April 24

Dear Diary,
Yesterday, I talked to girls at the tea club. Mariyam made tea and served plates of crisp nan khatai cookies and sweet boondi ladoo dumplings. The club had comfortable pillows for sitting on, and big window openings with white silky curtains to keep out the bugs.

There were twelve girls there, many of them Satura's age. I recognized one or two from the tea fields, they smiled and nodded at me as they walked in. I could not eat the cookies or dumplings, I was so nervous, but I drank some tea and tried to imagine how the girls would feel about my giving a speech. I'd hardly slept the night before!

So I was quite surprised when Mariyam gathered everyone in a circle. We sat on the cushions, looking at one another; then Mariyam introduced me.

"This is Nahji, she is going to tell us about some of her projects and why she is doing them." Mariyam smiled and looked at me encouragingly. "We are all friends here, so we will be polite and listen, then you can ask questions. Nahji…?"

It was not like making a speech at all, Diary! It was just like talking to girlfriends over tea. At first, I was not sure how to start or what to say. But then I just kept explaining my ideas about the ducks, telling them about Mutka's bad leg and funny ways, and after that it was easy. I even told them about our ideas for the vegetable stand and Mother not picking tea anymore.

They smiled at me a lot and asked a few questions. I saw their heads nod as if they understood. When I was through, we had more tea and then I could eat a nan khatai with no trouble!

"I like your ideas," said one girl as Satura and I started for the doorway. "You must visit again soon and tell me more, please, Nahji."

"Me, too," said another. "I want to hear more about Mutka!"

It made me feel good, Diary!

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