Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Women's empowerment and other intended side-effects of the Co-op project

Last weekend, I was sitting with Bendu, Miriama, Musu and some of their friends on the campsite benches, discussing Tina's pregnancy (she had malaria, but is better now) and catching up on recent news.

Then, Miriama--who has become quite a spirited young woman--came along. "Ellen! Hassan is coming to talk to you, but I told him you would support me," she announced emphatically to me--and everyone else in the campsite.

When I met Miriama, she was quiet. I'm sure she's not normally quiet, but I'm just saying: when I met her. Her self-presentation was shy, even demure. No longer.

Now, she saunters with her wheelbarrow and cooking pots to make the free meal we give to Community Beach Cleanup volunteers (thanks to Nana's Lodge for paying for it!). She calls me to complain about her Co-op team leader if Bendu doesn't cut lapa soon enough after our meetings. And now, she fully expects me to side with her--broadcasting my allegiances before I've even heard the gossip--in her domestic affairs. She clearly thinks I've got her back.

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