May 9th 2012
Today was my first day at work. My day started with the birds chirping in the early morning, the sun saluted me with grace. Have I mentioned that every day is a sunny day here? If not, let me tell you. One does not need to think about the weather here, I suspect that there may not even be a weather channel. Well, what would the meteorologist say? It is sunny again just like yesterday and the day before and the day before. The mornings have been a bit cool -perhaps somewhere around 15oC but that did not prevent us having our breakfasts on our patio listening the birds, getting some sun shine and admiring the three dimensional spider web that is on the electric wire which is used to deter people from breaking in. And there is no sign on the electric wires indicating that there is live electric running through these wires.
I spent my whole morning reading the past reports and proposals that were prepared by the BOCAIP organization to familiarize myself with their programs. After a meeting with the BOCAIP’s national coordinator who is a very dedicated and a wise person, I had a clearer idea of what was expected of me. I am expected to develop an evaluation plan for its signature OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) program, develop tools to measure if it is achieving its program’s goals, compare the two models that they are using for program implementation to find out about which model is working better than the other, collect and analyse data, and prepare a report with recommendations. Yes, although I found it a bit ambitious for a 3 week assignment, I liked the challenge. After panicking a short period of time, say about 3 mins since that is as much time as I had to panic, I delved into drafting a plan in the afternoon. I have tomorrow to finish my proposed evaluation plan, get approval and develop tools for the evaluation since I will be heading off to Kanye on Friday to do the first site evaluation accompanied by the program officer.
This is the pace of things that I am used to doing as my work so I am confident that it will get done. The fact that this program aims to support these orphans and vulnerable children who lost their parents to AIDS or they are themselves infected with HIV and they live in poverty and it is difficult for BOCAIP to secure funding breaks my heart and knowing that one every 3-4 people here in Botswana carries HIV, and some are diagnosed with AIDS and are under treatment is pretty alarming. The stigma is a reality that they have to deal with every day. The behavioural change that is needed to prevent HIV transmission is yet to come, and it will sure be through education and a lot of it.
After we knocked off (meaning ending the work for the day), with two other volunteers, after stopping over my place for a brief period, we went to see a movie which was a thought-provoking documentary on an experiment that a high school teacher conducted 40 years ago to teach students about fascism in US and how it went out of control. The audience consisted of people with diversity of age, gender, color and nationality. It was pretty neat to be in such a diverse and intellectual group of people that reminded me of my university years and how strongly opinionated my friends and I were with our political views. We had to leave after the movie since our taxi came but the rest of the group stayed for debriefing.
This is all for tonight.