It is time to elect new board members of FROG, and we are now accepting nominations for board candidates. Elections will be held in early October 2013. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the FROG Board, we ask that you do the following:
- Nominees must submit their contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Sunday, September 29th; and
- Nominees are strongly encouraged to fill out a Board of Directors Application Form at: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?
FriendsRPCVsofGuyana/ 0c07b12cd8/c15981fd21/ 6d77fc4955.
Feel free to pass this letter to a candidate you feel might be interested.
A FROG Board member will take a leadership role in an organization designed to enhance the lives of Guyanese nationals through micro-grants to organizations throughout the country. Opportunities also exist to spread awareness of Guyana and its people throughout the U.S. with fundraising events, outreach activities, tote bag sales, newsletters, and a number of online tools.
The FROG Board of Directors meets every few weeks to plan and execute the activities, policy, and general direction of FROG. The meetings are held using Google+ in a teleconference setting approximately once every six weeks, or when necessary to conduct FROG activities. The Board consists of four main positions (the Executive Committee) and auxiliary positions created by the board when it is necessary to do so. The Executive Committee will be elected once the new board members have accepted their nominations and have been voted on to the board. The four main positions are as follows:
PRESIDENT: The president is the chief executive officer of FROG, presides at all meetings of the members of FROG, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee, and has general and active management of the business of FROG. The president sees that all orders and resolutions of the members of FROG and the Board of Directors are carried into effect. He or she executes bonds or contracts which the Board has authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated to some other officer or agent of FROG by the Board of Directors. In general he or she performs all duties incident to the office of president and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors.
VICE PRESIDENT: In absence, disability, or refusal to act by the president, the vice president performs the duties and exercises the powers of the president, and has all the powers of and be subject to all of the restrictions of the office of the president. The vice president may, from time to time, perform such duties and have such powers as prescribed by the Board of Directors or the president.
SECRETARY: The secretary keeps minutes of all meetings of the membership of FROG, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee. He or she sends a copy of all minutes to each member of the Board within two weeks of such a meeting, and files a copy of the minutes in an electronic database maintained for that purpose; sees that all notices are duly given in accordance with these Bylaws or as required by law; be custodian of corporate records; keeps a record of the email address, post office address, and phone number of each member who furnishes such information to the secretary; and in general perform all duties incident to the office of secretary or as from time to time may be prescribed by the president or Board of Directors.
TREASURER: The treasurer is the custodian of all corporate funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements in computer programs or books belonging to FROG. The treasurer deposits all money and other valuables in the name and to the credit of FROG, in depositories so designated by the Board of Directors. The treasurer disburses the funds of FROG as so directed by the Board, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements and submits to the presidents and Board at its regular meetings or when requested by the Board or president, an account of all transactions made as treasurer.
FROG Board members also take responsibility for additional roles. To successfully operate a non-profit organization, everyone’s participation is critical. New board members will be expected to join or take over responsibilities one or more of the following areas:
+ Community Outreach
+ Grants Management
+ Volunteer Management
+ Social Media
Serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends & RPCVs of Guyana can be a richly rewarding experience. The small, yet focused nature of our organization allows us to move quickly and flexibly in order to accomplish our mission. Please share in our success by becoming a nominee, or nominating someone you feel would be an appropriate fit.
Nominations can be sent to email@example.com, or nominees may fill out the application form at
Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon.
The Friends & RPCVs of Guyana Board of Directors:
Louise Stenberg – President
Shane Loorz – Vice President
Joanna Knueppel – Treasurer
Aimie Mims – Secretary
Eric Terpstra – Co-Technology Chair, Membership Chair
Congratulations to Marissa Garcia, a Peace Corps Volunteer from GUY24, on the successful completion of her Art Camp project in the village of Charity. Here is the summary of her work, along with some great pictures!
Art Camp started July 15th and ended July 19th from 12:30pm to 3-4pm depending on the activity that day. Altogether there were seven Peace Corps volunteers (including myself), six teachers, and three community members that assisted with camp. Some were not present everyday but all did contribute. Total, there were 105 students that participated. The kids were sectioned off and seated in ten different groups, each with an adult; they were told to stay in their same group the entire week.
The 1st day of camp was designated for apron tie-dye. The kids tied their aprons with rubber bands into whatever design they liked the best. Each group had two colors that they were to dye with. They spent the whole day dying, rinsing and drying their aprons so the next day they would be able to wear them.
The 2nd day of camp was paper mache piñata day. The groups were told that there would be a competition on who would make the most creative piñata. Each group had a bucket with the mixture of flour and water, along with a large sized balloon. They were also given newspaper to paste on the balloon. The balloons had several layers of paper mache on them and were left to dry until the following day. (The idea was that the activities for the following days wouldn’t take very long and there would be extra time to work on their piñatas before Friday.)
The 3rd day of camp was painting on canvases in a striped, multicolor design. Each child was given a canvas (the frames were made and donated by the saw mill next door) and told to only use three colors for the first layer. They were to draw and then paint an animal of their choice. The group leaders only took three colors back to their group in order to avoid confusion with the kids. Once they painted their animal, they put the canvases outside to dry. After that, they were told to get masking tape and tape off sections of the painting, to resemble stripes. Once their painting included the tape, they were to get three more colors (different from the first three) and paint the entire animal all over again. This step was a bit confusing for them so the group leaders helped them out a lot. Then once the painting dried again, they were told to remove the masking tape and voila, their masterpiece was revealed. This activity really went well and so many kids had an amazing outcome.
The 4thday of camp was supposed to start out with completing the piñata. Unfortunately the piñatas molded and attracted a huge number of flies. We were going to attempt to salvage them, but they smelled so bad and looked disgusting, that we had to throw them out. We then started with activity number four which was masks. Each child got a piece of 8×10 poster board that they were told to draw an outline of a mask on. Some kids did a Mardi Gras-esque mask, while others did animals. Each group was given glitter, construction paper, glue, and scissors to complete their masks. The kids had a lot of fun with this activity and it was great seeing them come up with different types of masks. After they completed the masks, we had time for another activity. Each child was given a piece of 20×5 poster board and a pencil. They were told to write their name in block letters, filling the space. If their name was too long, they could write “love” “family” “faith”, etc. if they wanted to instead. Once they drew their name, they cut it out and were given black paint to paint the entire thing. We ran out of time, so we had to finish the remainder of the lesson for the following day.
On the last day of camp, we reserved it for games and piñata breaking. Since the piñatas that the groups made initially, rotted, a few volunteers and I decided to make two last minute piñatas out of cardboard boxes for the kids to bust. I really wanted the children to experience the fun of hitting piñatas; so a few moldy piñatas were not going to get in my way. When the children arrived, they were told to finish the activity from the previous day. All they had to do was cut designs out of some sparkly, adhesive paper and decorate their names. Once they finished, they cleaned up and got ready for the piñata and the games. Before we started with the piñatas, we gathered everyone for a game that involved balloons, string and newspaper. The balloons were tied to the kids’ head/hair and they were each given a rolled newspaper page. The point of the game was to pop everyone else’s balloon while keeping your balloon from being popped. They all ran around and had a fun time chasing each other. The winners were given a chance to hit the piñata first. Once we got started with hitting the first piñata, and the kids got the jist of it, they loved every second of it!!! The kids and the volunteers took turns hitting until both were successfully beaten. After the piñata madness, we saved the best game for last……the water balloon war. Buckets of water balloons were placed around the compound and the kids were told to throw as many as they could, at their friends and at their group leaders. Everyone had a blast and it was a great way to end a very fun camp.
Challenges and Successes
The challenges of the project were as follows:
- some helpers ended up arriving late/not showing up
- piñatas failed the first time around
- the aprons got mixed up among the owners
- when the names were painted black, some torn because the paper was too thin
- some aprons didn’t tie dye so well because polyester didn’t absorb the dye well enough
And as for the successes of the project:
- the kids were excited each day about the next activity
- the piñatas 2.0 were built and successfully beaten
- the sharing amongst the groups was better than expected
- the positive feedback I kept hearing from the kids
The challenges of the camp were only small shortcomings so luckily we were able to deal with most of them. Some of the teachers/volunteers were not able to come for the whole week, so I recruited others to help and make up the time so that the groups would all have leaders. We fixed the piñata problem by creating two more piñatas as a surprise for the children. Unfortunately not all of the aprons found themselves back to their rightful owner, but I have a box full of some that were left, if the kids want to look for theirs. The names were repaired by tape. And the polyester not absorbing the tie-dye is something we really couldn’t fix but now realize that was part of the learning process. In the future, we all know to use only cotton! The successes of the camp really outweighed the challenges/failures. By the time that the camp was finished, I could tell that the children really enjoyed themselves and were grateful they got to attend. The PCV’s that helped kept telling me how they thought that for a first time camp, things went rather well. And the teachers were appreciative that the camp gave the children something to look forward to and enjoy.
Personal Success and Feedback
The camp created a lot of excitement throughout the children. They got to experience their skills and they realized their potential. Some of them observed others and realized that art is interesting. It was fun and will give them an idea if they would like to pursue art as maybe a career. – Shakeela Barakat (teacher)
Thank you for teaching me this week Miss! I learned a lot! – Ronaldo (3rd grader)
The kids had such a great time this week. They were so well behaved, polite and very creative. They will remember this camp for a while! – Susan (fellow PCV)
Thank you for having camp Miss! I had a lot of fun! – Kavita (1st grader)
The camp was a fun and empowering experience for all children, parents/teachers and Peace Corps volunteers involved. Many students have never been given the opportunity to experience art, let alone been told their artwork is wonderful and unique. I will always remember that moment of unrestrained joy when the piñata broke and children and candy went everywhere! – Beth (fellow PCV)
Camp was really well organized! The kids and I had a wonderful time! It was a really fun-filled camp that leaves you wanting more! Thanks to everyone that assisted in making it a success! – Ms. Narine (teacher)
Host an all day workshop which will accommodate 100 youths between the ages of 7 to 16,both males and females. Sessions in the three disciplines of Karate, Dance and Capoeira will be offered , each running for 3 hours. The youths will be introduced to the basic principles of these art forms and also the benefits pf having the training.
By giving them a first hand experience of these art forms, we hope will spark their interest in becoming a full time trainee and also to become a member of Youth Empowerment Group Guyana (YEGG). YEGG is always on the quest to integrate young people of these communities into positive activities ,as we believe there is a major shortage of youth focus within and in surrounding areas. Once they become a member of our group they would have the choice of being a part of many other programs that may suit their interest.
During the Friday and Saturday preceding the event, our volunteers were scouting going door to door to get children registered for the workshop staged for the 9th March 2013.By foot wearing their t shirts and identity cards, they visited houses along Laine Avenue, West and East front Road and the surrounding areas. Much progress was made as many children were at home during the hours we visited. We distributed the consent forms that
were to be signed by the parents and briefed each parent and child on the expected activities.
On the day of the event, we were scheduled to begin at 10:00am but had a late start at 11:30 awaiting arrival of more children. Our first session was dance which ran for one hour. After which the media arrived to carryout interviews with facilitators and participants. Youth Expressions and NCN news were present to do so. The second session was karate, which ran for one hour and thirty minutes. We then break for one hour so that the children could enjoy the refreshments. Sessions in capoeira began shortly after the hour and a repeat of the sessions
of half an hour were carried out to accommodate those who came late. All sessions were commenced at 4:00pm and remaining snacks were distributed.
A record of the participants were made and further registration for permanent classes were made just before they left. We also requested a feedback from the children about their experiences and their eagerness to inform their peers were evident.
Challenges and Successes
Our biggest challenge which resulted in the postponement of the program altogether, was a change of location and time. The event was scheduled for the 2nd of March, but was put off to the 9th of March because we were informed that we had to change venue due to some unforeseen circumstances. However, regardless of the short coming, the rescheduling served as a booster when it came to gathering youths. There was more time available so we were able to meet our target of 100+ children.
It was also a bit challenging accommodating more children than expected in terms of snacks. We were equipped to cater for 100, but were faced with the task of providing for a little over including the trainers and volunteers, but that was easily overcome by the eagerness of the parents present .They provided the extra snacks in a jiffy.
Last, is the issue of not acquiring the photographs expected from a volunteer? It appeared that they were misplaced and could not be retrieved, so we resorted to using images taken by mobile phones as reference .Which is a bit disappointing.
Personal Experiences and Stories
Due to the high level of professionalism displayed, the success of the project was nothing but a tiny task. The instructors were pleased with the performances of the participants as they felt empowered by their achievements. The children all gave a general response of fulfillment, gratitude and much anticipation of the next event.
Personally I’m happy with the works done that day and one thing I learnt whilst carrying out one aspect of the workshop, dance, is that it doesn’t matter what age or caliber of people you associate yourself with and offer your knowledge to, once the outcome is the same every time that’s all that matters , success.
John Snow, Incorporated is recruiting for two positions based in Guyana. The openings are for:
CARE AND SUPPORT OFFICER (GUYANA)
Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention (GHARP III) Project
PREVENTION OFFICER (GUYANA)
Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention (GHARP III) Project
For a full description, requirements, and contact information, please download the attached documents.
More information and other job listings for JSI can be found at: http://www.jsi.com/JSIInternet/Work/jobpostings.cfm
New York, NY – April 6th 2013
Join us for an elegant evening of Fine Art, Music, Film & Cocktails from NYC to Guyana…Saturday, April 6th 2013 – 6pm – 9pm — Friends & Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Guyana (FROG) a non-profit organization of former Peace Corps volunteers will host a special screening of the award-winning 64th Festival de Cannes Official Selection, Guyanese short film The Seawall and launch The Mason Richards Film Fellowship for students at The University of Guyana.
This Benefit event will also feature select works of fine art by prominent artists of Guyanese descent including renowned Yale University MFA Marlon Forrester and others.
Guests will enjoy delicious Guyanese fare, wine, and scrumptious specialty cocktails courtesy of Guyana’s El Dorado Rum…and will be serenaded by live ‘creole jazz in Shanto Tradition’ with Special Guest Guyanese Master Drummer Baba Mpho in downtown Manhattan’s 154 Stanton Galley private lounge and Roof top deck.
ALL donations and a portion of the proceeds of art sold will be donated to the production of the feature-length version of “The Seawall” film and to the ‘Mason Richards Film Fellowship’ for students at University of Guyana to study and participate in the production of the feature film made in the South American country.
Guyana has millions of acres of rainforest, thousands of kilometers of rivers and a diverse ethnic make-up of African, Indian, Amerindian and Portuguese cultures. The country itself has a modest population of 750,000 but additional hundreds of thousands live outside of Guyana – in the United States, Canada, Europe and Caribbean.
About the Film
The Award-Winning Seawall, short film, shot entirely on location in Guyana, had its world premier at the 64th Festival de Cannes in France, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious, showcases celebrating the best and brightest new works in film. The short has also played at The Caribbean Film Corner in London, the Bahamas, and festivals in the US including the Kansas City Urban Film Festival and the Goethe-Institut, Washington DC.
“The feedback has been tremendous and the feature aims to be even better” says former President of FROG and the film’s Producer, Scott Stadum. FROG, the film’s official fiscal sponsor, has helped to raise over $20,000 for the production and “our goal is to the increase amount of support for the film and to reach a wider audience. We also want to support Mason in telling this beautiful, heartfelt story set in Guyana.”
“The topic of the feature is emigration and to highlight issues changing and challenging Guyanese culture within its borders and across the globe” says Mason, the film’s Guyanese-born filmmaker, Winner of the 2012 Sony Pictures Diversity Fellowship, ”this night of celebrating cinema, art, and Guyana is all for a great cause.”
RSVP at GuyanaFilmBenefit.eventbrite.com.
Ticket types available for purchase are as follows:
|Ticket Type||Ticket Price|
Ticket descriptions and purchase information are available at GuyanaFilmBenefit.eventbrite.com.
Donations also accepted at Friends & Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (FROG)’s website: www.guyfrog.org . Questions, Press Passes, Guest List: Contact Maurva Productions at 646.535.9513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The assignment was to upgrade the reading instruction at St. Barnabas Special School. No child enrolled in the school could read beyond a 7 years 4 months reading age (and most fell below a 6 year reading age level) and when my term of service began and no teacher in st. Barnabas was actually engaged in teaching reading and literacy. In order to institute reading instruction at the school, the first step involved assessing the present reading levels of the students to provide a baseline of achievement. Teachers were also observed to determine their preferred teaching style. Inservices/staff development activities were planned and implemented throughout the Easter and August School terms. Since teachers had neither formal training in special needs methodologies or teaching reading, they requested a background of information. Topics of staff development sessions included learning styles (modalities), creating interactive multi-sensory subject area lessons, a background in reading and reading instruction, phonics (most teachers have very little knowledge of phonetics beyond the short vowel closed syllable words), organization of an effective reading lesson for Reading Disability/dyslexic students, and how and why students can create a Sounds Book as an ongoing reference.
In July the teachers met with me to set goals for the following year for the school in general and specifically for the reading program. We discussed ways to involve reading into the teaching scheme. Suggestions were made to have literacy teacher (but the Ministry needed to appoint one), have a single teacher volunteer to teach literacy, or to have the teachers who managed each class do the reading. The present Head Teacher was being reassigned to another school and one of the teachers was named acting Head Teacher. She would work on the teaching scheme in September. I suggested that reading instruction should be scheduled at least twice weekly—more often if possible.
In addition to meeting with teachers and assessing students, direct instruction with students to trial the intended reading program on a group level was instituted as well as informal instruction to students during random parts of the day. The group lessons also served as a modeling of teaching practices for teachers. Students showed an average two month gain in reading levels after 5 weeks of instruction—and they were beginning to spell.
During August term and August break the manual for reading instruction was completed, edited and revised. It was modeled after the Wilson Reading program for dyslexic older children, adolescents, and adults I had wanted to train a volunteer at NCERD to use the program, but she elected to take another direction.
The FROG grant was approved and the monies received by the beginning of September. It took several weeks before the school wrote a new teaching scheme. The acting HM elected to teach the reading but reading was only scheduled once a week for a 60 minute block of time for each class. Yonette, the acting HM and now reading teacher, proved to be a good choice. She had formerly been a preschool teacher and understood beginning reading instruction. She was enthusiastic and designated an unused part of the school to be a reading class. “I can make posters for every sound and hang them around the room.” She told me. “I want to take that cupboard to store books and supplies and they will be right there.” I gave her a draft copy of the St. Barnabas Reading Program. She successfully used her past experiences and with my support added the techniques from the reading program. I was able to observe her teaching and make observations and suggestions to augment instruction. Sometimes I filled in for her when her HM duties interfered. She was sometimes able to observe. Little by little she incorporated the techniques I wanted her to use. Sometimes the students helped. One day she stood holding the Sound Cards. “No Miss.” Said Farrah, one of the students. “You need the pocket chart.” She ran off and brought back the pocket chart that I had made and used regularly. Now the teacher uses it in her lessons Children were beginning to read and are excited.
A major reason for obtaining the grant was to have individual chalkboards created for students. Since the plan was to teach reading and spelling in the same lesson, it seemed like a good and inexpensive teaching aid. Chalk is cheap! I was able to have students from Sophia Special Needs School construct the chalk boards. Because I saved on labor costs, I was able to leave a set with teachers in that school, too. By the time of my Close of Service, the Head Teacher was effectively using the chalk boards and aids. She was incorporating the use of phonics DVDs and was beginning to use some books with the older groups.
It is time to elect new board members of FROG, and we are now accepting nominations for board candidates. Elections will be held in later September 2011. If you, or someone you know is interested in joining the FROG board, we ask that you do the following:
- Nominees must submit their contact information to email@example.com no later than Sunday, September 25th; and
- Nominees are strongly encourage to fill out a Board of Directors Application Form at:http://bit.ly/hZcgb. Feel free to pass this letter to a candidate you feel might be interested.
A FROG board member will take a leadership role in an organization designed to enhance the lives of Guyanese nationals through micro-grants to organizations throughout the country. Opportunities also exist to spread awareness of Guyana and its people throughout the U.S. with fundraising events, T-shirt sales, newsletters, and a number of online tools.
The FROG board of directors meets every few weeks to plan and execute the activities, policy, and general direction of FROG. The meetings are held using Skype in a teleconference setting approximately once every six weeks, or when necessary to conduct FROG activities. The board consists of four main positions (the Executive Committee) and auxiliary positions created by the board when it is necessary to do so. The executive committee will be elected once the new board members have accepted their nominations and have been voted on to the board. The four main positions are as follows:
President. The president is the chief executive officer of FROG, presides at all meetings of the members of FROG, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee, and has general and active management of the business of FROG. The president sees that all orders and resolutions of the members of FROG and the Board of Directors are carried into effect. He or She executes bonds or contracts which the Board has authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated to some other officer or agent of FROG by the Board of Directors. In general he or she performs all duties incident to the office of president and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors.
Vice President. In absence, disability, or refusal to act by the president, the vice president performs the duties and exercises the powers of the president, and has all the powers of and be subject to all of the restrictions of the office of the president. The vice president may, from time to time, perform such duties and have such powers as prescribed by the Board of Directors or the president.
Secretary. The secretary keeps minutes of all meetings of the membership of FROG, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee. He or she sends a copy of all minutes to each member of the Board within two weeks of such a meeting, and files a copy of the minutes in an electronic database maintained for that purpose; sees that all notices are duly given in accordance with these Bylaws or as required by law; be custodian of corporate records; keeps a record of the email address, post office address, and phone number of each member who furnishes such information to the secretary; and in general perform all duties incident to the office of secretary or as from time to time may be prescribed by the president or Board of Directors.
Treasurer. The treasurer is the custodian of all corporate funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements in computer programs or books belonging to FROG. The treasurer deposits all money and other valuables in the name and to the credit of FROG, in depositories so designated by the Board of Directors. The treasurer disburses the funds of FROG as so directed by the Board, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements and submits to the presidents and Board at its regular meetings or when requested by the Board or president, an account of all transactions made as treasurer.
FROG Board members also take responsibility for additional roles. To successfully operate a non-profit organization, everyone’s participation is critical. New board members will be expected to join or take over one or more of the following roles:
- Membership Coordinator
- Community Outreach Coordinator
- Projects Manager
- Chief Fundraiser
- Technology Chair
- Program/Task Manager
Serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends & RPCVs of Guyana can be a richly rewarding experience. The small, yet focused nature of our organization allow us to move quickly and flexibly in order to accomplish our mission. Please share in our success by becoming a nominee, or nominating someone you feel would be an appropriate fit.
The Friends and RPCVs of Guyana Board of Directors:
Kati Ringer – President
Scott Stadum – Vice President
Joanna Knueppel – Treasurer
Aimie Mims – Secretary
Mike Geurink – Chief Fundraiser, Assistant Treasurer
Louise Stenberg – Grants Coordinator
Eric Terpstra – Membership Coordinator, Co-Technology Chair
FROG was able to assist Nicholas Smith with funding to purchase tractor fuel, with the intent on building a new road for his village. The road is now complete, and community members can now avoid trudging through muddy water to get from one end of the village to the other.
Kwatamang is a small village on Annai Village Land, between Annai proper and the Rupununi river. The village is divided by a low area that floods during rainy season.
The proposed grant would pay for two drums of fuel so the Kwatamang Village tractor (with help from the villagers) could raise a section of ground linking East and West Kwatamang during the rainy season.
The Senior Councilor Jordan Joseph has stated the the villagers would do all the labour, and the village tractor could be used if the money for fuel could be found.
The section of the land is not to big. maybe 75-100 yards long. The land does not flood high… it is kind of one very large puddle that never drains and is always wet.
The FROG Grant successfully provided funds to improve a well used path in Kwatamang Village, Guyana. The village is divided into two main hills with a low ground in between. That low ground was always muddy and near impassable during rainy season. The FROG grant gave the village enough to build this ground up. The Grant went towards fueling the Village tractor and paying the labor to collect rock and rocky dirt and build a road through the wet, muddy area.
CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES
The challenges of the project were few. The main one was that once the Village knew of the Grant money they assumed that it could be spent in any manner whatsoever. I had a young couple approach me very professionally one evening and state they knew I had a lot of money and kindly asked for transpay to Georgetown. They stated that FROG Grant money was fine to use. I had a few other stories like this and honestly receiving this Grant had an affect on how my Village saw me. I must also state that I had been documenting the meetings, the collection of the money, the initial work, the distributing of the money.. everything on video. This videoing was intended to introduce a possible transparent system for local grants. In January I had the best bike wreck I have had in 20 years and my computer with all the video uploaded on it exploded. I had was lucky enough that I took a few pictures with my iPod Touch and this is where the pictures (hopefully) pasted below come from. Also with no computer I was not able to type this very report until I reached Georgetown, a solid month after the project was complete.
The Successes easily outweighed the Challenges. Simply put there is now a path that will make crossing a giant mud puddle a lot easier. The local mini-buses now can drive to Small Kwatamang and pick people up or drop supplies off. The local Bull-ox carts can cross. The Children can come to school on rainy days. The project was designed by the villagers, budgeted by the villagers and completed by the villagers, they have a lot of ownership in the project. Ownership in projects leads towards maintenance of projects, maintenance of projects leads towards sustainable projects. I feel this project is sustainable and successful.
Guyana Peace Corps Volunteer, B. Ryan Dunn K. Komeh has concluded her FROG sponsored health project encouraging women to actively take control of their well being and bring to life a new exercise class in the community.
Several months ago women with children 5 months to 5 years agreed to participate in weekly Monday sessions geared to the health/nutrition of their children. Out of these sessions these same women expressed the desire to tackle their own health. Therefore, it was suggested that we form a group that would address these issues; beginning those initial steps that would lead to healthier lifestyles for ourselves. Since there are no gyms or health facilities in Mahdia an aerobics class seemed like the best way to begin. It is fun and can be done in a private space without onlookers.
Over the course of three months twelve women all with young children met every Friday from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM for floor aerobics with an experienced teacher. Each woman was given a mat and a water bottle upon payment of the registration fee of $500 dollars. Depending on availability a 20-30 minute nutrition/diet session was held either at the beginning or end of the aerobics sessions.
In the beginning, class attendance was slow but, by the end of the course women had to be turned away due to space constraints.Â The majority of the exercises performed were designed so that the women could perform them on their own. In fact, women were encouraged weekly to do this.Â By the end of the sessions all women noted an increase in energy levels and all women expressed interest in continuing exercise after official class ceased.
Currently, steps are being put into place to have a year round class open to all women living in the community. In the interim the women are keeping up on their own.
CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES
When implementing this project there were few challenges due to the excitement of the women. Those that arose had to do with logistics. For example, finding a venue that would accommodate the number of personâ€™s involved and agreeing on a day and time that worked for the women and the instructor. In addition, once that class was underway it was frustrating to have to turn persons away from the class. In fact, several persons joined who were not initially expected. Issues with the current in the interior often proved problematic.Â Sometimes current was available and sometimes it was not. At several points the time of class had to be altered to accommodate a change in a key personâ€™s schedule. However, if for whatever purposes class was canceled there was always a make-up class the following Saturday.Â The women often expressed the need for more classes during the week. However, the schedule of the instructor would not permit this addition nor the budget. However, the women were encouraged to meet on their own to exercise. This happened once or twice but all women expressed the fact that it was easier to exercise with the instructor there. This was cause for some alarm because the point was for the women to gain enough confidence to continue you on long after the instructor had finished with his class.
Initially, there were to be meetings twice a week. One strictly for the aerobics and the other geared to nutrition. The women found it difficult to attend these separate meetings about nutrition so in the end they were canceled and all nutrition lessons came on the tail end of aerobics classes.
Successes of the course were many. However, the most telling would be the amount of persons who wanted to join the class and the state of the women when the course officially ended.Â Upon commencing with the course the captain of the group and myself were approached by six additional women who wanted to join. Unfortunately, only two were able to be accepted due to the space of the venue. In addition, the instructor said that he would offer classes after this class had officially ended and all of the women expressed intentions of attending.Â In addition to the excitement over more classes all of the women who participated reported back increases in energy and more flexibility. Overall, the class went extremely well, persons were sad to see it end and had learned a great deal that they could and expressed interest in doing until the initiation of the next class.