Friday, October 1, 2010

Camp: Business Day

I have to admit that I thought this day was going to be a flop. I was really worried that the girls wouldn't be interested in learning about business and that the sessions wouldn't be hands on enough, but it was awesome and the girls had a really good time and were engaged the entire day. The PCVs did an absolutely awesome job; I was very impressed.

We started out the morning in our usual fashion: the girls doing yoga and me having a confrontation with the kitchen staff. All good. Then the PCVs leading the day held a session on what types of businesses exist in Senegal and that maybe it's not such a good idea to open a boutique right next to the other 93847593874 boutiques in your neighborhood. The girls were surprisingly interested in this discussion and everyone wanted to participate which was great. After that session we played a game called The Best Game. An NGO created the game specifically for West Africa and the game takes you through a month of family financial planning. At the beginning of the month it's necessary to take out a loan to start off, which you have to pay back at the end of the month, and then there are "Life" cards which each team has to take one of each week. All the cards are some unexpected catastrophe which forces the family/ team to pay out a lump sum of money. The team makes money by making little paper hats and wisely putting money in the bank. When we learned this game during PST all of the PCVs hated it, but Senegalese people love it and it's an excellent teaching tool because the girls really saw how necessary it is to save so that you don't have to take out a loan every time something bad happens. They really enjoyed the game especially when other teams had to take a "Life" card and had something bad happen to them!

After lunch we had two, great hands-on sessions. We taught the girls how to make Neem lotion, an anti-mosquito lotion made from leaves, and lip balm. They LOVED the activities. We finagled a giant gas burner and bowl from the kitchen staff and the girls grated all of the soap necessary to make Neem lotion and stirred the concoction. Then they got it all over themselves while they tried to put it in bags, but they really liked it and want to make it at home so that's all that matters. Along with the Neem lotion and lip balm session we taught them how it's important to think about costing before you fix a price for your product. I'm not too sure they took home this lesson since they were far more interested in the lip balm at that point, but regardless, the day was a total success.

Tonight's evening activity was a talent show or in French a "spectacle" and it was quite a spectacle to say the very, very least. We told the girls on the very first day of camp that we would have a talent show the last night and they took this information VERY seriously. Each day they practiced for at least an hour so we had skits on early marriage, the environment, and various other subjects that we had discussed at the camp. These were exceedingly involved and long skits, which the girls absolutely loved and which the PCVs struggled to understand. The best part of the talent show was the signing. One girl was absolutely amazing! Her first song was Beyonce's "Halo" which was very well sung even if she didn't quite have all the English words down. What came next was beyond my wildest dreams. In perfect Spanish she sang the theme song to "Marina," the soap opera that my family loves. Tamar, Katherine, and I almost had heart attacks because it was so awesome. Us PCVs also did a ridiculous dance to Jay-Z's "Forever Young" which no one found as funny as we did.

We ended with cookies and fireworks (which I'm not going to detail on my blog but if you're a pyro you can email me about because it's a good story). And then we let the girls stay up as late as they wanted to while we went to bed utterly exhausted.

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