Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Celebrating 50 Years

The Sunday after our Girls Conference I had to hightail it back to Mbeya town to catch an early Monday morning bus to Dar es Salaam for the TZ 50th Anniversary Celebration of Peace Corps. I was really excited to be attending- not only had I had to apply to attend but also TZ was one of the very first countries to receive Peace Corps Volunteers.

Activities began Wed morning with a round table discussion between the 32 PCVs in attendance and Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams visiting from DC. Both he and his staff were wonderful to hear from. All of us PCVs enjoyed how personable he was and how much he wanted to hear from us.

That night was a dinner with entertainment at the US Embassy. I was proud of my good friends largely involved in singing, dancing and speaking about their Peace Corps experiences. I was also amazed by how many American ex-pats were in attendance. Good to see there are a lot of opportunities for PCVs who want to stay and work in TZ.

The next day I got to meet up with another environment volunteer who has been a big help to me. She is extending a third year and putting together a book of environment education lesson plans. Another PCV and I have been using these plans so we were able to give our feedback and add a few lesson plans of our own. I am excited to play a small part in something that will live on and help future environment PCVs.

Along those same lines, I also really enjoyed getting to attend an evaluation meeting for the environment program. TZ has three different sectors: environment, health and education. Every five years a sector gets evaluated, and this year is environments time. We had really great discussions on what is working and what is not. It even made me start to realize how much I miss duties that went into my past pr/marketing jobs. I think by the end of my second year I will be ready to get back into an office job….maybe.

This Dar trip was not all work. I was excited to find a Mexican restaurant has opened and it’s cheap! There were also trips to a good burger place, the movie theater, the casino and an ice cream place that would rank right along with American ice cream!

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