So I know it’s been forever since I last posted something, I’ve been really busy with work lately, which is great, because it means that I’m not just sitting around my house doing nothing, and weltering away in the blistering heat. One of the biggest projects I’ve been working on, and the one I’m most excited about is a summer camp for Togolese kids who’ve been infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. I know this isn’t the normal kind of sarcastic, comical, self depreciating blog post you’re used to, but as one of the directors of the camp this year, this has become a really important project for me, and something I hope you enjoy reading about. So here goes…
In a world where life is already hard, a child facing a life impacted by HIV/AIDS is difficult to fully comprehend. You may watch a parent suffer and die from the devastating disease only to later learn you may share a similar fate. AIDS awareness and education has not yet reached your village and you are considered a leper. Stigmatized and ostracized in your community, you may face abandonment by both family and people you once considered friends.
Enter Camp Espoir. A week each summer where it doesn’t matter what your test result was. A week when you play, laugh, and sing with other kids who share your story but who don’t care that you may be a walking health risk. A week where you gain friends and a sense of community and for once don’t feel so alone. A week where you will learn how to manage, cope and thrive in a world not designed to accept you. A week surrounded by caring staff, enthusiastic American’s, and for the first time a chance to talk to a psychologist trained especially for your situation. A week where you will you eat really well, experience electricity and running water, quite possibly for the first time in your life and rest easy knowing you’ve got a safe place to sleep. A week at Camp Espoir.
Along with local partner non-governmental organizations who serve children impacted by HIV/AIDS year round, Camp Espoir is a camp designed to reach out to this vulnerable population of Togolese children and offer the chance to just be a kid for a week. Camp Espoir is organized by Peace Corps Volunteers each year, who fundraise throughout the spring so that the camp can be at no cost to its campers. PCV’s serve as regional and national coordinators working closely with organizations to reach children and invite them to camp. PCV’s are trained as counselors and spend a week with the children, encouraging, guiding and supporting them through various activities specifically designed to inspire and give them hope. Camp Espoir. Camp Hope. Help us bring that hope to over 200 children impacted by HIV/AIDS this summer.
Bringing hope is simple. Follow the link below to the National Peace Corps website where you can make a secure and tax-deductable donation through the. For more information on Camp Espoir and the lives it has touched, please visit our blog at:
I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how the camp is going, and post lots of pictures when the time comes.
As I said before, this is a really important project for me here, but we can’t make it happen without the help of donors. Every little bit helps.
So after you click on the link and donate a few bucks, you can copy the link to this blog post and share it with friends and family through email or Facebook.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
And don’t worry, I’ve got a few more good, much more entertaining blog posts on the way real soon.