Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adult Life Skills Workshop

Day One: Kathleen We had an exciting and full first day of our Life Skills Workshop today. 26 leaders of youth attended. They all have influence on youth in some way. Maybe as a teacher, youth leader in a church, have youth living with them, etc. Most came from far away, the Islands, Kampala, surrounding villages, with a desire to collect information regarding Heath and life issues to pass on to their sphere of influence! It was encouraging! We spent time getting to know each other through games and ice breakers, a pretest to evaluate their knowledge base, a lot of open discussion, and an introduction to how AIDS/HIV is transmitted. There is so much mis information, which leaves infected individuals isolated, or silent, and allows for the spread of the disease. There were so many good questions, a lot of heart breaking stories, but one thing was certain. Everyone knows it starts with one person to make a difference. Tomorrow we have a very content heavy day of teaching and learning. 4-5 sessions on health and life will be taught (depends on time) but my class is on how HIV is transmitted. It will be very detailed. Some here believe a kiss or handshake can spread it. Day Two: Kathleen I was so encouraged today as we dove deep into our classes! Our students now are receiving the correct information. They can tell you the 4 body fluids that transmit HIV, what a portal (door) of entry into the body is, correctly identify what behaviors do and do not transmit the disease, such as hugging or hand shaking does not, but exchange of blood does! They learned about the immune system, antigens and antibodies, macrophages and much more. They also learned about Universal precautions, and the progression of the disease. Everyone was thoroughly engaged, participating, asking great questions and eager. The games have been fun. I wish I had recorded some! Tomorrow is another full day. Day Three: Kathleen We had a successful day of teaching again today! My lessons on The Difference Between Treatment and Cure, and on Effective Communication were well received. I think the most encouraging part is the way our students "Eat up" the information they are given. AND... The gratitude they express for it! We have information overload at our finger tips at home, but imagine a life without a smart phone, computer or TV. And school is not available everywhere. We have eagerness to learn what we need, when we need it, but do we apply it, or just know its there if we need it again? Our desire is that this information is multiplied many times over, positive behaviors replace negative, and in time lives can be changed for generations to come! Day Three: Vanessa This is day 3 of my first ever adult Life Skills workshop here in Jinja. It's going better than I could have hoped for with nearly 30 excited participants from as far out as the islands in the Nile, Lake Victoria, Kampala and even the States! Day Three: Carol Yesterday was another exciting day of teaching. Many of the students were not ready to leave at the end of the class and stayed to ask more questions. Correct information is a powerful tool.The only way to change risky behavior is to identify what actually is risky behavior. We have at least 4 continents represented in these classes and they are all eager to learn. They love the interactions and role playing that is involved in many of the different sections taught. Well I need to catch a bota bota to get to my class today. I "get to teach" first. 11 Days In Uganda: Carol Well it's been a very busy 11 days in Africa. Vanessa ,the Director of CHI a program of Fount of Mercy, Kathleen Lindemann, and I have been teaching life skills to volunteer leaders for different youth groups. Everyday it has grown in numbers. These leaders have come from miles around to stay for the week. They are hungary for the truth. They want their youths to learn the truth and begin to practice good life skills. The questions asked were very well thought of.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Travel Log: One Volunteer's Perspective- Part 1

Day One: We have arrived in Jinga! It was 38 hours from one bed to the next, so needless to say we were exhausted last night! The place we are staying is absolutely beautiful! It's on Lake Victoria and because we were two women traveling without husbands they gave us the best rooms. Upstairs with a view! The nice thing is that these rooms are inside the main house, so they don't have doors to the outside. Silly, but makes us feel secure. We will start our training today, working with Vanessa Crowley and Manuela, her program associate. This year we are doing Life Skills workshops. In a nutshell involves a lot of teaching! It wil be set up in a style like we do. Classroom style. A lot of people come from surrounding villages, then take what they learn and teach it to others. Some of the teaching will be basic, while other parts will be to dispel common myths and thoughts the people are raised to believe. The workshops will cover health, life, relationship and cultural teaching. Vanessa has spent a lot of time with the people, and developing the curriculum we will use! Have a wonderful day and thank you for listening to me ramble! Day Two: We felt very rested today after going to sleep with a wonderful sound of rain last night! It was a productive day and we really got a lot accomplished. Vanessa is so well prepared and Fount of Mercy is doing such a good work here. The organization itself has been evolving for about 6 years or so and it's really exciting to have been in on the beginning stages and seeing the changes that have evolved within the organization itself. Trial and error and being flexible and making changes as needed are key to getting any system to function and truly be purposeful and productive! So often we want to come just do and give to them when we see people in such need. And that in itself is good. But for change to really occur and be lasting, teaching is so important. I'm not referring necessarily to scholarly education. I am learning so much myself! Communication skills are just the beginning. The people here do not express emotions like we do. It's not cultural. Then misinformation regarding health, illness, pregnancy and prevention of disease perpetuate the cycle of illness, AIDS, death and street children. I know these updates get long. I'm going to study and prepare some more! Good night all! Kathleen Hanrahan Lindemann

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2nd Annual Leadership Conference

Starting this past Monday we have a couple of volunteers from California who are teaching through our 2nd annual Leadership Conference. We are so excited about this! For those of you who don't remember, last year we had a team travel to Uganda in July and teach the very first Leadership Conference. It was a HUGE success! So much so that our organizational leaders repeatedly asked that we host another one. So... the time is now! Our two volunteers arrived on Sunday and then on Monday, along with April Mulcahy (FOM's Organizational Development Intern), they will all hit the ground running. They are teaching classes on Conflict Resolution, Project Management, Early Childhood Education, Personal Finance, and Bookkeeping. The leadership conference will be slightly different this year because the last day of the conference will be a time for the participants to get into groups where they can encourage networking and peer coaching. There will also be time for consultations with our two volunteers who are leading the conference. Like our Organizational Development Trainings mentioned in last week's Weekly Hello, the purpose of this conference and the follow up activities we are implementing is to get them to support and network each other. Throughout this week the Leadership Conference will be going on in Jinja. Here's to a successful week filled with learning! Fount of Mercy