Friday, September 4, 2009

Dancing with children

This time last week I was dancing under the midday sun with 200 boys and girls from all over Northern Kenya.

We were celebrating the "Children's Voices" conference, which brought together children from the many different tribes here and gave them a chance to voice their concerns to the Government.


Through dramas, poems and testimonies we heard how their lives were affected by the food crisis, insecurity and crime, water shortages, poor health care and early marriage.

They then presented their recommendations and requests to the Government of Kenya in a formal document. The Government was represented by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Children's Services.

Tough Questions

The children asked their government many tough questions, which represented a real break with the tradition of silence and not challenging ones elders. "Why do we only have 2 doctors in our hospital and the only time they are punctual is for lunchtime?" "Why do we not have any tarmac roads or police in our area? Many people are being attacked".


And afterwards we boogeyed. The popstar (Jimmy Gate anyone?) informed the audience that I was the first mzungu (Swahili word for white person) he'd met who had any rhythm. I was chuffed.

By Eileen in Nairobi