Hello hello, it's been almost a year now. A lot has happened in a year...I've traveled places, experienced my first Macedonian summer, welcomed new volunteers, and arrived at my year anniversary in Macedonia. Now I am entering my second winter, one that people say will be worse than the last, but I cannot fathom how that is possible. But I shall persevere, I've discovered that a plastic bottle filled with extremely hot water does wonders!
Since we last spoke I helped my organization, Poraka Nasha, dream and complete a grant through Peace Corps Macedonia and USAID. I am happy to say we were given the funds and have successfully completed the project. Above you can see a picture of the finished entry-way. When I have a bit more time I will post more pictures that display the process.
At Poraka Nasha, we all work together in one large room that is partially sectioned off to provide a semblance of a classroom, but it's stretching the resources we have, not to mention the concentration of the beneficiaries. So my co-workers and I began to plan to expand the facility of the Day Center by adding an outdoor patio of sorts. The beautiful finished product we have today would not have been possible without the generous outpouring of the community and an additional grant from the state-side NGO, Friends of Macedonia.
The beneficiaries were able to enjoy the outdoor center and we even held a class on horticulture and invited students from the neighboring high school to join us. During the fall activities were regularly held outside along with physical activity. It is a great expansion and the beneficiaries also enjoy have a space to sit outside at the end of the day and speak with neighbors as they pass.
We at Poraka Nasha hope to use this center even more in the spring and will work on planting trees and other flowering plants. I enjoyed working with my coworkers to bring the grant to fruition and they did an excellent job including me in the process, I even learned new building and material words in Macedonian!
Thank to everyone who reads this and also keeps up with me through email. facebook or skype, it means alot. I hope that I will get back into the habit of writing here more often.
larger view of the front of Poraka Nasha