VoiceFlame recently had the joy and privilege of carrying the AWA torch into Kenya! Over the course of the last couple of years, we've been in contact with Ciru Mutura, a passionate and capable local woman who had heard about our work in Malawi and was interested in implementing something similar among the teen girls she serves in One Lamb community. Timing and logistics finally came together and I, Lisa (an AWA certified workshop leader and VoiceFlame representative) accepted the invitation to lead workshops, organized and hosted by Ciru, for three wonderful groups of local women.
Ciru had divided the workshops into like-minded/similar stage of life groups so the first day saw me leading a group of "mature women" who each had an interest in developing her writing and tapping her creativity in new ways. This was a delightfully supple and ready to go group which quickly produced creative, powerful and thoughtful pieces. It was beautiful to see the almost surprised look on their faces as new tones and strengths appeared under their pens. Likewise, the women on the second day, (most in their 20s and 30s and all involved with younger girls in some capacity,) took quickly to the freedom of expression in response to simple prompts. These women were also already interested in writing, and they too found it happily surprising how easily their creativity emerged when it was given a little space and encouragement to do so. On both of these days, the women were quick to appreciate the value of writing together in a safe community of support and helpful feedback. It was lovely to see.
On the third day, a group of fourteen and fifteen-year-old girls from a nearby school responded to Ciru's invitation and each one shyly took her first steps toward believing in her creative, unique and valuable voice. What began understandably slowly, culminated in their well-deserved pride and sense of accomplishment after the final prompt helped each one produce a poem of her own. They closed the day with an enthusiastic response to Ciru's invitation to come back for more! In fact, many of the women who attended over the course of those three days have determined that they're going to pursue more of this simple yet profound method. VoiceFlame is cheering them on and I, Lisa, look forward to the next opportunity to further fan these bright and growing writing flames.
Lisa Borden, VoiceFlame Board Member and AWA Workshop Leader