My usual wake-up time is around 7 a.m. This morning I slept in until 10. The only cure for the breakneck pace of the past several weeks was sleep, and lots of it. I might sleep in again tomorrow as well. Or go to bed at 8 p.m. tonight, I’ll see if I can stay up that late.
April 5 my stage, or training group, traveled up to Rabat for our Mid-Service Training. One of the three mandated stage-wide trainings for Peace Corps Volunteers all over the world, MST comes when you’ve been in service for roughly a year. It gives us a chance to reflect on the past year, reconnect with people we may not have seen in a year, and gets us a physical and dental visit – no cavities!!!
Sadly our MST meant we missed the arrival of the newest stage to their respective sites, as well as being taken out of site the week before the start of our mandatory spring camps. Work was brought to our conference and in between nightly ice cream and Chinese food trips, we managed to prep our camp from our hotel room.
Sweet and sour chicken never tasted so good.
Having done a considerable amount of organization work before hand and partnering with an awesome association of university-aged guys in Taroudant, we were able to not have too much of a scramble to get ready once we got back to site.
So. About camp.
Our theme this time around was responsibility and volunteerism – Take care of yourself, take care of your community.
Together, along with our new volunteer neighbor in the next town over – Liz and I taught 15 hours of English, taught workshops on responsibility, dealing with stress, countering peer pressure, self defense (for girls), and internet safety.
My English class.
Our guys in the association gave workshops on self confidence and volunteerism, as well as leading hours of games and songs and organizing the camp-ending talent show.
We once again had around 20 youth, this time mostly middle-school aged, for four hours every morning, but the week contained some honest-and-for-real youth development work.
A self-portrait activity, led by Liz.
We were able to slightly expand our camp from the session in February – meeting for a full seven days instead of just five. We had better workshops and retained more kids.
Some of our boys.
Our big achievement for the week was our volunteerism project – held in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day. We arranged a trash pickup for our kids to conduct at a local field/empty lot.
One of our “before” shots.
It became more than just having 25 kids with trash bags.
We worked with another local association to bring in dump trucks and a backhoe from the city to do several sweeps of the field, helping to eliminate several of the layers upon layers of trash.
We didn’t get every single piece of trash, in fact there’s enough left over for us to do another trash pickup at some point. But the kids worked for a solid 8 hours picking up trash.
The neighbors loved having us there and arranged breakfast for the entire camp, as well as water breaks throughout the day.
Some local artists also worked with us to create several murals on the walls surrounding the field, encouraging people to stop throwing their trash there.
The finished product.
Despite some hiccups, it became a hugely positive event that both the kids and the adults working on it enjoyed and valued.
Best of all, the association we worked with to provide counselors for the camp is really happy with how things turned out and wants to work with us on future camps!
One of our counselors in action!
And the local Ministry of Youth and Sports was pleased enough to mention we may have access to a bigger facility the next time we have a camp.
Hamdulillah and God bless everyone’s parents. It’s time for a nap.