It seems that I am turning the page on a new act of my Peace Corps service. Many of the people that have meant a lot of me over the past year have left. The work that I've done is starting to yield results that are appreciated within the community and new doors are opening. While my focus remains on my village, I now have the opportunity to change things up in the structure of PC-Mali itself.
A few weeks ago, my friend Bakari wanted to show off his millet field to me. I had given him improve seed to try out and record his results. The new millet was the first to bear seed (something that grows increasingly important as desertification increases). Additionally, the millet looks more healthy previous varieties use in the similar conditions. These tangible visible benefits are rare in development work and when you get this kind of victory you have to savor it. Other projects are starting to develop, but I think it is too early to talk about them in depth.
I've been chosen to be a trainer for the new batch of volunteers coming to Mali in October for the Environment sector. This means that I will have some input in designing the training for Volunteers that will be stationed all over Mali. I'm excited and honored to have this position, but it is somewhat bittersweet. I'm going to be away from village for Tabaski and most of harvest. I'm sure that I'll miss village and will have to have faith in my friends to report on crop progress in my absence.
As a closing remark, I had the privilege of meeting Jennifer Davis' mother during my last trip to Bamako. Jennifer was in my village before myself and stayed on with PC-Mali for a third year in Bamako. She has showed me nothing but kindness and has been ultra helpful. If I am to be consider to be a successful volunteer, then Jennifer is a major reason for my success. Jennifers' mother was just as sweet, kind and thoughtful as her daughter.