One of the expectations of Peace Corps service is to find ways to improve the community in some way. In China, our primary responsibility is to teach. My site-mate and I have been thinking about how to best fulfill the needs of our community.
Recently the Peace Corps Medical Doctor came to visit us in Anshun. In addition to showing us around our hospital, she also suggested several secondary projects: Buying a goat and selling its milk to make money for the school, starting an apiary and selling the organic, non-pasteurized honey to make money for the school, or opening a cafe. Raising the goat was immediately shot-down by an official at the school. All three options require money, which we don't have. We have been considering applying for a small business grant and we are combing the internet. If you have any ideas about organizations which may give to cover startup costs, we would love to hear about them.
Opening a cafe would have several benefits, including bringing an awareness of American (or western) culture to China, giving students a paid-wage part-time job, and helping the school purchase computers with the profits. The eventual goal would be to hand the business over to the students so that it becomes a sustainable, constant source of income for the school. We are still in the dreaming phase of this project, and you can help us with suggestions to make it work. Just click the 'comment' link below the post. Cheers!