Tuesday, June 3, 2008

PNGC Week 3 (Inward Beauty vs, Outward Appearance)

Another week has passed at PNGC and again it was an exciting afternoon. After only two weeks, the girls are on top of everything that needs to be done for club to get going on Monday afternoon. No sooner has the final bell of the day gone off and a handful of girls have shown up to help rearrange the room. Others have hopped into our classroom to take the few tables and chairs we need to give everyone a seat in the hall. The remainder of the girls are arranging all the bags up against the wall outside and retrieving their membership cards and PNGC folders before finding a place in line alongside their friends to wait for the cow bell to sound. It is a bit like an organized chaos but in a matter of minutes all is set and off we go.

At the beginning of club this week we held PNGC Student Council elections. Unlike Zimbabwe or the Democratic Primary, all went very smooth. International election monitors (that would be us) agree that the four girls chosen will represent PNGC well in the roles and responsibilities pertaining to said PNGC Student Council. Polls show the victory was clinched by the candidates supporting issues of beads, fabric, lavender and talking about boys. There is little worry of corruption or military coup at this point and opposition parties seemed to be happy for their friends despite not gaining the majority. The election has been hailed as an example for all aspiring democratic nations and clubs.
Following election celebrations, this week's lesson tackled the topic of Inward Beauty vs. Outward Beauty. One of our leaders, Jacqueline, presented the lesson and Jessica again led the discussion questions afterwards. The girls realized immediately that the two girls in this week's story are the same girls from last week. Already they see the connection between this week and last, as well as between themselves and the girls portrayed. The story unfolded, bringing up issues about jealousy, compliments and being a good friend. The highlight of the day was during the final discussion question when the girls were supposed to talk about someone they knew who had both inward and outward beauty and why they thought so. After a few seconds of contemplation, the first girl raised her hand. Her person was none other than Maam Makhura, one of our PNGC leaders. Maam Makhura seemed slightly taken aback as all the girls clapped and whistled in agreement, but was glowing with pride and beaming shortly their after. The other leaders were all patting her on the back, shaking her hand and laughing out loud in support. It was wonderful to hear aloud one of our girls look up to and admire a leader. As a middle school student, it is hard to put yourself out there like that and the enthusiasm with which this first girl was supported made us smile with pride at these young women. They were clearly a close knit group before club began, but are becoming even closer each week.
Discussions closed on that high note and moved cheerfully into craft time. On the purple felt in front of the girls this week lay a small plastic bag containing a stretchy thread, a scoop of small pastel beads and alphabet beads to make a necklace. Each girl was given the letters of the alphabet needed to spell her name. Not much to explain about how to thread the beads, so the girls began as the music was turned up. Creativity was the word of the day as girls started separating out their pastel beads into colors and groups. Individual patters of twos, threes, fours, pinks, blues and greens soon emerged. Before long a few girls were proudly displaying their new necklace. Tying the thread proved to be the most difficult part of the afternoon and it probably took me twice as long to tie as it did for most girls to finish. We stayed until almost sunset to help the last of the girls finish up and put our room back in order.
Today at school we saw many name necklaces being sported around campus. We even had girls come find us during break asking to buy more beads to make more necklaces. Looks like we will be heading to the store this weekend. Hopefully this will continue, because they really help us. We are still working on remembering all 55 names!


Dan said...

8:23pm fooey! Everyone knows it's 4:53pm as I write this. :-)

Paul/Jessica, great stories. I can only imagine how great it must feel to see the impact you are having on this group of girls. You should be proud.

Vanessa said...

I juss caught up on your blog postings on the girls club. It really brought tears to my eyes to realize how much this means to the girls. You are doing important work. The joy and fun the girls are experiencing is a precious thing. I can't wait to hear more. I almost feel like I'm talking to you when I read this. Your stories and photos are wonderful. Thank you!

Mom and Vanessa

julia said...

There's a Julia down there with you? Just a little reminder that I , too, am there with you in spirit when I read these entries. Thanks for putting the time in to share your stories with us!


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