Friday, August 10, 2012

UNDP Speech Competition

Friday, August 10, 2012

I rolled out of bed exhausted, but ready for an exciting day.  Sr. Loretta and I hurried to get ourselves organized for the contest after mass.  The dining hall was beautifully decorated, and the Aligegeo students were prepared with their speeches and courage.  Over the course of the day, twenty-six speeches were given by secondary students on the eight goals of the UNDP (United Nations Development Project).  Distinguished guests were in attendance, and the event was a big deal.  Judges travelled from Honiara to sit in on the speeches.  It was difficult to sit still in the stifling room, but it was interesting nonetheless.  I admire the six students from Aligegeo who competed.  They worked diligently, and took great care to compose, review, and deliver their ideas.  I can’t imagine participating in a speech contest using my third language.  Christina won third prize for her talk on gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Belinda, a smiling, sweet Form 2 student, won second prize for the junior essay contest.  Both were very happy about their accomplishments.  

I got back home around 4:00.  I washed some clothes and showered before evening prayer.  A group of women are staying in Fanualama for the next week.  They travel to villages throughout the Solomons and speak with women about their own experiences as a Solomon woman while instructing on how to establish peaceful relationships in the home.  The program has expanded and adapted, covering a wide range of topics that are relevant to women.  Sheila is from New Zealand, and had lived in Solomon Islands for ten years while her husband did medical work.  Alice, Betty, and Immaculate are native to Malaita and run the workshops.  I had dinner with them at Bishop Chris’s house.  They are fascinating, and Cayla and I had endless questions for them - from bride price to their own marriages.  I look forward to spending time with them during my last few days here. 

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