035: Living as an example

Mwabuuka!” one of the men out of a group shouted at Chelsi as they pasted by her house on the road. 
“Give me New Years!” she now could hardly see them as they disappeared behind some dense vegetation.
“Give me New Years!” Why not? She thought. If they had the audacity to ask her for things, why shouldn’t she expect they would be given in return?
Chelsi could hear them laughing at her response, but that was it.  She decided she was not going to letting constant asking for things bother her.  And to help cool her mood, she decided that in this coming year she would focus on the projects that made her happy.  She would not be chasing people down to get them to come to programs, she wouldn’t organize lessons through a third person, or agree to teach about topics that she found impractical for the village.
But you must teach us how to make cake,’ one of the women in her village had insisted when she first moved to the village.  And at first Chelsi had been excited to share knowledge about whatever was desired. Then she thought about it: So they’re going to use their limited income to buy a 30kw bag of flour, 22kw bag of sugar, a 40kw block of butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Then run a 66% chance of burning the thing by trying to cook it over a fire. Mmmm, no. She would still consider doing a demonstration, but after months of pleading to get help roofing her chinzanza so they could build a proper oven to bake in, the chances of that demo ever happening were looking bleak. 
She was going to work in her garden, keep her pigeons, improve her house.  If people became interested in learning about the things she was already working on great. And if not well… After all, there is no one in the village that wouldn’t benefit from having a kitchen garden. 
Living as an example, that is one of the purpose of Peace Corps volunteers.  Living demonstrations of food security and conscious healthy habits.  Plus people naturally start copy the actions volunteers. Before Chelsi had Daisy there were two dogs in the village; now nearly everyone had one. 
On this New Year’s Eve, Chelsi reflected on her first eight months, and all the time and energy she spent cycling around, trying to visit two, three farmers, families, schools, in a day.   And thus far not much change. If gardening lessons were working she won’t have people asking her for food. If sensitization about malaria prevention was working, people won’t be constantly telling her they were sick with malaria.  So instead she was determined that over the next year she would save that energy and focus it on living as an example.  Maybe if instead of just telling people they should make gardens and how to do it, if they saw the success of mine they would be more interested in learning to build their own. Or instead of telling them how they should use and care for their mosquito nets if they saw me washing mine on a regular schedule they would be more likely to care for theirs.  

Categories: Drama, Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “035: Living as an example

  1. Sandy

    Yes Chelsi…lead by example. It’s the best way :))


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