A couple of weeks ago I helped organize and facilitate a Girls Leading Our World Workshop for girls during the easter break. It was held over three days and targeted at girls 15-18 years old. We had the best time together. I have not worked with a pretty group in my entire service. They were open, intelligent, courageous, thoughtful… all the things you want young girls to be. And they were so responsive to everything we taught them and they had this hunger to keep learning. We lead sessions on gender roles, violence against women, delaying sex, etc. We also wanted to have the girls do something that would mark what they learned at the workshop, so they wouldn’t easily forget it. First, an organization gave us the side of a wall to paint and we held a mural competition. This is their beautiful product:
And the second project we had them undertake was a march in the village. On the morning of the second day the girls took this banner and marched around their village, singing different songs we had taught them and some they brought themselves. I’m also in love with this banner:
Who says we can't?
Girls in the this community are susceptible to different kinds of inequalities within their homes, schools and communities. The kind of atmosphere where inequalities abound is stifling for young girls and puts them in vulnerable positions, especially concerning education and health. And these girls felt like it was time for us to teach them that they could be just as good as boys, just as smart, just as clever and certainly we tired.
It makes me a bit emotional when i think about some of these girls that I have been working with for two years and the amazing transformations that have come upon them. I am confident that they will succeed, even though most come from very limiting circumstances. And I just have a small hope that I helped even just one girl realize her potential
GLOW Camp is only a little less than two weeks away. Things are coming together but it is now proving to be a little challenging. Certain things take longer and it is exhausting to chase people around and the endless follow up and the plan a, b, c and d. But it is going to be awesome. Have I mentioned we got a hold of glow sticks? This is going to be off the hook. Those girls better feel empowered!
I used to think I wasn’t very diligent. I just figured it wasn’t in my nature. I don’t wash my dishes daily. I have a hard time remembering to brush my teeth at night. If you come to my house, its not filthy but it’s not very clean. I only sweep when absolutely necessary and mop even less. Perhaps this means I am not a hard worker, but if I’m working with a group of people, I will put in my time and then some. But maintaining myself is difficult and I thought this meant I wasn’t very diligent
Then summer came…
Today I looked at what I was doing and realized that I have this really insane frozen water bottle system. At any given time, I have two 1.5L and six 500ml bottles in my freezer. They are on a strict rotation. One bottle in the morning, one after lunch and then I keep the 1.5L half full so that I can pour water in it when I get home from work and skip the ice cubes. And then at night I use the other 1.5L as an ice baby in addition to my fan. And then I keep a couple of extra in case someone needs one. I am extra diligent about keeping this system going…
This system keeps me alive. Who needs ac when you’ve got leagues of frozen water bottles?
This summer has been very hot (105- 110). It has been a lot worse then last year. We have praying for rain, as it seems to be late (again) this year. When the rain comes, I will be sure to say a prayer of thanksgiving and perhaps dance. It’s funny, because my setswana is very versatile when it comes to talking about the weather. I can say ‘I’m hot’ in six different ways. I’m hot, I’m burning, I’m on fire, I’m in the sun, I’m afraid of the sun, it’s hot.
I have had a splendid month. It has been crazy and a bit intense, but I’m thankful for the wonderful people that I have met and for the blessings that I have received. A few highlights…
- We have finally started meeting as facilitators for Camp GLOW (by the way, we just need a couple more hundred dollars! we’re almost there!). It has been very time consuming, but I’m excited for the potential outcome. A small glimpse at the camp- ‘smores, glow sticks, TYE DYE… seriously, this camp is going to rock
- I took the GRE! It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Grad school applications here I go
- I went to South Africa for a weekend church retreat (read: YSA Convention). There were 400 LDS young adults from all over South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. It was amazing. I had the best time I have ever had as a young single adult. I also met another mormon peace corps volunteer living in South Africa! There are a few of us…
- It was independence day in Botswana last weekend. i celebrated in Kasane with a couple of peace corps friends. We saw a couple hundred elephants. literally.
we make elephant look good
Next big thing: Parents in Botswana. My mother and my father are coming to botswana in less then two weeks! everyone is very excited, including me!