Camp GLOW is a Peace Corps-sponsored, week-long gathering of young women from rural villages. The idea is to teach these girls about leadership, confidence, health issues, and life skills – in hopes that they’ll finish school and become leaders in their communities.
At the December 2013 Camp Glow outside Kasama, we also had a rockin’ good time, singing, dancing, and playing all kinds of competitive games. By the end of the week, we were all exhausted (the PCVs at least) but inspired to have spent time with these amazing young women.
Patricia, right, and Harriet (behind her), of Mfuba Village, mildly terrified entering the lodge on Day 1.
That evening, our village counterparts decided to bust out the drums and dance moves to teach the girls about sex in their own way. Whoa. Ba Monica and Ba Agness were way more explicit than the muzungus!
PCV Mike acting as a sugar daddy. On those slips of paper he gave out 10 kwacha, or sweeties, or talk time – along with STIs and pregnancies.
Then PCVs Jasmine and Clara gave the dance a try. Clara, acting as the “man,” had to get the token out of Jasmine’s mouth – using only HER mouth. The Zambians loved this!
Group photo. Our Blue Eagles are in the blue T-shirts, of course.
PCVs Melissa and Ephraim taking off for some errands in town, 12K away. They were the glue that held Camp GLOW together, taking care of all the piddly, organizational stuff while the rest of us played games with our girls.
Blue Eagles working on our banner.
Meggan, aka “Mergs,” dishin’ out high fives.
The water-carrying event evolved into a PCV soak-fest, starting with me & Zach.
Harriet easily caught up to me, though. I did a LOT of running in circles that morning.
Few things are more fun than teaching Bamaayos how to use condoms. L to R: Agness, Monica, Bernadette, Dorothy, and Lelly.
PCV Kim with her large collection of wooden penises.
Patricia sewing sanitary pads. She and Harriet had never sewed before, so I got to teach them. My counterpart Ba Dorothy was much better at it though; in the end she finished the pads for them.
Ba Dorothy and I have had a lots of talks about sex. She was, after all, my main counterpart for HIV, and at Camp GLOW with Harriet and Patricia (up front).
Abigail showing off the nail polish she received for being chosen GLOW girl of the day.
The male reproductive system is a lot trickier, as it turns out. This is what they came up with.
Back view of the girls’ GLOW shirts. Each “pride” had a different color and chose their own name.
Brenda carrying for the Shining Golden Girls (yes, this was really their team name. Remember they don’t have TV with reruns.)
Meggan showing Fridah, Brenda, Memory, and Fridah how to put on a condom.
Harriet, shyly introducing herself.
Fridah and Matilda sewing sanitary pads – a project the girls were really into.
GLOW girls doing five squats with water bowls perched on heads; competing for our Blue Eagles team is Cleo, from Logan’s village.
Me, Meggan, Heidi, Clara, Garrett, and Zach, post-water fight. Yeah, we needed a little break/cool off. Camp GLOW was an exhausting week!
PCV welcoming line, through which all the girls had to walk upon arrival. I guess I’d have been terrified, too.
Getting ready for a trust game: passing girls down the line. They were all afraid to try, so I went first. Then I understood WHY they were afraid: it was the most violent trust game I’d ever experienced. Rather than gently passing people down the line, the girls opted for throwing us from one set of hands to another in whiplash-inducing fashion. Harriet actually hurt her wrist with this one. Ooops …
Ba Agness, Ba Dorothy, Harriet, and Patricia sewing citenge pads.
PCV Brad losing his team’s water. Maybe it was inevitable: their name was simply “Fire.”
Matilda, Memory, and Abigail starting off the water-carrying relay race.
Matilda, one of our most shy girls on day one, ended up being GLOW Girl of the Day. Here she is in the egg-carrying relay race.
Blue Eagles flying high! Up front: Memory, Cleo, Harriet, Patricia. In back: Lelly, Logan, me, Dorothy.
Ba Dorothy receiving her certificate from Kim, the PCV who pretty much ran the camp.
Sonya, another, shy-at-first girl who totally came out of her shell and became a GLOW girl of the day.
On the first evening, each team came up with a pride name, made a banner, and made up a motto, song, and/or dance. My and Logan’s pride (L to R: Ba Dorothy, Ba Lelly, Harriet, Cleo and Memory – and Patricia, not shown) was the Blue Eagles. Team motto: “We fly high, like an Eagle in the Sky.” In reality, we were the quintessential underdogs.
L to R: Hope, Harriet, and Patricia checking the expiration date on a condom. Patricia found this entire exercise uncontrollably funny. So did I, but I had to act mature.
Images from Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), a Peace-Corps-sponsored gathering of young women that we all hope will become leaders in their communities. All photos courtesy Clara Paik.
PCV Zach (one of the Golden Girls) with his water.
Abigail, one of our GLOW girls of the day, takes the lead sorting out the female reproductive system.
Fridah (we had two Fridahs and three Memories) demonstrating another dance that I did not understand. She had to pick up and place down this lid with only her teeth.
Patricia and Harriet in their element, on the drums. Behind them are (L to R) Cleo, Ba Lelly, Ba Bernadette, and a girl whose name I don’t know.
Garrett and Clara preparing to throw some water.
The “Copper Ladies” dancing for their photo.
Duck, duck, goose, which we played upon arrival to kill time until our Zambian facilitators showed up. The girls have their own version of the exact same game, so it was great fun for all. Well, except that I could NOT catch these girls and found myself running hopelessly around after Matilda and two other girls before PCV Garrett took pity on me and ran slowly so I could take a break.
Logan, photographer extraordinaire and Blue Eagles member.
Getting water ready for Round 2. (There was a LOT of cheating in Round 1.)
Blue Eagles (left to right) Patricia, Cleo, Logan, Memory, and Mathilda. (She and another Memory, on drums with Harriet, joined our group because we were so freakin cool.)
Harriet carrying water on her head in a relay race.
Gettin’ down with the Blue Eagles