Last Wednesday night, SVH Community Coordinators Lucy, Brooke and Sarah had the joy of returning to Casa Mosqoy, a residential education program for at-risk youth from rural areas. These young people (aged 18-25) live at the Casa Mosqoy dormitory and study at post-secondary educational institutions in the city of Cusco. This was the second class in the series that Casa Mosqoy invited Sacred Valley Health to teach. The SVH speakers shared valuable information about reproductive health and sought to empower the Casa Mosqoy participants to make healthy choices.
This session focused on sexually transmitted diseases and family planning, two important yet under-discussed topics. (Peruvian secondary schools do not teach students about reproductive anatomy, family planning, or risks to reproductive health.) Sarah began the session by answering the questions that were anonymously placed in the question box during the first class. These questions demonstrated the students’ genuine interest in understanding how their bodies work. Questions included: What is the velocity of sperm? What hormones do men have? Do men have a cycle similar to that of women? What causes infertility? If you only have sexual relations one time, is it possible to get an infection?
Next, Brooke captured the student’s attention with some late-stage STD photos. Each student was asked to read the symptoms of a particular disease and then Brooke explained whether or not it was treatable and how to prevent it. They were surprised to hear that over 90 percent of sexually active people have some form of human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer.
After learning about various sexually transmitted infections, the students were eager to understand the best methods for protecting themselves. Lucy meticulously discussed every type of family planning method, and its benefits and shortcomings. We wrapped up the evening by making sure every student knew how to properly use a condom, which drew lots of giggles as students practiced on carrots. Despite the laughter, we didn’t leave until every student did it correctly.
We (Lucy, Brooke and Sarah) are all in our twenties, and therefore we converse with this group of students as peers, rather than superiors, which creates a lively, engaged and open environment to share stories and information. We look forward to our next session at Casa Mosqoy, which will address the topics of sexuality and gender identity.
– Written by Sarah Phillips