Sunday, January 29, 2006

A feeling of accomplishment

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, all of the b18s (that is- bulgaria, group 18) PCVs had some additional training in a resort town called bankia. We met up for an "in-service" in order to regenerate our enthusiasm, grab some new ideas for working in our communities, and catch up with one another!! Most of us hadn't seen eachother since the end of October, so it was definately fun to catch up with them and see how VERY different each of our assignments are. While some PCVs are so busy that they barely have a moment to themselves, others have a more relaxed work environment are are working to find their work-place niche. We had a lot of interesting sessions on youth empowerment, character buliding, leadership development, grant writting, and of course, the health and safety sessions which are designed to keep us happy, healthy and safe. those last ones were kind of a snooze! the last day, we attended 6 language classes!!! It was pretty exciting to be back in "formal" classrooms with the Peace Corps language instructors!! These teachers are some of the best i have EVER encountered in my life, so in addition to learning a lot, we a had a bunch of fun.

but the most important thing that happened at IST, for myself, was a meeting for all PCVs with minority-related assignments. There are a handfull of us working with Roma or Turkish communities throughout bulgaria, and I thought it was time that we became connected in order to share our ideas, successes, and failures. So, I organized a meeting with PCVs and the Bulgarian counterparts (basically, our bosses) to talk about what kind of a network people were interested in establishing, how they thought their needs could be served, and what kind of information and services we will provide. Everyone was really excited and enthusiastic, and contributed to the creation of this new committee. We decided that we are going to begin as a network of information for each other, and will eventually branch out to include ALL PCVs in bulgaria working with minorities, and after that, to become a resource center for all the OTHER PCVs looking for information on working with minorities. I basically came up with this idea after conversations with my friends increased my curiousity for their jobs, their communities, and their successes. Each person had a different community (big, small, rich, poor, isolated, etc), and yet everyone was having successes in their community. My idea was to bring together all of these experiences, so that we can learn from eachother, and then share our knowledge with other volunteers in the country. and Since bulgarian wil be the primary language used in our communications, when volunteers return to the united states, their bulgarian coworkers will STILL have access to all the information, in addition to contacts all around the country!!

i am really excited for the potential for this group!! We have already discussed creating a newspaper and organizing multi-ethnic summer camps. I will definately keep you all posted on this!!


At 4:59 AM, Blogger Keith said...

Your entries always make me smile with memory, but this one more than most makes me smile with...the kind of respect that you have for a friend who's accomplishing the work she sets out to do in a big and meaningful way. Way to go Tones!

At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toni thank you for taking time to write and keeping us all informed. I sure enjoy your stories and some times laugh aloud with your humor.

Keep up the good work we are proud of you!

Unlce Jim

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Valentines Day Toni I don't have any candy for you. Have a good Valentines Day!!

Uncle Jim

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Toni,
I enjoy reading what you have been doing. It sounds so great. I met a lady from New York City last week that reminds me a lot of you. I am glad you are enjoying your work. Take care!


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