V-Day Congo Director Continues to Bring "The Vagina Monologues" to the DRC
Following a sold-out show and incredible audience reaction from the first two performances of The Vagina Monologues in Goma, DRC, V-Day Congo Director Christine Schuler Deschryver brough the play to , Bukavu, the captial of South Kivu and future home of the City of Joy. The events continued to bring hundreds of women and men together and raised significant awareness for V-Day's Congo Campaign, Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power to the Women and Girls of the DRC. Following is Christine's first hand account:
On May 4th, we had our premiere performance of The Vagina Monologues in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu, DRC. The audience of over 200 people included the Vice Governor, Ministers, Deputies, the Division Chief of Gender and Family Section, Chief of Army, police officers, international NGOs, U.N. agencies, local and national NGO's, activists and a lot of press. Our actresses were once again amazing.
At the beginning of the show, the Vice Governor made an amazing speech, asking people to not only enjoy the performance as a piece of theater, but to listen to the important messages within the play. For the first time in the DRC, our actress Justine read the new Congo Spotlight Monologue, A Teenage Girl's Guide To Surviving Sex Slavery. The emotions this piece created within the audience were powerful, the experiences portrayed in the monologue so familiar that it elicited a heavy silence and lots of tears.
Following the performance we held a cocktail party, at which numerous discussions were held about touring the production across the country.
What really made me cry was when we left the building, some poor women selling bananas and oranges came and asked me "how can we become V-DAY?" In the middle of the night these women started explaining the violence they face everyday, and thanked us for helping the women and girls of the DRC feel comfortable about speaking about their vaginas.
On May 5th, we did another performance for students at the Catholic cathedral (Concordia). Though we wrote to ask to use their room and they responded positively, I was still very worried they didn't properly read the title of the piece and that they would not allow us to proceed with the production. I was surprised, therefore, to learn that the church had invited all of the religious leaders and traditional chiefs, so that, in the words of the Cathedral's priest, we could "talk about this organ [vagina] and name it to denounce all the atrocities we are facing in our country." When I heard this, I looked at my colleague and I knew something was going on in DRC. The event was a huge success, with between 400 and 500 students attending and constructive and enlightening discussions taking place following the performance.
Now, following these performances and the ongoing work at the City of Joy, every day I receive lots of emails, messages and letters. Bukavu has became a V-Town, so many women who attended to the performance told me that we are all the same, united!