Today was the year end party here at the Niger "Girls at Risk” school. We purposefully left the entire party planning up to the girls themselves. They each saved 1000 cfa (about $2.50) to add to a communal savings, made a meal plan, went to the market, arranged groups of girls to do every job from sweeping, peeling food, chopping onions and washing dishes. They all showed up dressed up beautifully and all day long it was so fun.
Rabi wearing a beautifully sewn Indian-inspired wrap outfit. She was radiant! (and did a little dance when I told her so! Now that wasn’t the super shy Rabi I met just 10 months ago!)
They made a great meal of turkey with spicy red sauce, lots of onions and bread. I was surprised there was so much meat (and basically no veggies) but they were all in full on party mode (aka lots of meat!). It is so rare for them to get lots of meat here.
Each group had a job to do, and really everything went perfectly! I just showed up with cookies and juice!
Each group of girls gathered around a shared platter and dived in. Most plates were completely devoured and licked clean!
As always, it was a joy to watch the girls interact and be with their friends. Sometimes, especially with the Zarma girls who talk so loud and aggressive, I am not sure if fights are going on, but at the end there is always lots of laughter and smiles. I can speak Tamasheq, but Zarma is still outside my reach!
Rafiyatou taking a picture of me taking a picture of her. I love this girl! She is so full of spunk and joy!
Paul and I are both busy these days and the kids are off school, so we both brought a “child to work”. Paul was welding at the airport and Bennett loved watching planes take off and land. Arielle came with me and was doted on by all the girls. They sat with her, played with her, even tried to teach her to crochet! She came home one very happy, but very tired little girl! (And for those of you who know Arielle personally it will not surprise you to know she smiled all day, but refused to say a single word to anyone!)
What a day to cap off such a wonderful year. Since it was Canada Day we took this picture to show us celebrating Canada Day in style!
I really felt like a proud Mama to this big group of special young women. I am going to miss them over the summer! We have three weeks of “special projects” coming up in August and September with some of these girls and then full session starts up again October 1st! We made it through year one, and what a wonderful year!
Even though their year is done, stay tuned for a few more blogs I have on the back burner for you!