Friday, April 25, 2014

The wait is over: the first week with the women has finally begun

An Oscar-worthy performance by the lead actresses in Kabeela's upcoming play about Malaria.

This week we had the first club of Cohort 8: the Theatre Club. It was the first time to properly interact with the women at Kabeela, so we did not really know what to expect, and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. The women were enthusiastic in everything that they did, which made time pass by very quickly. Meri and Dominique were in charge of coming up with a warm up before the acting would officially start. We began first with the stretches to get everyone ready for what was to come.  The women were in fits of laughter at some of the stretches and actions that we had to do. The leg stretches, arm circles and star jumps went down particularly well. We then continued with the name game, whereby we all had to create an action associated with one’s name. The aim was to have everyone’s name and action memorised by the end. The women were very creative. Following that, we played musical chairs, which went down a storm. We did not realise how competitive the women would be. The final game, where there were only two women left was definitely a highlight. They were ultra competitive and kept eyeing the chair. The first time one of them fell off the chair, the second time none of them sat down even when the music stopped and the third time, we finally found ourselves a winner. Some of us were almost crying with laughter.

After the warm up, the main part of the Theatre Club began. We were fortunate to have a professional to come in to teach the women and this cohort’s Theatre Club has a prime focus on Malaria and raising awareness of these issues through acting. Six main actresses were chosen from the people who volunteered and we made quick progress through the first few scenes. The first and third scenes are set in a ‘cabaret’ where the characters come to drink Dolo, a local beer. The second scene is set in someone’s house. The main dialogue discusses about whether traditional medicines or modern day medication is the best way to treat Malaria, a very important issue in a country that has so many cases of Malaria. Although the scenes were all done in Mooré, I could tell from their body language and audience reaction that some of it was very comedic and it was very enjoyable to watch. It is definitely on our to-do list to learn Mooré, so that we can interact more with the women.

Although there is still much to work on, the first theatre club with cohort 8 definitely proved to be a success. Bring on next week!

Figuring out the mystery that is the 'Magic Circle'
This week we also had our first Income Generating Activities (IGA) club session. In these sessions we have decided to focus on crocheting bags, jewellery and baskets out of recycled plastic bags. As Meri has done some crocheting before (though never with plastic bags!), she was in charge of leading the group. Many of the women are already very experienced and have created some beautiful products that have sold well. Consequently the popularity of the IGA club has grown and there are now approximately twenty-six women attending the weekly trainings.

The main focus of the first session was on the ‘Magic Circle’ –technique, which we used to make earrings. It was quite complicated to explain, especially as some attendees had never crocheted before, but most of the women picked it up very quickly. We expect they will be creating lots of new and beautiful pieces in the next few months. Next week we will make sure to bring in more patterns for the women to try.

We had been worried that the language barrier would make the training difficult, but luckily a mix of Mooré, French and body language made communication possible, if not easy. It was great to interact more with the women and to work creatively together. We are looking forward to seeing what fruits this club will bear in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment