Tuesday, July 22, 2008

PNGC Week 5: A Young Woman's Body continued

We are back! After a three week school holiday and the first week back off for club, PNGC was back up and running on Monday. It was apparent that the girls were excited to have club again, because I had a number of them come and find me throughout the day to make sure they could come after school. The day went quickly in the classroom and before everyone knew, the final bell had rang for school and the lavender cow bell was clanging to begin club. Despite having already been back at school for one week, the girls continued to talk and chat about how long it had been since the last club, what they had done last time, and wondering what was in store for this week. I had not put together a new music CD for this week's club because I figured it had been a while since they had heard the most recent mix and sure enough, it did not matter. Minutes after they began filing into the room girls were singing and dancing to the beat. It was going to be a good day.
I stuck around for introductions and welcome backs. Because we had missed the end of June and the beginning of July, we had the PNGC Student Council announce birthdays for the month and hand out small gifts of pencils and stickers to any girl whose birthday fell in either of the two months. Everyone cheered and clapped for each girl as she received her presents. Even more special was that one of the PNGC leaders, Ma Seleka, was having her birthday the same day as club. After the student council finished announcing the girls birthdays, we had Ma Seleka stand up to recognize her. Her gift from club was a beaded AIDS ribbon pin that Jess had made that came in a beautiful pale purple little bag. Ma Seleka liked her gift so much she even pinned the little bag to her sweater with the pin!
As the group quieted down from birthday celebrations I took my cue to step out of the room. This week was a continuation of 'A Young Woman's Body' lesson. I still do not have much to offer on the topic, so I took the time to do a bit of prep work for my Math classes for the following day. However, the recap from the leaders after club told me that not only did the girls remember a great deal of the previous lesson from over a month ago, but that their participation was even better as they became more comfortable talking in the large group and knowing that their questions and answers were part of a private discussion. It was a real step toward building off the great momentum of trust and comfortability that was set during the first four weeks of club.

Following the lesson I made my way back into the room to pick up my duties of DJ and photographer once again. This week's craft was chain bracelets. Not only did the girls do amazingly well at this craft, but it was clear they were becoming ever more comfortable with using the tools needed to complete the beading projects. Things like wire cutters and round nose pliers that were utterly foreign objects to them just a few short weeks ago now look like tools that they have been using for years. As some girls finished in record time, they turned their attention to helping their neighbors, picking up extra supplies, assisting the leaders and more. These were not just the student council girls that help us out each week to set up and take down, but all the girls. I was taken aback at how anyone coming in to watch club that week would not have known these girls had only attended four previous club meetings, let alone been on a four week hiatus since their most recent gathering. They looked naturally at ease and were completely enjoying themselves.
At the end of the day we gathered the group together outside for a welcome back photo to show off their dazzling new bracelets. The girls giggled and shrieked as they hopped in line for the photo and then sprinted over to me to peek over my shoulder for a glimpse of their face on the camera. It was a great capstone a fun day back at club. As we strolled home in the now extending daylight as we move toward Spring in South Africa, we had a hard time realizing we had been away for so long. It seemed just like any other day of club should feel and that made us smile. PNGC has fallen into it's routine and the girls and leaders are taking the lead in setting the tone for the rest of the year. If this week was any indication, the rest of this year is going to packed with good lessons and great projects.

No comments:


The opinions expressed are our own and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps, the U.S. Government, the Republic of South Africa, or and other person, party, or organization mentioned on this website.