International Women’s Day, 8th March, was a very joyous day in Siavonga. Our landlady Florence and I, in matching chtengas, joined the march through Siavonga town led by the local Salvation Army. The parade was a riot of colour as each organisation or group had coordinated their outfits. After a delayed start, we finally arrived at the local football field only two hours late!
We were about to leave after the opening addresses but were called back by one of the local Headteachers to join the invited guests under a marquee and watch the rest of the proceedings. These consisted of performances by local women’s groups and schools. The female engineers of Zesco gave a presentation about power generation and transmission. There was a lot of singing and dancing – including crowd participation! Children from Siavonga Basic School really impressed us with their school choir and two memorable dance and drama offerings.
During all this we were plied with soft drinks and biscuits which was just as well as it was very hot. Lunch followed and then we paid a small fee to join a lake cruise to fund-raise for Youth Day (12th March). We spent much of the time discusiing our project with DEBS (District Education Board Secretary), in particular issues around getting to two lakeside villages next week to fit solar panels.