September 5, 2007

Youth camp

A few notes before I get into the blog...hurricane Felix dumped some light rain on us starting last night around 10 pm and ending sometime early this morning. No flooding, no wind. Sounds like it lost power when it got into mainland. We didn´t even lose power! Also, be sure to check out Luke´s blog below on the corn festival. I added a few more pics to it today as well.

I am finally going to blog about the youth camp for young leaders that I participated in a month ago….

The health PCV about 20 minutes south of Danlí got a grant to work with at-risk youth so we spent a weekend with around 32 youth between the ages of 15-20ish at the beginning of August. This health PCV works with a youth organization in her community that had already identified young leaders and many of them have been to talleres (like a capacitation/training) on HIV/AIDS, Sex Ed, etc. We trained (and re-trained) the young leaders on HIV/AIDS prevention, gang involvement, drugs, and abuse over the weekend and did lots of camp-like activities like a bonfire, scavenger hunt, team-building activities, etc. They rented a building that is used for these types of things about an hour from Danli near Nicaraguan border. We all slept at the building on colchones (4 PCVs, 3 other youth leaders, and the 32 youth) and got about 4 hours of quiet sleep. Here are a few pics from the camp:

Four of us PCVs helping out

The week following the camp the youth leaders willwork with the kids at a school for street kids here in Danlí (the “at-risk” youth) on these topics. A youth PC volunteer works at this school on a daily basis. The leaders were divided up into four groups, each assigned with a different topic to work with the kids on. I was assigned to help lead the HIV/AIDS project. My group came to Danlí the Wednesday after the camp and we worked with the kids from this school for several hours on HIV/AIDS prevention. I helped the young leaders design the presentation and activities but just sat back while they led it. We gave the presentation to the 10-15 year-olds at the street school. They had never received a formal HIV/AIDS charla before so it was interesting to see what beliefs they had about HIV/AIDS (one thought, for example, that there was a cure). I felt, and so did the leaders, that the kids learned a lot. And the leaders had a great time doing it! Some of them mentioned wanting to come back and volunteer at the school.

A little info on the school….
The school got started about 5 years ago when the director went around town looking for the places where the street kids hang out. “Street kids” is sort of misleading because most of them do have somewhere to sleep at night, even if it is in a one room shack with tarps for walls. When they’re not in school, they spend their time hanging out on the street and beg. Many of the kids have been sexually abused and/or raped by other family members or older street kids. The PC youth volunteer in Danlí has been volunteering at this school for almost two years now (her COS (Close of Service) is in December). The project has definitely had its share of problems. A major one being that because the government doesn’t fund the school, they have to depend on the local government and donations. The local government only gives the schools 10,000 L per month ($529) and that is supposed to pay the salary of 3 people, buy supplies, and maintain the school. Definitely not enough. The other major problem besides money is that the teachers who get assigned to the school (only 2 teachers for abouat 30 kids between the ages of 5 and 15) often decide to quit soon after starting or just don’t show up a lot. I’ve complained and blogged about the educational system before so I won’ t do it again here but just to reiterate, there really is no system of accountability or monitoring so if a teacher decides not to come to work a few days a week or decides to put a movie on during school hours so she can use that time to plan, no one is there to fire them or even take some money from their paycheck for the days they’ve missed. These kids need stability and teachers who care which is a rare thing here. They have had a few good teachers move through but that is definitely not the norm. A few pics from our day at the school:


Henrik said...

Hola Luke y Annie!

I was listening to "Dave matthews & tim reynolds live at luther college" and came to think about you two guys. Thanks to google I found your blogg.

Where do I find your mail adresses?

/Henrik - the super swede

Luke Gingerich said...


greetings from Honduras
send me an email at


Leslie Schrier said...

Annie and Luke-
HI-I am a professor at the University of Iowa where Sarah Schneider works--she shared your blog with me. I am wondering if in your association with folks in the English speaking world near Tegucigalpa if you have encounter a Mike Fast--Mike was a grad of our PHD program and many of us would like to get in touch with him. If you know of him could you pass along a mess to either write to us at Iowa or John Watzke at St. Louis University-
Thanks, Leslie Schrier