27 Oct Knocking Down Walls is Not as Simple as ABC – The Tools are with 4 Women
|Pioneer Mall – The Home of Victory Church
Victory Church Entrance
|No 7 Team’s Welcome Party for Tess and Wayne
|Tess is not a fan of teddy bears.|
|Entering stormy season – the view from the SE Office window|
So here I was, sat waiting with my colleague Busi to find out whether Lerato’sexcellent tour group presentation on the Kick4Life Academy activities a few weeks ago could indeed be followed up in action. I knew this might be an important opportunity for me to learn more about Kick4Life as an operation. Up until now, apart from the excellent HIV curriculum workshops during the ‘All-Stars’ tour, most of my day-to-day exposure at Kick4Life had been with the money making enterprise side of the model. Naturally, as per a previous blog post, my (and some others) concern is that in all this focus on securing financial sustainability the crucial social support and development aspect might lose its focus, momentum and impact.
Activity 1: My Handprint
One by one the girls were invited up to the front to present their answers as a way of introducing themselves to each other. With quiet voices, papers hiding mouths and eyes looking everywhere but at the rest of the group, nearly every girl who took to the front demonstrated the most common answer to question 2; ‘shy’. Turns out I would have been in the majority, although it was clear enough that their shyness was on a more serious level. Interestingly, ‘short tempered’ and ‘cruel’ both made more than one appearance. I was on my own with ‘clumsy’.
‘Mother’ was by far the most popular answer for question 4. Including my own. What didn’t we know about each other? Well, quite a few of the participants are ‘very loving’ and ‘love everyone’.
With all the girls now sat back down, Lerato asked if I’d like to share mine. Standing in front of the attentive ladies, for some reason my British accent and mannerisms felt particularly apparent. I felt a bit like a Michael Palin trying to communicate with a non-British speaking curious crowd in one of the travel adventure DVDs I re-watched before this journey begun. Thankfully my audience was an English speaking and interested group and smiled and quietly laughed at my mini-presentation. Any benefit the girls had started to feel in terms of confidence in presenting in front of the group extended to me too.
Following Lerato’s instructions, I suggested to my new acquaintance Malekhooa from Mazenod, south-east of capital Maseru, that we take a walk around the 5-a-side pitch I have become so familiar with now as we attempt to share answers to these next three questions. Again, some internal moral dilemmas were pressing but with important matters of remembering names, places and, as instructed by Lerato, our partner’s answers without writing them down, I soon took to helping build our rapport before returning to the container.
Education, jobs, money; these things are clearly sitting at the front of my fellow participants minds. But sex and relationships? Now they were talking. It felt as if everything that had come before in the last two and half hours provided the platform to feel comfortable discussing what is clearly the most pressing matter. With little further provocation from Lerato, the conversation between the female participants started to pick up momentum and animation with an increasing number of the previously shy participants.
ABC is a common abbreviation in HIV education. Or at least it was from what I remember from my first visit here in 2009. A is for abstinence – avoiding sexual contact in or out of a relationship. The young lady sat on the couch to the right of me was explaining how limiting time in the presence of your partner would help achieve abstinence.
Knocking Down the Walls of Concern
|In the Literacy Room with potential future Women4Women participants