Thursday, August 21, 2008

YETAM Day 4: Easing into the group work, discovering themes

We got started reviewing the agenda for the day. The technical teams had met and decided how they wanted to do the next few days. They decided that they’d work in the specialty areas for 2 days and meet again on Monday afternoon with all the kids (all 3 groups) to share what we’d all done. Photo: Monday, age 5, one of the stragglers who wandered into the training the first day and stayed on the fringes painting while the rest of the kids worked in their groups.

If the youth performed well in their groups, they would be able to join other groups later in the week. This was to resolve the fact that not all were totally happy with their assigned groups. Edson, the Plan community liaison was here today, so we asked him to give some deeper explanations on how Plan works.

He did an excellent job of explaining how Plan works, saying that Plan supports the community’s initiatives and so it wasn’t just like that, training and we'd leave. The youth said they want to start an association, so he explained that they should get organized and start the association, get the association registered. Plan can meet with them and help them do this, and then they should meet with the local authorities to see if they can get on the register of youth associations because maybe there is some support from there. Once seeing what the local government can do, they can once again sit with Plan to analyze that the gaps are between what the youth can do and what the municipality can do, and then Plan can see what it can do to support them. We encouraged them to work together and come up with ideas so that we can have a feedback session later in the week to discuss the follow up. He assured them that Plan would be around to work with them and support them.

After that the kids separated into their groups and began their specialized work. The kids in the art group perked up as Chaka began teaching them how to make cutouts for painting on the sides of buildings or silk screening. They immediately saw that as a potential way for making some money, starting a business. They made taxi signs and painted them. In the afternoon they started doing some drawings and using water colors.

The video group started sharing some more ideas on what they would film. They went over the 7 questions of an interview, story development, the need to research your topic and think of concrete shots to prove your point, getting relevant and concise information about the person you are interviewing, how to film and interview and the background shots, different shots/angles (close up, long shot, etc), scripting and storylines, and members of a video team.

Some of the stories they want to film are:

--Education: with the point of letting kids go to school

--Modern agriculture: trying to develop ourselves/the community more in the area of agriculture

--The development/progress we have achieved: show the aerial antennae, we have electricity, small hospital

--YETAM workshop: its purpose is to hear children’s voices and Plan is sponsoring it

--Impact of genocide: fighting against genocide mentality, after effects of AIDS

--Environmental protection: soil erosion

--Lives of children who are not attending school

The theater group started getting deeper into pantomime, sketches, etc. They are working on a skit about a girl whose parents are not supporting her to go to school. Her mother is somewhat weak and the father is drunk all the time. They seem to know this story quite well.

Kids seem happy today with how things are going since it’s a bit of a break from sitting inside, they are in smaller groups and they are more active, with some groups working outside. At 4 when they were supposed to leave, they didn’t want to go home. We still have the situation with the non-participating kids coming and peering in the windows, sitting in the back of the room, etc. and we just don't have enough food to feed them all, but it feels really uncomfortable to be sitting inside eating a plate of food while 15-20 kids are looking in at you.

As I was writing this, a group of kids came to watch me as I don’t think they had seen a computer before and they were really fascinated with what was going on and why as I typed, the paper kept rolling up off the page at the top of the screen, and where was it going and what I was doing. Why was I just writing and erasing words?

We left the training center around 4.15 and took some of the jump ropes back to the hostel with us. I think we all needed some exercise. So we spent an hour or so playing jump rope games, running around, having push up contests, long jumping, and sprinting and just generally playing around which was exactly what people needed. We gave Chrystel a general update since she'd been gone to Kigali to sort some more logistics for the project.

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