Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Home Stretch

One more week. My house has been for sale since August 1 and I now have only 1 more week to sell the house before I have to call the Peace Corps and inform them that I cannot leave as scheduled in the first week of March. At which point I don't know what will happen. I imagine they will pull my name from the departing list and put me on a waiting list, telling me to inform them when I do sell the house possibly not leaving until September or October. It is even possible that they will not issue me another invitation at all to serve in the Peace Corps, so you can understand my sense of urgency. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I had a buyer for the house. He had made an offer and I had accepted it and I had called the Peace Corps telling them i was free to leave and that I had no further financial obligations to take care of. The house was supposed to close around Thanksgiving and he was offering cash. By the time it was to close I had given away and sold all of my furniture and posessions and packed what was left into a bedroom closet and a corner of a storage shed at my parents house. Then 2 days before closing... the deal fell through. He pulled out of buying and I was left with the house and no buyer. I was deflated to say the least, but still feeling a bit of hope since I still had 2 months to find another buyer. So here I am. I've done some more work to the house including replacing all 17 windows. I've changed to a more agressive agent in a more agressive market. I've prayed until I'm blue in the face, often times feeling like a nagging kid, begging God to do this because, "'s a good thing! You HAVE to want me to do this, right? Then sell the house, God! Come on! What are you waiting for??" However in recent weeks my focus has shifted from nagging to trusting. As a Christian, a believing, trusting-in-God Christian, I am bound to believe that God is in control, right? "God's Will" as some will put it in an expression that can seem overused. I call it "God's timing". If God is 'Father' and He is Good then He knows what is best and He is 'Working to the good for those who love Him' and I need to Trust that. I think that is what has been lacking in my faith these past few years, simple belief and trust in a magnificant God of the universie. I study religion, i critique worship and preaching. I think God stuff and pray for my neighbor, but it is my Faith and Belief in a big God that is in control and is actively working, nurturing, teaching, and loving that I have somehow forgotten about. I love the story of Abraham and Lot where they are traveling together and their herds have become to big to continue to travel together. They decide to split ways and Abraham lets Lot pick which side to go. Abraham is the elder, he should pick first, but he lets Lot and Lot of course picks the lush, green side and leaves Abraham w/ the dry, barren land. But the point is that Abraham KNOWS that it doesn't matter. That God has made a promise to provide for him and that regardless of which direction he takes, God is providing. And there it is. That Trust, Faith, and Belief in an all powerful and trustworthy God. So, one more week. The house still shows about 2 times a week and I'm optimistic that I will get an offer next week. I trust in God's provision. But at the same time, I'm ok with whatever He decides is best. And I've found it's a lot easier to do it that way anyway.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And then there were none

Dog watch Day 3... Leighla was taken today to a farm house that sits on 12 acres where she'll have another dog to play with and Bear will go to Maryland to live w/ my cousin Glenn in February. Until then Bear and I will keep running around Greenfield, chasing the ducks in the park. I've got to say, when I got home today and saw Bear he looked down and he was craving some extra luvin' so he went w/ me to Wal-Mart and we got some Begin Strips of which he turned up his nose at... It's so good to know that the dogs have gone to good homes! Thanks to everyone for helping get them placed! I really appreciate y'all coming to the rescue and so do Leighla and Bear!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dog update...

Day 2. Countdown to a new home for the dogs. I couldn't stand the thought of the dogs being on 'death row' so I rescued them from the pound. So now I have them tied up in the back yard. One uses my empty storage shed as a house, the other a doghouse I borrowed back from my sister. I posted a flyer at Applebees where I work part time plus have passed their info on to several shelters plus an online adoption site, but still no luck finding a home. ALL of the 'no-kill' shelters I called informed me that they were full and could not take any more pets. I also learned that several of these 'no kill' shelters are not as ideal a place to take a pet as you might think. Often times pets will remain there for YEARS, kept in a small pen waiting for an adoption that may never happen. Something to think about. If ANYONE would like more info on the dogs, please email me. I imagine they will need to be seperated in order to find a home which is fine. I can deliver them and I am more than willing to pay to have Leighla Spayed!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Dog Days of Winter...

After giving away my dogs only to have them run away from their new home back to me, I have been left with no other option than to take them to the Animal Shelter where they will have aproximately 5-7 days to be addopted before they are put to sleep on approximately 1/21. This is my last ditch effort to find a home for them. If you or anyone you know would like ONE of these dogs, PLEASE let me know. I hate the thought of taking them to the pound, but they escaped from my back yard 2x this weekend (because I gave away the underground electric fence) and I cannot keep them inside because I'm selling my house and they are not house trained!! So i'm left with no other feasable optoins. I called several 'rescue shelters' only to find that they put your dogs on waiting lists to be addopted but you have to keep them yourself until a home is found. So here's the scoop: Bear, 4 year old male, husky mix, neutered, 45lbs, house trained. People lover, good with kids. Active dog who runs with me sometimes up to 10 miles! An excellent watchdog, barking only at suspicious activity and kids who skateboard. Leighla: Australian shephard/Black Lab mix, female, not spayed, 50lbs, not house trained. Very friendly, easy going, loves to play fetch, great with kids. Again, if you or someone you know would like to adopt either of these fantastic pets, PLEASE LET ME KNOW SOON!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Assignment

Here's a not-so-brief overview of my Peace Corps Assignment Country: Uganda Program: Community Wellbeing/Positive Living Program Job Title: Community Health Volunteer Dates of Service: May 2006-May 2008* Orientation Dates: March 8-10, 2006* Pre-Service Training (in Uganda): March 11-May 20, 2006* *dates subject to change History of the Program Uganda has achieved some success in maintaining sustained economic growth over the past 10-15 years. Despite this growth, critical challenges remain, particularly in the health sector. For example, over 60% of the population is without access to clean drinking water, 55% of the population live on less than $1 per day, and in some areas, there are as many as 27,000 people per doctor. Malaria and tuberculosis are major problems and childhood immunizations are complete for less than 2% of children. Underlying all this data is the widespread prevalence of individuals and families living with HIV and the AIDS virus. The good news is that with support from the government, and joint commitments by non-governmental organizations, churches, and donor agencies, Uganda became the first African country to reduce its HIV infection rate, from 30% at the pandemic's peak in 1992 to 10-12 % in 1998. (Don't be too WOWed by these facts. In random samplings it has been discovered that closer to 45% of the population are living with HIV/AIDS. I have heard from other PCVs that it is a popular thing in Africa to claim to be the First or the Best at something, thus sounding like the AIDS epidemic has been thwarted, when in fact it may be government propaganda!) Local community-based organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been initiated in recent years to provide information and to implement projects which provide support to people, families, and communities living with HIV and AIDS. These small, indigenous organizations are some of the hosts which have requested a PCV program to assist them. They envision Volunteers as counterparts who would live with them, and help them in their efforts to, for example, coordinate community and school health education, with particular focus on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention; develop gardening and nutrition education programs for foster parents; work with Ugandan colleagues to implement clean water and sanitation programs; assist small community organizations with management skills and planning for the future; add initiatives to immunization programs and other maternal and child health activities; add creative new ideas to the operations of the organizations. In addition, the Ministry of Health has requested the assistance of PCVs in training their community health providers. Volunteers will work in association with rurally based Ministry of Health training institutes and with the local communities to develop demonstration sites and to provide practical hands-on adult education for Community Health Workers. Primary Duties Uganda's Ministry of Health and community-based health service organizations are asking for Volunteers t help them with applying what they have learned about improving living conditions for poor families in rural areas. Train trainers from government and community-based organizations (CBOs) so that they can improve their skills to plan and implement participator educational programs for health workers in their communities. Emphasize new accurate information and improved methods of teaching nutrition, preventive health care, behavior modification, management of HIV/AIDS , basic sanitation, and reproductive health education. Work with administrators to improve their organizational management skills by developing systems for planning, funding, designing, managing, and evaluation community health projects. Work with communities to identify their resources and develop and manage appropriate community activities. All Volunteers in the health sector will be expected to focus on HIV/AIDS. You will design and teach workshops aimed at increasing awareness. You may collaborate with the education Volunteers and develop adult education skills to help you plan high quality health programs. Volunteers in the education sector will be looking to you for accurate information as they design workshops for school-based health education programs for youths. You may also be asked to identify community resources and help communities see how they can address their own needs and interests. You will be expected to teach counterparts how to design, manage, and evaluate health projects. Ugandan co-workers who are trainers will be looking for assistance to develop better skills for teaching adults and for developing teaching methods that encourage people to practice what they learn. Emphasis may be placed on demonstrating what you teach by developing and using models, kits, and other participatory teaching methods. If your background is in maternal/child health education, you may work with traditional birth attendants and midwives to plan and teach reproductive health and child care workshops that encourage good nutrition, breast feeding, and immunization. If your background is in nutrition, you may be involved with planning, planting and managing community model gardens and exploring best methods for preparing, processing and preserving food. Many community members will need help in understanding the nutritional needs of children and pregnant women, local and inexpensive sources of nutritionally rich foods, infant care, malnutrition and its impact, nutritional contributions to addressing illnesses, and specific nutritional strategies for positive living. If your background is in water/sanitation, you will very likely find yourself engaging in hands-on work of building improved pit latrines, protecting springs and other water sources, constructing water tanks, and water harvesting systems. Water and sanitation topics will include environmental hygiene, water and waste management, water purification, waste disposal and recycling.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Daily Reporter

I don't know if I posted this, but MY DOGS ARE BACK!!!??? I recieved a phone call from the vet a week ago stating that they had FOUND MY DOGS!! I don't have the contact information for the people I gave them to, so I have 2 dogs again and no dog houses, leashes, bowls, toys, etc!!! Well, a friend of a friend got wind of this and of my house not selling and ran an article in the Greenfield Reporter... Check it out:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Starbucks and new friends

Starbucks means so much more than cheap, addictive stimulants and placing orders using terms like 'tall' when you mean small and 'grande' when you mean lots. Just when i was comfortable w/ small, medium, and large, they go and reinvent. What's up with that? Well, I was at Starbucks the other day. Reading a neat book called Ending World Poverty by Jeffrey D. Sachs. I'd been there for several hours by then and was wanting to put away just one more chapter before I left. Starbucks attracts all types. Families with children. High schoolers clammoring to get a buzz on cafeene and to partake in casual conversation. Couples seem to be the rule. Guy girl couples, girl girl couples, and occasionally guy guy couples, because we all know that males rarely participate in the ritual known as 'actual conversation'. A group formed a 'circle of friends' a mere 2 feet from my reading zone and began talking amongst themselves. A mixture of adults and high schoolers. I paid as little attention as I could but I couldn't help but pick up on a few Christian refrences, at which point I tend to tune my ears in a bit closer to see if I agree or disagree w/ their doctrine/practices/judgements, etc. It wasn't long until I glanced up to see a fellow Rushvillian, Ryan Dillon. With his red sideburns and bangs hanging down over one eye. He slightly waved as if to say, 'I think you are who I think you are,' and I did the same. Come to find out he was there with his band "The House Effect" and they had just had a show in Greenfield at the boys and girls club. We chatted it up, 'how are your folks?' 'how's your brother Justin?' (who did Teach for America in Philidelphia for 2 years before finishing Law School) Along with Ryan (Bones) I also met Steven (Pig-Pen), (tiny) Tim, and their Manager, Debbie (aka Tour Mom). Debbie is an aspiring writer who has a passion for sucking the marrow out of life and for writing. She's currently working on writing down stories she grew up telling her kids and putting them into a collection that is to be available for young mothers and young women to use as a 'moment of grace' to give them a life, encouragement or a story for their young children. What a neat passion, eh? (she's also a future marathoner, she just doesn't know it yet) It was cool, these guys have this band and thier name, House Effect, is about how pivital a home life is w/ all members functioning and serving their purposes and intentionally serving each other as well as serving Christ. It was refreshing to say the least to meet each and every one of them and I will keep them in prayers and hope that they continue to reach for the stars and pursue their dreams and I'm hoping our paths will cross sometime soon. Steven, as it turns out, is very interested in the Peace Corps so we had a lot to talk about on that subject. So remember, go to Starbucks and keep your eyes open. Your $3 cup of coffee could turn into an enchanting evening.