Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Many Blushing Adolescents Does It Take to Stop Me...

...the limit does not exist.

Two weeks ago we went to Jani Nushi High School to do presentations on STIs and protection. Below you may observe the school guard, who obviously takes his job very seriously. (sarcasm font)

We had two awesome seniors from the Red Cross First Aid club help us out with our presentations. And by help us out, I mean present them...because these two are awesome and totally without embarrassment and did I mention awesome? (Info like this is so much better coming from students' peers rather than the American who talks like a kindergartner and her awkard co-workers.) Fiqireta is above, and Indrit is below.

I'm trying to incorporate before/after surveys to see if students learn anything, but the only thing we got out of it is that students really don't get the whole idea of  "This isn't a test - we just want to know what you know, not what your neighbor knows so STOP COPYING. PLEASE."

Ah, yes. The riveted and intrigued faces of sixteen-year-olds pretending to care.

Warning: hand-drawn lady-bits ahead.

The next week, Moza and I (and a psychologist, Erka, who turned into our photographer) took the rounds of all the nine-year schools to talk to the sixth grade girls about everyone's favorite topic: menstruation! We talked to over 200 girls in eight different schools...and we had a blast. Moza is the most open of all my counterparts, and she had no problem taking part in my, erm, enthusiastic teaching methods.

We had to take group photos with each of the classes to prove to the director that we actually went to all these schools and spoke to the students we claimed to. 

In some schools, the biology teacher or school psychologist was really into helping us out - which was awesome. At other schools, the teachers scurried away to let us "do our thing" as soon as we got in the classroom. It's not usually considered an "appropriate" topic. (Same as in the U.S., which really rustles my jimmies because seriously? 50% of the human population goes through this. Why are we so embarrassed by it?!) 

But the whole "don't talk about it" thing leads to misconceptions that getting your period is "dirty" and "bad." Which, of course, it's not. Which, of course, I tried to drive home (probably a little too) emphatically. With Moza as my cheerleader. 

Folks, I had so much fun drawing these girls out of their shells and showing them that learning about this stuff doesn't have to be shameful. We are totally allowed to laugh because drawing a giant vulva on the blackboard is pretty ridiculous.


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  2. Hahaha did you show 6th grade Albanian girls an image of a vagina?? I wish someone did that when I was growing up there :) Great job! Love seeing all the Peace Corps in my home country (been reading a few blogs), since we all left, at least you guys are doing what we should have done. A few of us took the easy way out and left.

  3. Arberesha - so glad to hear you've enjoyed reading! I totally drew a larger-than-life vulva on the blackboard and asked girls to come up and label the parts! And if I may, I must disagree that leaving was "the easy way out." Not so! Cross culture shock, language, pace of life, living far from family - I have so much respect for all the Albanians I know both here and abroad, and how they strive to keep a sense of family even thousands of miles apart. Are you in the States now?

  4. Lol this is my old High School. The guys name on the first picture is Turi. He use to share the job with he's brother.Can't belive he still there :). I graduated in 2003 ..... so many good moments I had there. I hope you meet the school director Syrja Haliti. He was also my Albanian literature teacher. Very good teacher and respected man. Respect for the job you have done, Albanians are a very close society they need with woman's emancipation