What did I do this summer since I didn’t write any blogs? Well, not much of anything truthfully which is very unfortunate. It’s not that I didn’t plan anything; I did, but no one came. I’ve had trouble getting youth to come to my activities for a while. This summer just proved that I am not a magnet. I have no idea how to fix that. This is what I did and was suppose to do this summer…

I started planning in April and May for my activities at site. From talking with youth I work with and many parents, they want youth activities during the summer. Some suggested activities were sports and a camp. I really wanted to do an art class after the magazine project I did with the IDP girls. My list activities to schedule and plan were conversation cubs, an art club, Frisbee club, and a camp on top of my regular duties of teaching 2 classes and doing financial stuff for GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp. The conversation club would meet twice a week. The art club would meet three times a week. The Frisbee club would meet twice a week. I would have a total of 3 camps each 5 days long in June, July, and August. I thought this was going to be a good and busy summer! Boy was I wrong.

I planned many of these activities with youth I regularly work with to get their feedback on the ideas and with my community counterpart. Together we planned and translated everything. We went around to the schools to tell them about the classes and camp; they said that they would tell their students about it. I secured a location where these activities could take place. I slowly bought materials and prepared the lessons. I was optimistic that things were going to work out.

By June some things were unraveling. I didn’t have enough youth for Frisbee, so we had to cancel practices. No one was signing up or inquiring about the art club, conversation clubs, or camp. Most of those classes were cancelled. When camp week came around, no one showed up! I shouldn’t have been surprised since only 4 kids gave any type of response. Despite the failures, I was resilient! I would advertise more and personally talk to more people in the community in order to invite kids to camp. I would go around explaining what a camp was because many people do not know. The July camp would be much better! In the meantime, I would fill my time up with preparing for the fall. I needed to write projects, find grants, and submit those. I also had my hands full with creating monitoring and evaluation materials for GLOW camp.

July came. Deja vu. No kids came to camp. By July 14th I finished the 7 grants I was writing for 3 different projects. I had gone to GLOW camp and collect all my evaluations sheets. Then I went on vacation.

I came back in August not really knowing what to do. Should I try to talk to more people and hold the 3rd summer camp? What other strategies should I employ? Instead of doing more of the same thing, I changed the activity. I would do a creativity class that would last 3 days. The purpose of the class was to show them how thinking differently (not in your normal way) can help you think better, and this can help you at school and work. I only had 3 students, but we had fun. We played games, did art projects, and tried to “think outside the box.” During this month, I also heard from the donors. None of the projects would receive funding. I spent the rest of the month translating and reviewing the 60 evaluation forms for GLOW and writing the evaluation report.

Not all projects work out in Peace Corps. Other volunteers have the same problem I had—getting kids to come to activities!! I stumbled onto a particularly bad patch of consecutive failures. While I shouldn’t feel too bad about it nor get down on myself, it’s hard not to. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I don’t know what projects to start or where to begin. I’ve spent September thinking. I still don’t really have a plan. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was going home in November like the rest of my group. However, I applied to extend and was accepted. I’ll be in Azerbaijan for 6 additional months (my service will end in May). I need a plan.

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