I am beautiful.

The disorder of my blogging entries and the dates of the activities is related to our very full days. Days which aren’t so full sometimes find me without power on my computer or access to Internet. Then, my memory clouds – when did we do this or that?

Today, the 24th of January, some of the local ASAH girls came to learn about scrapbooking. It is still term break for the school. We got a copy of the state calendar when we were in Bor, which states the schools are to open February 1 for the 2013 school year (they use a calendar year). But the local headmaster has not been informed, so school is set to begin at Payuel Primary on the 15th. Our girls are coming back on January 28, however, to settle in, and we will start our school program the 1st.

In the US I had purchased scrapbook albums with plastic sleeves and colorful pages to decorate and insert. I bundled a selection of photo corners, sticky adhesives and glue sticks, borders, stickers of animals and flowers, and colorful shaped papers to help decorate the pages. And scissors. And I printed 150 photos from my last visit.

Before they arrived, I chose some pictures of the girls playing netball and put them together on a page for the girls as a sample. And then I demonstrated, the sticky photo tape, the photo corners, trimming the photos, overlapping, using triangles or squares of colorful scraps as an accent.

When I let them loose with the scrapbook pages – solid color and patterned, the photos, and the trims, they set to work, each focused on the task. The selection of photos crucial. My organized stacks of photos were quickly scattered across the plastic tables. All our schooling is done outside, in the shade of our lovely trees. Which works okay except when it is windy, like today, and during the rainy season. Tiny gusts scattered a photo here and there. I picked them up. Five pictures. Two pictures. Four pictures. I showed the girls they must put something on the photos to weight them down. More gusts. Ten photos, five photos, ten photos. I am exasperated. I tap some girls on the shoulders and they help – once.

When we finish, and all are satisfied and have looked through the albums to their content. We have a small meeting where I describe the challenge of bringing materials from the US. Packing them, bringing them by air. Unloading them in Nairobi and delivering them to AIM Air, and then paying for the plane to deliver them to Duk. Unloading once again and carrying them to the village in a hired vehicle, if we are lucky to find one in the dry season, or in wheelbarrows, on backs or on heads.

Over the next year, we will be raising funds for dining rooms which will double as classrooms so our students can learn and study inside without worrying about the vagaries of the weather.

That evening I sat with the album and looked through each girl’s pages, marked with their names and comments or small drawings. Martha Achol wrote, “I love me.” Debora Akon wrote, “I like photos. I am beautiful.”

Deb Dawson, January 24, 2013 Scrapbooking (11 of 12) Scrapbooking (12 of 12)


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