Munyama Implementation – Day 5
Day 5 (Sunday): I think I speak for everyone when I say that this was my favorite day of our trip. In the morning, we spent time finishing up some work in the kiosk and cleaning up the interior and exterior. Once most of the work was done, Nancy taught me how to Shim Sham (a swing-style line dance), which we had quite the audience for! With the afternoon came the community event, which we had been looking forward to all week; this event marked the introduction of the kiosk to the community as a whole. Though we certainly had an audience every day that we were there, we largely saw the same people every day; those who lived in villages further from the kiosk had not seen the project since it had begun. According to Alexander, much of the community did not believe that this project would come to fruition, and were surprised and happy when we actually arrived and completed the job that we had planned. The event saw all ten village headmen, men who had been out working on their fishing boats every day that we had been working, women who were always working hard, and lots of children who were excited to dance!
The female volunteers were welcomed to dance with the women of the village, which is my favorite memory of this trip. The women tied traditional scarves around our waists to dance with, which made me feel as though they really welcomed us into their community.
After this, Alexander gave a speech in Tonga (which he translated for us) introducing what the kiosk would mean for the village, and encouraged all present to help support the kiosk to help it to succeed. Jenna spoke to thank the village for welcoming us into their lives so wholeheartedly and allowing us to become a part of their community for the time that we were with them. We also heard from “Mr. AJ” about solar, and heard a speech by the senior headman of the village. We had times for children to dance, for women to dance, for the men, and for the elders; we sang with Alexander, we joined in the dancing, and for dinner, we ate with the senior headman. It was such an honor to be a part of this joyful event, and to be able to be introduced to people who were not even sure we would ever make it to their village. We were welcomed so wholeheartedly by a people who largely couldn’t even understand much of what we said, but were so willing to teach us their language, customs, and way of life.
To cap off the community event, we projected The Jungle Book onto the side of the kiosk to watch together as a community –
Munyamans and Muzungus alike. It was so joyful to hear the laughter of the children and adults throughout. Monkeys were definitely the funniest part of the movie – and I am so thankful that I was able to experience it!