Chrysalis Girls Club Awards Ceremony

We held our end-of-year Chrysalis Girls Club Awards Ceremony last Thursday, November 20th. What a wonderful event! As with any major celebration in South Africa, there was tons of food, so let’s start there…

Two of the leaders and the principal from the lower primary school purchased food in town the night before the ceremony and brought it back to the village in a pick-up or “baakie.” Yep, those are live chickens alongside canned food and plastic grocery bags! Perfect example of the South African lifestyle.

Leaders and girls arrived at 5am the morning of the ceremony to begin cooking. Chicken feet is always a delicacy!

The School Hall was decorated, outside with ribbons and balloons…

and inside with balloons, tablecloths, and flowers. (Note Ben’s “Chrysalis Girls Club” artwork and butterfly on the side panels of the chalkboard!)

Special thanks to our Wilson ‘rents for the balloons!

The girls put together a choir and performed three different African dances.

Four of the girls demonstrated self-defense, as shown here. In addition, two girls read essays about how they had been empowered in girls club throughout the year, and one read an essay about HIV/AIDS prevention.

Several of our girls displayed some of the projects completed this year in a “Projects Runway.” They really got into this and treated it as sort of a fashion show. Ha!

Although there were several empty chairs when we started, by halfway through our 3-hour ceremony, the room was packed full and people were sitting and standing on tables in the back! Lydia from the Peace Corps Office came to support the event, as well as Jess & Paul and Robi & Will, two other Peace Corps couples.

I read a speech in English and Sepedi, two of our leaders spoke about their experiences in Chrysalis Girls Club, the principal of the school spoke, and the circuit manager of our education district spoke.

Our leaders presented certificates to all girls club members, plus laminated photos for members who had perfect attendance. Each girl walked through the “receiving line” to be congratulated by their leaders, me, and the circuit manager. The two final essay winners were also awarded beautiful black “girls club” dolls I found when I was in the states.

At the end of the ceremony, we officially “dedicated” the HIV/AIDS mural to Abbotspoort Higher Primary School. I counted down, “5…4…3…2…1” and the leaders cut the ribbon in front of the mural to present it to Principal Moruane.

Since Ben dedicated so much time and energy into the mural, he spoke about how wonderful it was to work with the artists from the secondary school, as well as the girls club members, on one project, and how it was such a neat combined effort that brought the village together.

Hurray for a wonderful year of girls club! We will have a small Christmas Party in December for our final event, but the main program will start, again, with a new group of 7th grade girls in January.

Chrysalis Girls Club: Weeks 24-27 (Awards Ceremony Practices)

Nov. 10th-11th and Nov. 17th-18th

For our final girls club gatherings, all 86 girls met together to prepare for their Awards Ceremony…

Mma Hlako finished reading “Hope for the Flowers,” proclaiming that the girls were now officially butterflies!

The leaders guided the girls in preparing dances, songs, self-defense demonstrations, and reading essays.

Dance practice took place in the School Hall, our main meeting area, but the choir practiced outside under a tree–the prime meeting location for many groups in our village.

After one of the practices, the leaders presented gifts from Goods 4 Girls, a U.S. organization that donates reusable menstrual pads to girls in Africa…

It saves money, reduces waste, and helps keep the girls in school who might otherwise not attend class while they are menstruating.

They like to give attitude for photos, but the girls were absolutely ecstatic to receive reusable menstrual pads!!! They clapped and cheered for at least 2 minutes straight when we presented them. 🙂 (Thank you, Deanna!)

Chrysalis Girls Club: Week 23 (Evaluations and Bandannas)

This was our last real week of programming, because the following two weeks were dedicated to practicing for our awards ceremony.

The girls listened to more of “Hope for the Flowers” (with the help of Happy, one of our fabulous grade 9 learners and Power Girls participants), and completed their end-of-the-year evaluations.

The activity for the day was tie-dying their end-of-year gift…

Chrysalis Girls Club bandannas!

(Yellow for the Yellow/Tuesday Group and Blue for the Blue/Monday Group). Special thanks to Patty Ferguson for mailing the tie-dye from the states AND to Ben for designing our bandanna logo!

Chrysalis Girls Club: Special Event (Environmental Awareness)

Hurray for environmental appreciation! We held a special event on a Saturday for anyone who wanted to attend.

Two grade 9 girls, Emmy and Tshidi, read and translated “The Lorax” and talked about the importance of caring for one’s environment.

After the girls all pledged, “I Am a Lorax!” they went out into the village to pick up litter.

It was sad how quickly their large garbage bags were filled, but every little bit helps, right? The main purpose of the day was to help raise awareness about the choices the girls make in their everyday lives and how they can have a vast impact on the natural world. As a cute side-note, the week after our Lorax program, one of the girls picked up a piece of trash that was on the floor of our meeting room and said, “Mokgadi, I am the Lorax!”

Chrysalis Girls Club: Week 22 (Orienteering Scavenger Hunt)

Anybody up for a scavenger hunt? After an introduction to map-reading and orienteering, the girls were divided into groups and sent on missions to find hidden clues out in the village!

They had to use their compasses and maps of Mokuruanyane (Abbotspoort) to follow the directions to each clue.

Some clues were under rocks or benches (one was even under our doormat), others were in trees, whereas still others were on fences or light poles…

The girls were so excited when they found a clue!

After our club, that day, a few girls asked to stay behind for special photos with Sesi Mokgadi. 🙂

Chrysalis Girls Club: Week 21 (Challenge Course / Critical Thinking)

We started off Term 4 by reading the first part of “Hope for the Flowers,” a beautiful story about two caterpillars becoming butterflies (perfect for our theme!). Then…Challenge Course comes to Chrysalis Girls Club! To emphasize the importance of critical thinking, the leaders facilitated three different initiatives for the girls:

Magic Carpet (flip tarp over without stepping off)

Knots (untangle hands to make a circle)

Hula Hoop Pass (pass hula hoops around the circle without letting go of hands).

This was definitely one of our favorite weeks!

Chrysalis Girls Club: Week 20 (Fetal Development)

This week was totally chaotic, because we had all 86 girls together, but they loved our lesson on fetal development! Rachel, a volunteer in a village north of ours, kindly let us borrow her life-size, actual weight, “real feel” fetal models. The girls hadn’t seen anything like them (neither had I, quite frankly!), so they naturally went crazy over them…

Girls excitedly look at the 7-week size fetal model

Marta Thapala admires the 7 1/2 month fetal model

(Right to left): Meriam, Naume, Betty, Plantina, and Catharine proudly display all 8 fetal models, 7 weeks to 7 1/2 months. Next year, we will have beautiful black fetal models for the girls to enjoy!