So while living in America and especially in the last year there a few times I thought to myself “Wow America is the fucking worst what are we doing” and then of course I see a positive change or attempt at change OR any kind of positive movement and my faith is restored. I also of course love my country and blah blah blah. Even with all of the not so great things I learn about KG I’ve never thought “Wow I need to get out of here” until last weekend. A weekend where everything that could go wrong and then some pretty much did. With the cherry on top of my best friend in the hospital and my iPhone stolen while I was sleeping along with a laundry list of other items from other volunteers and assorted other events over the weekend. On that Sunday morning leaving Bosteri I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible and never go back there ever again. I got home feeling sad and defeated and thinking to myself “how the fuck am I going to do this?” so I walk into the house and am greeted by my host mother who asks about my weekend and I explain what happened and then there it was. The bright spot I needed. My host Mom immediately is furious and gets on the phone calling everyone she knows asking if they know anyone in Bosteri because my phone was stolen. She immediately told me to sit down and she made me some tea and some lunch because of course tea and food are the fix all duh.
So I left for camp on Monday feeling still a little sad and frustrated but really excited to work GLOW camp and really excited for some time with my counterpart and to see a new area and do some work to take my mind off the shitty stuff that happened. And then there it really was, the positive feeling I needed to restore my faith and make me feel like myself again. Teaching young girls about women’s empowerment, being leaders and most importantly women’s health and sex ed. There are lots of myths and old wives tales and things that people believe about sex in this country and hearing them not only from the girls but also from the Counter Parts was really eye opening. Being a woman here can be struggle, both for me and for the women of KG. Getting to talk to the girls and teach them about their bodies and sex was an experience that really resonated with me and gave me the punch in the face I needed to bring myself back to life. Teaching the girls (and Counter Parts) that period blood isn’t bad blood and that it’s not dirty and that tampons won’t break your hymen and they’re safe for young girls to use. Watching the girls learn about this and showing them why these things aren’t true and seeing their eyes open was really amazing to be a part of. Ending the week with the girls teaching lessons themselves about HIV and seeing the creative ways in which they taught their lessons and how they interpreted the information was amazing, especially when at the beginning of the week some of them thought they could get HIV by kissing someone with HIV. So to say I’m feeling better and have had some good luck as far as finding a new phone and getting it here safely is an understatement. Coming home from camp and having my family be so excited to see me after a week away and giving my host Mom her birthday present and watching her show it off to the family and say “look what my daughter bought me!” just made me melt. Knowing how much my Counter Part appreciated this week at camp and what she learned was also something amazing about all of this. I can tell she really got a lot from the camp and that she learned things about herself and that’s what all of this is about. So as I sit here drinking an iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop while I wait to have lunch with another volunteer I’m feeling like myself again and ready to start work tomorrow.