The slum is not a nice place.
You probably thought, “Well duh…” to that, because obviously it wouldn’t be called a slum if it was somewhere lovely.
But seriously. Beyond the obvious (filth, muck, abuse, drugs and moonshine, starvation, illness… SMELLS), everyone there operates in survival mode 100% of the time.
In survival mode, you’re not creative. Your body is flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. Your immune system is terrible. Your brain is a weird combination of hyper-alertness and fuzzy thinking.
This is how our girls live all the time when they’re not at the Touch the Slum compound. In the community, they can turn to little baggies of waraji (moonshine made in 50 gallon drums that makes turpentine seem like fine wine) or marijuana to try to ease the stress. If they escape that, they turn to young men who promise some stability but just leave unclaimed babies after they disappear.
One of our missions at Touch the Slum is to create an atmosphere where the girls can not only learn but also RELAX. Feel safe. Laugh. Dance. And create.
In March, my mom, Susan, introduced the girls in the Literacy class to drawing and painting. They loved it! Ever since, we’ve made it a regular part of the curriculum and it’s one of their favorite things.
When the team goes in January, we will have my mom again, who will continue to teach drawing and painting to the girls and staff. Connie is a glass and pottery artist so she’s going to teach those skills. And I’ll be bringing creative writing to the girls with some fun activities to help them have fun with their newly learned English words.
Much of life involves creating: outfits, artwork, stories, hairstyles. Once they can envision the small stuff, they can see the project that will be their masterpiece:
Thanks to you, these girls are learning to think creatively and expand their dreams. That’s an amazing gift and we can’t thank you enough.
PS Are you following us on Instagram yet? We’ve had some great reels there, and the media team is doing a great job with our content. Click the icon below or here to check it out!