I came into town for some meetings and to see some friends, so I figured I would update my blog. Things are going good at my site. I finally had a meeting the other night with the Community Forest Committee; which oversees all that goes on in the community forest and then with the Village Development Committee. The VDC is like a city council in a way. I have been working on getting a meeting with the two parties for going on two months. Meetings here are interesting to say the least in my village. First they never start on time, you say they start at if most of the people show up. So this lucky evening we started at . Villages don’t show up for meetings for various reasons, anything from being too tired to not given enough notice there is a meeting when they were told the day before.
The meeting started off well they began with an opening Islamic prayer as they do before every meeting. Then I started off talking about a few things that I wanted from both committees, like for them to work together so we could actually do some work in the forest and begin a community tree nursery. Much of the problem in the village is politics. I was surprised when I came here that just like in the states your personal opinion of another person or how they do things influences how you work with them, here it is the same. From what I can tell and been told is the youth in my village are not happy with the forest committee because they don’t believe they are working in the forest and being transparent enough with the profits they receive from the forest. The VDC isn’t happy with the forest committee because they don’t think they work in the forest enough either. The forest committee isn’t happy with the VDC because they go in the forest and work and cut trees and do things without consulting the forest committee and their action plans. Then there is a Peace Corps kid that shows up and starts asking about when the last forest committee meeting was and 20 other questions that don’t get answered and that is how our first meeting came about.
The first hour of the meeting went well then the last two hours were people arguing and trying to talk over each other. Then you have an older man that speaks up and tries to argue what committee came first the forest committee or the VDC, I told him it doesn’t matter lets stay on track and focus on the task at hand. Finally at and three and a half hours later I made the late night walk back to my house and went to sleep. It was successful, success in the sense that I brought the two groups together and forced them to talk and forced them to schedule another meeting this coming Thursday. So as my fellow villagers say “inshalla” which in Arabic means the hopefulness that an event will take place.
One last picture of us with Tommy Davis and the mural that was painted on the court.