[Kumbah, Naomi, Ashley, Mercy & Patricia]
Today was a first. A first of many, I hope.
I have started meeting with the older girls at Frances Gaskins on Wednesday afternoons. These girls are intelligent, hilarious, creative and talented. I really enjoy Wednesday afternoons! Knowing that the 'big big girls' are the creative types, I've been trying to think of how to approach our Wednesday afternoons, how to spend our special time and how to encourage the girls in their talents and creativity.
Rewind. You might remember the Beads4Bucks auctions that I held last year, featuring the beautiful glass bead jewelry made by the women at Amazing Grace, Inc. While I was at home, Amazing Grace relocated and now they are just 3 minutes down the road! I have visited them a few times since I've been back and last week I decided to ask if I could bring some girls there to see how they make the beads. The woman said sure, and we made plans to come today around 2:30, but I wasn't too confident in her following through. Much to my surprise, she called me at 9am this morning to confirm my visit (whoa! where am i?).
As soon as we loaded up and hit the road, the girls were excited and giggling and trying to figure out how to buckle seat belts. Then they told me they hoped we were going to 'that woman's place who can fix the beads.' A few minutes later, and we were pulling up to the Amazing Grace container. Grace and Olivia from Amazing Grace did a fabulous job--wanting to get to know the girls, showing and explaining how to make the beads, answering questions and having some fun! The girls were mesmerized by the bead oven and couldn't quite get over that old bottles were being turned into beautiful beads.
Grace and Olivia told me that the girls were more than welcome to come during rainy season to make beads, as well as learn other skills like basket weaving, making country cloth and tye-dying. As a souvenir, the ladies gave the girls their own pair of Amazing Grace earrings. They really went above and beyond, and took some time to encourage and empower the girls too! And, they told me I can bring the 'big big boys' next week!
After we got back in the car, the girls went wild! The very first thing that was said was, "Auntie Ashley, we want to learn it. We want to make something fine fine for you." They giggled and talked about everything the whole way home. Just before pulling into the yard, they quickly put on their new earrings and made a pact that, instead of keeping the field trip a secret, they would tell the other children what they learned.
Opportunities like this get me excited, and make me even more excited for the girls--a chance to learn something and to express themselves. Plus, I get to learn how to make beads too, while spending some quality time with girls that I love!
Here are a few photos from our field trip, enjoy!
[Olivia showing the girls how they crush glass bottles. This guy has the hardest job...sweating in front of the oven all day!]
[Olivia with the girls]