Copycat Post: So What Does Jon Do?

So it kinda turns out people are interested in what we’re doing over here beyond looking at birds and getting a lot of sun. That’s sweet of you guys. Thanks.

I don’t do the same thing as Kellie. In fact, she works in a completely different sector than I do. I am a Local Government Capacity Builder. We have a lot of the same goals as the Life Skills folks but some additional priorities, as well. One of the most obvious differences is that I don’t work at a school or for the Ministry of Education. I work in the Social and Community Development Office (S & CD, for short.) In the most basic sense, I work with the government social workers. We are responsible for assisting several classes of individuals:

  • The Destitute (their word not mine) – Anyone who is unable to work/fend for themselves; usually older folks but also psychiatric patients, the critically ill, and the homebound
  • Orphans – Any child under 18 who has lost their parent, parents, or primary caregivers
  • Needy Students – School attending children who are not orphans but still need assistance with school fees, uniform, transport, food, toiletries, etc.

I work with social worker that serves the ward where we live in Kanye. That ward is called Mafhikana, Kanye’s very best ward. We also serve the neighboring wards of Kebuang and Seno. Maybe 5,000 individuals in all. There are no shortage of individuals requiring assistance in those wards. Our office is very busy. Day in and day out, we are serving clients and potential clients face to face. They are usually lined up at the office when we arrive at 7:30am. We also travel in the wards assessing individuals for benefits, attending community meetings, and meeting with contacts at our schools and community organizations.

So, what do I do specifically? Right now, I’m just trying to get the lay of the land. I sit in on assessments, attend community meetings, meet people. I make up and print food coupons and school uniform vouchers when needed. What I spend most of my time doing is keeping things organized. I’ve made several spreadsheets of beneficiaries. I’ve requisitioned an old filing cabinet, made files, and alphabetized them. I do the monthly statistics reports. I try to debug our virus-y office computers. We’ll see what comes of it. For now, there’s a lot to do in the office to keep me busy.

What would I like to do outside of the office? First off, I am excited to work with Kellie at her school on an after-school club for high school students. There’s so much we can talk about. Things that don’t get addressed at home or at school. I’m excited to meet some kids and find out what’s on their minds.

Second, I am angling to work with some of our S and CD beneficiaries at a place called NAFTECH (National Agriculture and Food Technology Center.) They’ve got some nice garden plots for our folks to work in order to raise vegetables for sale in the community. I’d like to learn how to plant under the tutelage of experienced farmers so I could maybe raise some funds for a community garden in Mafhikana next summer. We’ll see. Farmer Jon.

In the meantime, we found some new rocks to look at.

Rocks

Tomorrow we’re off to a two-week Peace Corps training in the capital. It will be great to see friends, sleep in the A/C, swim in the pool, eat catered meals, and never wash any dishes. Can’t wait.

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