11/19/12 Today the principal of Emfundweni, Mr. Andala, asked a colleague and I to speak to a group of young women about the HIV/Aids epidemic that is devastating the community of Zwidie, South Africa among so many. My partner and I did research on the statistics in the area in order to provide factual information to the young ladies, but also so that may be able to relate it to something that affects them personally--their community. I started the conversation with an icebreaker, having each student introduce themselves by name and age. My colleague and I also introduced ourselves a little more in detail. From there, I shared anecdotal stories about my childhood and how I began to have natural feelings for the opposite sex.The discussion ran its course naturally and we provided the girls with a lot of important information. What was most shocking was that I asked several questions following the discussion to analyze how helpful the session had been. One of the questions posed was as follows: "By a show of hands, how many of you have had a talk about HIV/aids and other STD's prior to today?" One student raised her hand. Another question asked was, "How many of you were aware of how serious the HIV disease was and how it can affect your life?" No hands were raised. Being that this is such a serious health concern in the country of South Africa, I strongly urged the principal to implement workshops biannually to educate the youth about the risk factors, how to protect themselves, and to encourage abstinence. Overall, the experience was positive one. Even though I was teaching sex education, which I am honestly not qualified for, I know I reached these students today and the feeling was absolutely gratifying.
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