So, I still feel in over my head with what is on my plate at the moment, but I’m really, really excited about the stuff I’m doing with the girls. Still moving along at a bit of a snails pace as I am trying to fit in beading along with their normal, quite full, weekly routine. Also having trouble getting them to complete a project. But I think that is a problem more of the human nature and of kids/teenagers in general.
I really like beaded things and I really like repurposing garbage. So the last few weeks have been experimenting with different materials and things based on what I can find and what I can get in the market. I can get beads pretty affordably, which is the most important thing. My new favorite thing to work with is tire inner rubber. The second week I was here I was walking and saw a piece in the road and picked it up and started playing with it. Using small bits as spacers in making bracelets and necklaces. A week or so ago a friend was taking some of the girls to the market to pick out more yarn for crocheting and I asked her to keep her eye out for bits of rubber. She came back with two whole tires worth! Which got me thinking…
I spent a few hours of an evening off sewing beads onto a large piece of rubber to make a cuff bracelet. Some of the girls looked at it and one of the older girls exclaimed “This small girl is dangerous!” Dangerous is a compliment. It means I have skills. (The other day I made cookies and shared them with the staff and they said that I was dangerous about those too.)
So I got some of the girls to start beading on rubber! A few broken needles later we have some cool ones. But in a short amount of time we needed more rubber. So I took three of the girls and we went looking for tires; aka I went dumpster diving without the dumpsters. Just a few minutes walk from the compound is a big smelly ditch with a stream of polluted water running through and lots of garbage. We spotted some tires and I and two of the other girls climbed into the grime and started pulling out tires. It smelled awful. I mean, literally we were in a wet pile of garbage and excrement that had been cooking in the sun all day. I should have brought gloves.
Passers-by literally stopped to watch this crazy khawajja pulling rubber out of garbage and putting it in a bag. Ah, my life. We got back and I bleached the tires and washed my hands several times. It took the rest of the evening for me to feel like I didn’t smell like a neglected porta potty. Found out later that one of the girls who was helping me retrieve the tires used to live and scavenge in that ditch before she got to CCC. If that had been me I’d never want to set eyes on that place again. These girls are amazing.
And while the girls like my ideas and there are a very few who are talented and hard working, I am having difficulty in getting them to heed my suggestions and finish things off and not only use the same three colors. The hope is that I can get them inspired and once some stuff starts selling get them motivated.
In the next few weeks (the plan is to) start working with local girls still in the slums. I am nervous about communicating my ideas well and them being into it, but I am also really excited. This opportunity is the stuff of dreams. Could I really use my affinity for beads and affection for reusing garbage to help relieve some poverty? Maybe, maayyybbeee even get a few ladies to find other ways to make money than prostituting themselves? Holy moley, the stuff of dreams.