Another Week Beyond – 1925

Dear Friends,

We continued our conversation with a group of boys about healthy relationships, sex and family planning (AWB – 1911). This time we offered biryani instead of burgers and 6 “older” youth showed up.  After dinner and a game of charades that got everyone laughing heartily, the youth were paired up; some with an adult volunteer.  Each pair was given a short script entitled “Tonight’s the night” which was a short exchange between 2 boys, one of whom had plans for sex later that evening.

Role-playing with a script was an effective way of immersing oneself into a context and addressing issues that are difficult to articulate. The 5-minute exercise surfaced the issues of sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, trust, responsibility, beliefs, long term planning and stigma.  These were heavy subjects put forth in a light-hearted way but importantly, the conversations that followed were not frivolous and lasted for about 2 hours.

The youth admitted that they felt embarrassed buying condoms and at $5 for a pack of 3, it was not quite affordable.  A box of 12 at $10.90 would be cheaper but it was difficult to share it with friends as no one spoke about such things in the community or in school.  However, when one admitted   that he hardly used condoms and withdrawal was his contraception of choice,  the rest swiftly pointed out that he was  at risk of impregnating his partners and contracting  a sexually transmitted disease.

We were heartened that those present believed that parenthood was a choice for a couple to make and not something that should be left to chance. They spoke about the need for financial stability and explored what being ready to start a family meant.     Whether a couple was willing and able to share the   responsibility of raising children was one indicator of readiness and another was the availability of extended family support.

At the end of the evening, the youth concluded that their biggest takeaway was that their actions had consequences and talking openly about difficult issues was a good way to clarify one’s thinking.

“Having sex is free. But everything else is not free. Condoms. Babies. Responsibilities. They all come at a cost. Having a baby is a big commitment and being a father is a big responsibility,” was one wry summary.

Have a good week ahead.

Gerard
A hero is someone who understand the responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond – 2413

Yesterday, I had a discussion with some colleagues about how we may get residents in the neighbourhoods we engage to present themselves “better” to volunteers especially those from corporations who provide funds and other resources. This discussion was triggered by feedback that these residents do not brief the volunteers well enough on their tasks or explain to them how their time and efforts add value to their neighbourhood. The goodwill from corporations is important for the sustainability of our work and obviously, we want to create a positive experience for these corporate volunteers lest we lose their support. However, this

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2412

Ignite! Is a group of youth studying in institutions of higher learning who share resources,encourage each other and serve as role models for children in their neighbourhoods. It has been in existence for about 2.5 years and at its peak there were 25 members. 2 weeks ago, when a meeting was called, 3 members showed up and they were concerned that the group would no longer exist if there were no new members. Quickly, they discussed what a recruitment drive could look like and they drew up a collective list of friends they could invite to attend an introductory meeting.

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2411

An elderly person contacted us and told us that he would avoid engaging with a colleague I shall call Jane. He told us that Jane had a demon within her. The message via WhatsApp to a few of us left us perplexed. We thought that keeping the conversation going on the phone would only lead to more confusion and so we told him that we will chat over coffee. As I sat with him together with another colleague, this elderly person spoke in an agitated fashion, and we sensed his fear. He related his experiences of how friends have been

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2410

Children roaming the neighbourhood on their own was a concern identified by 2 Community Fellows in October last year. They had observed that some children were unkempt and still in their school uniform at a time when most children would have had their dinner and preparing for bed. These fellows were worried for the children, and they found themselves questioning if their parents cared. They also looked for programmes in the community which they could refer the children to and thought that if there were none suitable, they would create one. During the school holidays last year, they reached out

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2409

Community offers the promise of belonging and calls for us to acknowledge our interdependence. To belong is to act as an investor, owner, and creator of this place.  – Peter Block Yesterday, lunch for 22 neighbours was prepared by our members of our community, at our premises with the harvest from our very own vegetable garden. While it was not quite a harvest festival celebration, it was nonetheless a joyous occasion. We were commemorating the end of an 8-session programme-cum-pilot study to explore the positive effects of urban farming on the physical and mental well-being of those aged 50 and

Read More »

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond – 2413

Yesterday, I had a discussion with some colleagues about how we may get residents in the neighbourhoods we engage to present themselves “better” to volunteers especially those from corporations who provide funds and other resources. This discussion was triggered by feedback that these residents do not brief the volunteers well enough on their tasks or explain to them how their time and efforts add value to their neighbourhood. The goodwill from corporations is important for the sustainability of our work and obviously, we want to create a positive experience for these corporate volunteers lest we lose their support. However, this

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2412

Ignite! Is a group of youth studying in institutions of higher learning who share resources,encourage each other and serve as role models for children in their neighbourhoods. It has been in existence for about 2.5 years and at its peak there were 25 members. 2 weeks ago, when a meeting was called, 3 members showed up and they were concerned that the group would no longer exist if there were no new members. Quickly, they discussed what a recruitment drive could look like and they drew up a collective list of friends they could invite to attend an introductory meeting.

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2411

An elderly person contacted us and told us that he would avoid engaging with a colleague I shall call Jane. He told us that Jane had a demon within her. The message via WhatsApp to a few of us left us perplexed. We thought that keeping the conversation going on the phone would only lead to more confusion and so we told him that we will chat over coffee. As I sat with him together with another colleague, this elderly person spoke in an agitated fashion, and we sensed his fear. He related his experiences of how friends have been

Read more >