First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has gone so extraordinarily above and beyond and sent us a package already (or 3, Roxanne and Jane)! When it comes right down to it, receiving anything at all is unbelievably exciting and has the magic ability to elevate any day (or week) into the clouds…especially when we’re at site and so incredibly isolated from the world. I thought about writing a public shoutout to each individual who has sent packages and/or letters/cards so far, but instead I’ll just stick to responding with personal letters. Especially since anything we receive at site will reach us at a point when we have no access to the internet to make more public shoutouts. But thank you, to each of you~ no words can describe how much we love hearing from you in any form.
All that said, we have received several requests asking for lists of things that would be useful. Peter may add more later, but this is what I have so far:
~Office-type supplies. Think workshops, interactive activities and projects in a rural third world setting–useful things like markers (of various kinds) various forms of paper (construction, flip-chart, notebooks, etc), tape, scissors, organization tools, pens, pencils, etc are all low quality and extremely expensive here (not to mention we have absolutely no access to them at site). For example, I’m currently trying to improvise a rain resistant white board as well as find affordable dry erase markers that work. I found a very small ready-made white board for the equivalent of $30, not including markers. I thought I’d just buy posterboard and get it laminated, but the laminating machine (the only one I can find in the only city I can currently get to) is broken. Oi. Where are the Target back to school sales when you need them?
~Pictures. We want updated pictures of friends and family! And even pictures of walks around town or anywhere else. Pictures of you all help us feel connected to you on a day to day basis, and pictures of the US help keep our own home in perspective help us feel connected to it as well.
~Books. While we have a half decent collection of books to share with other volunteers, it does not have everything. If you’ve read something (anything) you feel inclined to share with us, we would love that. Also, as one wonderful person has already asked, if you feel inclined to donate books to the library Peter will be building, we will accept just about any and all kinds! (No pornography of any kind, please. It’s illegal here.) The only trouble with books is they are heavy and may cost a fortune to send to us~ so keep your shipment receipt! If it’s for a Peace Corps donation, you should be be able to use it for a tax write-off.
~Apart from that, anything that you see as a useful resourse for any of our projects would absolutely be welcomed. Our projects, off the top of my head, will involve the following:
- Community Health Education: HIV/AIDS, STIs, personal hygiene and sanitation, environmental health, domestic violence, youth leadership, substance use (alcohol, cigarrettes, marijuana, and kava), family planning, first aid, special needs awareness and understanding (especially resources for teachers not trained in the subject), and NCDs
- Community Health Projects: water sanitation and toilets in a rural tropical setting with a rapidly growing population
- Education in general (Peter): Library (general and/or primary school level), world map, all levels English literacy, teaching 5th and 6th graders, Special Needs education/Inclusive Education, health education in the classroom, teaching teachers and improving curriculum in a rural school
- General/Other: Girl/boy scout program development/structure/resources, grant writing, fundraising, community motivation and mobilization (in a good way), community development (especially avoiding the mistakes the “developed” world has made), and…..that’s all I got for now.
So that’s a lot, and a list probably would have been easier to glance through, but my brain just isn’t functioning that way right now. As we dive into our actual work I can probably get more precise next time I have access to the internet. That said, ANY contributions about any of the above, whether material or ideas that pop into your head after scanning this post, we would love to hear them. And food. Anything that can survive traveling thousands of miles in potentially blistering heat will be adoringly accepted. 😉
We love you all. Thank you again for being the type of person to be in our lives, support us, keep tabs on us during this adventure, and all that that means for you. Thank you sooo much, tankyu tumas, merci, campolangi tamma, gracias, shokran! (I don’t know all these languages, just how to say “thank you”)
UPDATE: Peter wants raw black beans. And he says that if/when he runs formal book drives, he should be able to get funding for shipping!