Since I came to The Gambia in March 2014 I have wanted to work with kids; now I’m finally getting my chance. After spending over a year in my primary assignment in the National Malaria Control Program, mostly at a desk, I have been itching to run all over playing sports with children. Living in the greater Banjul area with a very small host family in an entirely tiled compound, I haven’t had the experience I was envisioning when joining Peace Corps. Most Peace Corps volunteers go through this adjustment period of what they were expecting and what their specific experience has actually turned out to include.
One thing I have learned after my 19 months in country is that this is MY service. This is a bit of a tricky concept because after all it is service. I came to serve, wherever there was need and however I could. But if I am unproductive or unhappy that service can start losing its meaning very quickly. The last few months I have begun to add a few secondary projects to the work I am doing here and it has transformed my experience. I might not be making a difference, it’s hard to tell…but I am happy again and happiness makes it a lot easier to keep trying. One of the most exciting secondary projects that I have added is the launching of the Grassroots Soccer’s “Malaria Skillz” curriculum in a local Senior Secondary school. This simple, exciting and engaging curriculum uses games with football to teach essential malaria lessons.