Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Healthy Living Camp
Hello everyone! We finally had our Healthy Living Camp!! I’m not sure how much I wrote about it, so I’ll tell you about the camp.
My friends Meg, Nicole, and I sent out applications to 10 High Schools in Botha-Bothe. 6 students from each of the schools filled out our applications and we chose one boy and one girl from each school. This past weekend was the first of three Healthy Living Camps for these students. We had the camp at Likileng Lodge, which is right outside of town. The lodge was amazing and had a great conference room that we spent a lot of time in. It also had a great field outside that we played games in. The lodge has a beautiful pool, but the filter wasn’t working so we couldn’t swim.
The kids came on Friday and were a little nervous about coming to a place they have never been before with people they have never met. Some came early and had a chance to explore the area or relax in their room. We were so excited to find out that the kids were all getting to know each other in one of the camper’s rooms! As more kids came, they were invited to come into the room as well.
Throughout the rest of the camp we got to know the kids by playing games and answering some of their many questions. We had discussions about HIV/AIDS, gender equality, and goal setting. The kids created and preformed dramas about gender equality, stigma regarding HIV, multiple sexual partners, and testing for HIV. We were so impressed with the quality of the skits. The ideas they came up with were incredible.
On Saturday afternoon a friend of ours facilitated an HIV transmission discussion. We started the session by showing how HIV is spread using the students and colored pipe cleaners to represent people having multiple partners and unsafe sex. The students were surprised to see exactly how one person can affect so many other people. Once we were finished with that Thabo, our amazing facilitator, asked the students to list activities that are considered high risk, low risk, and no risk. The students were able to discuss why some activities are more risky than others and were really surprised to learn that some activities are more risky than others. Once we finished with that, we broke the students into a boy group and girl group to see if they had any questions about that last session. Without going into too much detail, I was so proud of the boys for their questions. Sex is not talked about very often here and there are so many myths that boys learn about as they get older. I spent about an hour trying to answer some of the questions and talking about the importance of each of them protecting themselves. The conversation really helped me to connect with the boys.
Some other fun activities include showing TV shows that focused on HIV, Jurassic Park, and one episode of Planet Earth! The kids were so excited to watch all of the shows. They were all so new to them. We’re looking forward to showing more Planet Earth and another movie next time…maybe Men in Black??
I spent the week before camp with 9 other volunteers and a whole team of Basotho to plan and prepare for the new education group to arrive in Lesotho. We planned all of their sessions and talked about some of our favorite activities during our training. It was an exhausting week going from planning training to our camp, but it was worth it!
To go back a little further….I spent 2 days visiting 4 schools in Lesotho to help them prepare for their library books to arrive or to help them organize the libraries they have. We helped organize books and showed the teachers how to maintain their libraries. The workshop usually lasts about 2-3 hours and we talk about using the books as resources and model reading aloud to their students, how to read aloud to children, how to take care of books, checking out books, library rules, and how to use the HIV section that we set up as a resource. The teachers were all really excited, which made me even more excited to receive the books that my mom has been collecting! Thanks again to everyone who has been helping her!!!
I will be going back to my village on Wednesday for my friend’s funeral. I’ll be back down in about 10 days for a Library workshop…African Library Project is hosting librarians and project coordinators from a few different countries to discuss things that are working and things that aren’t. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll get some ideas to make the libraries that I’ll be creating at my schools better.
Hope everyone is doing well!