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.

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