The group of women I visit today call themselves Pit odong ki mon… it literally means “women have been left”.
Which can pretty much describe the situation in Africa.
And for this group of former child soldiers it means … they will take care of themselves and their children…
You see, these women are CHILD MOTHER returnees…..which basically means, they were abducted AS CHILDREN, impregnated by rebel soldiers AS CHILDREN….and now barely in their teens….have to care for their own children.
But amazingly…they are able to muster up the strength to not only take care of their families, but ALSO to take measure to insure the generation they raise will have a fighting chance.
I’m humbled at their strength and sheer determination. I mean they have come from EXTREMELY traumatizing situations.
Seen and done things that would render most catatonic.
But these amazing women have decided to take their destinies into their own hands. They have trained themselves in farming maize and simsim and are also involved in cultural rehabilitation.
They have elders who speak to the children and teach them their cultural values. And their main method of teaching is through drama….and yes…DANCE!
This particular dance is called the larakaraka dance and is NOT to be taken lightly. It is primarily a courtship dance that is performed during weddings. When the young people in a particular village are ready for marriage, they organize a big ceremony where all potential partners meet.
Only the best dancers will get partners, so there is a lot of competition (and pressure) during the dancing.
And in Acholi…you had better know how to dance because if you are a bad dancer, you are likely to die as a bachelor.
And you thought dating in the western world was difficult….HA!