It’s camp season!!!
This summer, I did my yearly Camp GLOW in Chiri and I participated in Bonga Camp GLOW. While I love camp, I found it difficult to do camps this year because my life was a little more chaotic with packing, spraining my ankle and getting ready to go home. The two weeks that I did those camps – they were filled with stress, laughter and of course, cultural barriers.
Having done two camps in both my first and second year, I will state that I was more organized and confident in my abilities the second time around. However, I was also filled with more stressed as during one of the camp weeks, Peace Corps came through and I had to make sure my big Columbia bag was packed and my house was organized. For the last few weeks, I have also been buying gifts for loved ones and with political unrest in Ethiopia, there is a lot going on at once.
While I was more stressed this year than the previous year, I don’t regret doing two camps. There is something so heart-warming about seeing a child laugh, grow and change right before your eyes. Watching “your children” – the ones that you love, respect and selected to participate in camp – have fun makes all the stress and the effort that goes into camps worth it.
Summer camps are at times costly in the States, but in Ethiopia, grants or working with NGO’s help to cover the expenses. A lot of the information and training given to the children are things that should be learned and taught throughout school, but aren’t. For example, in Bonga, I taught about First Aid, Reproductive System, Menstruation and Birth Control to the kids. When I asked questions to the girls about their bodies, both the young and the more mature got into it. The girls were surprised to learn that both males and females could reproduce with one testicle and one functioning Fallopian tube.
Having done four camps, two of which I led, I had the opportunty to improve my leadership, time-management, and marketing skills. With the help of students, we spread word about Camp GLOW and the importance of it. At those four camps, spread over two years, I was lucky enough to help guide young women and men into being who they were meant to be. The students who so desperately and happily wanted to learn changed my life as much as I helped them. It was wonderful to be around such positivity and enthusiasm. While there were many great things about my service, these camps are one of the best things I did for the people in Ethiopia.