In order to help the trainees bond with the campers and practice verbal and non-verbal communication as much as possible, we created a scavenger hunt for the first day at camp. Each team consisted of 8-9 Mongolian campers and 2 Americans (each American with a digital camera). To really make the communication happen, we made the scavenger list in Mongolian. The campers needed to find ways to let their Americans know they needed to:
- Get a picture with the entire team touching one of the yellow rocks (half way up a mountain)
- Lift one of the campers in the air
- Know the names of all their Mongolian teammates
- Sing one verse of a mongolian song
- Create a team pyramid
- Take a picture of 4 campers and an american doing a cartwheel simultaneously
(all in Mongolian)
ME: "What are S'mores?"
MONGOLIAN KID CAMPERS: "*name brand cracker* then chocolate then hot white candy then *name brand cracker."
"like hot bon-bon"
"with fire chocopie" "sweet cracker (miming on top) chocolate (miming on top) white on fire candy (miming on top) more sweet cracker then yum yum tasty"
After each team explained it, we let the campers know that we would be making S'mores the next day during the camp fire. They were all impressed and very pleased with our "jinkhin" (authentic) American camp food. During the camp fire we sang Mongolian and American songs, including both national anthems, as prompted by the campers.
One of the most difficult parts of being a Peace Corps volunteer is learning how to work with a counterpart, and the greatest role of a Peace Corps volunteer is to build the capacity of your counterparts. The process of working with your counterpart and your host country organization to find the needs of the community and work with your counterpart to help them effectively do the work that is necessary is time consuming, frustrating, and typically doesn't work how you want it to. But, what WE want is not the point. This is a hard concept to teach. I know the trainees have been very frustrated by it, and I have been frustrated by trying to teach it. Luckily, it was a highly successful few days in at the children's camp.
Allison presents on HIV/AIDS asking students to place cards with behaviors in the "high risk" "medium risk" "little risk" and "no risk" catagories.
Megan presented on the topic of Self-esteem asking the campers to write postiive things about each other on papers on their back.
Molly's presentation on friendship went remarkably well as she had to present to teenagers and was able to help facilitate a great conversation the campers brought up about romantic relationships.
One of the most important things to teach as a CYD volunteer is life skills, and counterpart work is essential. Uugana, the PST CYD technica coordinator for the summer, had to work major overtime to work with each of the 8 trainees to help them prepare their life skills sessions. Each trainee was instructed to use Uugana as they would their counterpart at site. Unfortunatley for Uugana, much of the work is supposed to be on the shoulders of the counterpart. Thankfully, she's a good sport, and did an excellent job with the trainees. The trainees & Uugana presented on topics such as:
- Self esteem
- Decision making
Though I'm completely pooped (as are the trainees), I feel as though they will be much better prepared to create sustainable work at site! Now to sleep!