Posted by: devonhamilton | October 27, 2010

HIV/AIDS Awareness

On Monday Lisa and I led a workshop for the first year students on MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (maternal health), 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases), and 7 (promote environmental sustainability). We ran a few short activities and games to promote each activity. Unfortunately, this meant that we didn’t get a lot of time to spend on each goal, as each workshop is only an hour and a half.

For MDG 6 we did a high risk/medium risk/low risk activity. To begin, you write those three categories on the board. Then you hand out pieces of paper with various activities on them (ie. Sex with a condom, mosquitoes, hugging, sharing a toothbrush) and students place each activity in the category they believe it corresponds with. We learned a few things for this activity, including the fact that the students didn’t know what the word “risk” meant – which we of course found out at the conclusion of this exercise. For the most part this activity went well but we found that the students hold a strong belief that HIV can be spread through saliva, and that activities such as sharing cellphones or sharing cups are high-risk activities. We spent some time explaining the ways HIV is transmitted and emphasized that it cannot be spread through kissing, sharing cutlery, or mosquito bites. However, our post-test from the end of the lecture shows that the students didn’t absorb this as the majority of them continued to classify sharing plates as a high-risk activity for HIV transmission. Regrettably this was our last workshop with the first years so we won’t be able to get into more detail with this; however, another YCI group will be working in Takoradi in January so perhaps HIV is something they will be able to focus on.

Yesterday afternoon I taught English to the third year class with Kelly and Steph and we distributed a reading comprehension exercise that focused on HIV/AIDS to tie into their next MDG workshop. This class was very informed on the ways HIV can be transmitted, and said that they have had workshops focusing on HIV/AIDS in the past. A previous YCI group that was in Koforidua in January created an HIV/AIDS teaching manual which we have found very helpful!

My love for the animals here is a bit of an ongoing joke between the five of us – everyone else is obsessed with the cute kids and I’m running over to look at the goats (who are also cute kids!). There are always dogs and chickens running around the school and yesterday when we were teaching English a couple of chicks came into the room and started running around, which I of course loved. However, I guess this is more of a nuisance than anything to the students who are completely accustomed to this, and one of them started CANING the chick! I let out a yelp when the chick got caned because it squawked and feathers flew everywhere. Kelly said that the student turned to her and said “This doesn’t concern you” which we found fairly amusing. The bottom line is that they managed to get the chick out of the classroom… and it didn’t return.

This weekend is our last weekend in Takoradi and our plans are still up in the air, although we have just been informed that we are invited to a Ghanaian wedding on Saturday! Our custom-made clothes by our tailor should be ready on Friday so hopefully we can wear them. We also have plans to go out dancing on Saturday – which reminds me that I should write an entire blog post on dancing in the near future.

In other news it is getting hotter here and I would even say that yesterday’s heat bordered on unbearable. Even the Ghanaians were commenting on how hot it was! Apparently Christmas is one of the hottest times of the year here. Unfortunately for us, once we move to Koforidua we will be without the benefit of an ocean breeze!

PS: I have been asked a few times what my “new” address will be when we move to Koforidua, so I would like to say once and for all that my address will be the same. The YCI address is a post office box at the airport in Accra and that is the only place mail can be sent to, no matter where I am! I haven’t received any mail yet but am looking forward to the prospect!

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