It was a long day on Saturday. We had a big presentation at first. And only started an hour late! Most of the crowd was people from the community–alcoholic Mom’s of some of the girls, people from the market, kids from the slum that CCC sponsors in school. There were a few donors and other volunteers in the crowd as well. The girls sang a few times, the director gave a presentation about what CCC has done over the past 7 years, we showed a video the girls had made [It’s actually pretty amazing. I’m trying to get permission to share it.], they sang some more, another video, then at least four important representatives associated with CCC had to be given the opportunity to share. Which they did. And each were equally long winded. It was a hot day and I am a responsible, polite adult but I was struggling. But I was sitting all the way in the back with a few of the girls and we had a fun time. They tried to get me to eat tree sap and then used the sap to try to ‘wax’ my arms (they did that while I wasn’t looking…) and one of the tiny ones fell asleep in my lap and I had a nice, quiet, conversation with one of the girls about family.
Thankfully the speeches finally ended and I hurried on over to our make-shift shop. Unfortunately, most of the foreigners (i.e. people with money and our potential customers) had left when the program was about 2 hours in with still no end in sight. But a few stuck around and enough to sell about 300ssp (about $75) worth of stuff. I was slightly disappointed, but still pretty happy.
Someone had donated for the day a freezer to keep the drinks cold. Towards the end of this long and hot day the ice on it was melting. What started as putting ice down unsuspecting persons shirts, quickly turned into an ice/snowish/water fight. It was hilarious to watch. And of course you can only watch for so long before people notice you are dry and force you into the fun as well. It was the loveliest end to an otherwise tiring day. And perhaps the first “snowball” fight Juba has ever seen.
The next day I organized who sold what and sorted the money and recorded it for each girl. The system we’re going to use is that 20% of the money goes towards materials, 20% they get to keep and spend whenever they like, and the remaining 60% goes into a savings account of sorts for each girl that we will keep in the office safe. I have explained this system several times to the girls. And I have them sign each time they sell something and I add money into their account. But they still don’t really grasp it at all. The director has been accused of pocketing their money and each time I try to explain, in English or Arabic, it is met with blank stares. So hopefully with time I can build their trust and also teach them about money management and basic things about costs and profits and business.
Slowly, slowly. That seems to be the pace of progress.