Our PCT class (or "Stage") had our first meeting together where we talked about some basic business and elected a "dugutigi"/chief/president. I am very honored to be the dugutigi of our PC Mali 2009 Training class :) They are really an amazing conglomeration of people!
The title may take some getting used to...My duties are to be the go between between our training class and the staff as well as organizing meetings and overseeing the committees. (That sounds a lot more official than it really is..., don't worry)
BACK TO HOMESTAY
Anyways, tomorrow morning we return to our homestay villages for 9 more days. I am both ready and nervous to begin again. I hope I graduate to at least a 5 year old's language level?
The past few days we have been doing more safety and medical sessions as well as some technical training sessions. The WATSAN sector learned about soak pits, wash areas, water treatment and water related disases. We also mixed concrete and made some bricks!! ::excited::
During homestay we will treat a well with chlorine and conduct a baseline water and sanitation survey to practice. That will be both exciting and interesting with our limited language skills but we should get some help from our teachers.
GAD (Gender and Development)
Also this evening I attended the GAD (Gender and Development) committee meeting for PC Mali. The committee is in a reorganizing phase but sounds promising. They plan to conduct a silent auction soon and want to host a celebration for Intl Women's Day on March 8th. They also want to compile handbooks on GAD and potential projects. SENEGAD is the Senegal version of PC GAD for Senegal and simlar to what PC Mali GAD wants to accomplish (http://www.senegad.org/ ). I want to get really involved in this committee since this is what I want to focus my research on.
This will be a challenge and is sorely needed in Mali. Mali ranks as one of the lowest countries on the gender and development index. Some facts on women in Mali:
-Total fertility rate: 7.29 children/women (2.05 in US)
-The Malian marriage code allows girls under age 15 to marry if they have parental consent and special permission from a judge. Otherwise, you can marry as young as 15
-The most disturbing of all- 95% of adult women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation
-Domestic violence against women is common
Sorry to end on such a note, time to get some rest before departing for Soundouguba!