I've been away from my blog lately because I haven't been around the Internet and I've been busy busy busy. And before that. . .I had nothing interesting to report. January was a tough month filled with cyclones, and I experienced the worst Peace Corps hardship yet - Excruciating Boredom. I had no cute, witty stories to fill my blog (once you get over waking up with the first lizard in your bed, the second and third bed-invading lizards just don't provide good material. If you've heard one lizard story, you've heard them all) and I had already complained enough about the weather. Then most of February was spent in a classroom in Vila and I was pretty sure you guys didn't want to hear about Project Design Management or how to maintain good mental health out in the jungle.
But don't you worry because now I'm back in the village and gathering lots of blog-worthy material. The sun has come out, I have lots of work to do, and the weeks are flying by.
One of the highlights is that I ran my first workshop. Weeks of planning and preparing culminated in a 2 day workshop on Family Budgeting and Household Money Management. In a total of 10 hours I worked with people with little or no education on how to properly manage their finances. We played games, did group activities, and they listened to me talk way to much, and at the end we celebrated with kava and a roasted pig. Among the attendees were 15 men, 13 women, some kids and a chicken, and I was very pleased with the turnout (except for the chicken - he was very rude and disruptive and had to be kicked out of class). It seemed pretty successful. Already word has spread and several other communities have approached me to ask if I could bring the workshop to their area.
As for my other work: I found an additional buyer for our handcraft group so we're getting busier, I'm helping with the budget and the finances of building a new church house, I've been working individually with some small business owners, and I hope to soon be successful in getting the National Bank of Vanuatu to come start a rural banking program in m area. Like I said - busy! But being busy makes me happy and I finally feel like I'm doing the work I came her to do. The last thing I want to do is turn North Ambae into a greedy, capitalist society, but if I can instil some financial competency, help provide ways of making income (if wanted), and train people how to plan for the future, I will consider myself lucky to have had such success and will be extremely grateful I can give back even a tiny portion of what these amazing people have already given me.