three months) service in projects most suited to their professional expertise, especially in the areas of capacity building, such as teacher training and small business development.
From our inception, we have kept Gaddi Vasquez and his top staff informed of our progress. Like the Peace Corps, our goal in the developing world is to have a measurable, positive impact on peoples’ lives; at home, it is to bridge the gap of cultural understanding between us and the countries in which our volunteers may be privileged to serve.
For a complete profile of Peace Corps Encore! please log onto: http:// www.peacecorpsencore.org
Best regards to NPCA Group Leaders,
Kudos to North County RPCVs!
by Lynn Jarrett
About six months ago Cindy Ballard, Annie Aguilar and Patsy Loughboro met with Brenda Terry-Hahn, our Membership Chair, and created a plan to contact all SDPCA members in the North County satellite areas to get an update on mailing and Email addresses plus phone numbers for our database records.
We owe a big thanks to Annie and Patsy for taking the time to send individual letters to those members in their areas of responsibility in North County and then getting the information back to me so we can be more up to date with our records.
Beth & Paul Skorochod, PCV’s from San Diego in Swaziland are working with this program and keeping us informed of their progress. Here are more details about the program they spoke of last month. Keep your letters coming!--Ed.
Program Targets Youth, Churches to Assist AIDS Orphans
Mbabane, Swaziland, February 2, 2006 -- Swaziland’s National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) today announced the inauguration of Young Heroes, a program through which Americans can sponsor orphan families with monthly donations for food and clothing.
The Internet-based program can be found at http://youngheroes.org.sz.
With 42.6% of adults (age 15-49) infected, Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world. UNICEF estimates that some 70,000 children in the country’s population of one million have already lost at least one parent to the disease, and that nearly 15,000 now live in child-headed households. Orphans who have caretakers usually live with a grandparent or other elderly relatives who are often past of the age of being able to work.
Speaking in the capital city of Mbabane, NERCHA Director Dr. Derek von Wissell said, “Our greatest desire is to encourage young people with advantages to help their peers who have little or nothing. AIDS is creating a generation of orphans in Swaziland, and they are in desperate need of the most basic fundamentals of survival.
“We welcome everyone as sponsors, including adults. But our primary goal is to motivate youth as individuals and in groups such as classes, schools, church groups, Scout troops and sports teams to become involved in the fight against the devastation caused by HIV/AIDS. “
NERCHA Underwrites Cost of Program
All Swazi orphans under the age of 18 who have lost both parents are eligible to enroll in Young Heroes.
Enrolment and sponsorship are done on a family basis. Unlike similar programs, sponsors help support all the orphan children in a family, not just one individual. A crucial goal of Young Heroes is to keep families together on their homesteads and in their communities, where they have the most security and are surrounded by a familiar support system. In instances where there is more than one orphan, family sponsorship avoids the inequality of offering assistance to one child but not his or her siblings.
Importantly, NERCHA is underwriting virtually all operating costs of the Young Heroes program, so that donations go directly to the intended recipients. However, bank transaction fees, such as wiring and foreign exchange, are not paid for by NERCHA. Because of this, sponsors are asked to contribute an additional 95 cents (US$0.95) to cover these costs. No other donations whatsoever go to any administrative overhead.
Peace Corps Steps In to Help
To manage the growth of the program most effectively, at launch Young Heroes has enrolled some 125 families with 300 children in 11 communities. New families in need of sponsorship are being added constantly by the program’s two full-time employees, with the assistance of Peace Corps volunteers and their Swazi colleagues throughout the country. These volunteers identify orphan families in their communities, enrol them in the program and will assist in monitoring the families who receive donations.
How Young Heroes Works
Sponsors can choose a family or give where the need is greatest, in which case a family will be assigned to them. While one-time donations are gratefully welcomed, sponsors are requested to make a minimum commitment of one year so families can rely on a steady source of basic necessities.
Basic sponsorship costs $19.95 per month per child for food ($239.40 per year, including transaction fees) and $29.95 per month per child for food and clothing ($359.00 per year). Plans are in development to enable sponsors to also assist with school fees for the 2007 school year. In cases where there are many children left orphaned in one family – some families have as many as 10 – multiple sponsors will be sought.
Young Heroes Foundation has been established as a 501(c)(3) corporation in the United States, in order to ensure both transparency and compliance with U.S. law. Donations may be made to Young Heroes over the Internet via PayPal, or electronically or by mail to its bank account at Wachovia Bank in New Haven, CT. From there, funds are wired directly into the Young Heroes account at First National Bank in Mbabane, Swaziland. Once a month, all collected funds, together with distribution instructions, are wired to Swazi Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC). The post office creates a money order for each family that has received donations and sends it to the post office nearest the family. The family caretaker – usually an older relative, trusted neighbor or eldest child – presents a photo I.D. card and is given the full amount received. Signed receipts for the distribution of the donations are returned to NERCHA for verification.
In this way, Young Heroes insures both the lowest cost of operation and the most efficient connection direct from sponsors to the families they support.
I am eleven years old. I am a boy. There aren’t any adults around where I live. My grandmother who was looking after us died. In our homestead there is me and my cousin Nondumiso. She is three years old.
I get along well with my cousin. The problem comes when she gets sick. I worry where to get the money from to take her to the clinic. She normally gets the flu. I think my cousin will have to go to the neighbour’s place. Then I will be alone.
I don’t go to school now. I went to school up to grade three. Then there was no money. I don’t read and write very well. I can count. I think it is important that I finish school. I remember the English books at school. And the siSwati books. And social studies. I liked social studies. When I grow up, I want to be a nurse.
I am afraid that people are going to steal things from our house. We don’t have a lock on the door. The door is just planks. It’s scary living all alone. I worry about criminals. The house is falling apart. People might even be mean, and destroy it. It would be easy. They just push at the walls, and they would fall down.
The rain comes in. It needs more thatch. I can’t do that myself. The wind comes in. I try to put mud on the cracks, but when it rains the mud just falls off again.
My cousin and I get food from that car. (Editor’s Note: A World Food Programme vehicle). They started last week. We’ve been asking food from the neighbours. Now we get cooking oil, and beans, and yellow powder (Editor’s Note: A corn-soya nutritional blend.)
We need soap, and matches. We need candles for the night. We give the neighbours our beans, and they give us soap. We don’t have clothes. We don’t have blankets. We sleep on the ground, on grass mats. We cover ourselves any way we can.
For water, we go to the river. It is far. It takes 30 minutes to go there, and 30 minutes to go back. We have a wheelbarrow. I use it to fetch water. I am worried the wheelbarrow will be stolen. At night, I put it in the room with us when we sleep.
Established by Swaziland’s government in 2001, NERCHA is the country’s National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS. Its mandate is to coordinate the government’s battle against the epidemic. NERCHA’s core objectives focus on three areas: prevention; impact mitigation, including the care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs); and care and support for those infected.
Acting as the conduit for monies received from the U.N. Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, NERCHA works with organizational and community partners across all sectors to ensure that comprehensive services are delivered to the grass-roots level all throughout the nation.
By providing this leadership, NERCHA coordinates, facilitates and motivates the fight against HIV/AIDS all throughout Swaziland. It is a central resource for ideas, assistance and funds that confront the nation’s growing problems caused by this deadly disease.
For more information about NERCHA, go to http://nercha.org.sz.
Put the Fun in Fund Raising
Whether you’re a school class or a church group, a civic organization or a group of friends, here are some of the ways in which you could raise money to become a Young Heroes sponsor.
Frant is a volunter from San Diego in service in
There is so much to say about my experience here. When I was in Niamey we had access to email so I could keep everyone up to date with my goings on, but here, it’s different. I passed my 28th birthday right in the middle of my 8/9th month in Niger. I had spent the 2 weeks before the 24th in Niamey. The new PCV’s - now making my stage, the new old PCV’s - were sworn in on St. Patty’s day. Before I left for Niamey, my schedule in the village - which was once fairly routine - had become a bit choppy. I use to go to the clinic everyday, rest in the afternoon and then weave in and out of concessions in the village to meet as many people as possible.
My time changed because I had been spending less time at the clinic for a couple of reasons. 1. The clinic is already well established and runs smoothly on its own - people know about it and if they so choose, they can go to get help - it’s a good place to learn, but not where I should spend all my time. 2. I have a tendency to be comfortable with people right of the bat, can talk to anyone, whenever, wherever... but then, after a while I get uneasy, so I pull away.... this tendency, plus feeling overwhelmed, and ridiculously slow at learning Hausa (I felt more like a burden, a child that can’t do ANYTHING for themself) I stopped going around the clinic. My awkward feeling has gone away, so now I’m back to the clinic a few days a week AND my Hausa is much improved... not really good, but better!!! I also started going up to Mayahi for our Monday radio show!
At first I hated going up to Mayahi. Mayahi is an hour bush taxi ride north of Djan Toudou, directly on the bumpy, dusty, dirt road.... hated, still do, the bush taxi rides. But I’ve overcome that fear too and really enjoy going up to do the radio show. Along with other volunteers we do a half hour radio show every Monday. Some of the subjects we speak about are - farming, AIDS, breast feeding, family planning, girls education, gardening, improved cook stoves. We actually just started promoting a song writing contest on AIDS! We have asked people - anyone - to write a song about AIDS, mentioning ways to protect yourself, ways you can contract the disease and the stigma that comes along with having the disease. The deadline is today and the judging will be held on the 8th of April. We are all really excited about the competition - there haven’t been that many entries so far, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
There aren’t many ways to advertise for things in the country and most people can’t read. We thought about making fliers for the contest, but it would fall under blind eyes. They learn to read in French and can’t transfer the skill over to Hausa. I guess that is one of the things that I’m learning. We try to do something, help someone, educate people, do something productive but there are so many walls we come up against. For example with the radio show we reach over 92,000 people (so they say) but those are mostly people in Mayahi. The people that have enough money to buy a radio. We want to educate both men and women, but women hardly ever listen to the radio.
Men and women
don’t really sit down and talk about
their day or about news outside of their little village
world. We want people to get involved in the contest,
but most people can’t write down their words, or
even if they memorized them, they don’t have any
means to record their song. Unfortunately, only
Myself and Ma’aouya (my Hausa tutor/teacher in Gidan Bouguari) are planning to start an “after school” program with a handful of girls in both of our villages - working w/ them on self esteem, decision making, talking about health issues. The problem here lies with girls responsibilities after they finish school. Most girls are responsible for preparing dinner, pulling water, getting kindling for the fire, washing clothes, washing younger siblings, etc. Plus, there are many men who don’t feel an education for their daughter is a priority because they will be married before they turn 15.
We want to
talk the girls about making smart choices for themselves,
but in this culture the girls choices are very limited.
Most girls still can’t choose
their husband. And once they are married, school
is out of the picture, and village life takes over. There
aren’t many choices to make in the village, your
day is always the same. Things only change depending
on the season. Hot season is too hot to do anything,
so you lay around the house and move only to pull water
and make food. Rainy season is the time to plant your
crops so you spend most of the day in the fields. Cold
season is the laziest time for people. They pull
water and repair their huts. Cold season is also wedding
season in Niger! (9 months later is baby season in Niger!)
Unfried is a San Diego PCV in Gambia.
[Segments from Email of April 9, 2006]
I’m back in Banjul, the capitol, for the week. Training is almost over we have some final meetings/excursions this week, and will be sworn in as official volunteers on Thursday. Then head back to our sites on Sunday.
My permanent site is a long ways from here - in the eastern part of the country. Mileage-wise, it’s really not that far - somewhere around 350km...multiply that by about 0.62 and you get about 210 miles...meaning what? About 3-4 hours on a well-maintained American roads? Well, um, it took me 17 hours to travel that distance yesterday...left before the sun came up and got in a half an hour short of midnight. On a good day, if everything goes right, the trip would take about 10 hours, but we were stuck with a driver who could have possibly won the “slowest geli driver EVER” award. (gelis are what the local transports are called in these parts. Not buses, but larger than minivans, and usually in disrepair.)
I just got in from my permanent site, which is way out East - past Basse on the south bank of the river if you’re looking at a map. We each traveled from our training village to our permanent site with a language teacher on Tuesday to check out our town, meet our host family (almost all volunteers live in a local family compound), and negotiate rent/food/laundry prices. My house is brand new...a nice-sized one bedroom mud hut with a thatch roof...the cement pit latrine and shower area is out back in my fenced-in backyard, which is big enough to sleep in when it’s too hot inside and maybe even set up a garden in. No frills. Hopefully not too many little critters find their way in. The rainy season is coming in about 2.5 month’s time, and that’s when things start getting exciting - scorpions, snakes, ants. It is hot right now in the eastern part of the country, I can’t wait for the rains to come.
My village has about 1000 people in it, split up into about 46 compounds. It will take a while to get to know everyone. My name here is Kadi (short for Kadijatou) Sanno. (Sanno is the name of the family I am staying with. The “Gambian” names are good because no one here can say Kirsten - sometimes if they concentrate really hard and put forth a considerable amount of effort, they can get it out, but the “IR” part followed by the “S” is something that they can’t do.
The language is coming along slowly. I can get basics across to people and can understand people if they speak ridiculously slowly and keep the topics simple. It’s kinda fun - the language thing. It was a little frustrating, though, running into the local Cuban doctor a couple days ago and not remembering how to even say “My name is...” in Spanish - I mean I was in Ecuador for 2 months last winter all I could think of was Mandinka, but that’s what I get for not using it at all.
I’m going to see about investing in a solar panel and setting up a light in my house which will be a novelty after the sun goes down. It is all kerosene lamps, camps, and flashlights which run on really, really bad C batteries. My days include fetching water from the pump, sweeping my house with a non-ergonomically-built broom, taking a bucket bath, doing my laundry by hand in a tub, eating rice and oil (LOTS of rice and oil you’d have no problem carb-loading here) out of the food bowl with my family - utensils are optional, and greeting people, lots of people, and chatting. People like to chat, sit around and chat.
Alesso is a San Diego PCV in Nicaragua.
Well, on a more serious note, I am officially a volunteer now!! We had our swearing in ceremony today, and we leave tommorow for our sites! I´m really excited, but nervous too. Its crazy how fast the time has gone by already. The ceremony was really nice, at the Casa Grande in the capital of Managua. The U.S. ambassador was there, all of the Peace Corps Nicaragua staff, our teachers, families, and the director of Peace Corps worldwide, Gaddi Vasquez. It was quite an honor, because he has not been to a swearing in ceremony in Nicaragua, and we also had the privileged of meeting him at our staging in DC.
So I finished training at the advanced low level of Spanish, which surprised me, but I´m really happy about it because I do not have to go back in a few months for the language workshop. It is going to be quite different when we get to our sites because we will not have Spanish class or technical training class to go to. We will have to make up our own schedule. I will be working in two health centers, the schools, Casa de la Mujer (a place for women to go to receive classes such as nutrition, exercise, etc.), and whatever else I can do to keep myself busy. There will be a lot less structure than there was during training which I am nervous about, I think these first few months will be the toughest getting settled in and being far from all the other volunteers.
The closest health volunteer to me is about 2 hours away by bus and boat on an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. There is another business volunteer about 15 minutes from me, but she is finishing her service and leaving in July. The good thing about being far from the other volunteers is that my Spanish can only get better because I will not be able to speak English with the other volunteers. This week we have all been together speaking English so it will be interesting when I get to my site tomorrow and have to speak Spanish!
Training is done, now the real challenge begins. Wish me luck!
On April 1st we had another great work party at the Friends Center! Friendly spirits and willing attitudes combined with beautiful skies to create a lot of accomplishment toward completing the Friends Center. We worked on the recycled concrete retaining wall for the parking area, and also did a lot of work digging the drainage ditch around the perimeter of the slab. This slab will hold drainage plumbing carrying rain from the roof and surrounding grounds. We had a great time and are proud of our work!
But now we need your help more than ever! All of the steel for framing the building is arriving the week of April 17th and that means a lot of work is ready to start! The company donating the steel has shipped 35,000 lbs. of 18 gage steel instead of the 29,000 lbs. that had been requested. This is great news because now there is a big credit with the stud/track manufacturers in case more product is needed in the future than was anticipated or if the steel mill delivers some of the other gages short of our order.
This is an exciting step and something we’ve been waiting for so that we could pick up our work on the actual building again. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the center’s website to learn more about the innovative, earth-friendly construction of this building please take a moment to do so (www.SanDiegoFriendsCenter.org). This is truly a very unique project and we’d love for you to get involved because there’s more to be done! (See the details on page 4.)
See you on May 20!
–Lisa Rivera, Ukraine, 2002-04
SDPCA Gone Wild...
...at the Wild Animal Park
Sumatran and White Tigers, and Rhinos (above); Gorillas
and The Elephant Zone (below) were all enjoyed
and remarkable. How
close you can get to the animals there is truly amazing
and well worth the trip! [Photos
by Rudy Sovinee]
From the International Calendar:
Recipe for April – Tunisia
For each month of the International Calendar, there is a recipe corresponding to the country pictured. The recipe below is for the month of April, from Tunisia. To download a file with recipes for all twelve months, go to: http://www.rpcvmadison.org/2006%20Recipes.docSalata Mishwiyya – Grilled Salad
The ingredients for this salad, the New World tomatoes and peppers have been introduced by the Spanish, are all grilled, then tossed together. It is a very popular salad throughout the country, and one is likely to encounter it many times in travels to Tunisia.
Peel and seed the grilled vegetables, cut them up, and place in a food processor. Process with 4 or 5 short pulses and transfer to a medium size bowl.
Pound the garlic, caraway seeds, and salt together in a mortar with a pestle until almost a paste, then stir into the grilled vegetables. Arrange on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and garnish with olives, pieces of tuna, and quartered eggs.
–from Don Beck, Bolivia (1967-69)
SDPCA extends a warm welcome to our newest members. We’ve seen smoe of you at events already and we want all of you to get involved in our activities. Let us hear from you!
–Lynn Jarrett, Ukraine (2001-2003)
If you are reading this by Thursday, May 4th then please consider attending the current panel discussion at the Peace Resource Center. If you have friends who you know are considering the Peace Corps, this is one of their best opportunities to hear and see how service is similar to what you’ve said in your stories over the years - despite being in various parts of the world. There are reasons RPCV’s should attend too.
Some of you may be encouraged to be a future panelist by hearing the teachers who are speaking on May 4th. It is a great experience for any RPCV - to again be at the center of attention of a large group of people eager to hear your stories of Peace Corps service. There will likely be a very large number of nominees in attendance due to there being over 50 San Diego area nominees and invitees now poised to depart for training by the middle of July. The session starts at 6:30 PM. It is accompanied by a digital slideshow of images from around the world.
you’d like to contribute photos, please email
them to The next panel will
be in mid-summer and will feature volunteers who’ve
served in the InterAmerica and Pacific region.
–Rudy Sovinee, Ghana 1970-73
Pacific Waves is published six times a year by the San Diego PeaceCorps Association which is fully responsible for its content. Except for copyrighted material, articles may be reprinted without permission with credit to the SDPCA.
Contributions are encouraged: e-mailed text file on disk- Mac preferred, or typed copy.
Please send to Editor, SDPCA, P.O. Box 26565, San Diego, CA 92196 or e-mail:
this issue are:
Emiy Frant, PCV, Nikol Shaw, Rudy Sovinee, Marjory Clyne, Sira Perez, Lisa Rivera, Kirsten Unfried, PCV, Lynn Jarrett, Laurie Alessio, PCV, Sean Anderson, Katherine Melcher, Beth & Paul Skorochod, PCVs, Chris Klose