Cyangugu HIV/AIDS Theater Showcase

21 Feb

Wayyyyy back in October the Cyangugu Peace Corps Volunteers put on the 2nd Annual HIV/AIDS Theater Showcase. The idea started with some Ed 1 volunteers last year and they got a grant from Peace Corps to cover transportation costs and food.

The Showcase is a daylong event where students from each of the schools put on skits, songs, dances, or poems related to various HIV/AIDS themes. Sandwiched in there are some lessons from health volunteers. It was such a hit with the students the first year that they were asking the teachers when it would happen this year. I decided to take the lead on modifying and submitting the grant for this year which made me the ring leader.

We ran into a little snafu with the disbursement of funds and the start of Peace Corps’ new fiscal year, but there’s no love like G’ug love and the volunteers in my region came together to save the day.

I came into Kamembe, where the event would take place a couple days early to purchase supplies and get everything in order. Then I went to visit my friend Kari and her GLOW club the night before. The club was having their end of the year party where they said goodbye to the girls graduating and inducted the new club officers. It was good to see all the girls from GLOW camp but sad to think that this would be the last time that I would see the girls who were graduating.

The next morning we all piled into the taxi and headed into Kamembe for the Showcase. Miraculously everyone arrived on time and we promptly got down to business. Each school had 30 minutes to perform and if you know anything about Rwandan students you won’t be surprised that most schools used all 30 minutes for their performances. Students at boarding schools in Rwanda have most of their time structured studying, farming, or cleaning so the opportunity to perform is one they relish.

After three school performances another health volunteer and I spent an hour and a half teaching some lessons from the life skills manual. The students get the biology and facts of HIV/AIDS drilled into them so we wanted to focus on building their capacity. So we had a lesson on peer pressure, one on healthy relationships, and an activity where they classified different activities as high, medium, or low-risk for HIV/AIDS transmission.

After that we broke for lunch then had the remaining performances. The students filled out the post-test, signed a pledge that they would do all they can to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and we took group pictures.

After the students were all in taxis back to school some of us went out to celebrate our success.

The girls at Kari’s school have a very strong GLOW club and a great asset in Kari so I tasked the girls who attended the Showcase with taking notes in hopes that they will help plan the Showcase next year because as volunteers we’re always looking for ways to create leadership opportunities.

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