I'm not going to say whether or not I think these sessions are worthwhile. Yes I will - I don't. The most recent, though, is the singular exception. For this special session we separated into two groups - one for the women, one for the men. Anytime there is something that can only be said in the presence of people of the same sex you know that it's going to be interesting, and I wasn't disappointed.
One thing that I've learned is that Zambia has a VERY traditional view of gender roles (men putting food on the table, women cooking it), and that any public discussion or even acknowledgment of sex is FORBIDDEN. The purpose of this class was to give us fair warning about the whats, whys, and hows of gender relationships in Zambia, but it quickly veered off the path into something else entirely. I'm not sure if it's the result of years of repression, but our Zambian trainers (and admittedly some of the volunteers) were talking about the birds and the bees in greater detail than I've ever encountered in such mixed company.
I won't go into the same level of detail that we did in our class (you're welcome, family members). I will say only that Jebros - a married, 40-something Zambian language trainer - was at one point in the center of this circle of men, on his back, showing us the techniques Zambian women use to please the men in their lives. I'm no prude, but there were moments where even I was blushing.
So I ask myself, was this a necessary element in our cultural exchange? Do I now know more about Zambia and its people? In the eyes of Peace Corps, was that moment the point at which we can look at Goal #3 and say, "Mission accomplished"?
I believe the answer is yes on all counts.