Sunday, May 29, 2011

Training Trainers Or Trainers Training

Over the past week several people took part in the Training of Trainers (ToT) at Kukurantumi. After I attended the previous workshop where staff and volunteers alike hammered out what the Pre-Service Training (PST) would be like in terms of events and timing, I got the notion that being a trainer might be rewarding. Who knows why that didn't occur to me before, but once it did I sent in my letter of intent and was informed at All-Vol that I would participate.

We arrived on Monday, May 23rd, and learned about the plan of events from our Director of Program and Training, Rob Moler. It seemed like there was a lot of work ahead of us, and a fairly high expectation of what we might accomplish by Friday. A total of eleven PCVs are to become the PCVTs (Peace Corps Volunteer Trainers) so that they may help the new arrivals, the PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) adapt to their new environment and get a head start on their positions. Again, everything is an acronym and if you don't know what the acronym is, you ask and do your best to commit it to memory since it will appear repeatedly.

The beginning of the week was focused on what the whole PST would be like. Where events happened, the timing of various bits, and where conflicts might arise. After a thorough review of the big picture for training, we were often breaking into our sectors to concentrate on what we would need to bring to training at a more detailed level. What books and handouts should a PCT have? When should they get them? How many and where can we obtain them, or are they already available but at a different location. Many many different things to go over, and every day of training there is about eight hours of time to account for; the complexity grows by every hour that you work on it.

In the end, we had a fairly good idea what would be needed per session on the calendar, really good resources to draw upon from prior years, and then a direct path to get ready for this year. Friday was fun as there were nine or ten of us at computer screens typing up, copying over, and editing with reckless abandon all types of material. We also had time to write up comical biographies for one another which will find their way into the welcome book that trainees will get upon their arrival. I didn't read my own bio but I am hopeful that someone remembers that I invented the Nalgene bottle - which was the persistent rumor that went around during our training session.

These workshops are a bit of fun but they do take a bit out of you. Breakfast is at 7, so you need to be ready by about 6:30 to make it to the hub site on time. My wake up call would have been around 6 but for the fact that I could never sleep in that long. Most mornings I would pop my eyes open at closer to 4 and then try to nap my way to 6; failing by 5:30, I would just resolve to get up and shower. We also would join up after the day was over and head to a local pub (which is a very inaccurate description of a watering hole here - think of a cargo container with a few plastic chairs scattered around and that paints a better picture). I'd have one soda, feel the effects of the early morning wake up call and be ready for bed by about 9. Oh the sacrifices, yes?

Joking aside, there was a lot done at the training workshop and plenty more work to be done in the coming week or two. The new group is set to touch down in Accra on the 8th of June which is not far away at all and the real fun begins.

After all of this I am now remembering how it all felt to get here. It has really been one year? Time flies when you are having fun.

Not that I couldn't go for a cheeseburger and fries right about now, but that can wait. More fun is calling.

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