Beat The Drum Update

July 2nd, 2015 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2015

Alright so it is time to recap the past two weeks! I’ll give you a hint. It was chaotic. 

So on June 21st and 22nd two teams arrived at our base to partake in a HIV/AIDS program called Beat The Drum. So we collected a team from South Africa from LXP, a leadership program, and a team from Hamburg, New York. So it went from about 20 or so people to 50 people at our base everyday. This was exciting but also a little stressful at times. I went into this with the strategy: Let them come to you. I would pick and choose groups to be involved with. Now you may think “Michael! Why are you being so shy?” The reason I did this was so that I didn’t over exert myself during the two weeks. Our schedule was packed enough, I didn’t need to learn 30 new names. So the first week, 21st-27th, was training. Our goal was to go into the schools and handle a class to teach them the Beat The Drum curriculum. So we watched the Beat The Drum movie and went through each lesson as we prepared for week two. We also split into teams and got teaching partners. My partner was Limpo. And I thank God for this. First of all she is from EXP, so I already knew her and we found out quick when we had our first lesson prep, that we were the same personalities. So it was time to meet in our pairs and plan out what we would teach during the next week. Our meeting went like this:

Limpo- “So I’ll do the Introduction and Activity and you’ll teach?”

Me- “Yup! Sounds Good!”

It was that simple. She kept talking about how she didn’t understand people who plan for hours, and I agreed. So this was good that we both flowed easily together and could be prepared right away. So on Friday the 26th we showed the Beat the Drum Movie to the Students. And it was pretty awful. Between kids coming and going at will, packed smelly classrooms, three power failures, and hours of Ice breakers, less than half the kids saw the movie. Which was the basis of our teaching. Many people felt overwhelmed and stressed about the upcoming week based off of this experience. I was a little nervous for teaching but I also was excited to get in and get to work. Monday came and it was time to teach the kids. Me and Limpo had grade 11 in the morning and grade 12s in the afternoon. So we started our morning class and found out only two kids had seen the movie. So I totally skipped the teaching part based from the movie. And the rest of the time went super smoothly. We ended by having kids write down any questions they had and received a box full of letters. This was also the general census for everyone else, and it got everyone excited for the rest of the week. Which was so awesome. And then came the afternoon. Do you know the feeling you get after you eat lunch? Like all you want to do is nap? Well add that with a classroom of probably 50-60 grade 12s and it was hectic. The school was also arranged that the smarter, well-behaved kids had morning classes and the rest were in the afternoon. So Limpo being African did a great job controlling the kids, but when it came to me teaching them it was rough. My voice barley carried and they would not stop talking. So after the first day it gave the vibe, mornings are great, afternoons suck. And the trend continued through the four days of teaching. Although the afternoon class got better by the fourth day, and I’m sure with more time we could have gotten through to them. So to sum of the teaching, it went really well although I had the overwhelming feeling of kids just saying the right answers, and not really connecting or meaning what they said. Which in the scheme of things it only matters if that one kid took away something. So now it was Friday and time for the Bash! This bash served two purposes to celebrate the end of beat the drum and to start a Reach for Life club here. There was an empty pool and our vision was to fill the pool with kids and just have a blast playing loud music and announcing the Reach for Life stuff. It went downhill fast. First the kids would not enter the pool and a bunch of kids were standing outside the pool. Second during some student acts that were supposed to represent purity, there was a lot of twerking… and one girl took her top off. Just insanity! During our debrief there was a lot of discouragement but also a lot of hope in what we did there. But in all it didn’t feel right to end the program like that. So Hamburg left, and we celebrated the 4th of July with Pizza and gelato! A great time. The next morning LXP left and we were able to chill until Tuesday afternoon. My heart was heavy after all this. I did not feel right. It was a relief to get back to just EXP back on base and have some peace and quiet. I was able to spend some time in solitude and renewed my spirit to catch a 2nd wind for the rest of EXP. But on Wednesday the 8th we went back into the school for Reach for life. It was really good. We had a good number sign up and it was good to see students from our classes. So after these two weeks I finally feel at peace. It’s good to still have a presence at the school. And personally I’m catching a second wind and excited to go on outreach for two weeks on the 16th. 

So now we are back on base just learning a bit about missions and spiritual authority before our outreach to Isoka in the northern Provence. The next update will be at the end of the outreach at the end of July! Catch you on the flip!

michael_ennis ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ennis • 2015 International Immersion Intern