Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not Your Typical Teenage Girls

What comes to mind when you think of your average teenage girl? Maybe a girl consumed by her social media devices: texting, facebooking, etc. In fact, the average teenage American girl sends 1,500 texts per month! Or maybe it’s a girl busy with after school activities, shopping, and watching Gossip Girl in the evening. However, the American perceptions of teenage girls do not hold up with the girls at Purse of Hope: these are not your typical teenage girls!

The Purse of Hope girls in Bwaise are out of school on break until their next term starts in February. Of course, many would think, a house of 11 teenage girls on break from school would mean: sleeping, eating, maybe arguing with each other, and lounging around. This is not the case!

The girls have been spending each day with purpose and discipline. They wake up early in the morning for devotion time with each other and then spend several hours cooking, cleaning, and accomplishing their daily chores. During the day, they are focused on learning new skills such as: bead making, hairdressing, and improving in their studies to prepare for their next term. The girls also decided to have a daily-designated time to pray and worship together. This devotion time was entirely the initiative of the girls! Everyday, faithfully at noon, they gather on the roof to pray and sing and thank God for His provision in their lives. It’s incredible to see how faithful these girls are with the opportunity they have been given, and how incredibly disciplined they are in working towards their future dreams and goals.

In the midst of their hard work and time-off they are finding time to be girls: to play, to sing, to dance, and laugh together. Purse of Hope’s mission is: "To give children the chance to be children.” We are seeing that happen daily. We are seeing a youthfulness, a child-like awe, we are seeing them dream, and love and trust. We are seeing these girls thrive in an environment that is safe, structured, and loving.

-Kati Martin (Purse of Hope Volunteer)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Purse of Hope Thanksgiving

As families in America joined together and celebrated Thanksgiving, so did the Purse of Hope family in Gulu. However, our version of Thanksgiving was a slight bit different than what those in America experienced…

The Turkey Hunt. Instead of driving to the nearest grocery store and picking up a nice frozen turkey, our girls went on a “Turkey Hunt.” They walked to town to find out if anyone was raising turkeys. Once they found a nice big one, they negotiated a price, paid the owner, tied it up, and brought it home. Here it roamed around the compound and was fed some last minute food to fatten it up. Early the next morning, Joyce, our catering expert, killed the turkey, gutted it, seasoned it, and began cooking it over a charcoal stove.

The D├ęcor. Juliet and Scoiva were determined to find a Christmas tree to decorate the house. Using their creativity, they bound together branches of pine trees and decorated the tree with flowers from the garden and toilet paper to look like snow! Autnie Susan played DJ and kept the house bumping with Christmas tunes.

The “Aunties” and “Uncles” of Purse of Hope joined the celebrations in the early afternoon. Uncle Sean taught the girls how to cook garlic mash potatoes and it was a huge hit! Other guests brought stuffing, fruit salad, sweet potato casserole, and delicious desserts.

The night ended with LOTS of singing, dancing, and tons of appreciation. Personally, I’ve never experienced a better Thanksgiving or a group of teenage girls who are more thankful than the Purse of Hope girls.