Thursday, November 20, 2008

List Serve

After the Sand and Sorrow showing, which went quite well I'd say, two people wanted to be added to the list serve. I don't know how to do this so I am going to put there emails here and maybe someone can add them.


P.S. Thanks everyone baked for tonight people loved everything!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Marszalek's Class 11/12 - International Response to the Crisis

Today's class was about the international response to the crisis in Darfur and the impediments to humanitarian intervention.  Cait, Josh, and I started the class by presenting information about the Responsibility to Protect, the UN and UNAMID and the ICC, respectively.  We each wrote our main points on the white board, and some students took notes while we were speaking.  Then, we erased our notes and made 4 columns on the board (R2P, UN, UNAMID, and ICC).  We passed out different facts related to the four topics, and had each student tape his or her fact under its appropriate heading.  Overall, the students did really well with this activity.  They got a few of them wrong, but someone in the class was always able to correctly identify where the fact should have been placed. 

After doing the activity, we made three small groups and went over the discussion questions.  My group did really well with this part of the class - they were engaged, inquisitive, and talkative.  For the last few minutes of our small group discussions, we asked the students to identify some challenges or obstacles to humanitarian intervention and aid.  We reconvened as a class with about 10 minutes left to make a list of these obstacles on the board.  Among the things that the students brought up were: al-Bashir preventing non-African peacekeeping troops from getting visas, the severe problem of under-funding of the UNAMID force, the roadblocks inherent in the structure of the UN (the P-5 have veto power), and the lack of enforcement power of the ICC.

Josh, Cait, and I were impressed with how well the students conducted themselves in this class. I think they walked away with a lot of very useful information and a better understanding of why the genocide in Darfur is still occurring. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lesson 5: Refugees and IDPs

On Monday, November 10th, Josh, Sondi, Meera, and I went into the classroom to the classroom to give the lesson on refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). We began the class with each of us reading a personal account aloud. We asked them if they had heard either the term refugee or IDP before and if they knew the difference between the two terms. The students that responded had heard of the term refugee but not IDP and could not differentiate between the terms. 

We broke up into three groups and showed a short video on conditions within the camp. We then had the students read over the worksheet before we went over the discussion questions. Students asked critical questions, such as why these poor conditions continue to persist if the U.S. is aware of the devastating camps? In addition, many students were able to draw connections from our last lesson on rape and women, and students spoke of the mental effects of living in a camp. We went over the abridged version of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and determined which rights might be violated in refugee/IDP camps. 

Our intention was to have each group focus on a specific issue and then gather back as a whole class and have the students present to each other on what they discussed in small groups. The groups consisted of: relations between Sudan and neighboring countries, child soldier recruitment in the camps, and health services and the availability of  basic necessities in the camps. Unfortunately, we were short on time and were not able to fully complete this part of the class. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lesson on Rape in Mr. Marszalek's Class 11-5-08

Cait and I went into Mr. Marszalek's class on Wednesday morning to discuss rape as a tool of war in Darfur.  It was a difficult lesson, but the class responded respectfully, and we felt that they were able to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.  We decided to make a large circle, as that had worked well for this lesson last year.  We began by distributing a different fact or personal account to each student and then we asked them to read their note cards out loud to the group.  This went fairly well, but we had to continually ask them to speak louder.

Cait and I then started asking them the questions on the sexual violence worksheet.  They were a little hesitant to speak in the large circle setting. We were able to maintain a question-and-answer style discussion fairly successfully, but we would have preferred more of a free-flow discussion like we often get in smaller groups.  

Reading and talking as a large group took the majority of the class, but we had time left to show them a short video clip about rape in Darfur.  Since youtube is blocked in the high school, Cait and I brought our laptops into the classroom and split the class in half so they could all see a screen. After watching the clip, we discussed separately in our two groups.  The students respond really well to media, and they asked very thought-provoking questions related to what they had seen.  One girl, Whitney, had an epiphany toward the end of class.  It was amazing to hear her talk about her realization that rape is used not just to harm the women, but to tear families and communities apart.

Overall, this was a rewarding class, and we feel that they now have a good grasp on the widespread use of sexual violence by the Janjawid and government officials in Darfur. Cait and I realized that it is difficult to only have two Wesleyan students in the classroom, and we would prefer at least three from now on. 

We're going into the classroom three times next week, so that should be really fun! Keep thinking about how to make these lessons even better for next semester :)