This is from an e-mail I wrote a friend earlier.
I attended a Life Skills Workshop last week. It was a mix of Ugandans and PCV's. It is so interesting to see the differences in knowledge and opinions between American's and Ugandans. We talked about the spread of HIV/AIDS, Stigma & Discrimination, Peer Pressure, Self Esteem, Goal Setting, Assertiveness, Gender Roles, Culture, , etc. There are so many myths out there and cultural taboo's that we got into heated discussions. These are the things I have learned from the Ugandans:
- If you wash yourself in Coca Cola immediately after sex, you won't get HIV/AIDS.
- You can't produce (become pregnant or impregnant anyone) if you ever masturbate.
- You can get HIV/AIDS from being bewitched.
- Women can't climb trees.
- Only men can ask for sex
- African men have a greater sex drive than any other men in the world
As you can see, we have much work to do here. But it is hard because they think we are inflicting American ideas on them and not simply wanting them to know the biological/scientific facts and also the importance of sensitization so that people can make informed decisions regarding their health and behavior. They are tricky topics.
Daniel, the Ugandan I brought to the conference, asked me to teach him how to put on a condom. Very awkward to say the least. He is also one of the more vocal Ugandan's at this conference and has no qualms with asking any question. He wanted to know, "exactly what is masturbation? Practically." He also told everyone when we were discussing the gender roles that men are more intelligent than women. It's a fact.
And so my job continues. Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee...