End of program! Oh my god, I am so missing that place. When I left my host family, I cried so hard and my mama cried with me. I kept telling myself that I am leaving to make the world a better place. I kept telling my mama that I would come back to Ayamango and my mama kept saying, “have a safe ride,” in Swahili.
(Honestly, I wasa broken down crying before this pic.)
(I wrote this letter in Swahili before a way of saying goodbye. Do you buy it that I wrtoe this with no help from our teaching partner? Well, the truth is…wait for it…again, wait for it…ask me personally:)
Sad things aside, we did a great job in the last two and a half week. In the first week, we managed to have some teachings going on as well as advertising for our “testing day.” The idea of the “testing day” is that we set one day for each village when the SIC testing team came in and test as many people as we can in the village. To advertise, we literally went door to door in every sub-village and told everyone our testing day. By the way, my Swahili weirdly got super good after the vacation. I can go advertising door to door all by myself.
In the second week, we had all the testing days arrived. In my testing day, we literally had to grab people out of the house. People would keep saying that they would go but later. At the end, we got 110 people tested! In the rest of the weeks, we were either helping out with other people’s testing days or doing teaching.
The testing day was such a drift. In the first few hours, we had only few people tested and we were so concerned. In reflection, that might be due to the fact that most people were harvesting or having lunch. But things gradually came up; we ended up with a good number. When the day was done, several of us went up to this hill (see below) and had the most relaxing time. I kept shutting out:, “we have 110 people tested.” My friends were like… (I am sorry for all my friends. But hey, I was born this way. I love all my friends)
(This hill is right next to another host family’s house. I was meditated on top of it during sunset; the wind kept blowing through the ear. The world cannot be more beautiful then.)
In the Saturday of that week, we had our community day. The idea of the community day is that we threw a festival-like day for this community as a thank-you for accepting us and get people tested at the same time. We had a big soccer game tournament with 6 teams from 5 villages and SIC. The prize is, wait for it, A BIG NICE GOAT! I named it Charlie Brown. (Ok, to be honest, I named it Chris Brown for its attitude. And Dale gave the name Charlie for its chocolate skin color.) We bought this goat in our village for its cheaper price. My buddy Dale and I walked this beautiful goat all the way back to my house and to the Gallapo village.
(I thought I had the picture of the goat. Then I realized it was in my friends’ camera. I will update it later.)
We also had a raffle going on for everyone who gets tested. The prize was a cool chicken. In addition, we had a juggling tournament going with the prize of a nice jersey. The result turned out to be fantastic. We had more than 200 people tested that day. In total, we had more than 1,000 people tested with 5 positive!
It may sound trivial, compared to other huge NGOs in Africa. But remember that we are doing this in the most rural area and even one positive can change one’s life. i remembered one word the director from SIC said in our closing dinner, “you know, it does matter.” Every little effort matters. Even just helping one person out makes the world a better place. It is a hard sentence to learn. Because our society always look at the biggest winner, we forgot to look at those little efforts that make it all possible. You know, it does matter.
To sum it up, I attach this picture I took of the village in my very last day there. Ayamango, I will come back. Nitakujia Ayamango tena.