Receptive to New Ideas

Mrs. Hobane standing beside Mayor Vic Jenkinson as he talks about the creation of adjoining Sable Park with a presentation of trees and wildlife. They are flanked by Mom on the L and Mrs. Helen Jenkinson on the R seated. , flanked by his wife Helen on the R and Mom on the L, talking about Sable Park with a Presentation of Trees and Wildlife.

Mrs. Hobane standing beside Mayor Vic Jenkinson as he talks about the creation of adjoining Sable Park with a presentation of trees and wildlife. They are flanked by Mom on the L and Mrs. Helen Jenkinson on the R seated.

African Women assembled at Echo Park for the annual Provincial meeting

African Women assembled at Echo Park for the annual Provincial meeting

 

Receptive to New Ideas?

The Guiding and Scouting movements were not the only ones to make use of Echo Park and the lodge that was built there.

Being Receptive to New Ideas?

Leaders from the African Women’s Clubs met there annually.  Women came from the mines, churches, townships and from the rural areas of the Midlands to listen to sessions on a variety of subjects.

Because of transport problems, costs and the distances to travel, the rural women would come a few days earlier and slept in the Log Cabin.

Fees were 20 cents per person per night.  Conference fees were $1.00 a day.  All food was subsidized and all sessions were given by volunteers who were experts in their fields.  The Mayor, Vic Jenkinson came to open the first conference and make a donation of trees and wildlife as well as talk about the development of Sable Park adjoining Echo Park.

After the ceremony the women got down to business:  nutrition, hygiene and health care lectures were given at a level understood by the women present.  The African population was expected to double in twenty five years.  This is where Family Planning was first introduced. The advantages were discussed at length: the idea that women could plan their families was new.  With less children they could offer their children more. African men were against it. The idea was a major break with tradition where a man measures his wealth in cattle, wives and children.   Black Nationalism was on the rise. Was it a plot to poison African people?

The women were for it.  The pill was explained, the necessity of not forgetting to take one everyday. Availability in the rural areas was a problem.  The alternative of condoms was offered.  Explaining the mechanics of how these methods worked was a challenge given the language barrier and the lack of scientific background.  But everyone was receptive: willing to learn.  There was a great spirit of camaraderie.

A nurse explained the use and application of the condom using her index finger. A year later a number of women returned with a universal complaint.  The condoms did not work.   Explained one woman, “Every single time my husband made love to me I put the rubber on my finger and held it up just so, as you showed.  But you can see, still I got pregnant!

 

4 Comments

  • betty goolsby

    Reply Reply November 18, 2011

    Too funny…so sad!

  • Andrew Davis

    Reply Reply November 22, 2011

    Diana,
    Love the twist at the end of this story. It’s a great punchline – let alone a poignant story.
    Thanks for sharing it!
    – Drew

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 25, 2011

      Andrew, Yes, even people in the field had trouble anticipating the cultural gap and communicating the right message. Diana

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