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Camp Ya Chesa!

Camp Ya Chesa: Boitumelo mo Nageng was held in December for 59 patients of Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence at Mokolodi Nature Reserve.  Teen Club participants have long asked for their own Camp Hope and with the generous support from Mokolodi, we were able to give them a memorable week!

Camp Ya Chesa planning was off to a mad dash in November after Mokolodi contacted us and generously donated use of their Education Center, dormitories and kitchen. With little over a month to plan, the Adolescent Services team started brainstorming, recruiting volunteers and fundraising.

Previous research with regard to perinatally infected HIV positive adolescents shows that between 2005 and 2012, HIV-related deaths among adolescents increased by 50%, while the global number of HIV-related deaths fell by 30%. Based on this alarming new statistic, we focused the camp around medication adherence. But….as we all know, all work and no play is no way to spend the week! Summer camp kwa America is packed full of fun activities, games, camp fires and s’mores. We wanted to plan the perfect camp with a mix of fun activities and engaging educational lessons.

We started camp off with face painting, tie-dying camp shirts and plenty of ice breakers.

We built camp fires, told jokes around the fire, made s’mores, sang songs and put on skits in the evenings. No camp is complete without making friendship bracelets!

We held sessions on HIV in the body and the importance of medication adherence and stress management, Onica, also known as, Homegirl, a local artist led a two day art session incorporating personal goals and reusable materials into buttons. We were blessed to have a guest speaker talk to the campers about discordant relationships and how to navigate disclosing to ones partner.

Recreation is an important aspect to every life, we slotted in time for a game drive around the nature reserve. Held our first ever “Silly Olympics” complete with an egg drop and a first place team. Plus arts and leisure time where campers could enjoy a game of football, volleyball, make friendship bracelets, play twister or just relax with friends.  

Camp wouldn’t have been complete without help from our AMAZING counselors! Of course we let them have fun too!


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