International Women’s Day

So we had ourselves quite a weekend. As I’m sure you know, we spent Saturday in Mikumi National Park harassing wild animals. We were pretty tired after that, but alas, no rest for the wicked. March 8th (Tuesday) is International Women’s Day, and we helped a local girl’s club organize their first annual Women’s Day event in Chamwino (the poorest area of town). Lonny and I designed an info sheet for the girls participating, helped set up the sound system, and were charged with documenting the whole thing. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of spending what little free time we had on Friday and Saturday pouring through USAID reports and the UN Human Development Index to collect facts for the info sheet, all for something that didn’t really have anything to do with our project. Also, the sheet had to be in Kiswahili, which made the selection of Lonny and I even stranger. But we got it done. Extra marks if you can find the mistake we missed. Handout.

So Sunday morning we got up early to get our stuff printed, and then headed into Chamwino. The first event of the day was a debate. I believe the topic was something to the effect of “is education the single greatest impediment to women achieving decent work?”. So the girls divided themselves into YES and NO sides, and had at it for a good hour at least.

The guest of honour was a local woman who is head of one of the wards or streets in Chamwino. I think I zoned out quite a few times, as I couldn’t understand anything. But these kids outside seemed intently interested in women’s issues.

That, or they just wanted to stare at me the entire time, and occasionally take a shot at my arm hair when I wasn’t looking.

As the debate was winding down Lonny and I joined James (Faraja volunteer) in setting up the sound system for the day’s festivities. Unfortunately the equipment had been dropped off a few hundred metres from the site, and the speakers and amps were absurdly heavy. But we got them there eventually.

The thing kicked off about an hour and a half later, and there ended up being a pretty huge crowd. There was a lot of talking that I didn’t understand, but it looked like the girls (as well as Makoti and James) were doing a great job on the mic.

YCI funded the event, and recruited Dj Andrew, who is apparently pretty well known in the area. He was a superstar on the turntables, that’s for sure.

So the girls prepared speeches, danced, and sang. And a local hip-hop group got on the mic later as well.

There were a few hundred people there for sure, and at least 13 children in this tree.

And of course, wherever there is a digital camera, there are about a thousand adorable children demanding to have their picture taken.

At one point a man came out of his house carrying a baby, handed it to me, smiled, and then took it back inside the house. I’m pretty sure I’m good luck around here. Lonny had no such honours bestowed upon him, but here he is stealing a child’s nose:

The only downside of the day was one guy kept wandering into the middle and trying to grab the microphone. I thought at first that he had a mental condition, but it turns out he was just blind stinking drunk.

At the end of the day we gathered for some group photos, as well as some more of the neighbourhood kids. Here’s one taken a split second before his friend kicked the tire out from under him for no apparent reason.

And here’s the rest:




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