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.
Purple Giraffes Dan, Chola, Mwango, Precious, me, Chola, Given, and, up front, Mwape.
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.
Impromptu dance party!
Ruth strays across the line.
Mfuba! Mwango, Mwape, me, and Chola.
Given shows the Purple Giraffes how to put on a condom.
My awesomely braided hair. This was the first of two times I got braids over the week of Camp GLOW.
Aggie was our smallest girl, but she was one fierce Ninja player.
Mwape running for the ball.
Last-night bonfire. Complete with s’mores!
Nelly offers up a mirror so Jesse can see his awesomeness.
Dan, Jesse, and Mwango guide Zebron out of the spider web obstacle course.
Miriam makes a Capture-the-Flag break for it.
Precious leaves her mark on the banner.
Adam and Jesse show off their new hairstyles, created by the girls, of course.
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.
The Gu Crew, showing off our muscle at Luwingu Camp GLOW.
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.
Human tug-of-war. Yep, Bemba girls like to make every game as violent as possible.
Celebrating a Capture the Flag victory. Precious and Mwape are front and center, with Erica on the right.
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.
All the girls try to tag Dan, who was a perennial Capture-the-Flag threat.
On the first night, the girls popped balloons and found their randomly-assigned room numbers inside.
Lifting Ruth through the highest part of the spider web obstacle course.
The Green Elephants (Adam and Erica’s girls), along with Agness up front.
Aggie runs for a ball at Luwingu Camp GLOW.
Trying to untie a human knot.
Marjory and Yvonne jumping rope.
It was so cold on the first morning that we held our first session outside, in the sunshine.
Adam and Taylor teach the girls how to play “Ninja!”
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.
Mwape (corner), Ruth, Mervis, and Precious.
Working on the Purple Giraffe pride banner.
Zebron and Adam lead the final night’s dance party.
Mervis braids Adam’s hair while Aggie and I look on.
Trying to untie a human knot.
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.
Elizabeth braids Hayley’s hair while Adam expresses mock horror with his new ‘do.
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.
On the last day, the girls braided all the PCVs’ hair!
Celebrating a victory at Capture the Flag.
Agness leads a classroom skit during the Confidence and Assertiveness session.
One of our Zambian facilitators, Maggie, drags one of the girls relentlessly across the center line in a human tug-of-war.
Jesse braids his beard while the girls take care of his hair.
Mwape leaves her hand print on the banner.
Chola practices assertively rejecting Nancy’s “moves” as a boy who wants to have sex with her.
Mwape takes the field.
Jesse paints Abigail’s hand.
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!
Handprints covering our homemade GLOW banner.
Jesse paints Chola’s hand.
Three of our four amazing Zambian facilitators. Left to right: Agness, Zebron, and Maggie. Sadly, Nancy had to leave before the photo was taken.
Zebron makes a break for it.
Elizabeth and Given perform a skit in front of the group.
Prepping for a hand print on the GLOW banner.
The blue and purple teams cheer as Zebron and Taylor sit out, tagged and out of the action for the moment.
Nellia goes through the spider web.
Camp GLOW teaches about self-confidence, assertiveness, and self-esteem.
Adam posing with Aggie (from his village), Mervis, and Nelly.
Tristan and Taylor with their girls. (Sadly, two of Taylor’s girls came down with marlaria and went home early.)
Catherine and Dan are the last two standing in a game of “Ninja!”
An aggressive game of capture the flag.