“Noos” means “fun.” The Noos Club is sort of a Head Start/enhancement program for our scholarship girls.
Friends of Guéoul took an abandoned upstairs room in the old school, added electricity, got it all spiffed up, and voila–we’re ready for “noos!”
Baye Thierno Ndiaye has been an elementary teacher for 20 years. He is married to Dietou, one of Judy’s kids when she was in Senegal in the Peace Corps in the early 1990’s. He got wind of what we were doing with Friends of Guéoul. He said to me that all of his adult life, he had hoped to find a way to do something for his people. He became administrator of the entire Noos Club project.
At first, we just played in the afternoon after school. We read books, had a puppet theatre. I brought coloring books. Diane, Mary Ellen and her family brought a bunch of art projects. It was a lot of fun. Then, we noticed that our scholarshipped girls (boursieres) being from the lower socio-economic class tended as a group to underperform their classmates. Now the elementary school levels have 2 or 3 afternoon academic classes a week during the regular school year. They also participate in the 7 week summer school, receiving some of their classes via eLearning. We’ve been keeping records of their GPAs for six years, and we see that as a group they’ve made improvements in their GPAs.
The theme song for Noos Club is the ABCD song (sung in a French accent), which most Americans learn in the first grade. The ending of the song has been changed to a brag in Wolof “Muus naa trop, Muus naa trop!”. I’m very smart, I’m very smart.