April 8, 2008

Lest it seem I do little else but hop around squats trying to kick ROUS’s…

…2 projects that are in the works.


1. Last January, right after holiday, Ulviyye and I started the process of forming a volunteer group of youth (from the local school) to collectively work on a project that addressed a specific need in ISM.  We spent about a month talking with our youth group and doctors from the children’s hospital about the logistics/plan/feasibility of having our youth volunteer time with special needs children.  In that month, several meetings were scheduled where the doctors would present information on special needs children and answer questions the youth had.  For a few weeks, we (both Ulviyye) and I had been a bit worried, because, while the youth had originally expressed an interest for volunteering, we were concerned that when actually presented with the task, they might cower. (Not that I don’t respect my kids, it’s just that, umm, I’ve been 15 before…)  Hoping to avoid this problem, we gave the youth the choice to participate or not (a few decided not to volunteer) and then led by example (when we went to the children’s hospital the first time) by actively engaging the disabled children in educational games.  After the first day of volunteering, the youth group was really excited about their project, and several of the girls have just gone to the hospital on their own time to visit the children.  Its not a huge project, my kids only officially visit the hospital once a week, but its important because the entire concept of volunteering is new, and disabled children are often overlooked.  We took a break over Novruz holiday, but, tomorrow we are meeting to plan out the newspaper article the youth want to submit to the local paper and decide on a summer schedule.


2. Mike, Nate, Charlie and I were awarded the grant to continue the Literacy through Photography program!!  The project was originally started by AZ4 Mike in Ming, one of the larger regions in AZ.  Nate and I met Mike in Guba, (during our orientation before we were all shipped out to our training sites in Symquat) and somehow we all started talking and realized that we were all crazy about photography and helping youth learn creativity.  From the rubble of many talks, intense grant writing, and a deadline met at the last minute, the grant was awarded, mostly due to the hard work of the Ming PCV’s.  As it stands, the program will likely run through the summer in our 3 regions with a joint exhibition in September.  The program is designed to teach digital photography, improve English writing skills (by various journal assignments) and through the creation of a book showcasing the youth’s photograph, provide a bit of financial support to continue the program.  Several times during the course, each class in each region will travel to another region to meet the other class and do a small joint photography assignment.  Right now, though, I’m going through the arduous task of trying to find a room, that will not only serve as a space for the classes, but also a space for other youth activities. Thus far, I have learned that there are several spaces not available, so my list of possibilities is smaller.  My kids have been trying to help find a room as well, and they are as excited about this project as I am; from the day I arrived in ISM and people knew I was a photographer, I have been asked (mostly by youth) on no less than 25 occasions if I would teach a digital photography class.  This project is something I’m extraordinarily passionate about, I can see the need to encourage creative expression and for youth to be strong in their individually. 


3 Responses to “work”

  1. Brian said

    Hey good deal! If that book gets printed before you leave, I’d love to have a copy.

  2. mcmacdonald said

    of course you’ll get a copy.
    i went to the show Mike’s kids put on and WOW the photos were really good. there may be a web site in the works as well… 🙂

  3. Kate said

    This is why you’re in AZ, dear.

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