Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PNGC Week 8: The Effects of Alcohol

This week marks the halfway point for PNGC. The last two months have been a whirlwind of glitter, glue, beads, bracelets, laughter, and learning. Most importantly the girls and their leaders have become a close knit group, as was shown by everyone this week.

Club got off to a late start because of some miscommunication from the school. An outside organization had put together a film showing after school on Monday, but those involved in planning never explained it to the remaining staff (which includes all six of our PNGC leaders). Therefore, when the lavender cowbell rang at half past two Monday there were a number of girls missing. Initially I thought there was a misunderstanding about having club because Jessica and one of the PNGC leaders were gone this week at a Life Skills Training seminar for Peace Corps. Talking with the other leaders, I thought perhaps some girls figured without Jessica around, there was no club. The leaders, however, knew otherwise. They quickly took control of their club, talked to a few other teachers and found out that the movie was something that only students who had paid could watch, though it was short in length. It was decided that club would go on as planned and the girls attending the film would come in immediately following the film and catch up with the lesson. Clearly club has become very important to the girls and the leaders for them not to cancel but continue, and on top of that make sure everyone can get the lesson and craft time in. Each week it seems to be a different leader taking charge and making sure things happen. This week it was everyone and they moved with speedy, quick decisions that I rarely see in our schools. I was thoroughly impressed.
Soon we settled in and club began. As we move into the heart of the curriculum for the year, the lessons have begun to cover more serious topics. This week was no different. As the story for the day unfolded I could see girls nodding slightly in agreement with different situations that they could relate to. When it the leaders followed up with discussion questions asking if anyone had ever had to deal with alcohol being pushed toward them, inebriated family or friends, and unwanted attention near the tavern the girls were in agreement that most people had experienced this in some form or another. Alcohol is a serious problem in many corners of the world and especially in the rural villages of South Africa, but it is seldom talked about openly. Being able to educate these girls about alcohol and it's effects in a safe environment is critical to helping them make good choices. The lesson seemed to take hold and the leaders are very good at bringing the lesson home in ways the girls can understand. It was an important day for everyone to be present and I was so pleased the the leaders had worked hard to have everyone in club involved.
After some serious discussion it was time to lighten the mood some. The leaders distributed tools and beads to the girls for this week's craft, chandelier earrings. A quick explanation was all it took for everyone to get started. No longer novices with pliers and wire cutters, the girls deftly maneuvered their way through the process and in no time were showing off their dangling earrings to anyone who would look. They have become so good at these earring and bracelet projects that we have begun to sell extra beads to the girls who want to make more earrings at home. The funds raised go toward buying sweets to enjoy during club in future weeks. It has proven to be a hit and even people not associated with PNGC are wanting to learn from the leaders and buy beads of their own. Hopefully this can continue to spread beading skills throughout the village as well as provide a regular source of income for club in the future. In the end, sustainable, fun, and practical projects are what we hope to leave behind.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

So great to see y'all contributing so much to your village! I just looked at your Cape Town vacation pictures and decided that it has been way too long since I've seen a warthog! Such a fantastic photo! I hope you are well, and please let me know if you need any supplies for the PNGC. Thank you for keeping me updated via your blog!


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