Friday, June 29, 2007


Camp GLOW was excellent. Thanks to everyone who donated.

The girls really enjoyed everything, even the sessions that I would’ve considered boring (like the basic HIV class). Two women living with AIDS came and talked to them about what it was like to have the disease, which blew the girls’ minds since they were normal, well-dressed, middle-aged women.

One day we told them that a midwife would be coming the next day to talk about puberty, and that they should write any embarrassing questions on a piece of paper so they could be answered anonymously. About two-thirds of the questions were something along the lines of “why do girls get periods?” (it’s not taught in biology class until 9th grade, by which time most girls have dropped out, and those who do stay have already gone through puberty years before).

We took them to a nearby internet café every day. Most of the girls had never used computers before, so we just put them on Google and told them to type what they were interested in. With few exceptions, they looked up pictures of the Spanish soap opera that is broadcast on one of the main TV stations. My girls looked up the word animals, which sent them to wikipedia, at which point they started copying the entry into their notebooks. They then clicked on the sea anenomy link and took notes on that as well.

“Showers!” they said.

“What?” I asked.

“We want to look up showers.”



So we googled showers. Satisfied with the resulting pictures, we then looked up kitchens.

On the last night, the girls put together some sketches. The best one of all was about a dimwitted, obnoxious father who marries off his daughter to a rich man in Cotonou for a large sum of money. Throughout the sketch he kept acting like a buffoon and making all sorts of dumb, egotistical comments which were extremely funny. In the end, the mother goes to the police and gets her husband sent to prison and the daughter returned. The cast then concluded that child trafficking and forced marriages are bad (there was a session on the legal rights of children and women, given by the first wife of former president Kerekou).

There were a lot of other cool sessions, and it seems like the girls got a lot out of it. I’m not sure if we did a good job encouraging them to teach what they learned to other girls back in their villages, but the teacher that I brought along from my school really liked what we did and will be joining my girl’s club.


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