Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6, 2012 5:00 PM

Today we had a visitor at school during lunch that was pretty interesting.  He was working with an organization that is trying to prevent counterfeiting money.  So he did a short presentation in the staff room about how Ugandans have been counterfeiting money and how you can tell if money is counterfeit.  He said that counterfeit money is often times passed off in taxis.  The taxi conductor will either put some counterfeit bills in you change when you pay for your ride or he will ask if anyone can break a large bill, but that large bill will be counterfeit.  He also said that another place that money is counterfeited here is in banks (believe it or not!).  In the banks when someone deposits money the bank checks to see if the money they are receiving is counterfeit, but when someone is withdrawing money the bank teller never checks the money going out.  I’m assuming he was insinuating that the bank teller is putting in fake money and keeping the real money he or she should have given to the customer. 

All of this was a little eye-opening but what I found most interesting was that this man was telling us that part of the reason for the extremely high inflation last year was because there was so much counterfeit money introduced into the economy.  And with a greater money supply the price of goods goes up.  I guess I never realized how much money was counterfeit in this country.

Another good thing that happened today is that I think I finally got the ball rolling on my grant project for the computer lab.  Peace Corps told me that they still don’t have money for that kind of grant, but that it would probably be there by the end of the month.  And my school has started to ask about it again.  My Headteacher even told me today that he has a bit of a plan on how to accomplish this.  I wrote up a draft for the grant proposal and he wants me to sit down with a few of the teachers and work out all the details and perfect it.  Then I can submit it to Peace Corps.  He was also talking about opening up a bank account for the project, so that the Old Girls Association (that’s the alumni) can deposit the money they have already have for the project.  This is something that Peace Corps requires we do for the grant project, so it was nice to know that they Headteacher was really thinking about this.  There was a point where I had practically given up on this project because things weren’t going right.  And there were also many times where I found the project to be more discouraging than inspiring.  But now I’m back in it!

My Headteacher also asked me today (for the first time) if my contract was able to be extended (aka can I stay longer than one more year).  Don’t worry, I’m not staying!  But it was nice hearing him say that he wanted me to stay longer.  That in and of itself almost inspires me to try to do more while I’m still here.  I told him that I couldn’t stay (a little white lie), but that he could always apply for another volunteer and maybe Peace Corps would send someone else after I leave, either right after or a few years down the line.  Many of the other teachers have asked me this before and the girls have asked me as well, but never the headteacher.  Many of the girls were actually asking me last week how much longer I was going to be here and if I could stay longer.  Currently I’m teaching computers in Senior 2, but it is not required for the students to take in Senior 3.  So the girls were telling me that if I wasn’t going to be here for the entirety of next year to teach them, that they didn’t want to take computers because it was too hard.  Now there is a new challenge for me to conquer before I leave…how to inspire the girls to take computers even if I’m not their teacher.  I guess I still have a year to figure that out.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen! I stumbled here from PC journals, mostly because I totally identified with your blog's title. I'm an education PCV in Kenya and I'm doing a little research into PC policy regionally (I know, nail biting stuff, haha)... I would love to know a little about the policy in Uganda (I've heard that Kenya and Uganda might share a similar problem with al shebab). If you're up to answering a few questions, my email is PCVKenyaMLR@gmail.com.

    Mostly I would like to know about your out of community policy (as we call it here) and your motorcycle/travel policy. In Kenya we currently have 2 out of community nights a month. Anytime we overnight anywhere outside of our site, we are required to use an out of community night and to inform PC. We are also not allowed to travel to the capital save for serious medical issues, or with express pc permission (the PC office is in the capital).

    As far as mode of travel goes, motorcycles are forbidden (even though the majority of PCVs live in places that are 10ish K off the tarmak, only really accessible by motorcycle). We are also forbidden from night travel.

    I'd really appreciate your thoughts : )
    Meredith

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