If you’re a little curious…
My daily life at work can vary considerably from spending all day at meetings, visiting different compounds and clinics and writing reports, to simply sitting patiently at work for a few days waiting for funding options and greeting our drop-in clients.
I have spoken more about the shelter in the past through the fundraiser that we completed which reached our full goal that we had set of $2000!! This money was amazing to work with and we were able to make it go a long way with the shelter. Some of the assistance that we were able to provide involved:
- building a new fence
- planting a vegetable garden
- buying 70 chickens to be raised and sold for profit
- painting the play room and outside of the house (including chalk board paint to draw on)
- fixing and setting up swing sets and a slide
- fixing kitchen cupboards
- buying food, toys, games, blankets, and books!
I have greatly enjoyed my time with the shelter girls, children, and house mother and was able to spend time playing games, watching movies, colouring, dancing, singing, and lots and lots of skip rope. Another aspect of being involved with the shelter has also been attending the court cases for the girls and following up with the girls having a safe home for them to go to next.
Some of my favourite meetings that I have attended have included: sitting in on workshop trainings for women entering into political roles and giving them the confidence, education, and skills for pursuing these positions; education of the youth about the upcoming election in August; gender committee meetings; youth sexual health education; and our most recent week long training for peer ambassadors to go out to schools and educate their fellow peers about important topics such as family planning and health education. My most favourite thing about these meetings however, is when the members don’t have a contribution or have not done any work yet, they simply say “we will communicate”- totally using this back home.
There have been a few holiday events that we have been fortunate enough to participate in. Our first one was Women’s Day where we had YWCA chitenges (material) made to match the rest of our coworkers and members in order to participate within a parade, and to set up an information booth at the event. I really enjoyed being able to see women come out from all of the different organizations, along with the amazing fashion show of chitenges that was present! I was also able to walk around to the other booths, learning about the other organizations within the area, while listening to some inspirational speeches from women such as the first lady.
Just 4 days later we then participated within Youth Day and collected a nice number of our youth to wear YWCA shirts and march with us to a Rugby stadium. This was a particularly hot day in my opinion, and I may have melted a little bit during our march/run to keep up with all of the group. The freezies afterwards fixed everything though. I am impressed by how much the youth participate in any activities that they are given the opportunity to, and never fail to break out in song – even if it’s a song educating about condom use!
The most recent event that we have attended was the day of the African Child, where we were able to witness many amazing performances from children from all of the schools in the area. There were songs, dances, speeches, spoken word, and marching bands.
One of the main daily activities that I participate in is simply sitting in on the drop-in counselling sessions that occur at our office. Many of these sessions are conducted in the local language Bemba, and I therefore, usually get my coworkers to help with the translations. This is a fascinating activity as there are cases such as husbands coming in with issues of their multiple wives not getting along or not wanting to live in the same house…or stories of the advice that clients have followed by the recommendations of their church or witch doctor.
With this said however, most of the cases are very similar to what we would find back home. The most common cases involve marital issues and getting married too young; child support needs; and workers not getting paid.