We have had confirmation about the great speakers for our Alberta Grandmothers Provincial Gathering in Red Deer on September 15th and 16th.
Ida Nambeya Mukuka, Senior Advisor to the Grandmothers Campaign, will be returning to Alberta to share her experiences in Australia where she has been visiting the newly-formed Grandmothers groups there. Having had the pleasure of Ida visiting here, we know what an inspiration she is as she shares stories of our African grandmothers.
Joanne Henry, Director of Learning and Resource Development at the Foundation, will be there as well. She is the author of the long-awaited book, Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa. To be published in October, it draws on the hundreds of interviews with grandmothers in both sub-Saharan Africa and Canada.
Both speakers will bring us together and affirm our work with their presentations.
More specific information about registration and workshops will be coming soon from GrammaLink Africa, our Red Deer hosts.
We will be organizing our contribution to the Gathering – the Saturday morning breakfast buffet. We will be asking for baking and volunteers closer to the date.
So, save the date, and come join the Grandmothers of Alberta as we step into the next decade of the Campaign. Together is best!
What a delightful visit we had from Eunice Mangwane from South Africa! Those of us that had the pleasure of meeting her and hearing her stories felt we had been given a very special experience. Eunice is an engaging speaker with a true gift for storytelling. From her we learned in a very immediate way the many ways in which HIV/AIDS has impacted – and continues to impact – both herself personally and the lives of the communities that she lives and works in. She told us about the long and patient struggle she had in the early days of the pandemic to try to educate and help people understand the scourge of the disease. Over and over again, she met with resistance, disbelief and even hostility but little by little, she made progress. And now the project she works for, Keiskamma Trust in Eastern Cape, employs over 50 health care workers who continue with the education, and ensure that people can access the vital care they need.
If you would like to know more about Keiskamma Trust, take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N_SzxMjX5o. It is well worth watching. In it, you will meet Eunice again and learn more about the handcraft project that has become world famous.
We are blessed that the Stephen Lewis Foundation makes sure we are able to meet some of our partner Grandmas like Eunice, face to face. In this way, we can have the opportunity to really learn and understand more about their lives, struggles and hopes. It makes what we do to support them all the more meaningful and important. Instead of talking about distant sisters and partners, we can form real connections.
Eunice singing “Never Give Up”
Eunice had many messages for us. In her wonderful expressive way, she told us, “You are kangaroos. You carry us in your pouches and we can’t do what we do without your support”. She used song to entreat us to “never give up”. When I took her to Carstairs to meet with the Grandmothers group there, she told them, “Today I’m coming to put new soles under your feet so you can move fast. New soles give you energy”. I know that I often feel I need a boost of energy and when that happens, I’ll remember Eunice and picture her new soles under my feet to help keep me going.
Approximately 50 people attended the gathering on May 4th to hear and enjoy Eunice Mangwane from South Africa. Eunice is an inspiration and urged us in both words and song to Never Give Up. It was an at times touching, at times funny and a powerful reminder of why we do what we do.
If you are interested in learning a bit more about Eunice visit the links below.
In case you missed it live, here is the link to the interview Alison and Leslie did on CTV April 20th.