It sure has been much too long since my last post… I blame it on Fiji time. Living here feels like living in the twilight zone. I generally know around the time of day (morning, afternoon or evening is sufficient), but the day of the week? The date? Forget it! And I like it that was J As long as I make it to trainings, a fluid sense of time will do.
The last month and a half has been quite busy though, and luckily I remembered to get my butt up to Vanua Levu for the recent GLOW camp! In late November I helped facilitate a GLOW (girls leading our world) Camp. GLOW is a Peace Corps wide iniative, with camps being held everywhere from Azerbiajian to Jamaica. A fellow PCV, Melissa, who lives up north, organized this leadership camp with the over-arching theme of preventing teenage pregnancy (a big issue in her province).
Working at the GLOW camp will certainly remain as a highlight of my Peace Corps experience, for many reasons. First and foremost, I really believe girls lives were changed. We began the week with 30 shy highschoolers; girls who barely wanted to share their names, never mind their personal opinion. By the end of the week we had girls confidently discussing condom negotiation in the presence of their teachers!
Leading sessions for the camp was also really gratifying, and such an awesome learning experience. I led sessions on decision-making and self-esteem. Some parts of my sessions were a total hit (creating affirmation hand print necklaces) and others a total flop (role playing following tea time sugar crash = bad idea). Details aside, it was a real opportunity for personal reflection. Just a few years ago I’d nearly faint at the thought of a ten minute presentation in a small seminar. I would have shrunk in my seat if a volunteer were needed to be put on the spot. Today? Leading an hour long session for 30+ teens is exciting! And when asked at 8am to take on the 3 hour long morning session dedicated to reproduction and safe sex, with zero preparation and an unfinished afternoon session to follow, my thought was “well let’s see I’m made of”!. Whether my efforts stood out or fell flat, I was content with my intention to do my best and learn regardless.
It feels good to realize how much I’ve grown in the last year. I’ve discovered new skills and developed those that I’d doubted. I’ve figured out what I enjoy and what is best left to others. Over half my service down, and I’m all around just more comfortable in my own skin. I have Peace Corps to thank for the opportunity to push my boundaries and challenge myself. More importantly though, I have my fellow PCVs to thank! It’s a blessing unlike any other to work and live with people who say what they mean and mean what they say. I love that within the same fifteen minutes I can hear “you really killed it in that presentation” and “you should do that over in a way that actually makes sense”… that’s true friendship!
It was so wonderful to watch my fellow PCVs shine at GLOW camp, and an honor to share the experience with each one of them. As we go into the lull of the holiday season, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to work at a GLOW camp with such a fine crew of people, making memories and hopefully impacting a life or a few… 🙂