Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Marie-Suzanne Schools Mont Rolland

We had our doubts. At 4:30, when only a handful of people had shown up for the workshop which had been advertised to start at 3, and all of those people were Marie-Suzanne's cousins, siblings, aunts, and parents, we got worried.

But there's on time and then there's Senegalese time. By 5 pm, the second speaker had finally shown up, and as they began, teens from the village continued arriving. By the end, a standing room-only crowd scrambled to get their hands on the free condoms, female condoms, and cool necklaces designed to help women keep track of their cycles.

(Go here to see more photos from the day.)

Rappers performed songs written especially for the workshop (and one of which will appear on the rapper's next album) and village kids danced and sang for the crowd.

From my perspective, I was disappointed with the focus on abstinence from the speakers. Plus, the organization that donated condoms only sent one box of about 50-60. They told Theo (who handed them out) they didn't want to encourage young people to have sex (Gah.) It seems to me, with all the young girls getting pregnant, that ship has sailed.

But it opened the discussion, and inspired Marie-Suzanne, who is planning to organize round two for next year's festival.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. Marie-Suzanne also sends her heartfelt thanks for your help.


Blogger Coach Tammy said...

valiant efforts and worthy cause. Abstinence lectures... proven to be completely ineffective, but still they get funded.

What part of Africa are you in? I'll be visiting Port Eliz, South Africa in April.

12:46 AM  
Blogger 21stCenturyMom said...

At least people are talking. I'm guessing that the speakers are worried that their US funding will be yanked if they actually address the issue and talk about anything other than abstinence. And yes - you would think the teen pregnancy rate would be a wee bit of a hint that abstinence has long been forgotten. ARRGGHH! But yay for Marie-Suzanne. I hope this is just the beginning.

1:42 AM  
Blogger missykitty said...

Hi Noames! I started reading your blog because I looked up some info on bugs & your 2005 blog was listed there. I was very surprised (and pleased) to jump forward in time and see you were still doing great work in Africa. So, was Jessica right? Do you laugh until tears come through your nose when you look back and read that you were disgusted by bugs and wanted to do your Peace Corps in Connecticut?

9:56 AM  
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11:39 PM  

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