Saturday, April 21, 2007

What a day!

today we woke up and went on a safari! it was so amazing, we saw so many animals. we first were amazed with the monkeys, even though they are running around our camp and see them just as often as squirrels! but then i saw a crocodile, and then i saw a huge lizard, then i saw some African deer, then a rhino! there are two rhinos in the park, and they are the only rhinos in all of Zambia! they are free to walk around, but are guarded by two guards with guns. it is a male and a female, and last year they had a baby but it died of drought. i got to stand so close to the rhinos is was amazing. the next thing we saw was a trunk of an elephant reaching up for a tree. we stopped the car and started taking pictures all disappointed that all we could see was the trunk from behind the trees. but then one more elephant came, then another, then another! soon there was about 15 elephants, and we even got to see a two day old elephant!!!! they were so cute, and i got great pictures, they crossed right over the road, we actually had to drive up so that they wouldn't walk right on top of us! the next thing we searched for was a giraffe! it took like an hour to find one, and finally we gave up! and on the way out of the park mom spotted one and then we saw another and another. we saw three giraffes, however they were much much much further away then the rhinos and elephants! we also was a warthog, a few hippos, and lots of birds. i had so much fun there!
then we went to Victoria falls! it was amazing! you could get so close to them and we had to wear our bathing suits because you got so wet from the mist! like you couldn't even open your eyes sometimes because you were getting so wet! it was like if you had a really high pressure shower shooting you with water from all angles! it was so amazing, i now know why it is one of the 7 wonders of the world!
we also watched the bungee jumpers jump off the bridge, they tried to convince me to do it, but once i saw someone i got to scared! maybe if i had a friend to do it with i would come back to Victoria falls and do it.
then we went on a boat along the river to see the sun set. it was really pretty, and i had a lot of fun. i met a girl who goes to the university of Zambia, which happens to be like 10 minutes from Linda's house. so maybe i could do a year abroad there and student teach at the chikumbuso school. that is something that i really want to look into!!!!
i had tons of fun today and I'm sad that we are leaving tomorrow!!!!

the trip to livingston

today we woke up around 5:45 to get ready to leave. we knew that we wanted to stop and see one of the villages that world vision helps out, so we had to have an early start.
i cant explain what the village was like when we got there! they lived in huts, with straw for the roof, and mud for the walls. these people had even less than the people in Lusaka! they had nothing in their houses, and they only had a small population. we met this woman named Beatrice, who has AIDS, and was shunned from her community. she was so sad looking, she was week and even though she was on ARV's she looked like she was dieing of depression. he said all she does is sleep, and sometimes she gets sick to her stomach because of how she is treated. i cant express it on the computer, and i don't have alot of time so i cant express the severity of this story to you ! but her husband died, she has three children and one of them also has AIDS. her house is next to her parents, and they have also shunned her from the community, they encourage her not to take her medicine because they say it would be better if she was dead. everyone in the community doesn't like her because she has AIDS (even though there are people in almost every hut around her who also has AIDS) and they treat her children the same way. it was so sad because she was crying as she was telling us the story, and her daughter was next to her also crying. i felt so bad because i didn't know what else we could do for her except encourage her to keep going. she really wanted to move away, but i don't think that would help. she kept saying that her brother wants to beat her, and that he and everyone else say that she deserved it because in order to get this it must mean that she was sleeping around. what was so sad was that so many people are so uneducated here about aids, and that is why it is so stigmatized. which is exactly what i have been researching for my wise project.
however after that heart wrenching experience, we arrived at Livingston, and were able to catch a glimpse of the falls. it is beautifully! we are sleeping in tents, which have beds inside of them. it is nice, and the view from the "hotel" is beautiful!

the nets!

sorry it took so long for me to write about what hapened on this day! it was jacobs birthday and when i tried the internet when we got home it didnt work right. then we left for Livingston, and i am have to write about the past three days in an internet cafe! so i am trying to rush so i will not have a huge bill!
when we delivered the mosquito nets, it was very overwellming! we had to walk throughout the compund and we could only give the nets to people we knew needed it the MOST! we ended up having a parade of people folowing us begging for the nets. they were all mad that we couldnt give them the nets even though they also really needed them.we ended up handing out about 38 nets to families all throughout the compound. we met alot of people and really got introduced to the poverty in Zambia. however i was fairly supprized at how kind most of the people were,they all were so gratefull that we were giving them these nets. -by the way beatrice had to chose who got them, and she chose by how many people were living in the house, and how many of the children were of a young age. because when you are really young you havent built up an "immunity" to milaria. so it is really important for those people to be protected!
even though today was really stressfull, and it took alot out of me, there was one thing that really made my day. when we first arived at the chikumbuso school, sophila came up to us with a woman at her side. one of the widows explained to us that this woman was sophilas mother, and that she had been waiting for us to arive so that she could thank us for the matrice. it was so so nice that she gave up work to come and thank us, im not sure that this would happen at home! that morning we had gone shopping, and we had bought sophila a backpack with crayons, a coloring book, a drawing pad, soap, a tooth brush, and toothpaste, she was so excited. sophilas mother asked us if we could send them a picture of us so that she could hang it in her house. it was such a nice suprize to see the apriciation, and to know that we really helped.
the rest of the day was really nice because we got to just hang out with the widows, and talk to them! we have always been on the go, and never really had a chance to just relax and talk. so that was really nice!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

a crazy day!

today so many things happened, it was like a week full of memories shoved into one day!!! we went there and brought all of our gifts with us. we pulled everything into the widows room to sort it out. Yesterday six boxes arrived and we opened them today. they were filled with chikumbuso school shirts with the butterfly in the middle as their logo, and two huge boxes were full of balls, jump ropes, Frisbees, wiffle balls and bats, soccer balls, foam balls, foot balls, yo yos and so much more. the toys were overwhelming.
first we handed out the "school uniforms," it was meant only to go to a small group, but like everything at chikumbuso it got crazy before you knew it! the first kids to get the shirts were going to go and surprise their teacher with the new shirts, but their teacher saw them and brought her class and the others to all get their shirts. As all the students were in the room putting on their t-shirts, we opened the box of playground equipment. so we then handed that out. Linda was explaining to them where the toys came from, and the rules.
all the kids ran outside and started playing with the toys. it was so funny because they might have been playing with a soccer ball, but they had a jump rope in their arm. they all were carrying around toys that they didn't know how to use. so i ended up running around trying to teach them how to play one game, then running to another kid and teaching them their game. it was so funny when i saw a kid trying to kick a foot ball, and it was flopping around on the ground because of its odd shape. so i picked it up and ran really far away and threw it at him. he stood there in shock, like how did you do that, then i tried showing him. and explained that i America it is the really strong men who play this game, and that they wear huge pads and beat each other up. i told him to play with a friend. then i showed it again to another boy, and had him throw it to his friend, and it was so funny because the little boy ducked when it came at him. he was so scared! i also taught them how to use the big jump ropes, that you need a partner to swing and a friend to jump. i cant explain how crazy it was, there were kids jumping rope every step you took. they were waking each other in the faces with them because there just wasn't enough room for them to all jump rope! sophila was carrying around a HUGE football, i mean it was the size of her torso, but she just held it under her arm like she never wanted to lose it. all the kids were so cute. i even played hand clap games with the kids, it started with two of us and turned into a big circle of about 20. we were playing a game like "down by the banks" only we passed on two rocks, and the two people who ended up with it had to stand in the middle while they sang a rime, and they were doing these motions and whenever they stoped they either had to kiss or hug. it was so cute!
after we finished playing, all the kids ate and then went back to their classrooms. then Linda and i brought chocolate to each classroom and took pictures of the kids enjoying it. it was so cute because some of the kids ate m and m's and they would eat like two and then they would want to save the rest. one boy hid them in his pocket and i had to explain to him that they would melt and then he wouldn't have any to eat! they were so cute, they loved the chocolate!!!!
after i went to each classroom, we took the littlest kids and gave out the elementary school sweatshirts. they looked so cute in the sweetie's, they all put their hoods up, and looked way to warm for Africa. i was standing there in my tank and they had pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt that was zipped up to the top! but none of them said anything about being hot!
then we handed out the rest of the clothes that we brought, and the pencils from the high school.
then the best part came! we got to hand out matrices to our sponsored children. we went to mrs. stienagels boys house first, it was so far away, and the roads were bad. his house was so small but very organized. i could tell just like Linda had previously told us, that in the houses there was a sense of their past life. they had a bunch of pots and pans, and plates on one side of her wall but you could tell they they didn't get used. the next house that we went to was Mary's, it was very close to chikumbuso so we walked. however her house was not good at all! it was really small, i mean small, and there was practically nothing inside. there was a "couch" but the cushions were just foam, and there was no backing to them. and there was a table, but that was it. we couldn't find her mother, so we were standing there for a long time! it felt like we were in a christian children's fund commercial, there were kids all around us, baby's up to 10 year olds, and they were all by themselves. they were scraping nishma out of a pot! it was so sad, but when her mother arrived, she was really old. and we found out that the Marys mother is the mother of mrs. steinagels sponsored child. so even though Mary was like 8 she was the aunt of agripa, who was 15! then we brought a bed to Christine, she had the nicest house, it was very small but neat and very well taken care of. both her parents are dead so she lives with her aunt, and when we arrived at her house all the neighborhood kids were cheering because she was getting a bed. it was so cute. then we got to deliver a bed to sophila!!! we met her two sisters and two brothers, but her mom was at work.her mom does piece work where you get paid daily for your work, so she does odd jobs and every day it could be a different job. Linda said that she goes to work at like 4 in the morning and doesn't get back until really late. the oldest brother is 15 and he was in a suit. as we arrived the kids were on their way to go to Church, it was strange because they were going on their own, their mother wasn't there. one sad thing about sophilas family is that one of her sisters is slow, and she was pregnant which means that she probably got raped. it also means that soon their mother will have to take care of another person! but the mother will be coming home to a great surprise tonight when she sees that there is a bed to sleep on!
the widows group met today so i got to meet a lot of them, and the girls group met today so i got to see that as well. the grassroots soccer group sends these two girls to work with the girls group every Wednesday. they teach the girls about HIV/AIDS, and how to prevent it. the girls were putting on plays to practice reacting in bad situations.
so much happened today and I'm probably forgetting something, but it was so much fun and today was so touching!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

chikumbuso feild day

today we went to the school at 8:30 to start a feild day that they planed for the kids. they invited three other schools, and 20 little kids, and 20 big kids from each school was allowed to attend. most of the teachers said that they chose students who were doing good in school, and working hard. it was really fun we had a bunch of different stations. there was a bobbing for apples, a wheel borrow race, a dress up race, a game where you had to weave the soccer balls through cones, and a game that you had to transfer all the water from one bucket to the other. i was in charge of the dress up game, so it was so fun to watch how the students are just as competitive here as they are at home. they played all the same tricks, like only putting one shoe on, or throughing the shirt over their sholder instead of putting it on, and almost all of them only put one leg in the pants. it was so funny watching them play the games. although i got really sunburt! the other day when we went to the market a got a sunburn in the worst shape, i was wearing a sweater so i have a burnt vase shape on my chest, a farmers tan on top of that from today, and my back is so sunburnt. i am going to have a great tan for prom!!!!
we had to eat nishma again today, although i only took a little bit! i was even more turned away when i was the women cooking and i saw the bowl of chiken feet that i think they might have even cooked! but im not sure if i really want to know!
Linda also had an african accapella group come and sing in the afternoon, it was so great, everyone was singing and dancing.
the best part about the whole day was that today sophila really opened up to me! every other time she was really shy, and the past couple of days she would give me a smile when i walked past her. but today she stayed with me the whole day, she was sitting on my lap, dancing with me, and anytime she left for a second she would always come right back. she is so cute, i really want to take her home! me and my mom are going to sponsor her so tomarrow we are going to buy a matrice and bring it to her house. tomaroww we will bring all the suplies to the students, and i am going to take pictures of the kids eating CHOCOLATE!!! i cant wait, tomarrow will be so fun. on thursday we will get to see alot of the students homes because we will be dilivering masquito netts to the students. World vision donated them or something, and we need to hand deliver them, and watch them be hung up to make sure that they are being put in good use. today bruce delivered a bunch of the regect superbowl teashirts, ( or the ones that were made for the losing team) to a bunch of neady people.
on friday we will be going to victoria falls, it is a really long drive, so we will be spending two nights there, we are going to go on a sufari to see the animals, a boat trip along the falls, and go shopping. i cant wait it will be really relaxing since we have and will be on the go all the time.
everyone wants me to put pictures on my blog, but lindas internet works when it wants to, so i have tried everyday but i doesnt always work. but i promise i am taking alot of pictures, and we are videotaping alot, so when we get back we can have alot of parties so everyone will know what we experienced here. i promise you that is all you are going to hear about for atleast 4 months!!!

i am writing this just so that i dont forget!!!! yesterday at dinner i age crocodile, and i want to remember about the orphans belly buttons. i noticed that some of them are really big, like a bulging area around their stomachs, linda sais that she thinks it is a hernia that the africans are prone to. we were wondering if it was because their umbilical cords were not cut well, or kept clean? i just wanted to take this "note" if you will! sorry
i will try to put pictures on, but like i said i cant promise anything!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Work, Work, Work!!!

today we went to the school, and worked. my mom and i spent today painting the outside of the school. right now i am covered in paint, but i had an awsome time. while we were painting linda coats was playing with the kids outside, and when i was watching them i was suprized to see that they were playing red rover! it was so weird to see the students in africa playing a game that i played when i was in elementary school.
i also got to help put together a library system in the school, whe put cards, due dates, and chikumbuso school stamps in each book. what was really great was that i got to talk to a bunch of girls from the school. i asked them about dancing, what they like to do, and a bunch of different things. it was cute because on of the girls was like, do you know ..... she just went to america? just like america was so small that i should know everyone. i think because linda knows almost everyone that comes to visit from america, they think that it is a small place or something. it was cute.
i got alot of information about african dancing from gertrude and maurene. they sat down and explained to me what the dances meant, and the history behind alot of the dancing. maurene explained to me that how well a girl could dance would determin if she would be a good wife, and men would look at these girls dancing at their "comming out" and if they liked what they saw they would just pick the girl up and bring her home to marry. i learned so much about the culture behind dancing, and i think this will help alot with my multicultural project.

Work, Work, Work!!!

today we went to the school, and worked. my mom and i spent today painting the outside of the school. right now i am covered in paint, but i had an awsome time. while we were painting linda coats was playing with the kids outside, and when i was watching them i was suprized to see that they were playing red rover! it was so weird to see the students in africa playing a game that i played when i was in elementary school.
i also got to help put together a library system in the school, whe put cards, due dates, and chikumbuso school stamps in each book. what was really great was that i got to talk to a bunch of girls from the school. i asked them about dancing, what they like to do, and a bunch of different things. it was cute because on of the girls was like, do you know ..... she just went to america? just like america was so small that i should know everyone. i think because linda knows almost everyone that comes to visit from america, they think that it is a small place or something. it was cute.
i got alot of information about african dancing from gertrude and maurene. they sat down and explained to me what the dances meant, and the history behind alot of the dancing. maurene explained to me that how well a girl could dance would determin if she would be a good wife, and men would look at these girls dancing at their "comming out" and if they liked what they saw they would just pick the girl up and bring her home to marry. i learned so much about the culture behind dancing, and i think this will help alot with my multicultural project.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oprahs braclets!!!

anyone who has acess to an oprah magazine should buy it, they May issue is featuring the o braclet, which the chikumbuso widows actually made. when you open up to the page there will be a picture of three braclets, on one on the bottom, that is greenish, and the most expensive, was made by about 30 of the widows and single mothers of chikumbuso. saddly it doesnt mention the chikumbuso name, which we are very upset about, but i promise you that the women made them. they go on sale tomarrow, and there is only one thousand of them so if you are interested go to the macys site soon, im sure they will sell out!

the women told us all about the braclets, the beads that were brought in were very expensive so if the braclet didnt come out good, they had to tear it appart and take all the beads out. each day the wonam in charge would inspect all the braclets that the widdows made, and if they had made 20 that day, about three would be good enough to be sold. all the rest the widdows would have to take apart and remake. even though that sounds horible to us, the women were happy to do it, this meant that they were making money!

linda coats and jeane stienagel brought two issues of the magazines to the chikumbuso school yesterday so that the women could see them. we have pictures of the women so proud of the braclets that they made being shown in Oprahs magazene. -a side note, my mom says this is the perfect oportunity for us all to e-mail oprah about chikumbuso,mentioning the braclets! try anything to get her attention!-
i love you all! im gonna try to figure out how to attach pictures.

Friday, April 13, 2007

the stigma

so since I'm here also to work on my senior project, i am going to talk to you a little about the stigma i have found here in Zambia. a few weeks ago the widows were questioning Linda about when they would be able to get matrices. so about two weeks ago Linda ordered a bunch of them, and when they arrived the widows went crazy. They were so excited to see that they finally were going to be able to sleep on a soft surface! until they noticed a sign on the matrices that said you can get a matriss once you get a VTC( or a AIDS test)!
the widows were so mad at Linda! they were saying that she lied to them and was forcing them to get tested. even Beauty, who is key in the chikumbuso project was furious with Linda, they all felt that they shouldn't have to get tested, they didn't want to know! So Linda said, i have alot of grandmothers that would love to have these matrices, i guess i can give them all the the grandmothers. Linda was so upset, here she had been with most of these women for close to two years, they knew about AIDS, and yet almost all of them refuse to get tested themselves. they were talking to others who have aids, helping them get treated. they have all seen family members die of AIDS. the saddest thing is that Linda told us that many of the widows husbands died about two years ago, which means if they have not gotten sick from AIDS already, they will probably get the effects in the next year or two, and by then it might be too late!
a few days later the widows and Linda had a big chat. a woman named maketay stood up for Linda and told the women that we have no right to be mad at Linda. She loves us and this is the only reason that she is trying to get us to get the VTC! we shouldn't even be having this discussion about the matrices, these are a gift for doing something good for ourselves, Linda has helped us so much already, and that we should be helping ourselves by getting this test.
Many of the women apologized to linda for getting so mad, and i think that she said about 15 of the widows have not gotten the test. it is sad though because alot of them are coming out positive. but the good thing is that now that they have the medical proof that they have aids, they can get the treatment for it, which will help them to stay healthy.
we were talking to the widows and we asked them how they like their matrices. Maureen said it was wonderful, but she didn't get much sleep because she had seven kids who wanted to test out the new bead with her. but she said that one of these nights i will make sure i get to sleep in my bead all by myself. another woman said she got a whole nine hours of sleep on her new bed which was amazing. I'm glad that these women were able to work past the stigma and get tested. i hope it will make a huge difference in their lives, even if it will be hard for them.

i also noticed a billboard that had a young girl on it, and it said having sex with me will not cure AIDS! that was showing me that the government is try to get past the Africa myths.

the party at Chikumbuso

Today was the party at the chikumbuso school. it was so amazing they had a sign when we came in welcoming us to the school. all the children were there, and most of them were wearing their pawcatuck T-shirts, or if not, alot of the girls had dresses on. it was really cute. Linda coats and mrs. steinagel arived this morning. Linda dropped us off at the school and then picked them up from the airport, to then bring them back to the party. Tomorrow Sarah, a girl from Ohio who has been volunteering at the school for six months is leaving, so they did a lot at the party to say thanks, and give their goodbyes to her. is was so sweet, the widows sang, multiple classes sang to her, and it was so sweet. i started to cry when a class of about 10 kids were singing a song to say good bye, and one girl started crying, and couldn't finish singing. it just really touched me to see how much Sarah affected these orphans lives, and how it was hard to let her go when she helped change their lives.
when Linda came back with Jeane and Linda, i was playing outside with the children, i was helping to re size the students bracelets that they received from voluntown. it was so cute how i got bombarded by all the students because they just wanted their friendship bracelet to fit, alot of them were too big, so i had to make them smaller to accommodate for the children. when they showed up we were placed in these chairs outside the school like royalty. all the students were sitting all around us, but there was an area for the performances to take place like a stage right in front of us. first Linda introduced us all and had us each stand up so that everyone would show their appreciation. then the show started( by the way we have most of it on camera so when i get back i will try to make it so that everyone can see their dancing and songs) the children sang the welcome song, then the widows danced and sang multiple songs, then the theater group put on a performance, then there were dancers and the boys played the drums, then 4 boys and 4 girls did a little "dance off", where they each danced and then chose their "wife" or the one they liked the best. it was so special to see what they all put together for us.
THEN WE TRIED THE FOOD!!!! I'm not gonna lie i was really scared! the nishma is not at all like i expected it. they put a huge "slice/glob" of it on your plate and then here were a bunch of other cooked vegetables and sauces to go with it. when i got to the end of the line i was confused that i hadn't found any thing to eat with! a asked Maureen one of the widows, what do we eat with? she said we eat with our hands! they showed us that you roll the nishma in your hand to make a ball, and then dip it or stick it to the other food on your plate. it was different, not my favorite, but good for the circumstances.
we then just bonded with the widows and orphans. we brought along Katherine( who is the little girl i met at lindas daycare yesterday, who got attached to me, she is Linda's workers daughter!) and she was with us all day, she is so cute! We bought some toy cars that one of the orphans made out of wire to bring back home, they were really cool, he cut flip flops to use as tires, and they attach a long piece of wire, shape it as a steering wheel, and can move the car around with it. its hard to explain but i will show you it when i get home.
i had an awesome day today, i don't want to leave!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Im Here!

so i just wrote like a really long blog, and then i deleted it on accident!!! so I'm sorry if this one isn't very good!
i arrived in Zambia at 6:30 this morning, it was a really long flight, and i watched way too many great movies, and didn't get nearly enough sleep!!when i arrived at Linda's house she informed us that she runs a preschool three days a week in her home, and that the kids would arrive at 8. so i got to hang out with 6 or 7 African children, and made a great friend with this 3 year old Catherine! all the children were so cute! then at 11:30 when they all left my mom and i had a chance to take a short nap! then we were off to see the chikumbuso school!
when we arrived i was amazed at how big it was! instead of it just being one building like i thought there was at least 3. the classrooms were basic but perfect. i was overwhelmed when we walked into the first class( which by the way the students are supposed to be on vacation, but they all are going to school so they can meet us. Its pretty awesome!)and all the students stood up and sang to me and my mom. and it wasn't just this class that did it, every class room we entered greeted us this way. all the students were so sweet and i cant wait to spend more time with them. My mom and i gave all the students that were there a friendship bracelet and a message written on a eagle, sent from the voluntown school. It was so cute how the students would show their friends, and then all of a sudden you would see a few orphans shyly sticking their heads around the corner, looking to see if i had one for them. all the students were so polite saying thank you for everything i gave them. they don't even know the extent of what we brought for them. i am most excited to give them the chocolate. Linda said that most of the students have never tasted chocolate before because its so expensive. i cant wait to take pictures of them enjoying one of my favorite foods in the whole world.
tomorrow there is going to be a party for us at the school, and i cant wait. i think the students are going to be singing and dancing , Linda was trying to keep it a secret so i cant wait to See what is going to happen tomorrow.
i met the little girl today who i have a picture of on my wall! she is so beautiful, she was so shy when i asked to take a picture with her. i think she is 6 years old, and she is in kindergarten. my mom and i are going to sponsor her, however we have to wait until we get back and go through the Church.
I'm trying to remember what else i wrote in my deleted blog?...umm if you guys go to the taste of Africa thing at voluntown tonight, you will see pictures we took with the widows and orphans today. we sent them to Nancy and she is going to put them in the power point.
I'm having an awesome time! cant wait to hear from you guys
(sorry about the spelling, i don't want to mess with it because that's what messed me up before)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Leaving for Zambia

On Tuesday April 10Th i am leaving for Zambia, along with my mom, Jeannie Steinagel from Pawcatuck Middle School, and Linda Coats from North Stonington Elementary School. We will be working with the orphans and widows, and helping out in the school. Jeannie will be digging the start of the 5th grade addition, and Linda will be starting the playground. i will try to report as often as possible about whats going on while I'm there. Also on Thursday April 12th at 5:30, the Voluntown Elementary school will be having an auction to benefit the chikumbuso project. They will be auctioning off clay bowls that the students made, there will be African dancers, and African food to be sampled. I hope that you all will try to attend. admissions is free!!!!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Shouting Silent

I just watched this movie called Shouting Silent. It was about young girls who lost their mother, or parents to AIDS. It was really interesting, it focused on the stigma that many of them had, and why life was so hard for them when their mothers were gone. There was one girl whos step father started to rape her when her mother died, so she ran away and was living on her own, she didnt have a house, she just slept outside, and she only ate when people gave her food. There was another girl who was 17, and had to take care of her 7 brothers and sisters, and her own 4 year old son. First off that means that she had her son at 13, and she was taking care of all these children all by herself! it was amazing, 6 of the kids were going to school, off their grandmothers pention. but the second oldest daughter wasnt becasue there wasnt enough money. So she wondered around all day, and was sleeping around with her boyfriend who was in his twenties ( she was like 14)and her boyfriend had multiple other girlfriends. But becuase her mom had died when she was so young, she was never told about condoms, and her mom wasnt there to make sure she was doing everything right. And what made it even worse for her was that she knew she would never go anywher in life, because she could go to school and get educated. Its hard to hear their stories, and understand what it would be like to be in thier shoes.

Voluntown Schools

On Thursday i went to Voluntown to speak to all the grades about Chikumbuso. At their school they are making cousin bowls out of clay, in their art classes and auctioning off one of them at a silent auction. All the money is going to Chikumbuso, and the night of they are going to make nishma to put everyones bowl, so everyone can taste it, and the students are going to play African music, and dance to it. It sounds like it will be a fun night. I think it is happening in April? I'm not really sure. At the school, i talked to all the classes ranging from first graders, all the way to eighth graders. I told them about the project, and what our school does for fundraisers. It was really cool because i asked some of the student what they thought they could do in their school to fund raise for Chikumbuso and their ideas were so funny. A little girl was like, we can buy plastic spoons and write Chikumbuso on it and send it to them. Another kid said we could buy hats and write messages on them to our friends and sell them, and give all the money to Chikumbuso. They had the craziest ideas, it was so funny, but i think they are going to do good things with this project. the kids seemed really interested.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chikumbuso day

Dodd stadium is holding a chikumbuso day where $4's of the $8 ticket will go to Chikumbuso. But it is only the tickets that are previously sold. Both the high school and elementary schools are selling tickets, you if you are interested you can either contact the elementary school or me. it should be a fun day, Pawcatuck schools, and Voluntown school are both going so we should have a lot of representation for Chikumbuso.

The Age of AIDS

i just watched this documentary called The Age of AIDS. it starts off telling you how AIDS started, which they think is from monkeys, to today's image of AIDS. it talks about the different stigmas of AIDS, what it is like in different countries, and how they each delt with it. it is very interesting, and informational. it is made by PBS so you should check it out, you will learn a lot

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

My Research

Today i started to really research AIDS. i know that i want to focus on the stigma that is associated with AIDS, but a lot of the research just focused here in America. It talked about how many people think that AIDS is the "gay mans" disease. But what i really want to focus on is whey people don't get tested for AIDS, what is it that makes them think they cant get it. Is it just the lack of knowledge, or is it shameful in their community. What beliefs do they have towards AIDS, and why do they feel this way. Most of these beliefs occur in different countries, especially poor countries.
I was surprised to read that South Africa's leader did not believe that HIV caused AIDS. So the government there didn't support AIDS research. It was only "In August 2003, the South African government gave in to public pressure and made plans for the widespread use of anti-HIV medicines to treat people who test positive for HIV/AIDS." (pg 23, 21st Century Issues, AIDS) This surprised me because i know that AIDS is a huge problem in Africa, and it kills over 8,000 people a day throughout the world. A problem like that happening to the African community should have been recognized earlier. If that had happened maybe there would not be so many orphans and widows, and maybe Africa would not be such a poor country.