I went to a town called Tikel Dingay last week… ok, get the jokes out now.
As Peace Corps prepares for 70 G9ers to come in this summer all in the education sector, staff are looking to new towns to place volunteers. As a nearby volunteer I got to help with the site selection interviews, and learn a bit about of the education system in the process.
Tikel Dingay is a small town of about 11,000 half an hour north west of Gondar. It’s pretty average as a site- small town, farming community, high dropout rates, exhausted teachers, willingness for a volunteer, but buzzword answers about what they would do there.
And what’s with the name? Apparently this is a Tikel Dingay:
So the scenery isn’t too bad. There’s a crazy rock formation around every corner. This area is well known for its sesame seed production, and it’s only an hour or so from the border with Sudan on the road to Humera and ultimately Khartoum.
It has a cluster of primary schools, a high school (non-prep) and a preparatory school (grades 11 and 12). The site selection process is a combination of sector specific interviews (with education offices, school directors etc.) town interviews (police office, mayor etc.) and general impression taking. The reality is that each site depends on the volunteer that gets placed there. A great volunteer can get a crappy site, an unmotivated volunteer can get a fantastic site and they can produce the same change (minimal). But every once in a while you get a motivated town, filled with motivated people, working with a motivated volunteer and cool things can happen.
Here’s hoping for Tikel Dingay! And a new North Gondar Zone volunteer for family dinners : )