I wrote a few months ago about our amazing summer camp in Nekemte. Since the school year began, the girls we took to camp have been running a club here in town for their peers. Although Kim, Ashley, and I show up each week, our role is simple: make sure they have the materials they need, review the lesson plans, and watch while we beam with pride.
This past week, during the school break, the girls had a two-day program to close out the semester. When we got together to plan it, I was expecting to help them make a schedule and assign roles, suggesting other activities along the way. To my pleasant surprise, they showed up with a schedule already in hand, including who would run each session on leadership, communication, HIV and STIs, and planning for the future. As a group, we added some games to spice things up and made a list of the supplies they’d need.
The mini camp was really, really fun. Twelve girls came for all four sessions, and a few others flitted in and out. The girls let me help out with the HIV activity, and I did a condom demonstration using, to everyone’s entertainment, a broom handle as my model. At the end of the second day, 7 of the girls said they’d learned something new about HIV; 12 had increased their knowledge of STIs. Nine learned new things about leadership and ten said they had new goal-setting skills.
I do have a little work to do now: in addition to writing up the report (we got some financial assistance from Peace Corps [855 birr, or a little under $50, for those of you who are interested], so gotta submit those receipts!) I’m going to write up lesson plans for all of the sessions the girls did this semester and try to secure the club a locker at the school where they can keep their supplies so that this thing can keep going.
Looking around the room during the mini camp, I knew that if I did nothing else in my Peace Corps service, here was something I’d done well. By bringing these girls to camp and encouraging them to keep it going in their community, I’d made a little mark on my town. Luckily, though, this isn’t it! Six more months, and several more projects to wrap up. And…go!