I recently completed the major project of my Peace Corps service thus far. It was a huge collaborative effort by me, Sean, 7 other Peace Corps volunteers, the Ministry of Health, a local development association, a national AIDS awareness association, 42 high school student leaders, and about 20 medical professionals, teachers, and community leaders from the region. It entailed 5 different peer education and professional trainings, many great discussions about values, religion, society, health, and development, lots of traveling and networking, and countless meetings, emails, and text messages spread out over the course of the last 5 months. It culminated in 2 HIV/AIDS and STI education tents—one for men and one for women—from 8am to 9pm every day for the three days of the Rose Festival. Collectively, our peer educators had discussions with a grand total of 2,560 Moroccan men, women, boys, and girls over the course of three days. I mean, they had real, honest, sometimes controversial discussions. 523 people were tested for HIV. Potentially best of all, though is that we empowered 60 people to do sexual health education on their own and in future projects with all the participating associations. In addition, they gained confidence as public speakers and community leaders. Wow. I think we deserve bragging rights for that. When I say it, I can hardly believe these results are ours.
Okay, I admit this post is little more than bragging, but sometimes I just need that. I am not above the need to feel that what I do with my life is validated by successes now and again, especially because much of this experience has been small and a trying. It is important to step back from your life from time to time to examine the bigger picture. I hope you all can do that, too. I would love to hear about it!