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Published: July 22nd 2014
First try at the condom
Enoch - our youngest participant (10 years old)
Advice for giving a condom demonstration to adolescents:
- Be prepared for uncontrollable laughter in response to the presence of a dildo and condoms
- Explain the importance of using a condom multiple times because they were likely laughing and didn't hear the first time
- Be flexible with how the presentation goes, you might need to try something else to get the attention of the adolescents
- Bring plenty of condoms for everyone to try, because in the end no one wants to be left out of the fun!
I walked into my first condom demonstration last Tuesday with only a vague idea of those pieces of advice, a dildo, and 5 condoms, graciously lent by the epidemiologist and the pharmacy in the Centro de Salud. Last week's class was the main idea with which we started the entire class for adolescents - sexual education. Teen pregnancy is very common in Nicaragua and there aren't very many sexual education classes from what I can tell (none that exist in connection with the clinic). The lesson plan consisted of the biology of the reproductive system of men and women, a simple version of how fertilization of
the egg and implantation work, a brief overview of STDs, and finally the condom demonstration. Quite a steep list of topics to cover in only an hour. We ended up going a bit over the hour, and could definitely have used a whole second class period to cover everything that needs to be covered, but with a time restraint of 6 weeks for the class, we did what we had to. Hopefully the next time the class is held they will be able to extend it to at least 9 weeks (or more!) to give the necessary time to each topic.
Surprisingly, the class ended up going incredibly well! I couldn't have done it without the help of Tatiana, the psychologist who has been helping me, since she was able to smooth out my descriptions in Spanish of how the biology works as well as to instill a higher level of seriousness into the condom demonstration. The adolescents started out laughing and joking loudly with each other, but with a reminder from Tatiana that they are going to need to know how to use a condom eventually, they actually paid close attention. We started by having the youngest boy
(10 years old) try his hand at putting the condom on the dildo, but none of them actually knew what they were doing and this was more to bring their attention to that fact than anything else. After a correct step-by-step demonstration by me, the rest of them got to try as well, in pairs. By the end, they were all asking to try it on their own and I was regretting only asking for 5 condoms! I was very impressed by the fact they were all willing to try and they were even asking questions by the end. It ended up being my favorite class I've had with them yet, and I can't believe I only have one more. There are 8 adolescents who have come regularly to the class (only missing one for the world cup semifinal, which is understandable), ages 10-16, and although rowdy, have expressed a lot of interest in the subjects and (I hope) have learned a lot.
My pregnancy class last week was way more laid back. We talked about breastfeeding and the benefits it has for both the mother and the baby, as well as postpartum signs of alarm and depression. I
now have 6 regular participants in that class (with a few hostages that basically have to attend since they're staying in the Casa Materna) and they have also all been interested participants. A few of them missed the first class sessions, so I am hoping they'll continue to attend with the nurses, even after I leave.
Now begins a week of lasts. Today was my last Monday, tomorrow is my last Adolescent class...you get the picture.
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