Thursday, June 28, 2012

A roller coaster day

Tuesday (June 26, 2012) was an amazing day in both the positive and negative respects. I went into work at the RAC and my CCE (Community Capacity Enhancement) Project Manager in the DAC office where I work reminded me that it was the day of the Teen Pregnancy Workshop at Lehutshelo.  How this project worked is a group of us went into the school and had a Community Conversation with a group of the kids (50).  I was not available when the first conversations went on but I was able to attend some of the follow-up conversations.  Through the conversation the kids identify issues at the school and narrow it down to one they want to tackle, Teen Pregnancy.  They then come up with a solution, a workshop for the students where teens who have gotten pregnant come and share their stories with the other students.  The final step is to implement the solution.
CCEP & ADAC (workmates)
Mma Masweu and the organizers

Initially they were trying to find both mothers and fathers, but in the end only mothers were willing to speak.  They gathered the kids (only girls since girls were speaking) in three groups by form.  The first two mothers that spoke did so in person and the second two wanted to be anonymous so they wrote a script and had someone read it.  Some were in English and some were in Setswana, but all were amazing!  It was also impressive that they implemented this themselves basically.

After the first group, I asked if I could record it and they were fine with it.  The sound for the recordings was not great, but the kids love watching it.  Today I asked one of the girls who spoke, who I have become somewhat close with, if they would be willing to record it again and maybe we can make a video for the school or others to use.    She is interested and now I have to gather some of the other kids to see what they think.  School is done for 6 weeks beginning tomorrow, so I have to hurry.  I am going to miss the kids. L

I also spent the morning reading some of the short stories submitted for the Poetry and Short Story Contest.  The writing is tremendous and I am excited to give all of them their certificates and prizes tomorrow.  We are also planning on baking brownies to give all the participants.  There were only 14, so it is manageable this time.  I am also really excited about seeing the kids faces when they receive their prizes and the feedback forms.  Instead of just choosing winners, etc, we decided to put together some feedback forms to tell the kids their biggest strengths and areas for improvement along with how it was graded.  This was amazingly hard to do because often Kabo & I did not agree with how the graders graded plus we have been developing personal attachments to some of the kids we work more closely with (exactly why we didn’t grade).  I don’t often see the kids getting positive reinforcement, so us spending 30 mins or more per entry was well worth it.  We also know how to change the grading sheet to factor in things we didn’t think about.  I am also working on putting together a file to share with all the volunteers here to make their life easier if they choose to do it, so if any Botswana PCVs are reading this I promise I will do it soon so you can have it before the next term begins. 

Now, let’s move on to the ‘worst’ part of the day.  After this I came home to grab lunch before heading off to football practice at Makgakganye Primary School.  I am helping coach the boys’ team there and absolutely love it.  Actually it is an odd mix of fear and excitement every time I go.  Every time I head down there I am thinking “what do I really know about soccer”.  I played 12 years, but it has been 15 years since I played, which would put me at 27 if I started playing out of the crib…ha ha.  I digress.

Upon walking up to my yard something looked different.  The house looked so lonely and there was too much tan coloring.  Five of our trees were gone.  John had already seen it and warned me, but that didn’t really lessen the blow.  Luckily they left the big one in the front of the yard, but for how long…aarghh.   I almost lost it with a mix of anger, frustration, and sadness.  I saw years of growing in a climate with little water just sitting outside our fence in messy little piles.  It is not like there is a surplus of trees in our little semi-desert and they were a slight feeling of home and comfort.  I still have no idea why and need to talk to the landlord.  John tried to talk to the family member that cut them, but his English is not great and our vocabulary does not quite cover what we are trying to ask as well as the concepts of human desertification.  Hopefully this weekend we can take some time to go over there and speak with one of the family members who knows more English and we can study up on our environmental terms in Setswana.

I had the hardest time forcing myself to go to practice, but I am glad I did because it was amazing and made me feel tremendously better.

That’s all I have for now, but more will come soon I am sure.  On the walk home I heard John muttering something under his breath about wanting to do a blog post when I said I was going to write one.  Hopefully he will cover the computer club because it is going amazingly well!  Initially I did not think there would be need for me but with the number of kids coming both nights. Also we have been staying way late.  Normally we have to kick the kids out because it is already way past dark and we need to get home to cook, bathe, etc.

Wame aka Tracy

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