Today I am sitting at my desk in the Bashkia waiting for a colleague, Hekuran, to return so I can ask him questions about this Bashkia “fair” we are attending in Tirana on Wednesday. I think it will be kindof like a job fair with multiple booths set up to represent all the different municipalities. I’m looking forward to presenting our new bulletin and seeing what kind of publicity materials other cities in Albania have. In addition to the new bulletin, we (Hekuran and I) are working on several brochures and a touristic guide for the Lezha region. There is so much potential here for tourism, but the infrastructure and information dissemination just don’t exist. I like working with Hekuran because he has a lot of ideas, but it can be frustrating because he does things (like get a brochure with terrible, unedited English printed) on very short notice…right now I am trying to get us to step back and make a plan for our communications materials creation.
In my “other” office within the Bashkia – social services – my counterpart Yllka and I are slowly reading through an English book together (I’m helping her learn) and are also working on a brochure explaining all the legal options for women suffering from domestic violence (international day against domestic violence is Nov. 25). In addition, we are planning a breast cancer awareness presentation for Roma women this week and getting ready for a Peace Corps run project design and management conference in early December where we will work on our grant application for a schoolyard cleanup project, due in January.
I am also working on two projects with Jen, my sitemate. In the coming months we will work together with World Vision to create and implement a project design workshop with students at the professional high school in town. With our help, the kids will come up with proposals for projects to “permiresoj” (improve) their school. We also have a great group of high school students, mostly girls, who we have a English conversation group with on Tuesdays. It’s a lot of fun, and I look forward to it each week as a break from the norm and the frustration of working with adults. Last week we had a grammar scavenger hunt, with clues hidden all over the square outside the Bashkia. They had never done anything quite like that before, and it was fun to watch.
This coming weekend I will head to Elbasan again to help with a youth leadership training for Outdoor Ambassadors, a series of outdoor education clubs country-wide. Hopefully we will have 3 girls attend the training from Lezhe. I’m going to take over as secretary for the Outdoor Ambassadors committee next year, so I will help create a year-end newsletter for the organization in the next few months.
So – for all of you wondering what it’s like to be a PC volunteer…and what kind of “work” I do, the answer is: it’s varied and it changes every day. Two weeks ago I was only doing about half of what I just described above. And now, all of a sudden, I’m the busiest I have been since I arrived. I know that life will go back to being slow, but I just wanted to give you an idea of the kind of things I am working on….what I do, or try to do, on a day to day basis.