Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day Bliss

Literally all I've been doing for the past 48 hours is eating, drinking, and cooking more food. Glorious. Breakfast this morning consisted of cold pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes, followed by warm pancakes and something vaguely resembling syrup. Yum.

I really wanted to post a good update on how work is going, but obviously I've been distracted, ha. My proposal was approved, and apparently I'm getting computers on the first of the month. I have no idea what to do with them, which is one reason why I didn't see the point in rushing to get my proposal off to begin with. The room isn't ready for me to start setting anything up. I'm still waiting on the Mayor to verify that I can have the room I want, and it still needs to have electricity installed (also the responsibility of the Mayor). Hopefully all that will get resolved at a meeting on the 30th.

I have managed to start signing up teachers to mentor, and I should be able to find one or two women from the local co-ops to teach things like sewing and dying. Finding mentors is probably the hardest part of this job. Volunteerism isn't a big part of Mauritanian culture. People generally expect some sort of compensation for their time, even if it's in the form of English or computer lessons. Which I have no problem doing, but I'm only one person and this job is already pretty demanding.

Still, I'd rather have too much to do than not enough. My next moves are going to be making sure I have a core group of committed mentors and planning out a schedule. Once the room is ready, I'll be working on purchasing furniture and other supplies in Atar, shipping them out to Ain and getting it all set up.

I've got some other ideas that have been germinating the past couple of months. I want to run a gender in education workshop for my mentors before they start teaching at the GMC. I also want to set up a program during the week for young women who either already finished or dropped out of school. At this point, the basics of getting the GMC up and running are dominating my time, but hopefully once things settle down after Christmas, I'll be able to start thinking more about these smaller projects. What with Thanksgiving, a trip down south, Christmas, New Years and training right afterwards, things are going to be a little crazy over the next month or so.

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