• Condoms in Cartagena

    Turner “Hooch” Humphries blogs about last weeks program in Cartagena.

    February 5, 2015. Our first Colombian program began in the city of Cartagena, a city revered by tourists for its many picturesque beaches, cobblestone streets, and colonial architecture. While parts of the city possessed all of these brochure worthy features, we were able to get a look behind the curtain as to the issues facing the average citizen through our partner program Colombianitos. It was our second year working with their Cartagena program so our team was anxious to expand on the work they had previously done together.

    What was unique about Colombianitos’ Cartagena based program was their use of young leaders in the community. Rather than simply viewing them as students they recognized their potential to understand the pulse of the neighborhood and enabled them to be active in finding creative solutions to issues they deem important. The majority of the coaches we worked with were under the age of eighteen, which is fairly uncommon. Ainge (17) and Ismael (20) were two participants in particular that possessed wisdom and maturity beyond their years. Both were able to handle large amounts of energetic children by themselves and could command an audience of adults during topics on complex social issues.

    At the beginning of the week, Alfredo, head coach of Colombianitos Cartagena, identified youth pregnancy as something that was having adverse effects on his community. He was seeing far too many fourteen and fifteen year olds left to care for a child, forcing them out of school and void of most of the activities enjoyed by their peers. To address this specific community need we played a game called ‘Adebayor Uses a Condom Tag.’ In this adapted tag game players are able to avoid being tagged by going to select stationary players around the field that represent a condom. Through the game we learned the benefits of condom use, one of the many good choices available to prevent unwanted pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases.

    Sexual health can be a challenging topic to discuss with anyone, especially younger coaches, a few giggles and under the breathe jokes are usually common place. However this group of young leaders took the game seriously and were very vocal when asked questions on proper condom use, showing their maturity yet again. It was refreshing to see so many young coaches dedicated to a better Cartagena.

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