GLOW camp came and then it went. And I cannot believe that its already been over a week since it ended. It feels weird. I wonder what I am going to do next. My colleagues and I have been working on GLOW since April, when we first wrote our grant proposal for the project.
GLOW Camp was an absolute success. Absolutely. We put in so much work during the month of November to make sure that we could have a successful camp and sometimes it did not look good. I remember breaking down in tears because I no longer had transportation to go and buy food in town and I was not equipped with a plan b, c or d (all which are necessary). There were so many small issues that week up to the camp, even the day it started, it seemed like one delegation wasn’t going to make it, but then.. 7PM Friday Night, they were there. Like magic.
There were five girls sent from seven villages around Nata. And somehow we ended up with 53 girls, rather then the original 35. But it was fine, it was no big deal.
My Nata GLOW Girls
We kept a very packed schedule. We wanted the girls to spend all the time they could engaged in uplifting activities. They could rest when camp was over, but at GLOW camp they had to be active.
And just so we are clear, we didn’t actually camp. I can’t even imagine trying to deal with the nightmare of sorting out transportation so we could go into the bush and camp. No, not these girls, not this girl. We held the camp at the brand new Nata Senior Secondary School. There were two reasons for this. Number one: most of the girls were in junior school and holding the camp at this facility encourages them to go on in their education and do well in school. Number two: they are brand new, which means the bathrooms are still ok.
Each night we had a big activity. The first night we held a bon fire and shared the practice of s’mores (huge success). Second night we did popcorn and a movie (hairspray). Third night we had a talent show. At the talent show the facilitators debuted the talent with a lovely lip sync to ‘I will survive.’ And the last night we had awards and certificates where every girl was honored for her participation in GLOW.
And the days were full of sessions, including: goal making, healthy friendships, puberty, leadership, HIV/STI, communication, etc. And then crafts, such as tye dye, journal decoration and bead making.
I have a couple of favorite moments of GLOW Camp 2011. The first is about glow sticks. My mother had sent me GLOW sticks and I forgot until the very last night, at about 11pm that I had sixty glow sticks. But I had to give them away. So we woke up the girls in their rooms, showed them how to make the stick glow, danced a little then told them to go to bed. They didn’t sleep until about 1AM.
My second favorite was the girls I brought from Nata. The worked so hard the weeks before the camp to write and learn a song to perform at the camp. And when they did I was blown away, I was so proud I made all the campers learn the song.
Hello World, this us, here we are. Trying to lead the way. Life is easy when your in glow Camp, just wear and smile and never lose your hope. You are you, I am me, we’ll be free. Hello World, we are girls. Come and see. Come and celebrate. Life is easy if you don’t lose hope. Just come join us here in Glow Camp. Wear a smile., don’t look back, you’ll be free, Hello World.
Doesn’t that just give you chills?
Here’s the thing… there was this feeling that was present throughout the camp that reassured me that we had truly accomplished what we set out to achieve. Luckily, we also used evaluation tools that will measure that, instead of my feelings.
And that was GLOW Camp. Let me just give a warm thank you to everyone who supported this initiative. The girls were crying at the end. They didn’t want to leave their new friends and the environment we had created for them. I truly believe that we helped build the future leaders of Botswana. Kealeboga.