This past Saturday I attended and volunteered to teach a "What a Girl Wants" symposium at Chaguanas Primary School with Amanda Persad, a fellow Trinity College student. The event was funded by the Rape Crisis Center of Trinidad where Amanda is an intern. The program was designed for teen boys between the ages of fifteen and seventeen years old. The program lessons entailed advice and instructions about safe sex, teen pregnancy, STDs, dating and healthy relationships.
Amanda and I set up short skits for the young men to act. The vibrancy and energy of the room was amazing and they received the performances well. As desired, a cross dialogue took place and notions of patriarchy, peer pressure and masculinity were made evident through their questions and frustrations. I observed how the 'popular' notions of sexuality, masculinity and relationships had taken affect on the young people. Programs such as these are needed across the country, ideally on a global scale as well. Notions of patriarchy, violence and abuse can be linked to the way our children are raised, what they are mentally fed on a day to day basis, the lack of needed support to override these notions.
Teh Rape Crisis Center work brought an inspiration to my writing. As a conscious performer I wanted to become well acquainted with some social issues facing Trinidad. In combination with Kywnn Johnson's exhibition, meeting other artists, readings by Walcott, Walker and Paul alike, as well as my volunteering at Chaguanas I am finding more material to incorporate into my song/spoken word piece as part of the final performance. Im taking Chris Cozier's advice of doing more 'showing' and less 'telling' in terms of my purpose or my message for the song.