In July 2014 I had the great privilege of attending my second Camp GLOW, in Luwingu. (My first was in Kasama in December 2013, but I’ve essentially become part of the “Gu Crew,” so I joined them instead this year.)
This time around, I got to have a hand in organizing the camp and teaching the 23 teen girls who attended. It’s hard to express how rewarding – not to mention how just plain fun – it is to hang out with and teach young women poised to become leaders in their communities. Being a part of Camp GLOW inspires me in ways that working with adults rarely does.
Besides, this time around I got to bring three girls whom I’d actually gotten to know and like: Chola, Mwango, and Mwape. (At the time of the December 2013 Camp GLOW, I barely knew the Mfuba attendees, Harriet and Patricia, though they’ve now become part of a circle of girls I talk with regularly.) Chola, Mwango, and Mwape are active members of our GLOW Club in Mfuba, so it was exciting to get to bring them to this year’s Camp GLOW – and to see them blossom in some of the same ways that Harriet and Patricia did last year.
Mwape, me, Chola, and Mwango.
It was an exhausting five days, filled with formal and informal lessons about confidence, motivation, health, the female body, and communication skills; games of all kinds; and a whole lot of singing and dancing! But it was so, so worth it.
Photos courtesy of PCVs Jesse Ferber, Adam Ellowitz, and me.
Aggie was our smallest girl, but she was one fierce Ninja player.
On the first night, the girls popped balloons and found their randomly-assigned room numbers inside.
Jesse braids his beard while the girls take care of his hair.
Nellia goes through the spider web.
Working on the Purple Giraffe pride banner.
Adam and Jesse show off their new hairstyles, created by the girls, of course.
Human tug-of-war. Yep, Bemba girls like to make every game as violent as possible.
Celebrating a victory at Capture the Flag.
Agness leads a classroom skit during the Confidence and Assertiveness session.
Ruth, who was GLOW Girl of the Day (by the PCVs) and then GLOW Girl of the Week (by the other girls).
Yeah! We won! That’s Christina front and center.
Tristan and Taylor with their girls. (Sadly, two of Taylor’s girls came down with marlaria and went home early.)
Adam and Taylor teach the girls how to play “Ninja!”
Mwango, Mwape, and Chola, fake-napping along the side of the road on the way to Camp GLOW. We did have to wait a little while for transport. But not THAT long!
The Gu Crew, showing off our muscle at Luwingu Camp GLOW.
The Luena contingent (who were part of our pride, the Purple Giraffes). Back row L to R: Zebron, Chola, and Dan. Front row L to R: Precious, Given, and Maggie.
Mfuba! Mwango, Mwape, me, and Chola.
Ruth strays across the line.
The Green Elephants (Adam and Erica’s girls), along with Agness up front.
Last-night bonfire. Complete with s’mores!
My awesomely braided hair. This was the first of two times I got braids over the week of Camp GLOW.
Catherine and Dan are the last two standing in a game of “Ninja!”
Chola practices assertively rejecting Nancy’s “moves” as a boy who wants to have sex with her.
Trying to untie a human knot.
Handprints covering our homemade GLOW banner.
An aggressive game of capture the flag.
Prepping for a hand print on the GLOW banner.
Hayley and Jesse’s girls, along with Zebron and Maggie. (Yes, we sang that song all week long.) Hayley lost two girls along the way, too.
Elizabeth braids Hayley’s hair while Adam expresses mock horror with his new ‘do.
Miriam makes a Capture-the-Flag break for it.
Mwape, me, Chola, and Mwango. It wasn’t until I took them to Camp GLOW that I learned Mwape and Chola’s English names: Gladys and Evet.
All the girls try to tag Dan, who was a perennial Capture-the-Flag threat.
Trying to untie a human knot.
Zebron and Adam lead the final night’s dance party.
It was so cold on the first morning that we held our first session outside, in the sunshine.
Three of our four amazing Zambian facilitators. Left to right: Agness, Zebron, and Maggie. Sadly, Nancy had to leave before the photo was taken.
Mwape (corner), Ruth, Mervis, and Precious.
Mwape leaves her hand print on the banner.
Dan, Jesse, and Mwango guide Zebron out of the spider web obstacle course.
Given shows the Purple Giraffes how to put on a condom.
The Gu Crew PCVs on our last night of Camp GLOW. Exhausted but happy, and showing off our awesome braids. Back row, left to right: Jesse, Hayley, me, Adam, Tristan. Front row: Taylor and Erica. Sadly, by this point Dan had come down with malaria and couldn’t make the photo.
Marjory and Yvonne jumping rope.
Celebrating a Capture the Flag victory. Precious and Mwape are front and center, with Erica on the right.
Precious leaves her mark on the banner.
On the first evening, I led the girls into the conference room via a giant conga line. A fantastic way to start a Camp GLOW, if you ask me.
One of our Zambian facilitators, Maggie, drags one of the girls relentlessly across the center line in a human tug-of-war.
Camp GLOW teaches about self-confidence, assertiveness, and self-esteem.
Mwape running for the ball.
Nelly offers up a mirror so Jesse can see his awesomeness.
Mwape takes the field.
Jesse paints Abigail’s hand.
On the last day, the girls braided all the PCVs’ hair!
Jesse paints Chola’s hand.
Impromptu dance party!
Elizabeth and Given perform a skit in front of the group.
Yvonne and Precious try to get “king” Zebron out in a game of Nine Square. While playing, Zebron was fond of making loud insults in a ridiculous voice. The girls loved it.
Purple Giraffes Dan, Chola, Mwango, Precious, me, Chola, Given, and, up front, Mwape.
Adam posing with Aggie (from his village), Mervis, and Nelly.
Mervis braids Adam’s hair while Aggie and I look on.
The blue and purple teams cheer as Zebron and Taylor sit out, tagged and out of the action for the moment.
Zebron makes a break for it.
Aggie runs for a ball at Luwingu Camp GLOW.
Lifting Ruth through the highest part of the spider web obstacle course.