Sunday, July 29, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls

This has been a week devoted to beautiful young girls, ages 10-14. Two separate events kept me really busy and definitely pulled me out of my comfort zone.

GLOW - Girls Leading Our World - clubs are all over world! They are clubs, usually started by Peace Corps volunteers in cooperation with one or more local adults, for girls. The goal of the clubs is to promote self-esteem and confidence, provide opportunities for girls to see and do new things, teach life skills (decision making, relationship, communication, conflict resolution, that sort of thing), and have FUN. We have several GLOW clubs in Belize, about seven, I think.

The PCVs in Belize have held a summer camp for the clubs for the last five years. This year's camp was the best ever! I didn't participate last year; we were just new in our sites and I wanted to focus on my assignment. This year, I worked for two days (out of four and a half), and I was TI-YERED. 

Here's how it works. Girls who want to come to camp fill out an application. They have to explain why they want to come, and provide other personal information. The clubs have to raise $100BZ for every girl they send. In one club, the leaders required that the individual girl provide $20BZ herself. In addition to that small amount, Belizeans and PCVs do a LOT of other fundraising. I think I wrote about working at the 10K race earlier this year. That was an event to raise money for camp. They approach big companies and ask for donations. I believe our budget this year was over $5000. So you can see the amount sent by each club is just so they have ownership in the process, and don't take it for granted.

Activities - games, Girl Power, Respect (that one was me), cooking, LOTS of crafts, swimming, volleyball and football (soccer), yoga and Zumba (they loved it), trip to the Chaa Creek Butterfly Farm and Natural History Museum, campfire singing and marshmallow roasting, talent show - and MORE! Although we had a couple of girls who were a little weepy and homesick, by the last day, NObody wanted to go home.

It was very well organized. We were supposed to have 25 girls, but we ended up with 17 - at least that many counselors and presenters! My duties were presenter, Zumba leader, kitchen slave. All the counselors shared one cabin - 11 of us. We all had a bed, but some had to share.

Dork that I am, I took the camera with NO chip, so I got only 10 pictures before the internal storage was full. Luckily, one of the counselors made an amazing movie that captured the fun and mood of the week.

These pictures are all screen captures from the movie.

Zumba at 7:00 a.m.

More Zumba (of COURSE I include more of these pictures!)

You may recognize Ava, from Dangriga. The woman holding the
placard is Barbara, who lives in Orange Walk Town.

Campfire songs - and dance!


The other GLOW related activity that kept me going full bore was with our girls club. 

Guess what? We have a name! We decided not to use the all caps GLOW.

Garifuna Glow Girls

As I wrote in an earlier entry, Peace Corps is having a national art contest for primary school students. The theme is Promoting Peace and Friendship. Children are encouraged to use natural or recycled materials. 

We finished our art project with the shakas (maracas). We had to meet one extra time to beat the deadline, but it was worth it. The result is wonderful, and the girls worked hard, had fun, and showed a lot of pride in their work. I tried like the dickens to get someone from Peace Corps office to pick up our project to take it to Belmopan. However, because it was the same week as GLOW Camp, in addition to everybody's other job, there just was no way to get it there via somebody else. 

SO . . . Steve and I took a day to ride up on the bus and deliver the "treasure." I made a descriptive paper to accompany the entry. I include it here to help everybody understand what we did.

And our final product!

If you click on this picture, you can zoom in to see that we wrote
the names of the girls on the middle finger of her handprint.
Steve and I had to bring it up in two big bags - the shakas
themselves in one bag, and the tray and holder in another.
Then I assembled it at the office.

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