|Baylor staff at the annual team building retreat at Shafiq Beach in Mwanza, Tanzania|
|Teens listen to a staff member teach about the importance of good adherence to their meds|
Aside from helping organize Teen Club each month, I've also been working with smaller groups of our teens who have expressed interest in "extra curricular" activities. Soon after I started, we met with an organization called Mwanza Youth and Children's network. We developed a partnership and recruited some teens from Teen Club who were interested in media to start a Media Group. MYCN began training this group of 18 teens in everything from the basics of media and why it's important to using tape recorders and practicing interviewing skills. After a few trainings, a few teens were ready and went to try out to have a part on MYCN's radio spot. They made the cut and before we knew it we were live on local radio!
Another group I've been working closely with is called Stitch x Stitch. Earlier this year this group was formed by girls from Teen Club who were interested in sewing and starting an income generating project. Baylor hired them a mentor to teach them sewing basics, and Baylor staff has been working with them to develop business skills and financial literacy. The program made a lot of progress recently thanks to Candace and her marketing background by helping the girls develop a marketing plan and get organized. They have new orders almost weekly, with most of their products being purchased by Texas Children's Hospital.
Well enough about work. Mwanza really is a whole different world from the life I've been living in Tanzania so far. From early morning rooster wake up calls and days of fetching my water on my bike in Sepuka to Monday happy hour at our neighborhood bar (yes I realize this is the second time I've mentioned happy hour in this blog) and going dancing on the weekends (sometime during the week too...), my days and weekends are spent much differently than before. I have good friends and two great roommates who are actual people instead of my previous company of termites and scorpions and I'm so lucky to have them (the people ones). It's not better or worse than the way I was living before in a small village in the middle of nowhere, it's just different. I still have bad days in Tanzania where I just wish I could be home sitting at my parent's kitchen table eating mango salsa and grapes, but I love my job, and this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.