To all who participated in Giving Tuesday this year, thanks to you, we are able to send many more children to Camp Sizanani and learn to see a better future for themselves.
Report from the Field: Opening and Closing Campfire by Kim Posthumus, GCA Office Manager
Camp Sizanani this December was transformative for our campers as well as our vochellis (counselors) and our international volunteers. This December was my first visit to camp, and to me the easiest way to see the transformation in the campers was to attend both the opening and closing campfire. On the first night of camp, after the egg drop and first meals together, we all gathered around the campfire. Already, the campers were singing some of the camp songs, and dancing, and there was a sense of the culture of camp. Two people from each cabin had the opportunity to stand up in front of the fire to share what they expected for camp. At first, many were nervous, but some extraverted campers came to the front. They shared their excitement about what was to come, and the friendships they hoped to form. The atmosphere was full of anticipation and an eagerness to learn. I was somewhat surprised to see the campers so willing to learn and grow even on the first day, but I quickly realized that was just the beginning, and they were just starting to blossom.
Throughout the week, we learned from each other and engaged in activities and discussions. We were all exhausted by the end of every day, thanks to the constant engagement and stretching out of our comfort zones. By the end of the week, we formed a real community, and we were sad to leave.
The closing campfire was emotional and inspiring. The campers arrived singing at full volume, and holding hands and hugging each other. We all sang for quite a long while before we settled down to hear each other speak. Again, two campers were selected from each cabin to say a few words, and this time, everyone was clamoring for the opportunity to say something. While everyone wanted to share how they felt and what they had learnt, when it came time to actually speak, many people said they were at a loss for words. It was so hard to truly express the transformation we had all experienced. Some campers were sad to be going home, but they were encouraged that they could cope better with their circumstances now. We were all reminded that you can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose how to respond. This, to me, is one of the most important lessons to learn in life, and I could see that many of the campers were now better equipped to make healthy decisions when they have to respond to any challenge that comes their way. We ended the evening with hugs for all, and singing all the way back to our cabins for one last night together as Camp Sizanani. Thank you to all who make this opportunity possible for our campers, and our Vochellis. It was wonderful to see the program in action.
How To Survive a Plague Success
Over 100 people joined Global Camps Africa in New York City at the Anthology Film Center on Thursday evening, November 6th, to view a special private screening of David France's award-winning film How to Survive a Plague.
The event was a major success and we were honored to be joined by the filmmaker David France, actor and activist Jeffrey Wright, and infectious disease expert Dr. Jessica Justman, along with so many of our friends and supporters.
Click here to read more and hear audio clips from the evening on our blog.
Camp Sizanani Director Accepts Fellowship
Our very own Camp Sizanani director, Kabelo Malefane, has been accepted to the Dr. Sidney J Parnes Global Fellowship in Creative Problem Solving. The program is highly competitive, and Kabelo was selected based on his outstanding work as a global change maker. He will have the opportunity over the next two years to learn from other creative change makers around the world, and also share his experiences.
We are honored to have him as part of the Global Camps Africa team, and we are looking forward to the creative ideas that will be fostered through this fellowship in the next few years. Congratulations, Kabelo!
Click here to learn more about the fellowship and the Creative Problem Solving Institute.
Thank you to all who participated in our Global Campfire celebration. These photos are from some of our best campfires. We all had the opportunity to share in a day of commemoration by hosting a campfire with friends and family. Many of you shared photos of your campfire with us, and here are a few of our favorites. This was an opportunity for all of us to learn more about HIV and AIDS and celebrate the progress we have made. We hope you enjoyed your campfire in a box.