It has been a whirlwind 10 days. I just got back from Kaya today after having a wonderful camp with 58 girls and 53 boys from the Centre-Nord region of Burkina Faso. We talked about gender, HIV/AIDS prevention, violence, harassment, sexual education and reproductive health, hygiene, and action planning.
We had a three day training of trainers (TOT) with our Burkinabe counterparts and one night we went to a bar to catch part of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The ironic thing is that we couldn’t hear the ceremonies because the DJ was blasting music for the patrons. Fortunately the owners were nice enough to let us sit in their office and watch the parade of nations and judge their uniforms. I thought that Mali had the nicest outfits made of white bazin fabric and gold embroidery (Super classy).
During the camp, I led sessions on action planning, led ice breakers, and was in charge of a team (Groupe 8, Les Panthers!) of 9 campers, 5 boys, and 4 girls along with a Burkinabe counterpart. We had a great team of 15 PCV facilitators and 15 Burkinabe counterparts including a CampMaman, who was also in charge of our food.
This camp was not without its challenges. First of all, right now in BF it’s Ramadan (Kareme) which meant that many facilitators and students would not eat during daylight hours. This also led to some facilitators not sitting with their teams at meals, which left their co-facilitators alone with their teams for long periods of time. It’s also rainy season in BF which means malaria. We had many campers who were sick with malaria who contracted it before they arrived at camp. (Malaria has 10-14 days of dormancy before symptoms start). We also had a camper who had sickle cell anemia, and no one (including her parents/guardian) told us about it until she started having episodes. We were lucky that someone from her village could pick her up from camp and take her back home.
We also made sure to have plenty of fun including learning how to dance the YMCA, Kilos! (a clapping cheer). A talent show, Alaska Tag, a campfire, songs, condom games, and other general counselor silliness and tomfoolery.
I also thoroughly enjoyed my time in Kaya. I visited the marche several times, and got a bunch of leather products. (Kaya is known to have some of the finest leatherwork in Burkina). I am definitely looking forward to next year and using some of the materials in the CampG2LOW manual.
Thank you to all who donated money to the Peace Corps Partnership Program to make this happen. We could not have done it without you.
Kudos to Camp G2LOW Kaya Team 2012! We did it!