Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Lulu End of the Year Festivities 2014

When I posted about Lulu's December graduation I referenced that we also had other festivities to celebrate the end of the year. I'm a little slow at posting pictures and telling end-of-the-year stories because Ive been down for the count with malaria (still). I think it's the same bout that I had when our friend Paula was visiting (actually I was sick when all these festivities that I'm posting about where happening), but I didn't have the opportunity to rest much then, so it lingered. This time around I'm trying to take it easy and rest so that I can fully kick it. Here's hoping.

Back to the topic at hand, though. On the last week before we closed Lulu for the year, we had a day of batik making (more like what we call tie dying in the US) for those Lulu girls who had good attendance over the last few months of the year.

Some of the finished products at the end of the day.

We like to give incentives to those girls who are doing well in the project and we try to make those incentives be something useful to the girls. We also try to empower them to take ownership of the projects; so in that manner we paid 3 girls who were more experienced in batik-making to teach the rest of the girls. They had to devise the budget, buy the materials, and teach the class.

Learning how to fold and sew the fabric into patterns.

Eliza (far right) teaches a small group of girls how to fold the fabric like a sambusa to make a triangular pattern.

Adding the dye and chemicals.

The "sambusa" pattern finished.

These fabrics are very popular here and are used for a variety of purposes, as just a fabric worn around the waist of a women or to turn into clothing or other items. Those girls who learned to make the batiks can make more and sell them on their own.

The day was a big success for a variety of reasons. I was happy to see so many girls (more than 20) with such a high attendance that they were able to take part in the batik making. But also the day was a lot of fun. It brought together girls from all different groups to work together and visit with each other. And at the end of the day each girl was able to take home one piece of fabric, which they will show off to their family and fellow Lulu members.

First-ever Lulu Kid's Day
As the year was coming to a close Corine and I learned of a generous donor from Europe who wanted to give the Lulu kids a present for Christmas. As I said earlier, at Lulu we like to give experiences or skills as gifts rather than presents because we want it to be useful for the girls. So we organized a kid's day, where every child of a Lulu girl could buy a new outfit and then we all share a meal together. We were surprised to learn that over 50 of our girls had at least one child, many had more than one. Unless the child is very young, the girls come to Lulu group by themselves so there were many children we had never met. We also invited all the facilitators even if they did not have any children.

The day started out meeting at a clothing market in town. As you can imagine, organizing that many kids was quite a challenge! But everyone helped out and it went very smoothly! The moms knew exactly what her child needed and wanted.

Waiting in town for all the girls and kids to show up.

In the market checking out what was for sale.

After shopping we went to a restaurant/retreat center on the beach where we all could share a meal and rest a bit.

Resting in the shade at the beach.

Queen wearing her suit. She's ready to swim!

I knew the kids would want to swim in the lake, but I was really surprised to see how many of the Lulu girls swam too! I didn't take any pictures of them because, honestly, they were swimming mostly in underwear or a cloth wrapped around them. But what a great day they had, which they will remember forever! These girls don't get much opportunity to "play" and be teenagers. They have little say in their own homes and are the workers, not only for their children but for anyone else in the house--cooking, cleaning, shopping, carrying water, etc. So for them to have a day to let it go and just play! What a treat!

More kids in the water.

Thank you on behalf of the Lulu project for your support in 2014! It's been a wonderful year full of many successes. Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

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