Wednesday, September 5, 2007

6 More Days...

Well, as most of you know, I leave in just a few days to become a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic for the next two years. I'm really excited, but nervous at the same time. My flight leaves September 11 from Grand Rapids to Washington D.C. There, I will meet the other volunteers in my training group (about 45 volunteers), take care of any business that still has to be done in the states, and attend seminars to get us started. Then we leave in the middle of the night on Sept 13 for the DR.

I'm not exactly sure what to expect right now, but I guess that's the real adventure. My job title is a Community Health Extension Volunteer in the Healthy Families program. I will be working with local leaders, youth promoters, and health promoters to give information, conduct training, and provide health services directly to mothers (ages 15-44), children (under 5), and youth (ages 15-24). According to my Assignment Description, here's some things I might be involved with in case you were wondering:

a. Conducting community health diagnostics
b. Developing a community action plan
c. Promotion of mother/child health care interventions, including weight control of children less than five years old, and control of diarrhea and respiratory infections
d. Training of community leaders
e. Improvement of family nutrition, including training in principles of nutrition, promotion of food rich in micronutrients , and conducting nutrition workshops
f. Small-scale food production including organic gardening, chickens, and rabbits
g. Conducting presentations on health problems related to the reproductive system
h. Teacher and leadership training
i. Organizing youth groups
j. Training youth as HIV/AIDS peer educators
k. Project monitoring and evaluation
l. Construction of sanitary latrines

And, if I have time, other secondary projects might include teaching English, making map murals, teaching literacy, developing a community library, forming summer camps, and computer training.

Right now, it all sounds very overwhelming. Hopefully, after training, I will have the technical and language skills needed to do an effective job. My training is ten weeks long and starts in Santo Domingo, where I will have language, technical, and cultural training each day. Hopefully I'll be able to say more than "Hola, Como estas? Me llamo Kim" after four hours of Spanish every day. If I pass training (keep your fingers crossed), then I will go to my site, which will become my home for the next two years. I will be living with a host family throughout my training and at least the first three months at my site.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. You don't know how much they all mean to me. I will try my best to keep you all informed on what I am doing. I'm not sure how often I will have Internet access, but hopefully I'll be able to post every now and then. Please feel free to write me letters or send me an email or make comments on my blog. I'm sure there will be times where I feel really, really lonely, so I'd really appreciate hearing from you! Also, I would love visitors! Visitors are allowed three months after I get to my site, so March is probably the earliest anyone can visit me. Email me so we can make plans. As for packages, the Peace Corps recommends that packages are sent in padded envelopes if possible, because boxes tend to be taxed and opened more often. The mail system takes about 2-3 weeks.

Well everybody, wish me luck and take care of yourselves. Thanks again for all your support and prayers. Without them, I'm not sure I'd be able to do this. Oh, and please write me letters!!! You may be my only connection to US news, celebrity gossip, or what's going on at home!

My address:

Kimberly Dykwell, PCV
Cuerpo de Paz
P.O. Box 1412
Santo Domingo
Dominican Republic

My email:
kdykwell@alumni.nmu.edu

My photos:
www.flickr.com/photos/drgirl

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Kim,
Thanks for fixing the blog address. We're excited for you! This should really be an awesome adventure! We'll pray for you and check your blogspot regularly.

Peace (as in Corps),
Uncle Mark

Anonymous said...

Hey!! I hope you have a blast and gain a lot from this experience. I will miss you tons and can't wait to see you when you return. Maybe if I get enough money I can come and visit you! Be safe and I hope you can update your blog while you're there.
Love,
Jamie

Mary said...

Kim,
All of us at your church in GR are keeping you in our prayers! May God keep "shining his face upon you" as you continue to adjust to life and language and learning there.
Pastor Paul

Anonymous said...

Kim,

So you're there now! Give us the lowdown on the trip and your training. Study hard.

The Dosters