"Taller" (Workshop) with the groups from El Aguaje and Santa Lucia
by: Gibran Mangui

In these past two weeks that I’ve been in Iquitos, we’ve done so much and we’ve met so many.

Aside from planning our research and visiting Pampachica, we’ve also been attending ‘talleres’ and even holding a couple of our own, at the request of Manuel. The ‘talleres’ we’ve been observing usually encompass a powerpoint presentation that lasts for about 50 minutes. This topic is extremely important for the students to become self-informed but it also makes them a bit uncomfortable to know that it’s about sexual health. Many of them are shy and prefer to not pay attention to the beginning of the presentation. After Frida starts presenting and clearly mentions that the presentation is more of a conversation than a class, the students start listening and act more receptive to the information. A sad reality is when asked if they know/how many cases of teenage pregnancies they know, all of them raise their hand. It’s even more concerning to know that Loreto is the region with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the entire country.

Manuel has also asked us to give talleres ourselves, with topics ranging from working in a group to different public health issues. The picture above shows the group from El Aguaje and Santa Lucia at a taller we gave yesterday night. The objective was to better understand the qualities of a good leader. The first activity we did was an activity we did at the GlobeMed retreat at the beginning of last school year. We wrote 10 words down on stickers and placed them in each kid’s forehead. All of them were into the game and interacted well with each other! After discussing the meaning of the words with them, we separated into groups. It was really inspiring to hear who they thought of as leaders in their community. They were able to give clear examples of different qualities of good leaders they’ve seen in school or the community itself. It’s one thing to give students more attention on schoolwork or tutor them in any specific subject; it’s another to try to coach them through very major issues that may come up in their lives at their age, especially about sexual and reproductive health. This is especially important because many don’t have family or other close ones they can talk to.

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