Unfortunately, this photo was the best of the bunch. Genevieve Lamond, co-founder of Wamumbi Orphan Care, arranged for us to have dinner with Ken and David, two youth-focused activists who will participate in the workshop The ABCs will be running for Wamumbi in a few weeks in Murang’a County. Brought in by another musician and music therapist friend of Genevieve, these men have both run workshops several times at Wamumbi themselves, doing music therapy and counseling, and know the grandparents and grandchildren well. Light conversation ranged from first-time eating of njera to the most unusual/revolting/mysterious things any of us had ever eaten to the replacement of traditional Kikuyu musical instruments by the accordion.
On the more serious note of our upcoming workshop topic of HIV prevention, we discussed the high and seemingly increasing incidence of rape and incest in Busia County. The workshop The ABCs will be running in Busia County starting Monday will have participants who are part of REEP (Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme), including Mary Makokha, the leader referred to in this article (warning, triggers). I’m looking forward to hearing what successes the group has had and how we can help them build on those successes to improve the situation for the children in that region. Phylis and I have been discussing how we can incorporate more knowledge and understanding of rape and tools to reduce the incidence into our curriculum, and how to get a good referral system going. We hear about so many rape and incest cases since our educators are true grassroots activists, who are trusted in their communities with sensitive information. But we are teachers, not court advocates or counselors, so we’ve been seeking ways to engage with the issue and lend strength to other networks and activists without diluting the important work we do. Our new partnership with REEP will help show us a path, I feel certain. And since this will be the first of three trainings over the next two months, we’ll be able to incorporate our new understanding into the following two trainings.