Let’s do this – Green Machine!

It’s taken almost a week, but I’m finally starting to recover from camp. Seven days, thirteen Peace Corps Volunteers, twenty-four campers, forty-one sessions and it was incredible.

Day one of camp everyone met in Hawassa and we bused to Wondo Genet. While we waited for campers from other towns to arrive we had a picnic in the monkey park. Then we were off to Wondo. We spent the afternoon breaking of into teams, creating group names and cheers (Go Green Machines!), and getting to know each other. Soon it was time for dinner and then we sent the campers off to bed. I got to take a hot shower (who knew camp had such great perks!) and jump into a flea infested bed (and some not-so-great ones). Camp had begun.

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Day two I was up by 5:15 to help out with early morning sports. I warmed up with the boys, but since soccer’s not really my forte, I bowed out when the actual game began. Then it was time for breakfast and our first sessions. Frank and I were in charge of one of the sessions – Journal Making. Frank talked about the importance of journaling and then I helped the kids design their own journals. By the end of the two sessions there wasn’t a camper or counselor who had survived the glitter attack. Other sessions for the day were Dental Hygiene, Sanitation, Food & Nutrition, and Tae Kwan Do. I bet it’s not hard to guess everyone’s favourite activity of the day. We also had free time, energizers, and meals throughout the day. At dinner we counted up our “Rings of Pride” for the day (our system of rewards) and my team – the Green Machines – got to wear that evening’s crowns. And then, before we knew it, it was time for bed.

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Day three began with another early morning of sports, though this time I joined the basketball players. Then the sessions began: Tree Cookies, Compost, Web of Life, Mural/Community Service, and my session, Reader’s Theater. Alyssa and I read Where the Wild Things Are and then let the kids make masks of their favourite character. We had a number of King Max and even one of Max’s mother, but the majority by far were the wild things. Then the kids took turns up on stage performing a skit based on the book. We definitely had some future actors up on that stage. That night Nicolette and I stayed with the girls in their cabin. We talked about boys and babies and Korean television. It was a late night, but so much fun.

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Day four and I didn’t go out with the campers to sports, but I still had to be up in order to wake them up! Camp was not a time to catch up on sleep. The good news was that since I had been with the campers the night before, I got to relax and watch the day’s sessions. I didn’t have to run any of my own. Wednesday’s topics consisted of Savings, Healthy Relationships, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Deforestation/Tree Planting. We went on a mini-hike to plant our trees, which was definitely my favourite part of the day…despite my poor planning in shoe choice for the day.

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Day five brought morning rain and the chance to finally sleep in! It was also the day of my final session: Gender Equality. Emily and I paired up with Lisa, so when we had finished our session, Lisa had the boys perform a buna ceremony for the girls. Buna (coffee) is traditionally prepared by the youngest female in the house and it was pretty hilarious watching the boys try to roast and grind the beans, while also cooking the fandisha (popcorn). I’ll be honest though, I’ve definitely had worse coffee in country…the boys didn’t do too bad. The rest of the day consisted of Family Planning, Body Tracing, and then that afternoon the boys and girls were split up for the first time. The girls went to their cabin to learn how to make RUMPS (reusable menstrual pads) and the boys went to their cabin for their “gentlemen’s club” where they had a condom demonstration and a question/answer period. That evening we gave the girls a “girl’s night” as well, filled with girl talk and a condom demonstration of their own. My evening was spent planning the following day’s activity – Camp Olympics.

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The robot shot was Lisa’s doing – she was an awesome co-counselor! We all had a lot of fun with it : ) Day six was our most adventurous day by far, but I don’t quite have the photos of that yet. So I’ll just have to leave you in suspense and update you on the rest of camp next week!

To be continued…

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