I've done a lot of work with sanitation during my service. Last year when I was working on Global Hand Washing Day I really wanted to learn how to make soap. This past May a fellow PVC, Hellen, found someone to teach us how to make soap and set up a workshop. I talked to a fellow Gayaza community volunteer with the CBO (Community Based Organization) I work for about learning with me and then teaching the widows group how to make it. However, I got sick and never made it to the workshop. I then went off to South Africa and haven't given it a second thought.
Today, I was invited to come to a widows meeting by Joan, my fellow CBO volunteer. I found 7 brown-leather-skinned widows bent double over a large bucket making soap. Joan had found someone to teach her and she in turn taught the group. They have been making soap for one month now and are even making a profit. They almost have enough money to buy color and fragrance to add and after next week they hope to have enough to make labels.
Peace Corps is all about empowering your community to be successful and self-sufficient. We are to constantly be working ourselves out of a job. I am so proud that Joan took the original idea and went on to make it happen on her own. I'm proud of these women for meeting faithfully and making the soap. And I'm proud to be part of a community that works together to help one another make money.