Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday 19th May, 2011
The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and member groups namely Ishtar MSM, Gay Kenya Trust (GKT), Minority Women in Action (MWA), Artists For Recognition and Acceptance (AFRA-Kenya) and Trans gender Education and Advocacy (TEA) gathered in the board room at the community centre at 2.45pm to meet a group of political science students from Kings College, New York. The students were also born again Christians who were on a tour of the countries within East Africa for the very first time. They were about 14 men and women in number.
The meeting was to start at 2 pm but am imagining cruising around in the all-time crazy Nairobi traffic can delay one for up to 3 hours or more!
I curtain raised the discussion by doing a number, one of my fav.... songs about injustice and understanding where I come from as a queer woman artist.
Then a brief presentation from each organization on their core missions, visions, objectives, current projects and membership etc. Then an introduction to Kings College and a few questions asked. One of us analysed the political situation in Kenya at the moment and updates on what had been happening in terms of progress in advocacy work and all. A round of our personal experiences and so on and so forth.
This forum was seemingly too official, until one of us requested for a break to grab some snacks and get to mingle for a few minutes before resuming discussion!
I was envious since I could not take the snacks and soda, I'd a few hours earlier pumped my demanding stomach with bacon and vegetables and it was still excited at being full! He he he, then I got into an interesting conversation with about 7 students on our lives, music. I found it strange that a few of them had done most of their primary education indoors (schooling from home) and only got to go to college at teenage! Mine was the vice versa, I went to boarding school at an early age and that was routine till I cleared college. I wondered whether they ever got 'school sick!'
I wondered how some of their parents managed to have up to five guitars while I never managed to convince my folks to let me study a major in Music at College! I was however impressed that a number of them were very much interested and involved in the arts back in the United States (US).
We talked about weather and I found it especially hard to compare the heat seasons here to those in the US. I wondered how my skin would feel getting exposed to over 100 degrees Celsius of heat...and of cold during winter!
I asked a bit about Kings College which I now understand is quite a small college in the United States of America but one where you can study media and the arts (if you are interested). They admit international students.
We talked about work, coming out, family amongst others. I never flinched, just stayed on and answered their questions. Everyone of us was at ease, the kings and queens were very good listeners and we found laughter in every word and sentence that spelt funny while conversing. The environment was cool and exciting. I was glad to know that they enjoyed listening to me sing and play my guitar (Inara- Ray of Light/hope).
But before we were done enjoying each others company,the whistle was blown to bring us together and close. It felt like we had known one another for quite a while. It never at any point occurred to me that we were attached to the self identified young and accommodative heterosexual women and men who also loved our company and mentioned that engaging with us was one of their best experiences in Kenya. That said, introductions were made, vote of thanks from both groups given and we were free to leave. My heart sunk, they were gone...
This goes to say that I thoroughly enjoyed being with and talking as well as laughing with you! You made who I am feel so much better... I thank you for your time and looking forward to seeing you all sometime!
Regards and hugs,