The SOS Social Centre in Lagos invited me to speak on this year's International Women's Day yesterday, March 11, 2011. Armed with the theme and my experiencce of Paulo Freire's Approach, I left home as early as I can make it to the venue and waited for participants. The programme began with my little introduction to the genesis of the International Women's Day and it was followed by my skit. I had wanted to use the Augusto Boal's method or the But Why, until I discovered that the participants are mostly form the adult literacy class, so I switched course to Popular Education.
The skit was short, showing the choice of toys for baby girls and choice of courses for poor female school leavers. We discussed the protection methods and how far the men in our lives have pushed us, be it father, husband, brother, boyfriend etc. There were men present too and they confirmed how irritant the voices of their wives become when it comes to a matter of decision making.
Sharing real life experiences was a step in Paulo Freire's approach and the women and men were redy to share their experiences. They are horribel experiences and everyone share and weep. I was proving to be strong but it got to a time when my heart had to give way and I allowed the free flow too.
I had to collect a microphone from a man who began to weep too, because I wanted him to allow it to flow.
Does it means that we cannot live side by side?, does it means that equality would continue as long as our men refused to be educated? how come women are the ones in the fore front of perpetuating violence against women in our villages? why is it that our women do not even believe in themselves and their abilities to effect changes?
A woman begged me to follow her to her village because she believed that the culture of resuming to work at the farm after school hours will continue to keep girls behind in their educational pursuits. The farm is always around four miles to the home. She said "we eat linch at the farm, so we must run as far as our legs can carry us"
Do you know that there are million of girls who do not have time for home work or assignment? That some girls would have to cove four miles after the school hours because of food for her family? Do you believe that some girls are still working to pay for their siblings all because they are girls? Do we ever think of what our girls feel in their corners?
We actually talked about forceful corporate prostitution especially in Banks in Nigeria! Wherein ladies are recruited to seduce rich clients to open an account and transfer large sum from his other banks. Wonders shall neve end. How many male bankers are used as gigolo in Nigeria? None. Shamefully, soome Nigerians evacuated from Libya narrated their sexual ordeals in their land of greener pastures. A lady that was being sexually molested by the man and his sons because she did not have the necessary documents to live in Libya, how many of our young female graduates are in such condition today?
I gave some minutes for our tears to flow because for once, I want my tears to reach those secret tears of the unknown girls. Who knows, may be one day, our tears will heal this unjust World.
Wherever you are my little girl, my darling sister and my mothers, My tears is flowing for you, and I know it is reachiing you as we cleanse our earth in togetherness. Do hot hold it; let is flow because one day, I means very soon, the International Women's Day would be a Happy Celebration for my women.