Evening of music Feb. 18 provides education for girls in Kenya

As part of an ongoing exchange between the Shuswap and Akonjo Village, residents are helping enable girls to complete their education.

Playing for Africa: Murray MacDonald of One Camel Short is back on the entertainment slate to support Kenya’s Akonjo Village on Feb. 18 at the SAGA Public Art Gallery.

In the Shuswap, going to high school is free and accessible to most young people of both genders. Not so in some communities in Kenya.

As part of an ongoing cultural exchange between the Shuswap and Akonjo Village in Kenya, Shuswap residents are helping enable girls to complete their education, girls who otherwise would not. In Akonjo it costs about $600 per year for girls to finish high school, and girls are generally not encouraged to do so.

On Saturday, Feb. 18 an evening of music and dance will be held at SAGA Public Art Gallery to further the Canadian/Kenyan cultural exchange and to raise funds for the youth empowerment project.

This will be the fifth consecutive year for this event, which once again features a wonderful selection of world music and dance.

Murray MacDonald of One Camel Short, one of the organizers and entertainers, has visited Akonjo Village.

“I think the Akonjo Project is really worthwhile – all monies raised go directly to Kenya to projects that happen in the village,” he says. “I saw how people live, and saw the need for the kind of help we can give. I also feel we can get working on cultural relationships and can get a lot out of it ourselves. We have a lot to learn – there’s a lot to learn from African culture. As a musician that’s one of my interests, and it’s been good for me to be part of this.”

Cathy Stubington, artistic director of Runaway Moon Theatre, and Jimmy Ouma Okello, who lives in Akonjo Village, met several years ago in Kenya. The exchange grew out of their friendship and work for social change.

Okello came to the Shuswap last year when he participated in several projects including a large-scale theatrical production focusing on water. In Akonjo, projects from the exchange have included a sewing project whereby girls are provided with sanitary pads so they don’t have to miss school, youth health educators visiting area schools, football (soccer) tournaments for girls, a water awareness project, youth farming projects that have produced cash crops, micro revolving loans for women, and the scholarships that have allowed girls to complete their secondary school education. One girl is now in her second year of nursing training.

MacDonald says he finds all the projects worthwhile, but the secondary school education for girls is the one which particularly impresses him.

“If the girls stay in the village, they’re more likely to get married and start having children at a very young age… School breaks the cycle as well as giving them the opportunity to follow their dreams.”

One Camel Short consists of MacDonald and Dick Owings, who perform world music – African, Middle Eastern, South American, featuring a blend of guitar, violin, vocals and percussion.

Also featured will be Popoleko Singers, who sing a haunting blend of a cappella Balkan music.

Dance instructor Kristy Christian will perform Middle Eastern dance, while local group O Nosso Amor, will blend in spicy music from Brazil. For more active audience members, One Camel Short will lead a dance from Akonjo Village that Jimmy Ouma Okello taught when he was here last year.

Doors to this celebration open at 7 when the public can bid on silent auction items and enjoy delicious desserts. Entertainment starts at 7:30 p.m.


Just Posted

Petition calls for regulation of cigarette boats on Shuswap Lake

Public call for tighter controls on the fast, powerful vessels initiated before Sept. 1 collision

Salmon Arm martial arts school evicted along with assisted living facility

Students call Northern Spirit Martial Arts’ Hudson Street location a sanctuary

Salmon Arm RCMP see upswing in thefts of, and from, vehicles

Police report thieves prowling at night, entering unlocked vehicles

Successful Salmon Arm farmer’s market extended into December

Market may switch to indoor venue during the colder months of winter

RCMP investigating thefts from Shuswap mail boxes

Salmon Arm residents with compromised boxes asked to pick up mail at post office

‘It’s almost surreal’: South Okanagan fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Most Read