Sunday, April 28, 2013

HIV Workshop complete.. Up next: Camp GLOW!

Whew… It feels so good to be finished with the HIV Workshop I planned
for one of the HIV Support groups in my community. This project
started many months ago when my community counterpart and I started
the grant writing process. I know now that I really dislike writing
grants because of the wordiness and formulating proper goals,
objectives, and monitoring and evaluation techniques… ugh, it hurts my
head just remembering.

Since then, when the grant was accepted, I sought the help of the
nurses at my local clinic to facilitate the sessions during the
workshop. They were the perfect people to help me since they know the
question people are wanting answered, the myths that need dispelling,
and most importantly, they can speak siSwati.

The Workshop took place on Friday, so my week was full of buying food,
coordinating final details for the event, and overcoming any of the
setbacks that presented themselves. When Friday came, the big day, I
was up early in order to prepare everything. Of course, nothing ever
happens without its complications. I was so happy to see the women,
who had arrived early to cook our lunch, were already busy cooking
when I arrived and the nurses showed up right on time. The problem
was that the Support Group we had been preparing to present to were
nowhere to be found!! Even my counterpart hadn't arrived on time! I
was so embarrassed and stressed because my guest speakers who took
time out of their regular jobs were just sitting there, what a waste
of their time. This stress I was feeling is an American character
trait that I have not seemed to lose in my two years of being here…
timeliness and respect for other's time.

Two hours late, the participants arrived, and we finally began. The
nurses spoke about HIV transmission, tuberculosis co-infection, the
importance of taking ARVs properly, diabetes, hypertension, and
nutrition. The workshop was done completely in siSwati therefore I am
not exactly sure what was being said but the participants were really
involved and asking a lot of questions. I suggested that the nurses
each talk for 30 minutes, but Swazis know how to talk and each nurse
spoke for at least 45 minutes or more (which really surprised me
because of our late start). At the end of the day, the participants
were really happy and glad to have heard new information. I think
they were really pleased to hear new topics about diseases that aren't
just HIV because although HIV is a huge killer here in Swaziland,
people are tired of hearing about it time and time again.

Thankful that the workshop is over and generally successful, I am now
looking forward to a week full of GLOW! My next blog post will be
about Camp GLOW which is finally here! I leave my community tomorrow
with one of the counselors we trained in January and 3 girls. The
camp is a week long and I look forward to letting you all know how it
went at the end of the week. Once again, thanks to everyone who
supported GLOW and helped make it possible! GLOW is sure to be a
highlight of my Peace Corps Service.

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