Wednesday, June 20, 2012

06/20 - Bird stole my breakfast

I went downstairs for breakfast this morning to meet some of the group, as has become the ritual.   I did not sleep particularly well last night (loud frogs outside our window, the night staff yelling and singing outside our room, etc).  After going thru their makeshift buffet and getting bacon and scrambled eggs with no shells in them (YES! its going to be a good day!), I stepped outside with a smile on my face as I headed for the table where I could see Gretchen, Stefan, and Devota (our group translator).  

My new breakfast friends

About 5 steps out of the dining room, while I was walking with my plate in hand, a hawk came out of nowhere and took the bacon right off my plate midair.  It knocked one piece of bacon onto the ground which a second hawk promptly picked up while I was still trying to figure out what had just happened.  
After she finished laughing, Gretchen took it upon herself to fix me a second plate because at this point, I was sitting at the table staring into space drinking my coffee.  

Today, we had two appointments.  First, we went to the Coca-Cola bottling plant.  (Can I say one of the things that has really amazed me is the permeation of Coke and Pepsi logos on everything that will hold still here).  When we got there, we were warmly received.  The plant is huge, with about 1,200 workers here locally.  

The plant manager showed us to a room full of women in their work uniforms, after walking us past a wall full of plaques for quality awards and explaining with pride what the different plaques represented.  

Presentation at Coca-Cola bottling

After leaving the Coca-Cola plant, we went back to a women's center. They had asked us if we would come back and actually help some women draft their wills.  There were more than a dozen women there waiting for us when we arrived ready for our help.  Our group split up and we sat outside one-on-one with them in the hut behind the building and worked individually to create the documents.  I personally drafted 3 wills.  

Just to give you an idea of what we are working with, two of the three women I wrote wills for were simply accounting for the disposition of their personal property.  They had specific bequests, for example, for their shoes, their backpack, etc.  One woman specified that her sewing machine was to go to a local orphanage.  Another woman wanted to make sure the money in her checking account would go to her 12 yo sister who is struggling to raise her eight month old baby... 

We were all really drained by the experience today, but I needed to speak with our supervising attorney here in Mwanza about the radio project tomorrow to find out the parameters of the discussion.  As it turns out, he told us that two very strong statements were made in Parliament here today about the subject of LGBT rights.  He told me that he did not feel it was safe for me to go on the air and talk about "my topic."  He refuses to actually name my research area, even though he has commented freely on all the others.  I was a little infuriated by the whole situation, and in general, it was just uncomfortable the way he was handling it.  I know his position.  At the end of the day, I caved to the pressure and bowed out of the radio show they had asked me to participate in because there are some genuine safety concerns.    It makes me sad and angry, but I think it was the only choice.  Thats all for now.  

1 comment:

  1. Know you are disappointed. A 12 yr old raising a baby. What do we continue to take for granted in this country?