Last year, on the first day of camp, I packed my students cold lunches. I introduced them to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, apple juice, complete with a banana. This year, with fewer students, I decided to give them something even more shocking: cheeseburgers. I took them to Tropical Burger and ordered us a few burgers to share (including a veggie burger for myself), and watched their eyes light up as they tried something new. Luckily, they loved it! And then it was off to Wondo Genet.
One of my sessions was Journal Making – and we quickly learned a little more about the campers. Sultan loves to draw and he sketched an image of Jasmine he found on one of the stickers, quite well if I might add. And Michael admitted he wanted to go to Peru of all places, so he drew a ship to sail away on. But my favourite journal cover by far combined America and Ethiopia:
My next session was Reader’s Theater. This year, we used the Eager4English books I helped publish here and we had the campers act out stories from Yirgalem in SNNPR and Gimbi in Oromia. Even some of the shyer students began to come out of their shells.
My final activity was the Camp Olympics, and much like last year, it worked out wonderfully, despite being left to the last minute haha We had a water balloon toss, obstacle course, tank & driver, water challenge, relay races, and puzzles & piggies.
Last week I was in Wondo Genet for our second Camp GLOW. And while I’ve officially gone through all 6,000 photos taken during that time period, it’s hard to decide which pictures of the campers to share.
So while I continue to sort through those, I figured I could at least show you what Wondo looks like and why we returned there for a second year of camp:
This guy greeted us almost immediately upon arrival. We have a lot of monkeys in Hawassa, but most aren’t this stunning.
These mountains were our view every morning, noon, and night.
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.
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.
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.
I spent this past week in Wondo Genet planning our upcoming summer camp. Before the meeting, we knew the location…Wondo Genet University, and the dates…August 11-17. Looking at everything we’ve decided on since, I’d say we’re pretty set.
I’m co-leading three different session: The very first camp session, Journal Making, where we’ll talk about the importance of journaling and help the kids create their own journals for the purpose of camp. A session the following day that includes a Reader’s Theater, and we’ve narrowed down the book to either Where the Wild Things Are or The Lorax…either way, awesome. And then my final session on Gender Roles and the differences (and SIMILARITIES) between what men and women can do.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited…and in addition to these three sessions, I’ll also be up and on the soccer fields at 6 am every morning co-leading the morning sports (don’t worry, I laughed too). And I’m helping plan the final day’s activity, which will be a massive field day/Olympics/scavenger hunt…be jealous. Oh right, and did I mention I’m also a camp counselor? I’m only spending one night in the girls’ cabin, but I’ll be with my group every day! So basically, this camp will probably kill me. But if it doesn’t, it could very well be my favourite week in Peace Corps.