After much preparation and practice (ahem!) by volunteers and staff, Blue Ventures performed a play entitled ‘Mampiasa Kapoty’ to the village of Andavadoaka on Saturday 7th June. The theme of the play was to highlight the importance of wearing condoms for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as for family planning and spacing. This issue is particularly important, as the demographic structure of Andava is very typical for a developing country with 60% of the population consisting of children compared to 40% adults.
Anticipation was running high as we changed into our costumes, with the general theme being girls dressing as boys and vice versa. The cross-dressing proved very popular with the audience. The play involved a variety of characters from different walks of life deciding whether or not they would embrace the use of condoms. If they decided they would, Captain Kapoty permitted them to board the pirogue on route to Nosy Hao where they would have safe passage from the infections lurking the STI infested waters. However, if they decided that there was no need to use condoms they would be subject to the foul creatures in the sea. Hence, they would never arrive safely at the island and would not have a long and prosperous life.
The STIs were introduced at the beginning of the play, which included Chlamydia Crab, CIDA Shark, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis played by Al, Vic, Becks and Georgie respectively. Their scary costumes, make up and general terrifying demeanour certainly scared the children at the front of the audience, as well as a few old ladies at the back!
As the play developed, the doctor and nurse characters played by Mira and Emma made an entrance onto the stage. The medics delivered a strong message stating the importance of condom use and were therefore allowed to embark upon the pirogue. A range of other characters came onto the stage one by one and decided their fate. These included Dan dressed as a pregnant lady, Karim as a prostitute, Jen and Gaia as fishermen, Satu as a cool teenager and Kamila as a businessman. The pirogue then commenced its journey to the island of Nosy Hao leaving behind Kamila and Gaia to fend for themselves against the nasty STIs. On arrival at Nosy Hao, the passengers greatly thanked Captain Kapoty for protecting them and disembarked the pirogue to complete their life journey. This was followed by an overwhelming round of applause by everyone.
Following on from the play, the BV volunteers and staff provided several forms of entertainment for the audience. This included James, one of the BV Malagsy staff, performing a song he composed about using condoms. Jen then sang an Italian Opera piece which certainly astounded the village (and a lot of the BV staff too!). Finally we performed a Salsa style dance routine with a finale of several back flips by Emma, all of which was much appreciated.
We believe our message was positively received by the entire village, especially in the following days with many of the children from the village emulating our characters. The village are now preparing their own plays concerning family planning and condom use. This will hopefully culminate in a competition between several groups, and expedition 38 will keep you updated!