2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

thank you to Mich Smith (my dear penfriend from Montreal, Canada), Yoshiko(Yoshiko75), Patty (petitemagique.com), Celestine (readinpleasure) and Sherri (sheridegrom44) for the MOST comments! and to ALL of my WordPress followers who inspire me to continue to write…not only by reading what I write…but through the wonderful blogs YOU each write!  THANK YOU!  Blessings on us all in the year of 2014!

Peace Corps Request: Online Archive for Language Training Material

Good Day Jane!
Sorry to bother you.  My name is Ray Blakney and I am a RPCV from Mexico.  I am working on a 3rd goal project with the PC regional offices and the main office in DC to try to create an online archive to keep the language training material made all over the world from getting lost.  I have created a sub-section on my website with all the information I have been able to get to date (from over the web and sent to me directly by PC staff and PCV’s).  I currently have close to 100 languages with ebooks, audios and even some videos.
The next step for this project is that I am trying to get the world out about this resource so that it can not only be used by PCV’s or those accepted into the Peace Corps, but also so that when people run across material that is not on the site they can send it to me and I can get it up for everybody to use.  I was hoping that you could help getting the word out by putting a link on this on your site at:
so that people know it is there.  There should be something there for almost everybody.  It is all 100% free to use and share.  Here is the page:
Thanks for any help you can provide in making this 3rd goal project a success.   And if anybody in your group has some old material they can scan or already have in digital form, and want to add to the archive, please don’t hesitate to pass them my email.  Thanks and have a great day.

November 30, 2013, Posting from Lara, my daughter who is teaching in Togo, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer

1-14476_10151611011141819_1137617227_n3 months in Sagbiebou

It’s almost December 12th, which marks 6 months here in the wonderful, lizard-abundant Togo.

The past three months I’ve been in my new home, Sagbiebou. Sagbiebou is a small village in Northern Togo home to roughly 4,000 people. The village was founded around 15 years ago, so it is relatively new and, thus, quite diverse. The two main groups are the Gam-Gams and the Anufo; however, each day I hear a new language – be it Wobi or Ewe or any of the other 72 languages found in the country.

The initial month at post was difficult to say the least. The Peace Corps dropped me off at my doorstep with my mattress, stove, and bags…and I immediately lost all confidence whatsoever. My French was tragic and I had barely grasped any Anufo or Gam-Gam. Walking outside of my compound became my daily challenge; making friends the seemingly unattainable goal. Couscous, the conundrum of my life.

But patience and work attains all, right? Each day I made the awkward conversations in broken French with people in the market and kicked a football around with the boys in my compound, and by October I felt a whole lot less like I just got off the tilt-a-whirl.

October also started much needed work! School began and I met my 102 students. To be honest, teaching started out rough and it still is. Luckily, my kids and I are getting to know each other and we’re even having quite a bit of fun along the way. I’ve also successfully taught them each the word “accident” which they gleefully remind me every time I drop something :). However, with zero textbooks and only a box of chalk, keeping the attention of 102 students, ranging in age from 10 to 20, is a challenge.

The good news is I couldn’t ask for better coworkers. There are 6 other teachers and the director. Initially, being considerably younger then my counterparts and the only female was daunting but they are all very respectful and welcoming. This coming week we’re beginning an English club, followed by a Girls club.

My biggest goal during my service is to help keep more girls in school. The youngest grade at my school is called Sixieme – which is filled with dozens of girls. However, if you visit the class of Troisieme (3 classes up), the number of girls dwindles down to four. Why four? The reasons are numerous: early pregnancy, marriage, financial struggles, trafficking, sister-exchange, harassment, and, simply, a feeling of “what’s the point to continue?”

Luckily, Sagbiebou is a motivated village and the sentiment throughout is that we can do better than four. Not only can we, but we will.

With November at a close and December on it’s way – I’m relieved to say my languages are picking up speed and I feel a part of the community. I’ve met some great leaders and future leaders of Sagbiebou ready and willing to work. I am so excited to see how the next weeks unfold.

Posted by Lara at 8:39 AM


the Quiet of God’s Love


Fir (Photo credit: mickydelfavero)

“to BE…for this Yahweh created all”   Wisdom 1:14

sitting under the fir tree

in the quiet of the snow

you feel the cool breeze

softly the winds blow

its quiet message

travels to your heart

forget the human scrimmage

of God’s LOVE you are a part

you are breathing love

and that is ALL that matters

crystallize the dove

and join the peaceful drummers

Happy 5th Birthday, Nadia!

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your eyes are brown

You never hardly ever wear a frown

You say, “Nanny, I’m almost as tall as you”

You whisper, “Nanny, I love you!”

You have a sweetness all your own

You have a way  of bringing me home

You are brilliant, you are brave

You have a sensitivity that will save

You worry your brother has the same as you

Even on your birthday, you share a gift or two

You encourage him with your words so true,

“Come on, Ayden,  you can do it  too!”

You are his advocate in your words so tall

Already the loving way is your call