Saturday, June 6, 2009

PNGC 2009: Weeks 1-11 in Review

PNGC has almost completed its second cycle here in Seleka, as we move into our last week on Monday. Unfortunately, one of our leaders from last year, Jacqueline, was not able to participate as she was on maternity leave for four months; however we've had two excellent additions to the leaders to replace her for this year: Mma Motsoko (Jacqueline's sister) and Mma Masalesa. Both Mma Motsoko and Mma Masalesa teach at our lower primary school, Baphoting. Jacqueline just returned to school on Monday and PNGC presented her with a quilt, made by the leaders (a huge thanks to Rachel for the donation of warm, flannel material!), to welcome her back!

PNGC 2009

PNGC Leaders at Invitation Day

Mma Masalasa

Mma Motshegwa presenting Jacqueline with her quilt

Leaders with Jacqueline's quilt
This year we have followed the same format designed for Palala Clubs: a lesson and then a craft We've moved our location from the Seleka Higher Primary School Meeting Hall (which also serves as a classroom for one of our fifth grade teachers) to Mma Seleka's classroom (7th grade teacher and one of our girls’ club leaders). This has proven to make the set up and clean up run much more efficiently and allocated an extra 20 minutes weekly to club.

We used three new lessons this year: Rape and Abuse, TB, and Physical Activity. The leaders and I were hugely pleased with the seriousness and sensitivity the girls used in participating in the Rape and Abuse lesson, ending with an excellent discussion of adults the girls could come to in the community if they or someone they knew were ever threatened/abused/raped, how one should treat someone with compassion if they have ever been physically, emotionally, or verbally abused, etc. The physical activity lesson was a huge hit, as we followed up the lesson by getting outside to do relay races. The girls had the opportunity to jump around like frogs, give piggy back rides, and do the potato sack race. Some of the girls suggested that we end the day by having a relay for the leaders, but since most of them were wearing high heels, they decided to hold off! Paul and I loved getting a chance to see the 'athletics clothing' that was worn for the day. There were old flannel skirts, grandmother's aprons, biker shorts, and slippers!

Frog Jump

Piggy Back Rides

Potato Sack Race
We have also tried out a few new crafts this year including tie dying (my mom and sister crated a full suitcase of tie dye materials from the States when they came in September---we owe them big time!), Bohemian necklaces made with leather cord and wooden beads, and link bracelets with beads that Megan's (Paul's sister) class at Lincoln Park Pre-School so kindly donated. The girls were a bit leery when they eyed the plastic gloves they need to wear for tie dying, but it only took about five minutes for the die caps to come off and they dug right in.

Memory Wire Bracelets

Chain Link Bracelets

Mma Makhura helping the girls with Applique Bags

Name Necklaces

Beads donated by Lincoln Park Pre-School

Our dear friend Mmapula (Megan Owen) came to visit us and help out with girls club during week 9. She helped with packing 62 bead packets, being the official photographer, untangling knots, showing how to thread beads, etc. She was an indispensable member of our team for the week and we wished she could have stayed for the rest of the year!

Mmapula and Mma Seleka
Two of our favorite parts of girls club this year came in the form of an Easter egg hunt, and our four PNGC Student Council girls: Junitta, Anna, Johanna, and Vanessa. We organized the Easter egg hunt one Friday after school. We initially had been hoping to hold it on the Seleka mountain (loosely defined) and, per the wise suggestion of the leaders, headed over on Wednesday afternoon to the tribal office to make sure we could get the activity approved from the chief. Chief Seleka has been extraordinarily welcoming and kind to us in this community, and when we approached him this Thursday afternoon, he looked at us and said 'might it be possible to move the egg hunt to the other mountain (across the road) as this mountain is where our ancestors are buried'. Gulp. Paul and I have climbed this mountain many, many times, each time passing by the cemetery nestled at the base of the mountain, where the previous Kgosi (king/chief) Seleka's were buried, but hadn't ever considered the possibility that we shouldn't be traipsing up there. We quickly said that we would move the activity and decided that it would be to do it on the school grounds. However, as we like to say at home, 'no harm, no foul' and the hunt was a high point for all of us that week.

Girls holding their eggs

Having 62 girls in club this year has not allowed us to spend good time with all of them, but we have had the fortune of working very closely with four of them. Junitta, Anna, Johanna, and Vanessa have helped myself and the leaders to make the weekly craft packets, organize set up and clean up, recognize birthdays, and to ensure the smooth running of club. Paul and I have had the girls over twice to watch movies on a Friday, treating them to chocolate sweets from the States and the glories of Disney animated movies. We've loved getting to know these four girls and are going to miss them terribly once we leave.





Having the ending of PNGC so close is bittersweet. I have loved working with the girls and leaders. It has been such a treat. However, as we start to close in on the last few months of our service, I know this program is in good hands, both here in Seleka and in Klipspruit. I know that the program will be changed and modified in the future, as there won't be a full time person here to do some of the behind the scenes work, but that the core parts of it, the lessons, skills that have been learned, and the role models that these leaders have become in our community will continue, with or without me.


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