Yesterday baby Anata turned 1!
Is it really August already? We—Moz 15—just finished our COS (Close Of Service) conference since we have been here for 22 months now and most of us are getting ready to leave soon. However I am not. I had applied for two extension positions and had the fortune of getting almost exactly what I wanted. I will no longer be teaching or living in Inharrime, but I will be living close enough to visit them sometimes. I will actually be living in Namaacha (with Anna, woot woot!), where we stayed for three months during our pre-service training, and my house is actually a couple hundred yards from where my host mom and brother, their boyfriend/father, and baby Anata live!
I will be working 50% of the time as the Malaria Activities Promoter and 50% of the time as the HIV&AIDS and Youth Programs Integration Coordinator. As Malaria Activities Promoter my role will be creating and promoting malaria activities by PCVs in both the education and health sectors, indentifying possible NGO partners for PCVs, keeping all staff and PCVs updated on malaria-related events or information, and providing programmatic support to PCVs implementing malaria activities. Since I plan to apply to public health (dual degrees with business) programs after I finish here, this will be an invaluable learning opportunity and experience for me. In the north of Mozambique where the HIV rate is lower, malaria is the number one killer. In the south of Mozambique HIV is probably the number 1 killer, but the fact is that HIV doesn’t kill, it weakens the person’s immune system so that other diseases can enter and kill the person, thus malaria is recorded as killing the greatest number of people. This project will be an interesting change of focus, shifting from the HIV-prevention work I have focused on the past two years in my extra-curricular clubs.
For the HIV&AIDS and youth projects position, my primary responsibility will be evaluating the effectiveness of the secondary projects that PCVs run here (REDES, JOMA (a co-ed version youth club with similar structures and goals as REDES), Science Fair, Future Business Leaders of Mozambique, and English Theater/Club, since all of these projects are funded by HIV-prevention money (PEPFAR—the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief…I think/hope). I will propose improvements to these programs, especially in the areas of behavior change, and research and introduce ideas from projects being implemented elsewhere. I am looking forward to this work and to living with Anna, who is extending to work with all Youth Projects, overseeing their organizational development, and helping create better and more sustainable organization structures and practices for the future.
The REDES conference starts tomorrow. The past couple weeks have been a bit of a headache getting all the supplies gathers, t-shirts made, welcome books and manuals printed, and travel arranged. Alice greeted me at the COS conference by saying “I love you, but I want to kill you for leaving the country the week before the REDES conference!” But once the conference starts things should go smoothly hopefully!