Thanks to this great and hearty group of women we had an impressive, challenging and strange (in the best sense of the word) experience.
It was our last day of the workshop here in Siachilaba. Processing all material collected these few days being in Siachilaba will take time, processing what we have seen and learnt in these few days will take pensive contemplation.
We had the chance to make loads of interviews which gave us the opportunity to listen to a broad spectrum of stories all these women participating the workshop had to tell. We learnt about the Tonga culture and its traditions, both what is liked and disliked on them. We got verbally introduced to the “ancestor-dance”. A traditions which is apparently not only restricted to the Tonga people, but spread out in Zimbabwe: ” It’s a ritual during which you dance and invite an ancestor (some people say it is inviting demons) to come inside you. This spirit will be you and you can’t control what it does to you. It will make you say things, even do things for days, sometimes weeks. – I didn’t believe it – until I saw it with my own eyes.”
We had the pleasure listening and watching pretty much all participants jointly performing some traditional songs and dances. The rain song as an example, another one, in which they sing about their regret of being dislocated from the Zambezi river. Furthermore they showed us how to smoke their pipes, which seems to be only done by elderly women. (according to the coughing of the younger ones trying, this seemed to be true) and we listened to different types of travels they did in your lives so far (reaching from a 70km distanced village to several thousands of kilometers abroad).
We heard about their daily routines, mainly based upon going to the fields, gathering water, cooking for the family and looking after kids. Got some insight in what it means being divorced and bringing up kids as a single woman. Someone told us about public transportation, which doesn’t stick to any schedule, since there is none, waiting a whole day for a bus and being happy if one of the rare cars passing stops for giving a lift to shorten the kilometer-long walks to shops and schools. And we got some ideas on what these women wish for their personal futures as well as what they would change in the world if they had all power needed to do so.
Access to water, available electricity and most importantly education and schools close to their home places have been these wishes and visions most often mentioned. Unified woman power was another vision as well as the chance to make a living out of running their own businesses, independent from men. Equality of all people in the world, a changed financial/economical system, the end of corruption and people living in peace beside one other would be only some of the changes carried out if they would have the power to change the world.