Monday, May 13, 2013

Documenting Stoves in the Field

Today we worked in the village Arworti-Omya in Opit.  It’s located in a beautiful area with greenery all around and a nice view of a nearby “mountain.”  It was my first day in the field without teaming up with an Aid Africa staff member.  I was very lucky to have a young man of 17 years old to assist me in finding Six-brick Rocket Stoves to document (record information about the stove owner and take GPS coordinates). He had a good idea about which households had stoves and even knew English well enough that he helped me spell the names I was unfamiliar with.  It went smoothly and I was grateful things happened that way, though I was a bit nervous at first.  It’s an uneasy feeling not being able to communicate effectively with others, especially when there’s a job to be done and more importantly done well.
Picture of me next to a Six-brick Rocket Stove taken by my wonderful guide

Along the way I asked the young man what he would be if he could be anything in the world, and he replied that he wanted to be a radio presenter.  We talked about a few other “life things” and I was very happy to have that chance to talk one-on-one with a young person living in the village.  It was a very pleasant experience!

Maron, another volunteer from the USA working with Aid Africa, also had her first day without teaming up with a staff member.  She was also very lucky to find a knowledgeable guide.

Maron's guide with some of the children (photo taken my Maron)

Maron with her guide and some of the children

I had a heart-warming experience when I came upon an elderly man in one of the compounds.  He greeted me and said, “you have come to help us?”  You could see the gratitude and understanding in his eyes, and I cannot explain with words how deeply it affected me.  It warmed my heart to see how happy he was that I was there.  For me it was simple; all I was doing was walking around in the bush talking to people and writing words down on a piece of paper.  It really is simple to help others.  It’s not always easy, but it is simple.

At one point, once we reunited with Maron and her guide, we had a group of lovely children following behind.  They were chattering behind us in a funny tone, trying to copy our English.  It was wonderful to have such bright smiles all around us.

Maron's guide, Maron, and children following behind

It was a very productive day.  By splitting up, we each were able to document many stoves and interact with many more community members than if we had moved around the village in teams. 

I am truly enjoying my time here; I miss friends and family back home but know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

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