10 February 2010
This past week, with the help of some great PCVs and local community members, we have had not one- but two wonderful workshops!
The first was a Women’s Health Workshop held at the local home-based care center. We had nearly thirty women between the ages of 19 and 36 come for two days to learn all about ways women can take care of themselves, their children and their communities. The highlight presenter was a woman named Naledi who works as a gender coordinator for the district; she gave a great lesson about healthy relationships. Her demeanor, honesty and enthusiasm had us all laughing, reflecting and feeling hopefully and empowered. Her message was to be always be truthful and to be responsible for your own happiness. It is not everyday that the women of rural SA are encouraged to take control and responsibility; I really believe that they will all think of Naledi and her wisdom from now on. Another thing Naledi said that stuck with me was that she defined responsibility as “the ability to respond.” And that is exactly what it is! We all have the ability to respond to situations to the best of our abilities with love in hearts. Thanks Naledi!
In addition to Healthy Relationships, we also had sessions on Nutrition and Exercise, Children’s Health, Interview Skills and CV writing, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health. At the end of each day we asked the women something they had learned and it was very surprising for us Americans to hear what things they learned from our lessons. One of the most shocking for us was that someone said they learned they could plan children, she had never thought that children could be a choice you made when the time was right, not just something that happened to you. They also practiced putting condoms on bananas, as well as practiced saying no to sex or asking a partner to wear a condom. The women also really enjoyed the session on interview skills and how to write a CV; with unemployment at about 50% in our village everything we can do to help them get jobs is a huge help.
Overall the workshop went really well and the women are excited to get back together to talk about how they have applied what they learned and to plan another workshop for other women! A big thanks to Naledi, Joanna Davies, Kelly Wedin, Molly Murphy and Lady Maja for all your hard work!
The second workshop we did this week was a Permaculture and gardening workshop. Recently PC funded a training session for several PCVs to learn about a certain system of gardening which is meant to improve a garden’s yield by using water more wisely and using a technique called double digging. My friend Kelly stayed an extra couple of days in my village to help facilitate this workshop with me. We had about 15 people at the workshop and we covered water management, double digging and hexagonal planting. We dug a practice garden so that the participants could see all of the theories in practice. It was a short and sweet workshop but I think that the participants will really be able to put the techniques to great use in their own gardens, hopefully increasing their yield!
It has been a very fun and busy week, and now I ready for nap!
The last thing I wanted to mention is that I am participating the Long Tom Half Marathon again this year. It is a fundraiser to benefit a project that was started by PCVs several years ago. The project creates scholarships and provides support for several promising rural learners to attend one of the best college-prep secondary schools in the country. It is a wonderful organization and one the longest running projects in SA. The marathon will be held the last weekend in March, and I will be walking the 13+ miles from the top of Long Tom Pass down into Lydenburg. If you are interested in donating, it would be very much appreciated!
To Donate: go to http://www.klm-foundation.org and place your donation under my name! Thank you all so much!
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