Sunday, February 8, 2009

YETAM Mali visit!

I got myself up around 7 and showered. Put my same clothes back on and called Bedo. He and the guys from the Kids Waves radio program came to get me about 8 and we drove about an hour and a half out to the community. We dropped the radio guys off first in one community where we will visit tomorrow and where they will do a live Kids Waves show. The YETAM community was a decent drive down a pretty dusty road, but not really too bad. The kids were all in the school house. They had a whole program planned where they showed the theater and songs that they had made up during the project and since then. They also showed me the photos that they’d taken as part of the project. I took a bunch of video with my phone so that I could make some short testimonials for Nokia about the project. I was really impressed with the kids and the topics they chose – they did one play about female genital cutting, one about the dangers of selling bad meat in the community, and had a song motivating people to go out and vote. Really relevant stuff for community awareness and motivation.

Photo: kids who are participating in the YETAM project.

About 2 we finished the community program and they served lunch. It was rice with meat – goat I think. So as usual I was faced with the vegetarian’s dilemma (as opposed to the omnivore’s dilemma, ha) of how to avoid being rude. In the end I just ended up eating the rice with all the goat ‘juice’ on it. People crowd up and share a big platter of food. They wash up and then each person squats around the platter and uses their right hand to scoop out some rice and form a ball with it, and then eat it along with some of the meat and vegetables. It’s nice to have a communal plate like that. I’ve seen it in many countries and it really feels more like you are sharing the meal rather than each eating from your own private space. I just wasn’t sure how the meat juices and grease would settle since I haven’t eaten meat for so many years…. I was feeling a big woozy by the time we got back, but mainly due to lack of sleep and water since I didn’t drink any water all day and it was pretty hot. (Didn’t want to have to go to the toilet!)

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