Hey y’all! It’s been a REALLY long time since I updated this blog, I know. Right now, I’m back home in the U.S. of A. for a little vacation. I’m in Asheville, NC visiting the most lovely and erudite Cari Ficken. Don’t feel slighted, though, if I didn’t get to see you while I was here. I hardly saw anyone, and spent all the time with my family.
Anyway, I’d like to tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to recently work-wise, and then follow this with a brazen solicitation for money.
Over the last three months, the major project that I’ve been putting together is an environmental education program at three schools in my area. I have been teaching classes at these schools since October, focusing on rural environmental issues that affect the lives of the students, the majority of whom are going to grow up to be farmers. Topics that we have addressed include food webs, deforestation, soil erosion, renewable vs. non-renewable resources, the importance of soil, etc. The classes have been both classroom-based and field-based; Below you can see some pictures of me working with elementary school students to build a compost pile.
Encouraged by the positive response among students and administrators, I decided to try and expand this project and make it my main lasting contribution to my village. I partnered up with a super-volunteer in a nearby village, Juilie Gallus, to try and implement a lasting environmental education curriculum in five different schools, centered around creating orchards at the schools and examining how planting trees can help solve a lot of the environmental issues (reduced crop yields, mudslides, etc.) that the students face. The program is going to be participatory on a lot of fronts. Teachers and local stakeholders are going to help design and implement the curriculum, local tree nurseries are going to plan the tree plantations, and the children are going to plant the trees and keep them healthy to plant a little over six acres of land, and use over six thousand trees!
I don’t want to go on too much about the details of the project in this space, but if you want to read more about the project, the links below will provide it all for you.
A major goal of mine for this vacation was to round up funds for this project; the schools are donating all of the land and the manpower for the project, and my host NGO is also giving a lot of time in developing the plans. Currently, though, Julie and I are looking for finances to buy the tree seedlings for the project. If you’d consider giving any quantity of money, we would be much obliged. The link to donate is below:
There is absolutely no overhead associated with any gift; the U.S. government pays for me to work here in Cameroon, and the Peace Corps does not take out any money from your donation to cover costs. Also, any donation is tax-deductable, and you’ll be issued a receipt by the donation website. The site for making donations is run by the government and is completely secure.
Additionally, Julie and I are looking for partner schools in the US that we can do exchange programs with and hopefully have the students raise money for the project. If you’re a teacher and interested in doing this, please please email me. The exchange would likely involve sending pictures and letters (translated) back and forth between the schools.
In other news, my beekeeping cooperative is coming along quite nicely. We just put in 20 hives for the 7 members combined, and we’re getting registered as an official cooperative, which will qualify us for government-subsidized loans and grants.
I’m not going to write too much more because I want to get out and enjoy my last few days in the US, but everyone stay tuned for more updates soon!