November 22, 2011

The African Youth Climate Justice Caravan from Nairobi to Durban- Winnie's Diary

Day 7-13th Nov-Lilongwe Concert

We head for a drive around Lilongwe early morning, informing everyone that we are headed to Civo Stadium for a climate justice concert in the afternoon. At the various stops many enthusiastic Malawians sign onto our petition and share their experiences on how climate change has affected them. Most talk of intense drought in recent years, of massive crop failures which has wreaked havoc on their communities since it has affected their livelihood and left them really vulnerable. The concert is awesome and the huge stadium has a huge crowd of people who have turned up. The energy Minister is here as well, to support this campaign and encourage youth who have been involved in this to keep on with the good work and energy. Dan Lu the Malawian star does not disappoint, as other perfomers, the Botswana team is charming as usual.Juliani keeps to his element and Simki gets the crowd fired as well. It’s a good day, we have many petitions collected from all over not to mention the ones the Malawi team presents to the campaign.Zikomo

Day 8-14th Nov-Lilongwe-Chipata

Its early morning when we head off to Chipata, it’s a short drive to the Zambia border and an even shorter one to the Campsite in Chipata. It is after crossing the border that we meet with one of the warmest welcoming ceremonies of all.....it’s unbelievable, a band, traditional dancers and youth from Zambia are here to welcome us. We stop to enjoy the march and dance to the tune of the music as we collect signatures from the now growing crowd of onlookers. It’s a special feeling I get here, it’s happening and we are all so happy. In the afternoon we head on to the Church service and Mini-concert at the Reformed Church of Zambia. The Minister for Eastern Province is there as the chief guest as well as Several religious leaders and youth who have organized this. I am moved to see all these people gathered here in this church, its agreat moment for all of us on the campaign having worked and planned this for many months.

Day 9-15th Nov-Chipata-Lusaka-

 From Chipata we head off to Lusaka with various stops along the way where we are met by enthusiastic youth and community members some of whom have been involved in the ‘We Have Faith’ Campaign in one way or another.

It’s a long drive and we are quite exhausted by the time we get to the campsite at Lusaka

Day 10-16th Nov-Lusaka Concert

Lusaka, here we are.....it’s a break from for us most of the morning, then we head to the Barclays Sports Club where the concert is being held, its rained but contrary to our fears that the rain would deter people from coming is actually unfounded as there are so many people at the concert. It’s the biggest mobilization of this campaign so fahe place is filled to capacity and is overflowing with masses of humanity. Its almost unconceivable to think of all the numbers of people here. The concert is aired live on TV2 which further adds to our excitement. The concert goes well as the 11 artists from Zambia perfom together with our very own Botswana team, Ten Sing, Simki, and the evergreen Juliani. After the concert we are treated to dinner at the residence of the local NCA representative.

Day 11-17th Nov-LivingStone—Concert & Vic Falls

Livingstone is quite great for all of us, we are received by a band complete with a police outrider into town. The band leads us in a Scottish dance along the streets of Livingstone. It is quite a spectacle and we are all really excited. Later we head out to the church service. Some head on for a visit to the Victoria Falls. The church service is great as the speaker highlights why we must take charge of protecting our habitat as people of faith.

Day 12-18th Nov-Botswana--Elephant sands

Dumela Botswana! We get to the Zambia-Botswana border early morning and have to use a ferry to cross over into Botswana where we are warmly received by representatives from the Botswana Council of Churches, NCA, Youth and other partners in this campaign.

It takes a while to get the trucks to the other side but we are all in high spirits. We can see the Kalahari desert now and use the waiting time to collect signatures for our campaign as well as talk to people about climate change and what there take is in terms of how they think the problem should be addressed. Many of them are emphatic that it is communities which have to take action-Act Now!

We head out to camp at elephant sands and true to the name there are herds of elephants grazing in the vicinity, they indeed rule this sands of the Kalahari!

Day 13-19th Nov-Gaberone

We leave the elephant sands camping site for Gaborone at 3.30am, its the earliest we’ve ever left in the entire caravan. Gaborone is one in a kind, and we are truly in for a surprise, 40 kms before we get to Gaborone there is a team waiting for us complete with a police vehicle to escort us into town. It’s a VIP reception here as all traffic rules are legally broken to let us through, we smile and wave to curious onlookers who have lined the streets as we get into town. Then we head for a brief ceremony at the city monument built for the three founding chiefs of Botswana.

At night we have a concert in town then retire to bed to prepare for another day.

Day 14-20th Nov-Gaborone

It’s a full day in Gaborone today and we have so many activities lined up for the day. We head to church at the Dutch Reformed Church and have a great service. The speaker emphasizes on living in harmony with nature and how important it is for everyone to play a role in all this.

After church we head out for a petition drive at one of the shopping malls then back to camp where caravaners are met with a huge storm complete with thunder and lightning bringing to the fore the fact that such extreme events are already here with us.

During a brief conversation with a Gaborone resident he intimates that indeed climate change is here with us evidenced by recent heatwaves in town in two weeks ago. The temperatures hit a record alarming high of 420C.Most residents remain perplexed by this turn of events and look forward to better days ahead, if only we can carry their messages to world leaders in Durban.

 Day 15-21st Nov -Gaborone-Pretoria

We leave Gaborone for the border early morning and are faced with a possibility that some of us won’t be let through but we all get to go across the border. I guess this Campaign has seen many miracles in its time than could have been thought of at the beginning. It’s late evening when we get to Pretoria. It’s a bit chilly but we are really excited to be here and looking forward to what is in store for us. Sawabona!
The Have Faith Caravan truck

At Camp

Sunset in the Kalahari where the youth caravaners pitched tent

Campsite View

Welcome ceremony in Gaborone, Botswana

Gathering in Gaborone

3 Chiefs Statue in Gaberone where the Caravaners were officially welcomed to Gaborone, Botswana

Lulu from Malawi speaks on behalf of Caravaners at the three chiefs Square

Cyclists who together with a police vehicle escorted caravaners into Gaberone 40kms into the city centre

Botswana dance troupe at the Gaborone Concert

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1 comment :

  1. You had faith, and you have made it through all these countries, reaching thousands of young people with the message of climate justice, educating them inspiring them, and showing them the way. Its in deed an African spirit, i am so proud of each one of you who have organized this Caravan.

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