Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potential for the NGO (And Other Projects)

Garden Project Team: First Planting
As of Monday afternoon, my NGO has opened its doors as a place for the village children, in particular the OVC, to go to and play. The staff are taking turns coming in to oversee the facility and watch out for the kids as they play on the jungle gym or kick a football around. Much to my dismay, the psychosocial support programs for the OVC are not able to resume as of yet but at least the children have a place to go and an outlet. It's a start and I'm grateful for that much. Additionally, programs aimed at educating community members about the risks associated with Multiple Concurrent Partnerships (MCP) (a common practice in Botswana) are going strong, with the NGO hosting a successful workshop this week. (The MCP Team is only a dozen or so people short of reaching this quarter's target and we're scrambling to put another discussion or workshop together before the end of the month in an attempt to reach the goal.) Not only that, but the NGO's Garden Project is still going strong. At the end of last week, we had a team of nine Batswana come out to do work on the garden, successfully planting beetroot, rape, and tomatoes. The fruit trees did not come in yet so the holes are still waiting to be filled but we're well on our way to having our first crops! There is definite promise and I'm excited to see what will happen in the upcoming weeks and months for the NGO!

In other news, my secondary projects are looking might fine as well. Two days ago I went to Moshupa to meet with the Red Cross about Kids Club and then to venture to the Junior and Senior Secondary Schools with the PCV in the village to discuss presenting STEPS films to the students. The films would discuss issues ranging from HIV/AIDS, condom use, MCP, and so on. I am happy to say we received approval from the schools to show the films and to facilitate discussions afterwards with the students. We will start doing them on a monthly basis in October. I believe that reaching the youth will have the greatest impact and is a truly worthwhile way to spend my time in Botswana. 

Also, today was the Debate Club's first official debate in front of the students at the Kumakwane Primary School. As I mentioned before, the students chose to debate corporal punishment (a hot button topic here). I was so proud of them today as they went front and center in front of their peers and beautifully articulated their arguments. They were poised and confident. And, after the debate, they were beaming. There was a sense of accomplishment and great pride in each of them. They were the first debate team, they did it, and they were revered. (Not to mention that the rest of the kids wanted to emulate them. They all started to do our "secret handshake", which the other PCV in my village and I had taught the Debate Club.) I can't wait to get more kids involved and start helping them become critical thinkers and on the road to a great future. 

It's an exciting time right now, filled with so much potential.

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