Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feeling a bit sorry....

Last night there was a fund-raising dinner for a women's refuge here in Gaborone, called something like Kanisano, supported amongst others by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung of Germany, or 'by Friedrich' as one speaker said. Expensive tickets, nice venue, big anticipation!

Alas.....it was supposed to start at 7 pm, by 8 pm half the guests had drifted in....at 8.10 pm it was finally decided to start in the half-empty (of half-full!) hall. By then it seemed like there was pressure on time (was the hall only rented till 10 pm?). Given the price of the tickets my team had all saved their appetite for the evening....so we were gasping. Not least because it seems that the drink was not included in the tickets (had it been more people might have been more motivated, later in the evening, to sign a commitment form for further funding).

One of the organisers then read out a list of all the organisations who were attending - at least it was all the organisations who may have paid (better than nothing), but many were not attending. (My team was out in full force!). Bit embarassing, that. It got worse... I spotted quite a few people who I knew, which was nice - I am getting into this Botswana scene! An entertainment was procured, with some youngsters dancing to Michael Jackson music (a school mate of my son's, over 20 years ago, was a huge fan, so I remember this).

Then finally we were allowed dinner, which was nice. Lovely puddings, especially - Botswana is quite good at traditional British puddings, with a compulsory trifle at every meal. I bought a bottle of wine for the table....

Then, the show went on, with a video being shown about the refuge's work. The person who was supposed to introduce this had also not turned up (Serious embarassment, no?). So someone else introduced it, rather at length. The master of ceremonies did a thing about how to treat a woman (compliment her - I turned to my neighbour and said 'don't I compliment you every day?' - she agreed. Flirting is Fun!). Bit of a thin ice situation, all the same, given the environment.

The video was ok, nothing new for me; I'm not sure about other people in the hall. One of my colleagues who had been affected by domestic violence earlier in her life, found that extremely hard to take - it was really brave for her to come at all. Later the master of ceremonies announced that just that minute a child victim of sexual abuse had been admitted to the refuge (really?, I ask myself). But it's good that at least this is talked about, unlike in Georgia. (Though many of the guests were not Motswana, but expats).

Then there was the awards moment, perhaps of donors? I missed the start of this, having gone out for a smoke (and yes, I am cutting back a bit, having come to an agreement with a colleague - she found the right button to push, after everyone else told me just to stop). When I got back, I saw most of the pile of awards, about 10 or so, having moved from the left to the right of the table - I think only one beneficiary was there. I felt so sorry for the organisers!

I suppose if people pay at least the organisation gets their money; though at the same time they will also have paid up front for the buffet (for the paid number of guests).

One interesting thing - SADC, the Southern Africa Development Coorperation has some sort of agreement on domestic violence and dealing with it; of all the 15 or so member states only Botswana and one other have not signed this. hmmmm.