Along with our continued donations to neighborhood clinics, our Future Guardians of Peace (FGP's) and scholarship students in Liberia have been hosting awareness workshops with surrounding communities. Check out FGP, Ezekiel Mavolo's Field Report from our most recent gathering!
Wow! Wow! Wow! It was an amazing and exciting event on February 7, 2015. All of the scholarship students were able to make their way to the event and it was the first time for all the students in Monrovia to have a program together. To speak my mind as a leader, it was beautiful to see all the scholarship students working cordially together.
The funds received for our efforts towards Ebola disease awareness and sensitization were effectively used to supply locals with preventative materials and to impart the knowledge and ideas we have achieved in our previous workshops. Therefore, we saw the necessity to quickly organize another workshop with our newly formed team and some interested community members. Along with the presentation of sanitation supplies, food and soft drinks were also provided. The topics selected for the workshop were: Ebola Disease, HIV/AIDS, Teenage Pregnancy, Global Warming and Erosion. The workshop was well attended and dominated by girls, as usual. Tasks and topics were shared among the FGPs to smoothly and easily host the workshop.
The workshop started at 10: 00 am and opened up with a discussion from Morris and Benedict about the Ebola disease as it is still on the rampage. It was a very interactive conversation with questions and answers thrown back and forth. In fact, some participants were even elaborating on the topic with ideas from their previous Ebola awareness programs. They meaningfully discussed the process by which this deadly virus is contracted and the preventive methods such as do not touch the sick or dead even if they are your loved ones, family, friends and relatives, as well as to wash your hands and shared supplies, and to stop eating bush meat, etc.
Immediately after the Ebola discussion, Ezekiel continued the workshop with the topic of HIV/AIDS. In his discussion, he briefly elaborated on the history and some of the ways it can be contracted: having intercourse with an infected person, sharing needles with someone who is infected, from an HIV infected mother to child with no early treatment during pregnancy, breast feeding by an HIV infected mother, and any other way through the bloodstream. There was much interest surrounding this topic because stories were coming out from the participants themselves. One story that puzzled me was from a man who said, “I had a very close friend that we did everything together and we were friendly to the extent that we used a single shaver to shave ourselves.” After much discussion on the means of contraction, we then listed and discussed together some of the preventive methods such as avoid using used materials -needle or syringe, razor blade, shaver and so on- and always use a condom, stay with one partner, or remain abstinent because you cannot tell if someone has AIDS.
Perhaps the most interesting topic covered was Teenage Pregnancy, which was treated by our three young ladies, Mahawa, Weedor and Winner. Both girls and boys were eager to ask and answer questions. In fact, the girls were blaming the boys that, “some boys are rough during intercourse and some say they cannot enjoy sex with a condom.” The boys were also saying the same thing, “some girls also say they cannot enjoy sex with condoms, and that they knew their cycles well enough to avoid using one.” Moreover, there were a lot of comments about parents forcing their girls to contribute to their homes with food and money, some even go as far as putting a stop to early pregnancies and prenatal care. In the end, condoms were shared among participants and the important use of them to prevent disease and pregnancy was stressed.
Finally, Ezekiel and BJ discussed our last topic, Global Warming. During the discussion, we made it clear to participants why we are now experiencing unstable climatic conditions in Liberia. We told them that our activities are the cause of the change in our climatic condition such as logging and the burning of local charcoal, which we see more than 20 to 25 trucks loaded with bags entering Monrovia every day. We also pointed out the effects that often go unrecognized such as erosion, changes in temperature and the hotness of the earth’s surface. However, planting trees, along with other ecological restoration and management techniques can help to reduce these problems.
To conclude, we gave many thanks and appreciations to all that have worked tirelessly to make this workshop a successful one.
Ezekiel Mavolo, Future Guardian of Peace, everyday gandhis