Week 9 Updates

Tuesday (7/22): Noelle and I gave a presentation to the staff on collecting and analyzing qualitative data, with an emphasis on how to effectively conduct focus groups. When focus groups are done correctly, they can yield some great data that can demonstrate impact, act as a needs assessment, or bring out important opinions on different relevant topics. Noelle has experience conducting actual focus groups, so she will be assisting as the staff hold their first focus group next weekend with some of the moms from our communities. I am sad I will not be here to see how it goes, but I trust that it will yield useful and important data!

Wednesday (7/23): One of those beautifully ordinary days! Although, my mind was a little preoccupied with thoughts of my brother, who broke his hand in three places and had to have surgery, and I was thankful for the ability to FaceTime. Last night, I got to send my virtual “get well wishes” and talk to him for awhile, which I really appreciated. It is hard to be so far away when someone you love has a bad injury.

Thursday (today, 7/24): This morning I went to one of the high school classes at San Jose High School. Today’s topic was relationships. It was a small class (nearly half the students were at some kind of event for athletes), but it was productive. The kids were earnest and the discussion was great. Last Thursday I went to a different class at a different school and the kids there were bouncing off the walls, so today’s group was a mighty contrast — much calmer and no shouting! The rest of the day was spent doing work in the office. This afternoon, when I got home from work, I spent some time tending to my worms — the amount of vermi-compost they are producing is impressive. I collected a bunch of it and put it on the vertical garden at Susan’s house, which is sprouting bean plants and eggplant plants and some assorted greens. The vermi-compost has such a rich texture, it is no wonder it is so good for the plants! This week, the worms get to snack on carrot peels and eggshells. I hope they will continue to produce their vermi-compost. Tonight, Ami and her family and Charlotte (the British nursing student who is working for Roots of Health for a month) and her family (husband and 2 young children) came for dinner. We had a full house and plenty of kid energy! Indeed, I spent time entertaining the kids by hunting for lizards and singing songs (like “There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”). Gosh, sometimes I think I would get so much satisfaction out of being a kindergarten or lower elementary school teacher!

Quote for my last week: As my time has dwindled from months to weeks to days, I keep reflecting on how absolutely blessed I was to be invited here. I cannot imagine a better placement for my Albright internship and I am already perusing the Wellesley fellowship page to see what it would take for me to get funding to come back! Anyway, amid all my bittersweet reflection, I stumbled upon the following quote in the Nicholas Sparks’ book I am reading:

“But I am different now than I was then. Just like I was different at the end of the trip than I’d been at the beginning. And I’ll be different tomorrow than I am today. And what that means is that I can never replicate that trip. Even if I went to the same places and met the same people, it wouldn’t be the same. My experience wouldn’t be the same. To me, that’s what traveling should be about. Meeting people, learning to not only appreciate a different culture, but really enjoy it like a local, following whatever impulse strikes you.” (The Choice pg. 120)

So, even as I start thinking about if/when I can come back, I am reminded that even if I do return, the experience I have had these past 10 weeks can never be replicated. And so, it is with this quote in mind that I will do my best to savor all the moments of this last week.

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