On the 27th of August we had our very first Exchange program between Bandaptai Women group and Wima Women group in Salgaa. I am happy to report that it was a very successful day. The exchange program is an important process in the women empowerment program and the initial idea behind the program is to open the women to new ideas and to create a platform were the women are able to meet to share their experiences. Our hopes for the day were to show them that even though their cultures are as different as night and day, as women they still share the same experiences and face the same challenges.
Maria and the women from Bandaptai picked me up from Berur early in the morning. The expectations among the women were very high and they were singing songs all the way down to Salgaa. Meanwhile, in Salgaa Wima women group had spent the whole day cooking preparing for the arrival of Bandaptai. When we finally arrived the women greeted eachother with songs and affection. I stood by watching how the two groups slowly turned into one – it was a moment filled with warmth and excitement.
However, the day had only just begun. We spent the day getting to know one another, sharing our experiences, ideas and dreams. The groups exchanged thoughts of future businesses, solutions to challenges they encounter in their daily life and ideas on how to improve their work in order to become more self-reliant. Wendo spoke to the women about group dynamics and the importance of teamwork, but also about project initiation and management. Afterwards we enjoyed some amazing food, so much food! The Kenyan women are still trying to fatten me up as they think I eat like a bird.
In the end of the day the women united together to pray. To be a part of and to observe how the women gave hope and encouragement to eachother were for me an amazing experience. For us it is obvious that despite coming from different backgrounds, cultures and community’s the women thirst for the same thing. They seek to be better, to be more economically empowered, for them and their families to be healthy and to be self-sustaining. Together they stand strong.
What are we here for if not to help each other!