Saturday, May 30, 2009

FARNG Fundraising Project

This entry will be a bit different than the others; not as fun filled but will give you some more insight in what my work is like and to share a little bit of my Peace Corps experience with friends and family back home. Below is a quick summary of a project that I am currently doing and below that is the more in depth fundraising letter that has more information and the budget. Thanks and Enjoy!

Introduction to the FARNG Fundraising Project
I am posted in a village about an hour north of the city of Mokolo in the Extreme North Province, right on the border of Nigeria. It consists of 22 smaller neighborhoods, or quartiers, one of which will be hosting the pilot program for this the FARNG project, . This pilot program is centered on maternal and child health care. The overall objectives of the FARNG program are to increase connectivity and communication between pregnant women and the health center, increase knowledge of nutrition among pregnant women, and to prioritize the needs of pregnant women. Thus, the program will decrease the astronomically high infant and maternal mortality rates in the community by supporting the women through their pregnancy, childbirth and throughout the months following the birth of their baby. Because of the isolation of this village, development has been slow to come and certain basic needs are not available.

The following link is for the fundraising letter:

The following link is the Budget Spreadsheet

Monday, May 11, 2009

Patois Smatois

yes yes yes i know, i've been such a slacker with posting. I apologize perfusely and will not be suprised to find out that my readership has dwindle to just my mother. (P.S. Happy Mother's Day. Love!) Please check out the pics added to the post before this one too.

Theme: Language (aka why i now realize why the rest of the world thinks that Americans stink at learning languages, or even trying's true or at least i do)

Every Tuesday I do a presentation at the Health Center for pregnant women while they get their prenatal consultations. One of the nurses, Dalika, translates for me as most of the women in village do not speak French. She also adds real life stories from her own extensive experience in womens' health; basically she's much more quaified than me, but likes for me to come and bring pretty pictures. The presentation goes a little something like this: I say something in French, Dalika translates in Hide (the language that most of the village speaks). She realizes that one woman only understands Mafa, so she then translates to Mafa. Then another only understands Fufulde (the language that most of North Cameroon speaks), so another round of translation happens.

Yep. So quick summary.
Me: French
Dalika: Hide
Dalika: Mafa
Dalika: Fufulde
and on and on.

Presto! My 15 minute presentation has turned into a one hour or more extravaganza. It's really amazing to watch. Another example is going to meetings and having people flip between three languages in one sentance. As a person whose struggling with basic French, it's a little intimidating to watch people turn on and off languages without any struggle.

The patios of my post is Hide and just over 40,000 people speak it in the whole world and they are all in this little area of Cameroon/Nigeria. I guess I won't be breaking it out when I go home much. The days of the week are the names of the Hide villages' market days (Thursday is "Luma Berek" which is the market day in Tourou Centre or Berek).

It also took just the first Hide lesson to realize that unless i was planning to spend my two years aggressively studying the language, i was not going to be able to delve in that far. It's been almost 6 months at post and I can do only basic salutations and say where i'm going. There are 14 sounds unique to French or English, most of which require throat and tongue gymnastics which i'm not capable of. Also the structure of the sentance is kind of flip-flopped (I go to the market is "Go market I") To be honest I could be spending more time on the language bit, but i feel that improving my plateaued French would be a better way to go.

Also kind of interesting, I'm no longer Cara (Care-ah), i'm Cahrrah (as in Spanish for 'face' way). The long 'a' and soft 'r' aren't part of the normal sounds here. The kids in my neighborhood call me Cahrrahss, which is Carrot in Housa, another local language. There's also a moto driver who calls me carrotte (french for carrot). Basically I respond to anything that remotely sounds like my name.

Until next time.