Toward the end of May, the GAD Committee held its 3rd Annual Healthy Living Workshop. A total of 15 PCVs were invited to bring one male and one female student to Kigali for the weekend. Throughout the weekend, the students learned about living healthy, both physically and mentally. The students had the chance to compete in an Olympics to develop commradery, practice teamwork, and of course, to have fun. The workshop finished with all the students running a 7k as a part of the Kigalii Marathon.
Before arriving at the workshop, each set of students prepared a short skit, lesson, game, or in one amazing case, a gospel song about HIV/AIDS. Their first evening in Kigali, the students delivered what they had prepared and covered topics such as destigmatizing the the disease, preventing transmission, and treatment. The students really showed their creativity in what they came up with and demostrated that they have a rather extensive foundation when it comes to HIV knowledge.
We started off Saturay morning with a set of four lessons: Nutrition & Exercise, HIV Myths, Gender Equality, and Self-Esteem. Observing the students during each of these lessons, it was apparent that the students were having fun and taking the information in.
During the Nutrition & Exercise lesson, the students learned how to balance their plate in order to prepare a complete diet and discovered creative ways to ensure they are getting sufficient protein. PCV Hannah Gann also showed them some easy ways to work some exercise into their day with wall sits, push ups, and mountain climbers.These quick activities also became a great visual to show the students that girls can be just as strong as boys.
With PCVs Grace Ann & Michael Heater, the students played some games from the Grassroot Soccer curriculum that debunked HIV related myths such as 'You can tell someone has HIV/AIDS by looking at them' and 'You can get HIV from sharing a drink with someone who has the disease.'
The Gender Equality Session, led by PCV Sophie Hart, used another activity from the Grassroot Soccer curriculum called Gender Stadium. In this activity, participants sit in two circles, one inside the other. During the first round, males sit in the center circle with the females sitting in the surrounding circle. The males were asked questions related to their gender, what they like about being male, what they dislike, what they want the other sex to know. During this time, the females are not allowed to respond or react to what the males are saying. Then in round two the sexes trade places and repeat the exercise. This was a rare opportunity for the students to discuss such issues and to hear the perspectives of the opposite sex.
Following lunch, the students had the chance to hear two excellent guest speakers, one from the Health Development Initiative and the head coach of the Rwandan Women's Basketball team. These two women talked about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, through exercise, eathing healthy, practicing safe sex, and being self-confident.
The day was finished off with a Healthy Living Olympics. The students were divided into three teams for the competition. The first round included a series of exercises, including stretching, jumping jacks, pushups, and running. The next event was hygiene focused with teethbrushing and handwashing relay races. And to cap the games off, each team created a fantastic song about preventing malaria.
The students headed to bed early that night in preparation for the big race the next day. We headed to the Amahoro Stadium at 7:30am on Sunday morning and joined the crowd of runners. The majority of students successfully ran the 7k Run for Fun Race with four PCVs, but a handful of students accidentally, albiet also successfully, ran the half marathon. All of the PCVs who were not running stayed on the sidelines and cheered on all of the students.