I’m completely immersed in the language and it basically feels like I never left this town, so my Swahili is coming back and expanding with health vocabulary and sexual jokes. Sadly, I still don’t get the sexual jokes, but I pretend to. This usually makes everyone laugh even more.
The training is extremely comprehensive. In addition to photos and explanation about each method, there are demonstrations as well. The women (who will shortly become distributors of family planning education) can hold a dose of Depo Provera in their hand and see what the injection needle looks like. I’m learning more about the methods and mechanics of family planning than I ever did in school (and I didn’t even go to a Catholic school).
In addition to the humor and practical knowledge, this training actually seems to be serving as much of a role in empowering these young women as educating them. I never entirely sold this family planning program as empowerment, it’s a lofty concept and very difficult to teach. However, one of the trainers is incredible and I would be selling her short to say that she is not empowering. She led a participatory conversation about women taking control of their bodies, in terms of child-bearing and sexuality. By the end of it, the distributors were chanting, “Tunaweza! Tunaweza!” (we can!). I got chills.