When I think of summer camp, I mainly reminisce about daily sessions of eight hours of intensive gymnastics. Any other references I have about camp come from Wet Hot American Summer or The Parent Trap, both of which are great movies but not exactly true to life. Although, finding my long lost twin at summer camp has always been a dream of mine ever since it happened to Lindsay Lohan. As I have recently experienced, however, camp in Ghana is definitely different from that in America (with the main similarity of unbearable heat).
I spent the last week of February at an Upper West Girls’ Camp in Lawra, organized by our regional Peace Corps volunteers. Each volunteer brought three JHS level girls to a four day long camp dedicated to educating, inspiring, and improving the leadership skills of the participants. I brought one girls from each of the health clubs I have been meeting with in Eremon. Smart and beautiful!
Each day was built around a central theme, with educational sessions in the morning and concurrent workshops in the afternoon. Themes included the importance of education, alternative livelihoods and food security, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and disabilities and diversity. All sessions were taught either by volunteers or Ghanaian guest speakers. The girls learned why it is important to stay in school and continue their education, how to raise rabbits and chickens to eat or sell, how to ensure food security in their households, and how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, STIs, and malaria. Three of the students who participated in the camp are attendees of Wa School for the Deaf, so all of the girls learned some sign language, statistics on disability in Ghana, and the prominence of discrimination against that specific population.
During the workshops, the girls learned how to do different activities including sewing drawstring bags, making a hammock out of plastic water sachets, tie-dying tee-shirts, using fabric scraps to make coil pots, and learning how to turn on a computer and type a document. In the evenings, we held fun events, including astronomy night, movie night, and a talent show. Unfortunately, to everyone’s dismay (especially my own), dance night was rained out by a very unseasonable storm.
It was hard work but an undeniable success. Girls from different villages were interacting and became friends over the course of the week. They acquired so much information and learned so many new skills that they can bring back to there hometowns. These are all of the participants who took part in the program saying thank you!
P.s. I am also more than half way through with my service…check out my pizza pie!