(Occurred June 11)
This was soooo cool! It was after an awesome church service at a local Nigerian church in Turin. I was standing among a Nigerian pastor, two Nigerian guys from the community, a Nigerian woman who worked with the city, Rosanna my director at TAMPEP, and we were planning a revolution.
Rosanna, Laura (another TAMPEP worker), and I came to the service to share about Project Turnaround- the project I’m working on this summer. The program ensures that girls, who are voluntarily or forcibly deported, are met with local organizations in their home country and given counselling and repatriation assistance. After the service, those that were excited by the program, gathered loosely around us.
“We need to organize like a town hall meeting where we get Nigerians and other Africans to meet on this issue. Something needs to be done!” said one of the guys. “I’ve heard this before,” I thought to myself, thinking back to Ibo Union meetings that started with a need to fix an issue, but ended in shouting and yelling. “Hmmm, that’s a good idea,” I responded. “But what’s our goal? Who are we trying to reach?” The buzz in the room grew quieter as I spoke. Now, I could pretend and say that they were fascinated by the wisdom that poured from my mouth, but I think they were just intrigued that this Naija girl had such an American accent.
I continued. “Are we going to target traffickers who are luring these girls here?”
The room really went quiet this time.
One guy in the room twisted his face. “No, no, no- we’re not going to talk about such things- We’ll talk about representation. That’s what we need! We need to organize…”
The conversation went on without me. Wait… hold one now… Isn’t trafficking what we’re dealing with here? Shouldn’t we storm the streets and pull out the villains who are wreaking this havoc?
“…we should rent a hall and pass out fliers to Naija people on the street!”
“Yes! Yes!” I heard as I tuned back to what they were saying.
“Hold up! Why can’t we target people who we think are traffickers? Isn’t that the point?” I ask.
Again the room went quiet…Either my accent was that intriguing or they thought I was completely stupid. Rosanna spoke up, “No, no- this is not America- where you rush in to fight something. Many girls here were brought this way (trafficking). You don’t judge. You don’t want to scare anybody off from coming. You have to be discrete with this…these are delicate issues.”
Wow. That shut me up. Fast.
“I have a lot to learn,” I thought, as the buzz of the revolution sparked around me.
(This blog, and the others, can also be viewed on my Making Noise site at: http://www.myspace.com/livethenoise
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Posted By Leslie Ibeanusi
Posted Jun 18th, 2007