Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Years Resolution: Write in Blog More

It wasn't that I didn't want to write in my blog or that I didn't have anything to say. I just didn't really know how to say it. As I write this blog, I am still not entirly sure how to express my thoughts and experiences over the last couple months, but I feel as the new year starts so can a new chapter in my brief blogging career.

In October of 2010 I started and failed my first attempt at a project as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The principle at the high school in Cahuasqui had to idea to start at program after school to help students with homework. When I worked as a social worker in Boston I was able to see first hand the positive effect that after school programs have on youth and teens so I was all for this idea. After talking to the students and getting many positive reponses I was very excited and already saw success in my inicial project.

My sence of success was only boosted when the first day 15 students came to the program (out of a school with 110), but as the days and the weeks, the number of students dropped to when finally I was the only one showing up for homework help (and I don't even get homework). Although initially feeling the failure hurt, I still believed in the program, but I just needed to find a better way to organize it.

During a Peace Corps conference with my OMNI BUS in mid-November, I had a wonderful talk with my program manager about my after school program and my work in the Peace Corp in general. The main theme of our 25 minute confersation was sustainability and how even if I successfully ran an after-school program by myself, when I leave in two years the program will fall apart rapidly leaving nothing for future students. The talk made me realize that to create a successful and sustainable project I can not to anything on my own. I need to find and use people in my community with whom I can collaborate and work.

When I returned to Cahuasqui I met with the President of the Padres de la Familia del Colegio (the organization of the parents of the high school) and talked to her about the program ater school to help the students who need extra help on homework and also provide more activity and recreation for the other students. The president was very receptive of the idea and thus called together a meeting of all of the parents in the high school to provide me an audience to explain my role as a volunteer and my idea of an after shcool program.

This is where we left off when the semester was coming to a close and the students were entering exams. I was upset not to be able to follow through with the momemtum the project was gathering, but I am ready to try and spark it up again. I hope now with the parents support and more support from the high school to be able to start a successful after school program that has the pieces in place to continue when I leave.

As the News Years past and the two weeks of fiestas (a blog soon to come about the fiestas) things continue to move slow with the after school program, but if the people in the community who say they are on-board actual are, then eventually there might be an after school program.


  1. Good luck Ben!! I hope it will be a success!!! We believe you can make it happen :)

  2. From my daughter's experience there is a lot of struggle in the Peace Corps finding and developing projects especially something that will sustain itself. I think you make a lasting impression by teaching children.

    One thing Ann did was have friends at home send books they did not want in English which formed a library for the community which did not have English books. Anyway your blog is great. Joel

  3. Ben, I like your thinking and follow-through on this. Sounds as if you are learning a lot, and through you, the school group. Nice going. And by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!