Back from PEPFAR training, I am an official HIV/AIDS trainer. It was a blast. As I think I mentioned before, I took along my student, Alina, and another English teacher, Lydia, to the conference and they are also certified trainers, which is awesome since I will be leaving shortly (9 months being shortly). Now we will do a project to spread information about HIV/AIDS in our community and school. Last Dec. 1st, I had a training in my school which included 6 students who attended Camp HEAL (HIV/AIDS themed-camp) conduct a training to the 9th, 10th, and 11th classes. While we will not be going to Camp HEAL this year, we will train 6 students so that we can once again have these training’s on DEC. 1st. The idea is that these become permanent training’s in our school. We will also have an art contest leading up to Dec. 1st and the winning art pieces/photos/etc will be featured in an HIV/AIDS calendar. Or so this is the plan. Wish us luck!
There is a lot of stigma about HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, as I would assume is the same in most countries. This activity was basically to instill some understanding into the participants.
Listening to the HIV+ speakers tell their stories was inspiring. They were so positive and it helped disprove some of the pre-notions that becoming HIV+ is the end of the world.
Showing the proper way to use a condom, including NO OIL BASED LUBES!
School ends early this year due to the 2012 UEFA Cup. To those who don’t know, UEFA is the biggest European football championship and it happens every 4 years. I will (hopefully) be a volunteer for these games in the Donetsk region…we will see. The point though was that it never seizes to amaze me how small a priority education is here. I could go on forever about this but basically I have had my classes canceled by a range of reasons from “It’s a teacher’s birthday party at 1pm today so you won’t have that class” to “there is no running water so we can’t have school today” to “the parents think it’s too cold outside, so we are canceling school”…actually, those are some of the most legit reasons I have heard…there is definitely worse.
I’m talking to my sister Elisa on skype the other day when she tells me she is sending me a care package. Jokingly, I asked her if I could see what’s in it. She agreed, but with a sly grin on her face. She pulls up a huge box, and slowly starts taking out the first item…I was so excited…except it was wrapped. And the next one was wrapped too. All of them. So my sister basically showed me a big box of wrapped presents, which she has informed me hasw to wait until her next paycheck to send, and that means another month to actually get here….So damn, so I am sitting here, waiting, excited, knowing there is a box of goodies coming my way, and I have no idea what is in it. Haha, well done Elisa. Well done. The anticipation is killing me. That’s a Kerchmar for you.
For reference, this is my sister Elisa:
My lovely AWESOME grandad comes in May! WOOP WOOP! I am so stoked…I cant wait for the next few months to pass! (though not really since Conor finishes his service in May.)
Anyways, I am stoked. He is the coolest 81 year old grandad in the world and he is coming here!!! I will probably take him to my site; show him off a bit; take him to the capital; and then maybe end it in Crimea, since I have never been there. He said he wants to see as much as possible. (Please bring Parmesan cheese).
So not a lot going on here….mostly just teaching and waiting for the holidays. The most drama I have had is with my 11th class. Sadly, they have gone from being my favorite class to now being my worst class. I hate teaching them now…they just talk and talk and make fun of me in Russian. I know they are getting anxious since they are almost graduated, but on a daily basis, the understanding bit is tough.
While I have been writing this blog, there has been continuous loud singing from my neighbors. It sounds like holiday singing. I think it is a bunch of older ladies, based on the sound…occasionally it breaks but it’s pretty much been continuous for the last 3 hours. interesting, eh? I will blog soon, if anything interesting happens. Summer is coming and so in my grandad so maybe next time there actually will be some news! Comments are always appreciated and thanks for reading! 🙂