Friday, April 22, 2011

that's the sign of a victory

Monday April 18
Back at Heifer! Today’s field visit wasn’t a training session but a check-in on how a group’s “pass on the gift” payments are coming along. I must say I’m quite bummed I won’t get to attend a “passing” ceremony while I’m here—I think this group is having theirs next month. The best part today was that some of the women offered to show me their goats! I got to see about 15 of them, including some babies and one named “merci Heifer”. Precious.
Not precious: the skinniest dog I have ever seen. This poor thing looked like it should have died a month ago. Actually kind of frightening.
ISP progress report: as of today I am half way done with my surveys and completely done with my staff interviews and transcriptions! Hoorah!
Ah home: Manuella has new footy pajamas, and she is struttin’ around cuter than ever. Also, Oklahoma was on the news tonight for tornadoes (déjà vu, much??).

Tuesday April 19
First, I just have to say: I learned today that they eat termites here. When I showed up to talk to a group this morning, there was a swarm of children collecting them; why weren’t they in school? Good question, good question.
Anyway, today I split from the staff so that I could talk with a group that worked with Heifer from 2006-2008. My time with Heifer has been giving me a different view of Cameroon—I’m getting a real look at village life and its hardships. Today I found the poverty especially discouraging. Granted, it’s never fun to see, but today I just couldn’t handle it; I had only worked so far with groups that had recently begun working with Heifer, so maybe I was subconsciously hoping for a magic fix, a different scene in places they’ve already been. Don’t get me wrong, Heifer is doing good work—when I talk to the participants, they happily go off about Heifer taught them so much, but I look around and I see they still have so very few resources. And then I remember that there are so many others who haven’t received any help at all…
I get uncomfortable at how endless it seems and at how little I can relate to this suffering, but I’m trying to seek comfort in Mother Teresa’s words “we can do no great things, only small things with great love”.

Wednesday April 20
I FINISHED DATA COLLECTION!! Whew…that’s a relief. I enjoy talking to Heifer participants, but I never should have decided to do my research via surveys—the literacy level just isn’t there, which means the process demands a lot of patience. The members I talked to this morning were a riot; they were pretty certain I should take them home with me and set them up with my dad. I tried to tell them my mom might get upset, but they weren’t convinced. We also swapped a little language lesson before I left, so that was fun. I taught them a few words in English and they taught me a few words in….? Who knows what language…

Thursday April 21
I don’t think I’m tired of working, and I don’t think I’m tired of my topic, I’m just tired of only working on my topic. ISP is intense. I wake up, I go to my internship at Heifer, I come home, I work on my paper, and I go to bed. Repeat. I need a little more distraction in my life, but at least I’ve got my Manuella to play with!
Anyhoo, I’m just whining. My project is going pretty darn well in my opinion, and it will be over before I know it!
So the highlight of my day today was probably on my way home when the taxi driver—still rollin’ along at a good pace—tossed his corn cob out the passenger window and it landed perfectly in a dumpster. Made me chuckle.

Friday April 22
Today I finished the first draft of my paper…I think R Kelly would agree “that’s the sign of a victory”.

…I see the light at the end of the tunnel,
and I can feel heaven in its place…

and thats the sign of a victory

…I see the finish line just up ahead n
and I can feel it risin' deep within

and that’s the sign of a victory

ooooohh ohh ohhhh

[Sometimes you have to go all the way to Cameroon to fall in love with an American song.]