Friday 7.30am – the day I had been anticipating for a whole month was finally here; to walk in the capital city of Malawi with the Caravan of Hope demanding climate justice. I was geared up in my white and green t-shirt, straw hat with a green fabric around it, my bottle of water and of course a camera around my neck. The climate change awareness walk was about to begin
As I got closer to the meeting place, I could hear the sounds of vuvuzelas and women singing. It was going to be a good day. I could feel it. White and green colors greeted me before I saw the huge crowd that had already gathered. The city was covered in green and white. I expected a huge crowd to be part of the event, but the scores of Malawians I saw was beyond my wildest imagination. Thousands of people had made their way to be part of the event. This was going to be a day that will forever be remembered
I saw the bicycle caravan; all clad in t shirts and hats, the women famers from different districts arrived in minibuses with ActionAid banners. They were all singing songs about climate change. ‘Malawi is crying, we need to make a difference, our lands are no longer fertile, stop polluting’, were some of the messages in some of the songs.
Black Missionaries, one of the top bands in Malawi could be heard in the background as we started our walk. In solidarity we marched to deliver the petition. The diversity of the group was astonishing. Men, women, students, young boys and girls all seemed to get in the spirit of the theme.
At the city center, more individuals came out of their offices and joined the caravan. Women chanting, dancing, the band playing their climate change songs, traditional drums and ululation, bicycle bells, vuvuzelas, car horns. It was really a walk to remember. The heat of the sun did not slow us down. The group danced and jogged and we sang our lungs out!
10:30 am - We reached the capital hotel where the conference was to take place.
The guest of honor arrived 20 minutes later and the event reached its full gear. A woman representing all rural women farmers in Malawi stood up and read out their demands and expectation from the COP17 meeting. The huge group cheered her own as she stressed on the importance of a woman
As women, we manage to give birth to our children and raise them until they can stand on their own... Taking care of our environment then is such an easy issue for us!!! Developing countries need to know that all the pollution they do, it is us poor countries who suffer
I decided to mingle with a few individuals from the caravan to find out why they decided to join the caravan. The passion they have on climate change is indescribable. These people deserve to be heard. Our governments need to hear this. Developed countries need to honor their promises.
The petition was delivered to the deputy minister. As we went for our lunch at the hotel, I could not recall a single event or campaign that has ever attracted such huge group of people in my country. It was history in the making.
It was now time to say good bye to the caravan of Hope and my colleagues as they joined the caravan all the way to Durban. I watched with envy as the buses start off. I smiled at the big ActionAid Malawi banner that was still there. ‘One position, one voice, climate justice’ were the words on the banner. Although this day we have won, our fight does not end here. We wait to hear of another victorious event in Zambia.
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