Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jirapa’s 5KRace, Kirsten’s Visit, Girls Camp, Oh my God I need to sleep and wash my clothes…

Sorry its been so long since I’ve wrote. I think I’m mostly apologizing to my mother who has been on me about writing another blog so Mom this ones for you! The last few months have been busy but very very fun and I think I may spend this next week sleeping and eating fufu (I finally just got my very own fufu mortar and pestle!). Let me just re-cap past events in my life because I think its been too long to go into too much detail.

Jirapa’s 5K Combating HIV/AIDS and TB Race

Although this was one of the most stressful things I have ever done in my entire life it is also something I am very proud of. Organizing a race for 100 people with an educational event on HIV/AIDS and TB proved exhausting. Everything is done last minute and the budget kept changing so it made my life difficult. I often go running with Jirapa’s Keep Fit Club and they’re always trying to think of ways to give back to the community, sponsor programs, and increase their membership so we decided on the race. Although a smaller event we had GREAT attendance (There are pictures on Facebook)! And about 10 Peace Corps volunteers came to help me which saved my life. Having other volunteers support you and their ability to help turn any project into something fun and successful is amazing! Kudos to everyone that helped to make it happen! I don’t know if we’ll do another race but maybe a football match…The Keep Fit Club has told me it so far has been their most successful event and they are very proud so I am very proud of them :o) Maybe the next one they won’t even need my help!

Kirsten came to visit:

One of my favorite people in the entire world came to visit me for 2 weeks. And it was a magical two weeks! We did so much it will be hard to recall. We saw the new volunteers swear in! We salsa danced and just plain danced A LOT! We went to the monastery in Techiman and then got to feed monkeys at a monkey sanctuary! We came to Jirapa and drank the finest pito in all the land. We spent some lovely hours in tros. We went to the beach and played in the ocean. We went to the rainforest and went on a canopy walk. We ate fufu, got attacked by insects, played with small children, turned down marriage proposals, and she met a ton of my new friends and Peace Corps family. Kirsten rocks and I am SOOOOOO HAPPY she came!

Girls Leadership Camp:

Speaking of working with other volunteers Nicole just organized an all girls leadership camp which we held at one of my favorite places-the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary. I brought 7 girls from Jirapa who were selected based on an essay contest. Overall we had 38 girls and 6 volunteers. The girls met girls from other cities in the Upper West, they had senior high school students as senior counselors and a variety of activities. I had a member of my People Living with HIV group come to talk to the girls about HIV and why its important to know your status and get tested. She was wonderful and her talk was real but optimistic. She got HIV through a blood transfusion when she was a child and is one of the happiest people I have ever met. She never stops smiling. Makes me feel bad for being upset about things like waiting for rides or rain... She spent half the week with the girls and I was so impressed with their ability to look past someone having HIV and I even saw one of my girls sitting with her arm around her. They have never met anyone living with HIV and I was worried about stigma but the girls were respectful and understanding. I was very happy it went so well. We had dancing, we played games and told stories, went on nature walks and looked for Hippos. I am so so so proud of my girls! They participated, met other campers, and were very respectful. Brings me back to camp when I was in middle school. I am just thrilled that we were able to give these girls this opportunity. They don't get a chance to just be kids very often always cooking, cleaning, studying, doing wash, helping their families raise the other kids...this week they got to scream and sing and just play. Props to Nicole for making it happen. One of the best times I've had in Ghana.

What is next:

So currently I am back in Jirapa for awhile, working on my garden and the pumpkins that have taken it over. I want to get my football team running (literally), finish District Assembly reports I’m like 4 months behind, and drink some good pito with my friends in Jirapa! I have my mid service medical at the end of this month and I am running the ½ marathon in Accra on the 26th so wish me good training for this last month! I hope everything and everyone is well back in the states! Eat lots of ice cream for me!!! Bye bye til next time!