Monday, August 06, 2007

Mid-Service Reflection

We met as a group for language testing and mid-service reflection last week and I come back to the village excited about the coming year and comfortable in this community. I won't know how I did on the Armenian exam until after swearing-in on the 15th but I know that I've progressed given the fact that I debated gender roles on the train back from Yerevan yesterday and understood when Tatik got in a fight with my host brother over investing the apricot income in a new satelite dish this morning.

As I begin my second and final year of service to Armenia I am confident in the projects my village and I have initiated: A new community playground and recreation area, healthy life styles newspapers introducing difficult topics such as reproductive health, stress and nutrition, and event planning of a community-wide health festival in the spring. I'm also excited about the cross-sectoral work that allows me to engage in larger initiatives (Gender and Development, Public Relations and Organizational networking for NGOs in the more remote areas). Work has developed as a result of the International Outreach Camp and Green Camp I organized and participated in this summer as well. I'll find myself busy working on an after school mentorship program on environmental and health topics and guiding young civic leaders through the grant-writing process this fall.

There are some personal goals I've set that should cover my free time including running the Athens Marathon and figuring out how to care for our new family puppy, Rex. A few friends and I are starting to seriously consider how we can organize our close of service trip next August. If anyone has suggestions or tips about the Trans-Siberian railroad or would like to donate tickets to the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing I'd be extremely grateful.

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