Friday, July 9, 2010

School Daze

With all of the new volunteers joining HEPENS, we were able to hit lots of schools this week. Monday we did the budget and educational planning, and Tuesday we went to get all of the supplies. Lucas said he couldn't believe how mean I was when I was arguing for a price for the hand-washing buckets...haha. But they were raising the price by 50%...there was no way I was wasting our budget money! Wednesday the undergraduate Mizzou students joined us at the schools. It's been really nice to have so many people to work with, because we can split up the classes now. We've been to two schools every day, and we have two schools planned for each day next week. Nicholas, the NGO, even has them written in his planner...I'm so proud! Maybe some of my organization has rubbed off on him. Lucas has also convinced him to call the schools to let them know what time we'll be there, so there is definite progress! The kids are still amazing. I really love being at the schools. I am getting better at Ghanaian-style teaching and have a better idea now of what most of their educational backgrounds are. I've realized that although most of them have heard of HIV and can tell you what it stands for, they don't actually understand the disease. I start out my talks by explaining what the immune system is and what immunodeficiency means. I also spend some time talking about the difference between a virus and a bacterium, because most of the students don't understand why you can't treat HIV with antibiotics. Since we also talk about H1N1 (there have been a lot of outbreaks in Cape Coast schools lately), I usually compare H1N1 with HIV when I'm talking about transmission. They all have really wonderful questions...sometimes it's funny what they come up with. This morning a kid asked me "if someone infected with HIV cuts his hand and gets blood in water, and then I drink it, could I get HIV?" It's nice to know that they are really paying attention and that they are learning something! They even get exciting about hand-washing. Before I left the second school today, I saw some of the kids lining up to wash their hands at the buckets before lunch, so hopefully they will keep using them! The other volunteers were all really exhausted this afternoon, so I think next week will be long (this week we went to schools half of the time, so next week will be their first full week). I told Fiona and Lucas that, even though I'm sad to leave, I'm getting worn out too! I don't know that going home to move will be relaxing, but at least I'll be able to sleep past 5 :).

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