Soccer pitch, gifts finally delivered.  September 16-22, 2019

I had a terrible blow from the Peace Corps this week, regarding an important program that I really felt would make my time here worthwhile.  It does no good to go into details, but I am carrying a pretty heavy heart.  Still, I know that something good will happen to lift me up, as such is the roller coaster ride of my service here.


Another meeting of 4 of the 5 youth associations was held.  As the time to make a commitment could no longer be put off, one walked out and we were down to 3.  I presented them with the three straws, and Nour drew the short.  But in the end, it was agreed that the Dar Shbaab Association (not the Dar Shbaab itself, but the support “auxiliary”) would take the responsibility.  That is, if, when the President of the Association called the members, they agreed.  If that failed, Nour would take the job.  They also considered starting a new association, but that would mean a large delay.  We must have an Association, as the Dar Shbaab cannot legally obtain the necessary insurance for a sport activity.  The third Director has been the most faithful, always present and on time.  Later in the week, he took us to the elementary school, where is friend agreed to let us use a small pitch, as long as we had the letter from the association.  Progress.  Baby steps.  If I can just nail down the association, I can begin working on the grant proposal.  I don’t think this is going to take a lot of money.  Bare bones would be to buy just the balls and the insurance.  Of course, nets, rule books, umpires, uniforms, training for coaches, trophies, and things I have not thought of, would all be really great.


In Peace Corps, they say “the process is the project”, meaning that participants build capacity for future endeavors through the acts required to create today’s thing.  So, our association director meetings, our youth soccer club formation, our sign-up sheet for interested youth (of which I have at least 70 now), are all small successes in their own way.  Two of the youth club officers sat in on the adult association meeting and that had to be big for them.  If we are able to create even a small league, it will be a huge accomplishment.


My family, at least, the part I lived with, came for dinner.  I was finally able to deliver the gifts sent by Tom and Donna.  They were very excited.  The sister across the way and her family were a no show.  I think I am seeing where the “they don’t want you” is nesting.  Still, the twins came the next day and I gave them their gifts and they were thrilled.


My Darija lessons have started again, as my friend, the English teacher, has returned to town with the beginning of school.  The regular mix of free time, art and English activities continue at the Youth Center, though the music people have not returned.  The Director says they don’t return his calls and so, we need to find someone new.


One of my favorite young men, from the Camp Karzouza, approached me about starting a basketball club.  We had our first meeting for that as well.  Their group is much smaller, and I think they will be easy to help.


All these groups will have new meetings in the upcoming week.  More soon!