A couple of weeks ago a new volunteer arrived from Canada. She works with Sexual Education in Canada and has decided to bring all her knowledge and a ton of free condoms here to Santa Marta! We couldn’t be more pleased! Teen pregnancy is a major problem here. We have girls drop out of school at 13 and 14 to have babies. Norah’s approach considers more than one root cause, so the talks we do in the barrios cover not only contraceptives, but also confidence in young adults, techniques for saying no, how parents can talk to their children about sex and much more. Nora doesn’t speak Spanish, so before the talks all the volunteers get together and translate the material and talk about what is more appropriate here. Obviously more than just the language needs changing when you move a Sex Ed class from Canada to Colombia. 90% of Colombians are catholic and many of the topics we bring up for discussion have been taboo in these barrios. Older women and men, coming to these talks despite how uncomfortable it makes them, is a real testament to how important they feel sexual education has become. The idea is to have an open dialogue about sex between different members of the community, representing different generations, and supplying them with the knowledge they never received. The dialogue helps us find out where things go wrong. Is it difficult to get hold of the condoms or difficult to use them correctly? Is it a choice not to use them, and if so, why? We have had some really interesting discoveries on our way and we are really impressed that we have been met with such openness. Reducing teen pregnancy and the occurrence of STIs would be a huge contribution to these two barrios, so naturally we hope to continue the work after Norah returns to Canada
Monthly Archives: November 2012
I’ve been teaching adults for a couple of weeks now and I have to say it’s pretty hard work! Not only do they all have different levels of English, they also have completely different backgrounds in terms of schooling. I spend ages preparing my classes and half the time we wind up covering completely different topics. I definitely have a new found respect for language teachers! Some of the topics can get really frustrating for them and me, but they’re very keen and motivated and they never give up. I also think it helps that we always have a good time together! I mean the Norwegian girl trying to explain English grammar in Spanish is pretty hilarious! My youngest student is 15 and my oldest is probably around 45. The younger ones still attend school some days a week and they pick up the grammar really quickly while the older ones don’t seem to completely understand the Spanish grammar. Luckily the younger ones love helping out and we seem to be getting there as a team! I am also getting some help form Rachel, a FMA volunteer with 10 years of teaching experience! I’m really excited to see how much I’ll be able to teach them before I leave, but also how much Spanish I will learn in the process!! Here’s a picture of three of my students; Amparo, Luis and Jesus. (The snake is Riccardo, Amparo’s son)
On Friday we took some of the kids from Fundadores on a small outing to the University of Magdalena. The kids are always excited when they get to leave the barrio for a while, so they would have been happy with just the taxi drive over. But what awaited them at the university was so much better! There was a mini candy land set up at campus, and they were the guests of honour!
The students from one of the marketing classes have been given the assignment to do a project for an NGO and one of the groups chose to do a campaign for the FMA shampoo. The foundation has been given the necessary help to produce this all natural shampoo for a low production cost and we get to keep the profits, but in order to make profits we need to actually sell some shampoo. Obviously it’s difficult for an NGO to seriously promote anything when funds are so low, so having the assistance of the marketing students was much appreciated!!
On Friday all of the teams set up different stands at campus to present their project and to promote the charity they worked for. FMA was invited to visit the stands and knowing the kids don’t often get experiences like these; the marketing students went all out! There were tons of candy and balloons, the kids got presents and they even set up a mini bouncy castle in their auditorium! Obviously by the end of the day the kids were completely hyped up on sugar, and we were all pretty tired by the time we got back to the barrio, but I’m so glad we did it! Even at their craziest; they’re such lovable little monsters 🙂 Click here for more photos from our little adventure!