Thirteen girls from around the world and four volunteers in a Zoom room.

Write the ending to this sentence while we’re waiting for people to join, I said. And they did.

“I’m happy to be here today because..” 

I want to improve my English, and know new people 🙂

I love  seeing your faces.

I am with you in a Zoom and this makes me happy.

I really like interacting and this opportunity to be with you.

I missed you all and now I see you.

I like talk with other people.

It’s a nice break from work!

All of you make me happy and young. 

I meet with you.

I’m so happy to join you all today. 

I love meet new people, all the week I’m waiting for Thursday.

It was a pretty good start to a session!

The idea for today was to talk about our world and the changes we’d like to be a part of.  We started small – talking about things we really like about our communities and things we’d really like to see changed in them.  We went into our breakout rooms with one rule only – speak English.  Of course, the tech glitched so I had the opportunity to talk to Hala about her community. She loves being with her family, seeing her aunts and uncles and going to buy ice-cream.  She wants to travel. She wishes her mum’s family lived a bit closer.  She’d like a better internet connection.  She wishes Covid-19 would go away.

Back in the main session, we shared our thoughts.   What do we love? It seems we all love pretty much the same things.  Feeling safe and secure and loving the people around us.  We love the sea, and the earth, and the olive trees and the mosque.  But we also want to change things in our communities.   We hate seeing rubbish thrown on the streets.  We want to end gender violence.  We want the freedom to travel. We wish that we could play and do different activities at school.  And we all really, really want Covid-19 to go away (and a better internet connection).

 It didn’t take much to make the link between our local issues and the wider world – the girls had already done it.  We watched and listened to part of a spoken word poem Three Seconds” by Spencer Sharp & Prince Ea, USA – see the video below. In its own words, it’s “an epic presentation of where humanity stands today and how we must all work together to make it to the fourth second.”  It’s pretty cataclysmic with dire predictions of extinction and disaster but I told the girls about the hopeful ending and that the hopeful ending was them.  They seemed okay with that.

Back in our breakout rooms, the girls had chosen different responses to what they’d seen. Some chose to make a poster, some to write a letter to the earth, and just two – Dana from Argentina and Elif from North Macedonia – chose to write a poem.  Can I come with you? I asked.   More  internet problems.  Elif wrote in the chat box “Be happy” and Dana wrote “it would be sad but with a good end…to give hope”  Then she asked me “Can you explain about the travel thing?”  I told her some of us didn’t have the freedom to travel that she and I did.  I want to put that in the poem, she said. I can’t wait to read it. And I can’t wait to see what Hala and Hala and Nour and Lina and Cami and Nerea and Lola and Ajla and Elif put into their letters and their posters and poems. Nor to hear what Mia and Ghazal and Reda have to say when they rejoin us in the next session. All this week I’ll be waiting for Thursday.

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