Shana (Jackson) Haines
From Peace Corps Wiki
I did my 3-month training in Bacon, near Akoupe. My host family was very nice; my dad had five wives and each of them had five children so we were many in the courtyard. I loved my stage and my stagemates were all amazing people who were full of adventure and excitement. After three months, I went up to the Bondoukou region with my new Peace Corps family, aka the Holy Family. We stuck together through thick and thin, and these people were at once teachers, friends, and fellow adventurers.
As for my work, I took over for one of the most successful, organized, together volunteers in the group before me. He left me copies of all his notes and work. Most importantly, he left my region with a fabulous impression of Americans and Peace Corps. I hit the ground running, taking over many of his projects and inheriting close relationships that stayed that way. With Ahmadou "6" Ouattara, I became the Guinea Worm worker in my region. Six was the local pump repairman, but I was his transportation and his muscle, believe it or not. I made sure that the villages paid Six for the work that he did, and I got funding to fix broken pu,ps as long as the villagers set up some sort of sustainable (in theory at least) system of maintaining the pump. This was a project that I inhereited from my predecessor, Brandt Silvers. It kept me busy most of the time, and it helped me get a lay of the land and determine what I needed to do.
Brandt Wittte, my APCD at the time, encouraged me to organize a "Work Week" about 9 months after I got to site. It was a god-send because it helped me get my life back together after the tragic death of my PCVL, the father of the Holy Family, Billy DiDiego. It was an amazing event that brought about 30 volunteers from all over the country to the Kouassi-Datekro region. We all stayed in villages for a few days, performed "sensibilisations." put on plays, distributed filters that we believed were sustainable (they were sewn into calabashes), drank a lot of bongi, and ate foutou till we could barely move. Several days of festivities, and it all ended with a fabulous party in Bondoukou. The late (and great) Paul Daapa made grilled fish stuffed to the gills with deliciousness, and we all felt really good about our work. Guinea worm numbers decreased significantly in the area during the nect year, too.
I also worked on projects in my own village. I tutored two beautiful girls- known as Cherie Coco and Jenny. I worked with them at night, after thei chores were done for the evening. They would come into my dusty dirt hut and we would lie on the floor looking at any books I could get my hands on. I also started to tutor my best friend, Digata, in how to write her name and write and read the alphabet and numbers 1-10. It was amazing to be so close with people who could not read or write at all. I was so inspired by my relationship with these girls that I and Michelle wrote a grant to fund a "girl's camp" in our region. The girls