Two really exciting, wonderful and educative, but also quite exhausting weeks lie behind us by now. We are through with our first two sexual education-seminars. The first seminar, being held in Tuba, with and for our cooperation NGO Nima e.V., was already quite different due to the purpose we went there. Not to educate our own volunteers who’d be working for us, but to educate multipliers, such as teachers and social workers, who will now be contact persons on the subject of sexuality and especially sexual education in that community. At first nothing went quite as we planned it to be – there were far more people than we had expected, some of those we had expected were missing and close to nobody was on time. Nevertheless we had a really nice first day with lots of fun and got a first overview of what to expect within the following week. From the second day on, we had rearranged our time-schedule, compromised the content of the seminar according to that schedule and the group of participants had decreased to a steady number of four: Ayuba, whom we already introduced earlier on, Hickma, one of the social workers of Nima e.V. and “mother” of the attached Orphanage, Raf, one of the teachers of Günther Frey International School and Bridget, a 17-year old girl who said she participated in order to educate her friends, family and peers on the subject of sexual education, so they wouldn’t make the same “mistakes” she did. The seminar in Tuba was a very personal one, there was a lot of knowledge exchange, we shared experiences and ideas and discussed a lot. Controversial topics were for example prostitution, abortion, masturbation and especially homosexuality. But even though we had quite opposing opinions sometimes, we never really fought, nor had it an impact on the overall friendly atmosphere and most importantly we could agree on the right of individual choice. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I was most impressed of how openly and easily the four of them spoke about sexuality and all the topics related to it, even though all of them said they had never done so before. Already during the seminar we discussed about how things would go on in Tuba. As of now the plan is to approach the elders and parents of Tuba first, before it comes to teaching the children in school. Ayuba, who is going to be responsible for the actions in Tuba, said he, together with his colleagues, will organize the next necessary steps and then get back to us for further planning. We have already scheduled a meeting for next week.
The second seminar, which ended only this Saturday, was different all together. Maybe it was because we were better prepared and less nervous, maybe we had more time, maybe just because it was a different setting and different people, but really the atmosphere was a different one. Friendly and very personal as well, but to me it seemed a little more professional – at least at times. Throughout the week we worked with a team of five, unfortunately with only one woman, as the other ladies who wanted to participate just didn’t show up:
Evelyn, a business administration-graduate and one of our closest friends, Bruce and Camara, both of whom are teachers at the Günther Frey Int. School in Tuba and whom Muda released from their duties for a period of six months in order to work with us, Nicholas, who actually is an electric engineer and also stays with us and Cliff, who already helped us with organisational stuff before the seminars even started. Within the six days we talked about and worked on the topics of anatomy, pregnancy and birth, puberty as well as safer sex and family planning. We focused on sexual rights and how to interact with the children, especially on how to create an atmosphere in which the children feel comfortable to ask whatever question might arise. Our team created teaching-concepts and working materials for the classes 5 and 6 as well as for classes 7-9. The test-teaching on the last day of the seminar went quite well, but of course there still is some room for improvement. But then on the other hand, where isn’t?! So we’ll be working on the last problems until next week and the rest will surely come with time. Practice makes perfect.
What I was really surprised with, especially after the seminar in Tuba, was that our opinions on sensitive topics, such as homosexuality, hardly differed. On the other hand we had quite controversial discussions on the topic of abortion and especially one about the role of woman (in a relationship), where we really didn’t get to one point. Still, I was impressed of how generally smooth all discussions went, of how similar our opinions and ideas on and of the different topics were, of how easily, openly and honestly everybody talked about all of those topics, even in spite of some religious and/or cultural differences. All in all I would say, that we have a wonderful team now and great time ahead of us.