Last weekend, six Peace Corps volunteers gathered in Njombe and held a boy’s conference. Each volunteer brought 6 boys from their village school, grades ranging from 5th grade to 8th grade. In addition, we all brought one Tanzanian adult to help us with the conference. The conference’s main focus is teaching life skills especially about HIV and AIDS. The idea is for the 6 students from each school to learn as much as they can about these topics and go back to their schools and present it to their peers in a peer educator fashion. The money comes from a grant to help educate Tanzanians about HIV/AIDS. Jon and I brought 6 students of ours who we thought would be great leaders, peer educators at our school, and in addition, we brought some boys who we see have potential but could use a conference such as this to boost their self confidence. We brought a new teacher from our school named Mdotta to the conference. He was amazing. He is a rare Tanzanian who has a lot of training in working with youth in regards to HIV/AIDS. He was seriously so amazing. The life skills topics that we covered included decision making skills and gender roles. We had 4 children living with HIV come talk to our students about what it’s like for them. A doctor and a nurse who work specifically with HIV/AIDS patients came to talk to them as well. Some fun activities included dance parties, games night, and movie night. Our boys were by far the strongest boys at the conference in terms of their leadership and engagement. I felt like a really proud mom and I really enjoyed the whole weekend. It was a great way to end my last couple of months here. Our boys are yet to do their peer education at school, but they are excited to do it.
Jon and I, our 6 students, and Mr. Mdotta
Getting the boys to dance!
John, Fanleck, Fredy, and George
Teaching the boys about gender roles and they had to bake a cake to give them experience of a “woman’s job”
The boys learned about leadership by creating a “pole” that can hold an egg. The idea was to get the boys to realize that leaders need to listen to each other, delegate work, and cooperate.
The students working on their short term and long term goals after a goal setting session with the message of setting goals will help them choose to avoid risky behavior.
Group shot of all the participants
There is a program called Zinduka which ties HIV/AIDS education with soccer. One morning consisted of Zinduka activities. This activity is a metaphor where the students dribble a soccer ball through the risk field of HIV and AIDS.
We took the boys out for ice cream. 4 of them liked it, 2 didn’t! They didn’t know what it is really and they tried to put it into their pocket to eat later!