My big project, Finishing the Ward 4 AMICAALL/Nhlangano Town Council Social Center, the PCPP


Peace Corps Partnership Proposal (PCPP) with the Nhlangano Town Council (NTC)

First application draft submitted Feb, 2011
Approved & Funding Begins on PC website May 17th
Construction started on Oct 24th.
All exterior construction done by Dec 20th.
Grand Opening Jan 5th, 2012
Round 2 of the Funding arrives in early January.
Interior Only Construction Restarts Jan 16th.
Construction all done Feb 16th (minus a million tiny To Do's)
Project Officially Closed May 4th, 2012

Let the children play, learn & be safe.

As of Aug 25th, 2012, I am no longer a PCV, I am now RPCV (Return Peace Corps Volunteer). This blog is my experience in Swaziland between June of 2010 & Aug of 2012. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Career Day a Major SUCCESS

So after a one week delay, a bunch of phone calls, a mad dash to the National Office in Manzini to solve financial problems, pick up necessary supplies and return to pay the venue so we could do the prep on the day before.

Career Day with a Debate began at 8:30 AM on Wednesday June 29th.

But a brief history of the event first.
In February, Sabelo the Youth Mentor came up with the idea of a mixing a Career Day with a Debate.

In April, we began planning all of the necessary steps to make it a success.
Also in April we visited the 4 major schools in town in order for them to get their students to attend (basically Form 3(Sophomores) to Form 5 (Seniors) and for them to enter their debate teams, 2 schools didn't have them, so they needed to be formed.
Also, Sabelo and I created an operational plan that ended up guiding us all the way to the end.
Also in April, I had a meeting with MSF (Doctors without Borders) where they presented a movie called Shuga that is all about HIV, created by MTV that is really great and divided into 3 parts for debate. Seriously, Sabelo & I were talking in the morning before the meeting about debate topics and then God & MSF dumped a prepackaged debate in our laps. So the event became based around this movie.

May - I went back to US, Sabelo kept on the funding hunt. AMICAALL budgeted for half the expenses.

Beginning of June, I return and it is balls to the walls organizing, planning, prepping and more planning. Sabelo handled all of the schools, I did most of the logistics. It was interesting the pressure and pace (not the hours) were very similar to the movie life and I enjoyed it very much.

So one week before the event is scheduled a teacher strike comes up, they have been happening about once a month and they schedule it for the day are event is happening. Can't have an event with several hundred students and no teachers.
Also, AMICAALL informs us no funds are available which basically cut out most of the funding of the project, then it becomes a crazy where do we find money for the event and an insurance company and PSI step up, to fit the some of the costs.

Monday before the event we visit all the schools, and realize we have delay the event based on teachers not going to work. So we postpone.

Tuesday at 9pm the strike is call off, to late for us to change, we have to wait a week.

So the next Monday, sitting in office not knowing about a bunch of things that need to happen at the national office, I rush out to go over there. Once there I get trophies, other supplies and drag some funds out of the office in order to pay the venue to let us in so the event can happen.

Sabelo is fund hunting in town and gets PSI to pay the venue and save our bacon. Tuesday roll back into town at 3pm and get the staff to the venue and start getting it ready. Work until almost 10 to make the place look nice. Go back to my place use the DSL and printer work til 2am.

Wed, get up at 5:30am and get to the venue by 6:30, then it is hope and pray the schools show up, projector works, the sound system works, no major disasters and the students are civil. It is 4 rival schools all in the same place.

The staff in international, American (me) tech support/projectionists, Canadian stage manager, Brazilian (MSF) Debate Manager and Swazi's Sabelo & Titi to help with the Career People and students. Plus, 2 MC's, a DJ and 25 career professionals and about 10 that will speak in the presentation.

It starts 45 minutes late, which over here really isn't late.

And believe it or not goes off with NO PROBLEMS. The movie plays great on screen hung above the stage, the sound system worked great and the students gave great speeches, the MC's were funny, the Career professionals gave some good insite, except for one of the college admin lady who went on and on regarding the forms to fill out, she got the cut off. The local MP (Member of Parliament) spoke and a couple of students did great poetry. MSF had HIV testing & counseling step up outside and it is estimated to be between 500 & 800 students attended.

I have heard many comments that our town has never had anything like this and for it to run so smooth just made my service over here. If I went home tomorrow (which I am NOT) I would have made a difference. This event was like a sledge hammer regarding HIV/AIDS between the movie & debates no student in the room could get away from NOT THINKING about their behavior and checking their status.

It was tons of work, lots printing out of stuff and a struggle for funding the event. But 2 partners showed up and donated much to our surprise, which pretty much covered the expenses.

WOW, is really all I can say.

The staff all went back to my place drank some beers had a Braai (BBQ) and randomly 2 PCV's rolled into town and so my house was filled with guests for the night (x5).

So 2 different groups have already asked us to take this event to other cities in Swaziland. And next week Sabelo and I are going to work on the proposal.

Sabelo and I have a serious debate going on about how God does everything for us (which he believes). I believe he gives us the opportunity and we have work for it. Either way on Thursday we were on a total high of success and gave thanks to God for the opportunity and doing it for us. Cause it was both.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on a successful event. If you can take it to other cities, fine - if not then it did its job there. Next project is the center. Well done!!!!