For the past three weeks I have been in a town called Léo preparing for and helping run a camp for Junior High aged young people. A number of you made contributions so that we could hold this camp, and I thought you might like to hear a bit about it. I will, of course, be doing an in-person report to the two churches that gave such generous support to the camp.
Our first task was to move all of the bench/desks out of a number of the classrooms. Here are some of the volunteers hauling them to the room where we stacked them.
In each block of buildings usually there was only one room with an electrical outlet. The room where all the women slept in did not have any lights or electrical outlets. Most of the women had brought "bug huts," aka screen tents, to sleep in.
After setting up we did a three day "Training of Trainers" session during which we tried to demonstrate to the Burkinabè who were helping as camp leaders the methods we wanted to use in the camp. Peace Corps favors teaching methods that have lots of participant involvement. This is quite different from the approach our counterparts are used to using in the classroom. Here we are doing the "Human Knot" activity. People stand in an circle and join hands with two other people who are NOT next to them. The task is to untangle the knot created by doing this.
After two days of that, we looked at all the sessions we would be doing with the students and divided them among ourselves. We spent the third day planning what we would do in each session with the other people working on that session. We tried to have a Burkinabè facilitator paired with a Peace Corps volunteer for most sessions. That was a really good idea because the campers could understand the Burkinabè better than the Peace Corps volunteers, and the Burkinabè could understand what the campers were saying when we Americans sometimes could not. The first week was for girls and the second week for guys, thus camp G2LOW, Girls and Guys Leading Our World. Here is the sign that welcomed them.
After these discussions, each team presented what they had talked about to the rest of the group.
One of the activities the students particularly like is putting on skits to show an idea. If they can act out the parts of people doing things wrong and others doing things right, or showing the consequences of such behavior, it means they did get the idea. Most of them were interesting and some were down-right funny. Some of the students had clearly seen some over-acting on soap operas and really hammed it up.
The march ended at the mayor's compound where each of the five teams planted a tree.