Monday, July 9, 2007

Men's Health, Day 1

Saturday, July 7th was our first Men's Health workshop, something I've been organizing with the Foro Nacional de SIDA. We did half of the full workshop yesterday, and will do the other half next Saturday. In a nutshell, it went great! We had about 20 people show up (more than I expected, we had quite a full house) and they were all very enthusiastic.

At about 8:30am, Mary and I went to the OFRANEH Office to start setting up chairs for the workshop. We were ostensibly supposed to start at 9, but I had worked over an hour of leeway into the schedule since I assumed we would probably be starting about an hour late. People started to shop up around 9:30. By 10:00 most of the participants had arrived, and we got started.

Mary started us off with Lenguaje de Hombre (Man's Language), an activity about slang words used in the street, and why we use them.

After that, I ran a game called ¡Diga la Verdad, Hombre! (Tell the Truth, Man!) where participants had to answer questions about HIV, condom use and sexuality and then scramble to change seats, musical chairs style (there was always one less seat than the number of participants).

After a short break, I ran another activity called Chicas Calientes (literally Hot Girls, but it's a double entendre because caliente can also mean horny). The guys really got into this (because there were 8 scantily clad women posted up on the wall), and learned about the chain of transmission and how it's not possible to tell if someone has HIV only by looking at them.

Mary continued with Fluidos Pegajosos (Sticky Fluids), a lesson on which fluids transmit HIV, and the different situations and actions that carry risk of transmitting the infection.

Alan's kids really wanted to participate in the activities; I distracted them with my camera. They loved to pose for pictures.

While Kenny set up for the last activity, I did a quick activity called Si Da, No Da (a play on SIDA, the spanish acronym for AIDS).

Lastly, Kenny (one of my counterparts at FONASIDA) did Póngase el Sombrero (Put on the Sombrero) a lesson in how to use a condom properly. First 10 volunteers had to organize the steps to properly use a condom. Then, Kenny demonstrated the proper way to put on/remove a condom, and lastly the whole class practiced with plantains.

We got a lot of really positive feedback from the participants, and they all said they would come again next week, and bring their friends! I'm not exactly sure how we'll fit more people if that does happen, but I figure that's a good problem to have.

After the workshop, Mary and I were in need of some R&R, so we went to a beachside restaurant/hostel outside of Trujillo called Casa Kiwi (it's owned by New Zealanders). We met up with Johnny, and Irish med student who has been volunteering with Agua Pura down in Choluteca. We swam, watched the sunset, and played with an enormous starfish.

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