- Many are Called by Edward Newhouse
IST stands for Inter-Service Training (I think). It is a two week training that is conducted after community entry, and it is split into two parts. For us, the first week was PDM, or Project Design & Management, and the second week was about HIV.
IST was a pretty good experience. I saw all of the RAP intake that is in Northern and Muchinga during Provs, but this was the first time I saw everyone else since we all departed ways during swear-in, and will be the last time we’re all together until Mid-Service Training in about 8 months.
The first week, like I said, was PDM. That was a bit of a misnomer, because I don’t think at any point we Designed or Managed Projects. The first three days it was just PCVs, and we talked about what we had done at our sites and what we had seen and stuff like that, along with a few riveting presentations on things like emotional fortitude. Emotional fortitude is, apparently, important. The last two days of the week we had Zambian counterparts attend with us. My counterpart was the only other fish farmer in the village besides my host dad, and is a fairly influential guy here.
These two days of PDM, with our counterparts in attendance, were a little more useful I thought because we saw more things. We had presentations on a variety of potential projects that we could undertake in the village, like beekeeping or rice production. The presentations were all a little too short to actually learn much, but I am hoping that my counterpart saw at least one or two things that he would be interested in starting here. He’s already spoken to me about compost; the average Zambian farmer spends a lot of time thinking about fertilizer, so anything that reduces their dependance on that rather expensive aspect of farming piques their interest.
The Friday of PDM week we took a field trip to an organic farm nearby Lusaka. That was interesting, not the least because they had extremely cute dogs:
The farm specialized in sustainable farming techniques, and the farmer that ran the place also had a large section of forest that he had re-grown. The forest was useful to him because it provided a great deal of inputs towards his fish pond and compost, as well as a place to keep his bee hives.
The second week of IST was about HIV. That week was not as useful to me because my counterpart was a no-show. The other counterparts seemed to get a good chunk out of it though. The week wasn’t so much focused on the actual disease itself, but things like positive living and the factors in Zambia that make HIV so prevalent.
Overall IST was pretty awesome. It was a great chance to see everyone again and to catch up on our experiences in the village. It was nice to be in Lusaka and be able to go to restaurants and the like, though I was excited for it to be over because my next stop was vacation in Livingstone.