Girls Club, Theatre and Ghana

Trip Start Jun 02, 2003
Trip End Dec 31, 2006

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Flag of Benin  ,
Thursday, December 18, 2003

Okay, I just saw a goat and her baby stroll right past the door of the internet cafe, with cars roaring past on the paved road nearby. Will I ever get used to these things? I hope not. If I did, I might not have as many easy laughs.

Anyway, the past couple of weeks have been pretty busy! Last Saturday, I had a meeting with an NGO. I am going to try to raise some money for a project they want to do. More on that later, though, when I have more to say.

On Sunday, I had a meeting with Cecile, one of the only other female teachers at my school (there is another one whom neither Cecile nor I have every seen). She has decided (with fervor!) to help me begin the girls club, and I am super excited to work with her! We had a great meeting that generated lots of ideas and enthusiasm. This Wednesday, we got to put our ideas to the test with our first Girls Club meetings!

We met with the older girls (high school years) first and the younger (junior high years) later. We asked the girls to introduce themselves and to tell the group three things that they like and then three things that they like about themselves. The second request was quite difficult, of course, and not wholly successful. We have decided to maybe try the same activity again at the end of the year so that we can see if the girls have an easier time conjuring up things that they like about who they are. We talked about a few different issues the girls have, such as fathers who care absolutely nothing about their studies and who may not even know what grade they are in (yet they will encourage the boys in the family, buying them books, and listening to them as they talk about their school work) or having so much work to do at home that they have no time to study. We talked about campaigning to elect officers; this way, the girls will be able to gain some experience putting on an election for their club. We ended with the knot game, in which the girls grabbed random hands in a circle, making a knot, and had to undo themselves without letting go of the hands. It was quite funny!

Cecile and I are excited about the group, but it, I think, will be a tougher job than I ever imagined. Any female that grows up in the U.S. is extraordinarily lucky!

Immediately after my girls club meetings, I hopped in a taxi to Parakou to watch the theatre troupe (which I had helped out a bit) perform in a festival. It was great! They performed a play that they had written. It took place in a Fulani village and was about a guy who won a scholarship to study in Canada. He left his girlfriend (the love of his life) and his father behind and then came back four years later to find out that his girlfriend had been forced to marry the rich jerk in the village. This same rich jerk had caused his mother's death, so of course, he decides to take revenge. He concocts a plan with his father to trap the man in his own created law. Anyway, the play is pretty funny.

The next day I left Parakou to come to Cotonou to get a Ghanaian visa. (I began this letter in Parakou.) Tomorrow afternoon I am off to Ghana!

In other news, I checked my Free Will Astrology horoscope this week and found out that fungus is supposed to be my good luck charm in this year. Well, guess what folks! I just found out this weekend that I have tinea versicolor, a fungus on my back and shoulders! YAY! So, don't go around imagining me with mushrooms growing all over me. This fungus is almost not noticeable. It looks sort of like white sunspots. No big deal. Nothing a little tea tree oil or Selsun Blue won't cure. I am considering keeping it around though so that I can be sure to have good luck during 2004.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! I'll be thinking of you all as I lay on the sunny beaches of Ghana!
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Peter on

I hope they maintain the legacy you might have left for the Girls Club

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