is the powerful pull of the ASAH girls. They’re like magnets. Last year, there were only twelve of them, but now there are 23 from three villages. Thirteen girls from Duk Payuel. Even their names are powerful – Achol, Achol, Ayen, Ayen, Akuol, Akon, Adau, Aluel, Abul, Abuk, Akur, Agot (our newest), and Nyadak.
Now I have a whole new set of names to master, all unfamiliar to me. Namesare passed down in families and often unique to a place. The new girls come from neighboring villages. From Patuenoi we welcomed Nyandeng, Yar, Amon, and Awak. Joining us from Poktop are Nyanwut, Yar, Achok, Athok, Ayak, and Anger, (the “ng” pronounced as in “song”).
Imagine entering our front gate, passing the ASAH School for Girls sign, and landing in the midst of this gaggle of giggling girls. The old ones endure my hugs, but I’m careful not to scare the new girls. Two of them are tiny eight-year-olds. Best friends from Patuenoi. Amon started last July, but Yar was only seven, and we wanted to wait until she was eight. Yar cried when Amon left her behind in July. They are inseparable now.