Mark called tonight at about 10:30 PM (9:15 AM Nepal time). He is still in Kathmandu, where he prefers to be, but he's going back to Janakpur to teach on Monday. It sounds as though teaching is now something Mark has to do but doesn't enjoy. There is another teacher, his "counterpart," who teaches when he isn't there. Next year, instead of teaching, he'd rather do teacher training and curriculum development.
He's spending a lot of time doing things for the Women's Centre: he's talking to store owners that sell their products, trying to find out what people want to buy, how much they will pay, what the women should be making. He also met with one of their big buyers; it helped that Mark was familiar with spreadsheets. Mark's friend Virginia is working at the Centre, too. There are abut 80 Nepali women who work there.
We asked him if this was becoming his volunteer project, but he didn't exactly agree with that description. However, he would like to be able to spend about one week each month doing this kind of "marketing" work. He says that the Peace Corps country director is interested in the Centre. He is going to be in Kathmandu the end of March for a Conference related to the Women's Centre. That's followed by an All Volunteer Conference the beginning of April, including mid-term meetings (!) for his PC group.
He says that he is spending about 1000 rupees a day when he is in Kathmandu -- bus rides, hotel, food, using the computer for his phone calls. I think that's about $15. He gets paid $100/month.
He hasn't had the opportunity to visit the new Peace Corps Trainees yet, but he's going to find a way to get to their location sometime during their three months of training.
One group of PC's--including his friend Kraig--are leaving for the US on Feb. 25.
His three friends from Penn State are all planning to meet him in Thailand in April. He's hoping that he and Mike can do more traveling either before or after that.
He sounded pretty good, except for being sleepy, since he had just got up before calling. We're hoping to hear from him again next month, when he's back in Kathmandu.
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