Thursday, 6 December 2012

Day three, combatting HIV

This post is a day late. It's a day late because we have been running around, keeping girls healthy and happy, and hosting a myriad of visitors. The girls have opened up a lot since arriving and are much more silly and crazy now.  It's one of the more rewarding things about spending a week here - watching them progress from being almost fearful and obedient to being open, empowered, and confident.  The theme yesterday was "GLOWing with Strong Bodies" and our topics ranged from HIV prevention to family planning.  Camp conveniently coincides with World Aids Day on December 1st and Aids Awareness Week.  Regardless of a Peace Corps Volunteer's assignment in this country, we are all serving in HIV Education since the virus is so prevalent and again gaining ground.  Heather and Robyn taught sessions on transmission and prevention and Emily and Peninah taught about family planning.  Both of those ladies are married women, so it was meaningful for the girls to learn that when they are married and in a relationship they can still make choices about when they want to begin or finish having children.

Erica taught the girls to make pita bread in the IGA session as a way to vary their diet and perhaps make money selling snacks to their friends and neighbors.  Many of the campers had not tasted pita bread before and were excited to learn a new skill that yielded such delicious results.

Pita making supplies, Erica was the most organized I've ever seen anyone

Taking a moment to be goofy, Leah you have charcoal on your forehead

Heather being an HIV prevention rockstar

Rolling out the pitas

Grilling the pitas on charcoal sigiris

After lunch the girls were treated with a visit from the US Ambassador and the Country Director of Peace Corps Uganda.  Ambassador DeLisi spoke to the girls about the importance of keeping themselves healthy so they can have the best future possible.  He encouraged them to follow the ABC's of HIV prevention which are to Abstain while they are still young, to Be Faithful to one partner when they are old enough to be in a relationship, and to use Condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs.  These pieces of advice are the bread and butter of the HIV prevention message in Uganda and it covers most everybody from young to old.  Ambassador DeLisi stayed with us to watch a presentation by TASO (The Aids Support Organisation) that used music and drama to address ideas about remaining abstinent while the girls are still young.  Music and drama are widely used in Uganda as they're more traditional methods of communication and interaction.

Ambassador DeLisi addressing the counselors and staff

Dancing to our camp song

Our Country Director introducing the Ambassador to the girls 

Listening to the Ambassador's speech

Speaking on HIV/Aids prevention

Listening to the speech

Picture with the girls of GLOW

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