International Literacy Day was on the 8th of September, so on Saturday the 18th our Region hosted a function to celebrate it. We were informed the day before that we should arrive at the host school at 9am, so with our 1 days notice for working over the weekend we had to reschedule our plans to meet other volunteers in Farafenni. We rocked up at 9am as instructed and took our choice of empty seats in the shade under the tents that had been constructed. About once an hour a truck would arrive from various offices in the area carrying sofas and chairs for the not-yet assembled guests. The formation of the rapidly multiplying chairs was rearranged regularly until everyone was satisfied. We passed some time by making the entire alphabet out of twigs, much to the amusement of the gathered children. At least it fitted with the literacy theme. Around 1pm the event started, which was nice. Promoting Women's Literacy in a society where the majority of women from middle age and older, cannot read and write. A policy shift in the last few years means education is now free for girls and there is plenty going on to encourage them to stay on in education. There were some interesting dramas performed by a local school group and a Women's group, although being in local language the jokes were lost on me. Plenty of speeches focused on the links between mother's literacy and child mortality and described initiatives at a community level that were addressing adult literacy issues. A thoroughly thought provoking day. It took a while for the blood to return to my legs.
Any views expressed are my own and are not representative of VSO.