Rural women in Tanzania usually have a fairly low status in society and are often completely dependent on their husband, even though women do much of the work in rural households.
Loibor Siret Women’s Meeting
African People & Wildlife (APW) works in conjunction with many rural communities in Tanzania, and together their initiatives are helping women become financially independent, giving them a voice in the decision-making of their families and their communities. Bee-keeping is one such initiative and has the added advantage of protecting habitat because Tanzania has a strong Bee-Keeping Act which ensures that land cannot be farmed or cleared around beehives.
Women’s Meeting, ink and watercolor sketch from life by Alison Nicholls
Learning about the bee-keeping initiative, which involves more than 1200 women, and being able to sketch after a meeting of the Loibor Siret women’s bee-keeping group, is a thrill. There can be few things better for a sketch artist than sitting in a rural village, surrounded by the sights & sounds of everyday life, while sketching a group of women chatting under a shady tree. This was my 4th visit to APW and it is wonderful to be recognized and greeted enthusiastically by women I have sketched on my previous visits.
Mama Helena Beading, ink sketch from life by Alison Nicholls
Mama Helena, shown beading in the sketch above, invited me to sketch at her homestead afterwards, and sent one of her grandchildren to fetch a sketch I did of her last time I was in Tanzania, 5 years ago!
Alison Nicholls sketching in Tanzania
Sketching with an audience is something I am completely used to and it’s fun to see the children’s faces as the sketch progresses and they recognize the person I am sketching.
Not all my sketches go to plan!
I’m making copies of my sketches to be sent back to Tanzania, but I hope my next visit to APW will be in the very near future.
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