Heather Plank- A Note
01 Dec, 2008
Visiting a Springboard School for Girls is always a Special Experience.
Recently I went to visit the Amer Abdulla School in the Fayoum Governorate. I go every chance I get to see how the girls are doing, at least once a year, sometimestwo or three times a year. The school is in its fourth year now. The teachers have lost their shyness; they wear bright colors and winning smiles. We exchange warm greetings.
I pass through the entrance into the classroom and think many of the girls I knew must have transitioned out and new ones had come in. No longer did I receive the screaming, “Welcome, welcome!” with giggles. This time it was a calm, open hello with a play about the difference between living things and inanimate objects. The animal characters portrayed by full-head masks swooped, hopped and lumbered through their discussion.
I looked around the room and tried to identify the girls one by one. I was at a loss. We went through the day’s newspaper I had brought and tried a Sudoku puzzle on the board. I started to see that some of the younger girls had just gotten a little older. Then it was time for their annual photos. One by one they came out to a chair in the entrance and sat for their portrait, nervous but brave and forthright. I quickly came to understand that those I had met when they were unruly and boisterous at 10 or 11 were still there only now they are endowed with quiet womanly beauty at 14 and 15 and wearing it with dignity and grace.
They love to draw and do math and study Arabic and religion and read and write in English but mostly they love learning. They love their school and more than a third of them want to be teachers. I understand. If I were a child again I would want to go to a school like that and I’d be pleased to have any one of them be my teacher.