Sunday, 27 February 2011

New Year Resolutions

You may perhaps think that it is a bit late in the day, or the year, for that, but please bear with me…

Rather than office Christmas parties, the custom here is for ‘Ceremonies de Voeux’, where people get together to party and express their hopes and aspirations for the coming year. Yesterday I was privileged to attend this event for the Union of Cotton Producers, who had chosen as the theme for this year’s gathering issues associated with HIV-AIDS, and so had invited the theatre troupe with whom I work to provide the entertainment. No matter that it is the end of February. Over the last couple of weeks, people have been busy distributing 2011 calendars promoting one thing or another, and indeed I saw a bundle of these being strapped to the back of a moto last night. Just as well, as these calendars are much used (probably much more so than their equivalent in the UK) to check what day it is, plan work and events, etc. Somehow we have muddled through January without them.

Anyway, back to the cotton producers, about 300 of them, mostly men, and wearing some splendid examples of what can be done with local cotton, with an exuberance and pride which is streets ahead of a reindeer pullover…

The Troupe performed their play, with a theme of gender issues in relation to HIV-AIDS, presented humorously. It was well received, as were the interludes of djembe drumming and marionettes (puppetry) in between the speeches about soil enrichment and productivity, and production targets for 2011.

But the highlight, in my view, was the item included at their particular request: how to use a condom. This involves 2 of our well-trained and admirable actors standing on the stage (well, series of plastic mats), in front of this audience, equipped with a specially made wooden demonstration penis and a real condom. On this occasion the actress held the microphone while the actor explained how and where to buy condoms, how to check expiry date, then demonstrated how to open the packet and, holding the demo model tactfully against his lower abdomen, how to apply, and then remove and safely dispose of, the condom. This was followed by an explanation by the actress of how to use a feminine condom – these are much promoted here – but this time without model or example (I think this was a last minute addition to the programme so no kit provided). The audience listened carefully, without the ribaldry and nudging one might expect.

A condom demonstration is a first, in my experience, for an office Christmas Party! Perhaps an inspiration for those looking for ‘something different’ next time round?

1 comment:

  1. ahh memories are made of experiences like that..

    time is passing too quickly I expect, will this one be one of those iconic moments you notch up to characterise your time in Bobo?