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12.23.2012

Thanks-giving

I'm home for the holidays, and there are about a million different topics I'd love to write about (which might be my excuse for neglecting my blog all month)... so I will attempt to go in chronological-ish order.

I’m very proud to say that we celebrated the completion of GLOW Camp 2012 on December 1! After nine months of planning and an incredible amount of dedication, translation and intravenous coffee, we loaded the bus with fifty two smiling girls and waved goodbye as they travelled back to their villages after a week of condom demonstrations, leadership games and macaroni necklaces. It all began as each of the seven Peace Corps Volunteers involved came together to discuss the necessity for girls’ empowerment and assertiveness training, and before we knew it we had assembled a rag-tag group of do-gooders who set to work and didn’t come up for air until the camp was finished. I’ve never been so overcome with such a sense of significance and relevance as I did during our sessions on gender-based violence and adolescent health. To see girls I’ve worked with all year, who are typically soft-spoken and shy, act out things like “wet dreams” and “sex” during our game of charades, or to hear them speak out about transactional relationships with older men, filled me with joy. GLOW Camp gave us the opportunity to dissect issues that are often left untouched, and as Peace Corps Volunteers we forged relationships with our kids in ways we never would have been able to do during a normal work setting. If you’d like to see all the photos from GLOW Camp 2012, visit http://glowcampmantshwabisi.shutterfly.com/! And a huge THANK YOU to Supriya Shah, Caitlin Wolf, Becky Chanis, Danielle Tuft, Mia Sprenke and Rose Cohen for working so hard to make it a reality for all of us.

The end of the school year wrapped up quietly for us in Motokwe, as I was much more focused on preparing for GLOW Camp than on end-of-the-year activities. Although the Reading Corner Competition wasn’t nearly as active this term for my school, Caitlin adopted the idea with her kids and they absolutely loved it. I was fortunate enough to be present on the last day of school in Dutlwe as she gave out the prizes, and the energy rippling through the morning assembly was infectious as the kids sang and danced louder than I’ve ever heard them. I’m hopeful that next year will bring more participation for the competition at Motokwe Primary School, especially since we recently opened the public library in the village! After months of anxiously waiting for the government to find a new librarian to staff it, they opened their doors and welcomed villagers in to browse the books filling a two-room concrete building next to the Primary School in mid October.

The Safe-Male Circumcision campaign that I’ve been in the midst of planning for a few months now has been pushed to early/mid 2013 for various reasons; one of which being my visit back to America for Christmas. Things were simply getting too hectic and I couldn’t handle planning the campaign in conjunction with GLOW Camp, so we’ve decided to run it next year when I can give it my full attention.

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