We rent a room with a schoolteacher with 6 children, 7 grandchildren, 5 chickens and several goats.The toilet is a hole in the ground, the shower the best I ever had: a bucket behind a wall of grass with no roof, we are in the middle of nowhere, in a house of stone amongst houses of clay and trees and children. Many many children.
Being here is down to earth and very peacful. Intense lightning (and thunder) entertain us, the rainseason seems to already have started.. Every morning my skin feels its been in the bathtop all night but it is my African sweat that soakes me wet.
In the light of 2 wakawaka’s I perform for a boarding school, with Massai guards with bow and arrow to protect the girls from being stolen.
Everyone is formal and polite. It feels quite decadent to talk about money and the spirit of desire and the stockexchange for an audience who never set on a toilet.
But afterwards one of the teachers thinks it is good to hear something from an other culture and eventhough I doubt, something in me is quite stubborn to perform this play and not adapt too much.
The landlady/teacher tells us about poverty. How some children go to school but cannot concentrate because of hunger. Their desperate mothers pretend they cook on big fires, cooking water and wood, till the children fall asleep. The poverty puzzles me. The land is so rich and fruitful, why hunger…. ‘it is their lazy mentality’ or ‘it is the corruption’ or ‘ it is their muslim faith’ or ‘the men have too many women’ different people tell us different reasons.
Next day another school and very different teachers. The students want to see credit cards and debit cards and ask us about our traditions: ‘is it true that you get money form grandparents and parents….’ Yes it is true, our parents safe money for us and pay for our tuition.
Laura is sharing her pictures and stories about her life that night. Together with the landlady and her daughter they watch computer. Laura is an open, generous sharing person but part of me is concerned ‘Does not this emphasize your have’s and their have-nots’. I try to not think this. And next day they share pictures with us.
Being here is somehow very confronting. Poverty and the request for help: can’t you sponsor our students, even one… It is asked several times. It irritates. ‘We already performed for free, you should pay us’ we exclaim one time. And then 2 stand up and sing a song in return. But I doubt ‘why am I here, maybe I should not have come and have given money instead….’
Everyone should go to school is the new policy, and especially girls finally go, but the goverment is not giving money to make it possible. But the landlady is hopeful and very curious if this might make a change happen.