Early this morning busses arrived to transport the 200 odd campers, counselors, and staffers back to their homes at the far flung ends of Uganda. As goodbyes were made, the boys stacked their mattresses and swept out the dorms. It took many of us the entire day to reach our respective towns and villages with campers in tow, but we couldn't be happier.
Soon, we will begin reflecting on our experiences and upload info on the creative projects prepared by the boys throughout the week. Until then . . . Thanks for following!
In line with today’s theme of Building Uganda, the campers from BUILD walked over to the girl’s camp, Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) to practice their teamwork and leadership skills while playing kickball, tug-of-war, sack races, and an obstacle course in mixed boy/girl camper teams. GLOW campers were ready and excited to welcome the BUILD boy’s to their camp. Group chants and songs were exchanged and many teams even created new team names. The GLOW Crocodiles and BUILD Enjojos (elephants) became the Crocajojos for the day. One GLOW camper group presented the BUILD boy’s with friendship bracelets. So cute! The Peace Corps country director and United States Ambassador were on hand to observe and even participate in the games. All of the campers were on their best behavior and they relished in the chance to work as team with members of the opposite sex, celebrating gender equality. After the games came to an end, campers from both Camp BUILD and Camp GLOW presented official camp shirts to both the Peace Corps country director and the U.S. Ambassador.
After days of learning and sharing information on topics ranging from how to use a condom to the making of organic fertilizer, the campers knowledge was put to the test. Trivia was held after dinner, with each camper group competing against each other. Counselors and staff were on had to clarify questions, but coming up with the answers was up to the campers. Trivia ended with a tie between the Great Grey Tigers and the Cheetahs, with the Great Grey Tigers winning in the third round of sudden death.
Today we celebrated the environment of Uganda, visiting an organic demonstration garden and a beach at Lake Victoria.
At the beach, some kids played football and volleyball while others searched for crocodiles. Unfortunately, they found only one lone dinosaur. Jason, a counselor of the Young Stars, wanted to make sure that his kids learned something among the fun they were having at the beach. Before they left, he gathered his boys and asked them to pick up trash. They took multiple trips up and down the hill, and by the second trip the other groups joined in. One of the Young Stars commented to another boy as he passed, "We are the leaders. You are all followers."
Before long, everyone was walking up the road to find the demonstration garden. Once there, kids toured alongside Peace Corps Volunteers Jesse and Drew. Experts in organic gardening and permaculture, they talked to the kids about drip irrigation, mulching, composting, and intercropping, as they walked through the demonstration gardens.
After lunch, the kids watched a bit of Planet Earth, before working on their personal projects. More on that later.
HIV/AIDS- The session is opened with an interactive example of how quickly the HIV/AIDS virus can spread and morph into an energizer reinforcing that THEY, the campers, have the power to protect themselves for contracting HIV/AIDS. Information on the virus is shared and the campers learn how to protect themselves and others.
Reproductive Health- Puberty and its associated changes are discussed with the campers. They are provided information on safe sex options and the various methods of contraception. Then, campers are talked through the proper way to put on, take off, and dispose of a condom, plus they are all given the chance to practice on a model.
Water & Sanitization- Campers are taught how to construct a tippy-tap (a hand washing device made from local materials), make a pit latrine cover to protect against fly’s, and introduced to the basics of personal hygiene.
Tonight we invited the girls from Camp Glow to a Rafiki Theatre production about domestic violence. The boys were super excited to host the event. They busied themselves hauling additional chairs down from the balcony and, then, all of a sudden 150 girls showed up on the sidewalk outside assembly hall. The boys rushed to greet them. They then filed inside, found their seats, and the production started. Like earlier in the day the piece was powerful.
The oldest in their repertoire, Nyumbani is translated as 'home'. The drama focuses on the effects of domestic violence. The kids witnessed scenes of mental, physical, and psychological violence. It was emotional for everyone in the room and the kids expressed themselves vocally throughout. The talkback session provided time for the kids to express their individual feelings and begin to understand how other genders see these issues.
Throughout Camp BUILD the counselors will continue to talk to the boys about gender-based violence and why it is wrong.