Mark has a theory, and that is this: we PDs will never be able to master the art of "lucid dreaming" while living in Ecuador. In order to lucidly dream, one must be able to differentiate, while dreaming, between the dream and reality. In order to train one's mind to accomplish this, one must continually ask the question "is this real?" while awake. But, when you find yourself participating in an hour long parade through the streets of South America carrying an enormous banner behind a group of baton twirlers and in front of 50 marching band drummers, telling the difference between what's real and what's not becomes a little more challenging.
Yesterday, as a part of a health charla (the best translation we've come up with equates charla to "talk" or "presentation") with the Conocoto Ministry of Salud, we organized a "Planificacion Familiar" booth, ie. Family Planning. And by booth I mean tent. And by we I mean Serena. She has been working, along with Priya and Perry (our two "health" summer vols) non-stop for the past week putting together the information, posters, activities, and games for our tent. Thanks to our partner and friend Jens and his incredible organization HealtheChildren we were able to screen-print 150 tee-shirts, which we used as a prize for those people who were able to answer questions about family planning, natural and artificial birth control, and overall sexual health.
As Jos, Dana and Seth helped register 500 little runners for the 5k marathon, Mark taped up our posters and manned the tent while Perry, Serena and I marched through Conocoto with the rest of the parade participants. The rest of the day was spent handing out tee-shirts, explaining how to use cycle beads as an indication of fertility (Mark was the master of this which supported his theory of lucid dreaming, as he kept asking "Am I really explaining about fertility to Ecuadorian women using beads? Is this real?!") distributing condoms, playing "pin the contraceptive on the uterus" and referring everyone with any kind of question to Serena. With over 1,500 people in attendance, we had a full booth and a full day.
The day went off without a hitch thanks to the unbelievable work that Serena put in. I was in awe of how much she knew, how confidently and tactfully she explained different sexual health topics, and how welcoming and positive her every encounter was with all who came to talk with us. Way to go, Serena!
(Where we work; Manna sites and spring break 2009 locations)
("Pick a question. You'll receive a free shirt if you answer it correctly. Good luck!")
(Artificial birth control methods, put together by Perry)