This marks the start of our 8th week of being here. We have completed our move to Malika and are now travelling by foot or ‘car rapide’ (multi-coloured open-air minibus) to the community Centre in Bene Barak or Yeumbeul. The first and second week of January I spent imputing over 200 participant surveys. These surveys are conducted with each participant before the program begins each year, and then after completion. An analysis of the before and after surveys helps identify the knowledge that participants have gained, as well as possible changes in health attitude and behaviour towards making positive healthy decisions. These results are then used to help in strengthening the program for the next year.
This past week, our first full week here, we had the opportunity to participate in the educator training session where the coordinators were going over a number of lessons with the educators, helping them to prepare to teach them themselves. Although most of the teaching was in Wolof (and very fast spoken Wolof) which we are only beginning to grasp, it gave us a small glimpse of how the educators are trained, and the different types of education/teaching techniques that the program employs. The sessions also made us realize the wide variety of educators, their backgrounds, and how the program is an opportunity for not just the participants, but also many of the educators to gain new knowledge and skills.
Monday, I was in Hann Mariste at the World Renew office meeting with one of the coordinators from Linguere, about 4 hours from here. The plan is that in two weeks I will be going up with some of the World Renew staff to Linguere and Fatick; this will be an opportunity to get a brief introduction to the other activities and partners that World Renews supports outside of the greater Dakar area, and additional ways Jessica and I could potentially be involved.
The rest of this week our activities will include participating in the sessions that take place in the nearby communities to continue to understand the program as well as listen and practice our Wolof. The remainder of the time we will continue to comb through the 40 session outlines (Jessica has finished translating to English), to identify areas where the health information can be strengthened or updated.
We thank everyone for the support and prayers. We feel very blessed receiving emails from friends, family, and the church community. We can feel God protecting us, as we have felt very safe and welcomed wherever we go, and whoever we are with. We ask for your continued prayers as being away from family can be challenging at times, for good health, and for our adjustment to living here and the different foods that can be taxing on the body.