Girls Leading Our World in Chiri

Working on a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) with Action Aid, a local NGO can be stressful and overwhelming, but it can also be rewarding. When you work with a local NGO or any of the locals, there are many things that are out of your control and when you’re more of a TYPE A than a TYPE B – it’s hard to let go of that control. Although I was working with an NGO, in reality, I was the one in charge. Everyone turned to me: for answers, to get the necessary questions answered, to the scheduling and other tasks. Although there were some moments when I really didn’t enjoy being in charge, I found it to be very beneficial for my future plans.

Through this 4 day camp session, I learned about time management even when others didn’t quite seem eye-to-eye with me on when to start. Nonetheless, I was the first one in the door, and the last one out at the end of the day. I learned to ask the difficult questions based on finances, the one to stay on top of tasks and the one responsible for making sure day-to-day responsibilities were taken care of. I was also responsible for the arrival and departure of two Addis Ababa girls who came in to help with the camp. I had to reach out to an outside organization to get them to Chiri. I had to learn patience and resiliency even when I am past my exhaustion phase (by the end of camp, I could barely keep my eyes open) because at the end of the day, I was still put in charge. I had to delegate with Action Aid often and show up at their office to print and make copies of things early in the morning and still show up on time at school for camp. Most importantly, I had to keep my frustrations in check when we had to delay camp a day because no one was ready, when people were late, when the car didn’t show up to take us to our lunch place, when the person in Action Aid that I was supposed to coordinate this whole camp with only ends up showing twice and left in less than 5 minutes, when Amharic is spoken more than I would like, and work with the inconsistency of power and network out for over 2 days.

Even though there were many challenges, both in-and-out of my control, I call “Camp GLOW A SUCCESS.” The 14 girls that participated in this 4 day camp seemed happy and confident. There were some topics which were hard to discuss, but ultimately, had to be discussed. Topics that led into a condom demonstration were difficult or talking about the challenges that women face that men do not face. There was one moment, that we talked specifically about the gender issues that we face and it was enlightening to share experiences from an American and an Ethiopian standpoint.

I feel like pictures speak more than actual written words, so I will include some pictures during the 4 day Camp GLOW in Chiri.

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Abaynesh, one of my 11th grade students, is so gobez. She wrote the poem about leadership all by herself. I cheered so loudly for her and I was proud.
Abaynesh, one of my 11th grade students, is so gobez. She wrote the poem about leadership all by herself. I cheered so loudly for her and I was proud.
Condom Balloon.
Condom Balloon.
The girls were really self conscious about condoms... we ended up blowing the condoms into a balloon and after that, people were willing to put a condom into the wooden penis. It was very successful!
The girls were really self conscious about condoms… we ended up blowing the condoms into a balloon and after that, people were willing to put a condom into the wooden penis. It was very successful!

Note: “Type A” are organized, status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive and concerned with time management. They are seen as “workaholics.” “Type B” on the other hand, explore ideas and concepts, reflective and think of the outer and inner world. They disregard psychical and mental stress when things are not achieved.

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