Our hosts... ESI... Empowerment Support Initiative. Empowerment is a very strong word and its not always easy to empower people. People have to be open to the concept of empowerment before they can be empowered. ESI have certainly set themselves a very high goal, but a necessary one... it is no longer acceptable to simply hand out 'freebies' to people in need.
Our Trainees... Opportunities in life can also not simply be given away... unless people are ready to reach out and take advantage of these opportunities, ready to put in the hard work that is required in order to be successful... and as is evident everywhere, only those who are prepared to do this will ultimately be successful. With careful and considered support and back up by ESI we may well have sewn the seeds for future entrepreneurial enterprises in soap and related industries in Rivers State. And for the not so entrepreneurialy minded individuals who attended our courses, I hope that they have at least had a glimpse into what empowerment actually means. And then if not this time... then perhaps the next time an opportunity presents itself, they will be ready.
Me... Oh yes I gained a great deal. I have certainly grown as a person. Seeing how other people live is always a worthwhile experience, especially when you see people who have nothing... and I mean absolutely nothing by our standards, people who are still able to laugh and sing and dance and are genuinely thanking God for the life they have... it is very humbling.
Talking of laughing and singing and dancing... they didnt miss a single opportunity to do all three and I just got carried away with it all and joined in... in fact we all did. Which brings me to the Bootie Shake! To do the Bootie Shake successfully you have to bend over, wiggle your knees until your backside wobbles and keep it in time to the music. Easier said than done when you also have to keep the rest of your body relatively still. We did have a laugh trying to emulate them all... and I think they thought it was really funny too.
Now it is impossible to convey the Bootie Shake in still photographs and after a while I had to stop taking pictures since all I had were shots of girl's asses... !! But the award for the best Bootie Shake by one of us goes to Monica!!!!!!!!!
If you have been following carefully all our exploits in Port Harcourt you will know that getting to the shops was no mean feat. But it was arranged and we were all able to buy some little gifts to take home. I purchased 2 long kaftans for the male members of the family (and a traditional Nigerian man's hat)
and some fabric for the girls at home.
it's a keyring in the shape of a little flip flop. It's only about an inch long and kinda cute and it's going to be given away to a person (I shall use a computerised random number chooser thingy...) who leaves a comment to tell me which part of the whole SoapMission Africa saga they liked the best and why? Even if you live a long way away... don't worry... just leave a post (be sure to include an email addy) and on 24th June (my daughter's birthday) the lucky person will be chosen. I will then contact you for your address and get it into a post for you. After that it will be back to normal life,... ah well all good things come to an end! I still have my wonderful memories.