Voices for the Voiceless

Last Friday night I went to a charity concert where Mama C, Maia Von Lekow, Maya Azucena and their wonderful band performed. It was a night of jazz and soul music. The concert was supporting the fight against rape and sexual abuse in Tanzania. The speaker of the night talked about the importance of encouraging victims to take advantage of free medical services provided by the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center. There is a big concern over getting victims to come in within 72 hours of the event to help prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. There were some staggering statistics about sexual abuse in Tanzania. The one that stood at the most was that 60% of women by age 26 have been abused in some way. They also explained that some children are being systematically raped by their school sponsors. This is because parents are afraid to bring their children in for services and to report the rapists because they don’t want their children to lose the opportunities that an education provides.

I encourage people to support this cause in their own community. Help people seek medical and psychological help as well as file police reports against the rapists and offenders. Also, research about different critical areas like Tanzania and see how you can improve lives there by supporting children in a healthy manner.

Most of the night was spent jamming but the initial speech really touched me. Also Maia, Maya and Lavosti (an amazing drummer and singer) wrote a song for the occasion that was beautiful and touching. Here are some pictures from the concert. Mama C looked fabulous as always. Baba Naya was on repercussions. The guitarist and base player were both excellent. It was fun to see them perform since we’d seen them practice all week. And of course there was some dancing. Mama C, Baba Naya, Maia and Maya were all out dancing with the crowd at various points during the night. I love going out here so much. There is always dancing, good music and good people.

Mama C

Maia, Maya and Lavosti

On Saturday most of the UAACC crew went to Via Via (a club in Arusha) for an evening of discussions, dance and music performances also in support of rape and domestic violence awareness. There was a powerful discussion led by Mama C and a women from Arusha talking about some of the statistics and stigmas surrounding rape and sexual abuse in this community. It was an amazing environment; people were getting up and sharing very personal stories and some for the first time outside of their family. It was amazing to see people so comfortable around their community and to see the support provided by the community for these people. Later there were also multiple traditional dance performances, a capoeira performance and then a beautiful interpretive dance to accompany an illustrated poem about domestic violence. After this there was also a fashion show by the UAACC’s very own Mwajabu followed by some musical performances from various artists. It was another great, inspirational night, fighting for a good cause; and another night of fun dancing.

Sophia, Emanuel, Me and EmanuelMe, Baba Naya and Sophia