Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Like Fufu

When I got here, I never thought the words, “I really want some fufu” would ever pass from my lips, but… it’s true. I now like fufu (for those unversed in West African cuisine, it’s pounded yam. Not sweet potato, although that would be delicious, just a big, white yam).

Now that I’ve made that confession, we can move on. My peer educator training is this weekend, and I can’t help feeling anxious. Here are some of the challenges I’ve encountered during the planning process.

1. After announcing the students selected to attend training I heard that one girl was upset because she wasn’t chosen. We based selection on their quizzes and input from guy I’m working with, Mr. Tairoo. So this girl had let her friend copy her quiz, and the friend was picked (not by me. Tairoo suggested her). Girl One came to see me, so we decided she could attend. Everyone has to pass the exam at the end of the weekend, without cheating, to officially become a peer educator. Except I have a hard time saying, “No,” so I hope they all pass.

2. Last Friday, Mr. Tairoo told me he was going to be in Dapaong for exam corrections Wednesday through Friday. He might be back on Saturday. The training is from Friday until Sunday. I need a new counterpart for student-related activities. He always does this! He would never tell me when he had to leave town on a Wednesday afternoon, so I would wait around for him to start health club. I don’t know how to replace him without offending him, though.

3. Yesterday, a student told me she was going to Mango until Sunday. I told her she couldn’t become a peer educator if she missed training. I really want her to attend - she’s the girl who brings my water, and I’m sending her to camp. I told Tairoo and he talked to her. Now she says she’s coming back Thursday morning.

That’s a glimpse of the frustrating planning process. I should also add to the list my own procrastination. Apparently I intend to plan my sessions in the two days before the training begins.

I spent the weekend in Mango. We had a goodbye party for Cliff, which gave us one last chance to enjoy his delicious curry pasta. On Sunday, Amanda and I did our nine-mile run. We ran out to the hippo reservoir, and this time we got a great look at the hippos. They were already in the water but very close to our path (not dangerously so. No worries, I’m not going to provoke hippo rage). As we ran past, they yawned and gnawed on each others’ heads. Looking at hippos took up about two minutes, at most, of a 90 minute run. I hope the marathon route includes distracting scenery, because if it’s 26.2 miles or rice fields, I’ll just quit.