Next Saturday, after months of planning, my youth and I are hosting an HIV/AIDs outreach day in the village Ha Mohatlane. There are 9 primary and secondary schools who are attending. It 9-5 and will include a soccer tournament,free HIV/AIDs testing and counselling, dancing, (which my youth say I must participate in)art and drama competition all around the theme "How HIV affects me and my community." It is different planning a big event here. Here are a few of the things that have happened.. both good and not so good.
Not so good: The funding for this event is coming from an American grant. Because of the dollar dropping so much over the last 6 months, by the time the grant was approved we received 3000 rand less than was originally approved... and prices here are not going down. I have spent 13 hours in the band trying to work out getting the ATM card to work for the account the money was deposited in. No good as of today. And, since the account was on the same card as my personal account, I have not had ATM access to the grant or my own account for over a month... (and, everytime I have to come to the bank in Maseru to try to fix it costs me an entire day, between time waiting and public transport) We are giving every school participating 2 soccer balls and a pump. The business we gave the money to 6 weeks ago (we put half down) yesterday told me it would be 20 rand more per ball. 20 rand times 16 balls... with 3000 rand less budget.. and here there is no manager to talk to, no recourse... ah...
The good stuff: 4 peer promoters who are doing this for free and working harder than I've seen a volunteer work on a project. For example, walking to 8 villages, 3 times to deal with principals, teachers and students, and one day in the torrential rain that only seems to come to Lesotho to make sure that every kid has a chance to participate. Oak Hills Church in California sent us a ton of really good art supplies that you can't get here, so that kids can learn about HIV/AIDs through art. 16 people from my NGO, Lesotho Durham Link, all volunteering to come out to help. 20 peer educators from surrounding villages and 7 other peace corps volunteers coming to help and support. It's really an amazing thing.
So like everywhere else in the world, both good things and headaches for this event. But different good and bad stuff... its been quite a learning experience.
Hopefully, all will go well and the kids will learn alot. I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Lesotho has the highest rate of AIDs in Africa, and the third highest in the world. So hopefully, the kids will have fun,learn something and grow up to be adults who can help Lesotho.
Thanks for all your support!!! Pray for no rain.
Salang Hantle (stay well)