So what am I doing during training anyways?
In addition to several hours of Spanish class each day, trainees must complete a number of tech projects in our training towns over the course of eleven weeks. These tech projects can be broken up into a few categories: Charlas, Survey, Practicum Week, and PACA Tools.
Beginning in week 4 of training, each trainee must give five charlas, or health talks, on topics that are both relevant and useful to the community. Each charla should be about 15-20 minutes. Some will be given to patients waiting to be seen at the community health center, while others will be given to a womens group. My group has already met with health center staff and other community leaders to get an idea of some topics we can discuss. This week we will choose our topics, and next week we will observe three charlas at the health center and create our own, with the guidence of our LCF (Language and Culture Facilitator).
As a group we will design and implement a formal survey in our community on a relevant health topic. We have already interviewed several community members, such as the Alcalde (the mayor), health center staff, library workers, and other mujeres (women). We asked each person about the health conditions in our community in order to focus our surveys on one topic. After we choose a topic, we will write a short survey, and each trainee is responsible for conducting the survey (face to face interview) to five individuals that are representative of the community. We will evaluate our findings as a group and choose one issue from the results to focus on, and we will present our findings and possible solutions in a 30 minute presentation in Spanish to the whole MCH (Maternal and Child Health) group.
During this week, MCH trainees will spend a week at a Casa Materna in a yet-to-be-determined place in Nicaragua. During practicum week, each trainee will learn how Casa Maternas work, conduct 6 charlas, and help out in any way possible.
or, Participatory Action for Community Analysis (Peace Corps loves acronyms), is a book that contains a number of projects to help the volunteer determine the needs of the community. For example, each trainee must create community maps–one by him or herself, and the other with the assistance of a community member. The idea of the community map is to determine where different services are located throughout the community. In addition, each map will be different depending on who designs it. A community map is a good tool to determine which groups of people spend time where. Other activities include conducting a needs assessment, creating a daily activity schedule for men and women (to see the division of labor/ responsibilities), designing a seasonal calendar (to see who is busy and who is free during different parts of the year), and determining how to prioritize needs.
In addition to tech projects and language classes, I meet with the larger MCH group a couple times a week for technical training. So, all in all, the next couple months are going to be busy. I hope this description gives you a better idea of what I have been and will be doing during training. I will update you all on how all my activities go as I get them done. My first charla is in 1.5 weeks. Woo!