Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lulu Graduation Festivities

This past week has been a busy one for Lulu Mwanza. Four of our girls groups finished their cycle of classes. It usually takes about 9 months to get through all of the lessons. Once they have finished the lessons, girls can continue but it's a big accomplishment to stick through it and the participants really go through a transformation in the process. So, we like to celebrate the occasion and give them a well-deserved party. Well, actually 3 days of partying.

Monday's Netball Match

Since there are too many girls for everyone to attend the actual graduation, we invited all the girls in all 8 of the Lulu groups to a netball match at the beginning of the week.

 Corine explaining how the matches would be organized.

One of the pillars of the program is cooperation and this a great opportunity for the girls to get to know each other, root for other teams, and have some healthy competition. And, boy did they compete!

Eliza gets taken out but the game continues.

During a break in the matches, the girls from Bwiru sing a victory song while others make plans for the rest of the game or are resting till it's their turn to play.

It was really fun to watch, though, and as one team got knocked out of competition, they'd immediately start rooting for another team. In the end one of our newest groups were the victors.

Mecco celebrating their big win.

Cooking and Prep for Gradation

On Tuesday a select number of graduating girls and facilitators gathered to bake the cakes, cooking and sambusas for graduation. It's another added "gift" to the girls who have had good attendance and have showed initiative throughout the year for them to learn how to bake cakes and cookies. Cakes are a hot commodity here in Mwanza and they are very expensive, even for a simple sheet cake. So learning to bake is a skill they could use to start a business in their communities.

Did you know you can bake cakes and cookies are charcoal grills? There are a number of ways you can do it, but here's how we did it.

First you have to fill a tray with sand. We just dug it up in the yard.

That tray will be placed on a charcoal grill until it is very hot.

Then, once you've put greased newspaper in the bottom of a pan and filled it with your batter, place that on the hot sand.

Cover the lid with hot coals and a stone and leave it to cook until done.

I'd heard about this method before but hadn't had the chance to try it out. I have to say it was a whole lot easier than I had expected and the cakes turned out really well. The girls did all the work and were so proud of their accomplishments!

Wednesday Graduation

First of all, about graduation I have to say that the girls take all the credit for it being a success. They planned, organized, and put together everything with guidance and technical advice from Corine. But all the work and planning was done by them. They researched and reserved the hall rental; planned, bought and put up all the decorations; wrote out the schedule of ceremonies; MCed the event; planned and put on skits, songs and dances. All of it was so great and the best part was just the self confidence they showed. You could just see the pride on their faces. This is a far step away from the normal behavior of Tanzanian young women, who often hide their faces if asked a question and are discouraged from making direct eye contact with people.

Teddy icing the cakes, which we'd made the day before.

Easter hanging balloons.

Finishing touches on the head table.

The ceremony going on.

The girls from Ilamela group danced.

Eliza, Teddy, and Anisisa sing a song of thanks for the Lulu program.

It was an action-packed week and my body is paying the price for it this weekend (I'm sick in bed as I write this) but what a great week and what a wonderful tribute to some special girls.

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