Skip to main content

SA23 training!

Today was my first day with the trainees, and as I was half-fearing, I sort of bungled my first sessions.  The issue was that the training manager had allegedly given responsibility for my first session (on something called PACA, Participatory Analysis for Community Action) to the language trainers, but when I arrived, they were expecting me to take the lead, and I didn't have anything printed out.  For the first session, there were luckily a couple volunteers shipped in from Niger who basically did the entire thing better than I could have.  But for the second session, the trainers had basically nothing prepared and we had to wing it.  It could have gone a lot better, but I think (hope?) that the trainees were sympathetic.  We at least got the main points covered.

Once again Peace Corps' atrocious logistical coordination is starkly evident.  Their strategy seems to be rather than trying to anticipate problems beforehand by thinking hard about what sorts of things are likely to happen in a situation, they make a vague, unrealistic plan and then deal with problems as they arise.  This works out basically how one would expect.  Yet the trainees are here, they've got to listen to me, or at least sit still while I talk, and hopefully I'm not coming across as too much of a cynical jerk.  I'll be here all week, stay tuned.


  1. I would have loved to get more sessions from a cynical jerk, instead of the emotional basketcases and weirdly happy presenters we had.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe