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Published: June 20th 2011
Since the last update has been a while. As you might know I have been working as the Health Projects Coordinator for the local Charit Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas (yellow Butterflies) for the last 6 weeks here in Santa Marta. The organisation is doing great and there are a lot of positive changes happening here at the moment.
SO here is a little bit about what we do in our 2 communities with the adult population. We work in 2 neighbourhoods of Santa Marta, Oasis and Fundadores. In Oasis, we have been established longer, which is why things have been happening there since the beginning of the year. We have done questionnaires and gathered valuable information from the women in Oasis to see what the problems were in the area and how we could help. The women identified topics such as sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, contraception, violence, child abuse as the most common things happening in the community. They further said that they would like this to be discussed in Charlas, which are meetings, where we get an expert in (a nurse, or someone from another volunteer organisation), to talk about a topic and discuss it. Since, we have
had chats on domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases and nutrition. The women loved it and also said that they would love to learn more about violence in particular, as there is a lot of child abuse and domestic violence happening in the families here. Together with some other volunteers we are currently organising a self confidence course for women too. It is meant to help women, victims of abuse and violence, to learn about their rights, needs and boost their confidence. Towards the end of this course we will also talk about how to deal with..or what to do about sexual or domestic violence. My Colombian friend, also named Claudia ;-), has agreed to do this for 8 weeks. I am hoping for it to be a great success.
Further we have adult literacy classes, where we go from house to house and sit down with each woman to help them learn reading. We also do adult English classes twice a week.
I have been doing the consultation in Fundadores the past couple of weeks, to see what the problems in this community are and how the foundation could help. This means that I have been visiting all
the parents of the children at our school and interviewed them. I tried to determine their perception of the education their children receive at our school but also to talk with them about what the problems in Fundadores are and HOW we could help. This I think is so important, as the community gets involved from the very beginning and decides if help is needed and if so in which area and how it should be delivered (for example showing videos, preparing flyers with information about sexual health, drug abuse... or through Charlas (weekly discussion rounds). I have got all the data now, and am summing it up, so hopefully by the end of my stay, we will have started exactly the same classes we have in Oasis in Fundadores!
I have had lots of help from some colombian friends and some other volunteers, as the Costeno accent the people have here is super difficult to understand. Since I have only spoken Spanish for 4 months, I'm quite proud that I am able to converse at this advanced level already. However, when talking about specialised things such as sexual health or nutrition, it meant that I had to
and still have to study a lot each day to make sure I am able to talk about these issues with the community. It is hard, but a very very rewarding job I have here. The group of volunteers here is fabulous too. Everyone is fun, but super committed to our project. We all live in a hostel together and have a good time on the weekends as a reward for our bucketload of work during the week.
I will update some more once I have more time (erm..never then I suppose ;-)). Until then I hope that all of you are doing well. Keep me posted on whats happening in your lifes too please.
All the best,
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