Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Visit From an African Queen

March 22, 2007

I met Juli Endee in Monrovia,Liberia, at the Mamba Point Hotel where I was a member of Swanee Hunt's delegation in December. Juli showed up at the leadership training workshop that was conducted by Swanee and her staff, but Juli could have given a workshop on leadership herself. That night, she rounded up the Crusaders for Peace, her band and cultural troupe, and entertained us royally. Besides being Liberia's Cultural Ambassador, Juli is a traditional African queen, so designated by the members of her Kpele tribe, and boy, can she shake it.

When I found out she was planning to be on tour in the US in February, I made sure she knew I wanted her to be a guest on Here on Earth, but she did me one better. She came to Madison and stayed with me as a guest in my home for a whole week. Now I can give a workshop on the care and feeding of queens!

Juli is a magnificent woman. While she was here she gave a master class in Chris Walker's African dance class at the UW that was so well received, the chairman of the department invited her to return with her troup in June to be a part of the World Dance Festival. But that's not all. The primary purpose of her visit to the US is to raise money and support for the Crusaders for Peace Children's Village she is building for women and children (primarily girls) who have survived Liberia's civil war. Juli used her music as a tool in helping to bring about an end to the war. As a matter of fact, as she mentioned on the air, the first soldier to lay down his arms surrendered to her. What she didn't tell us was that he first held a gun to her head.

On the last morning she was here, the two of us launched the Bopalu Muslim Women's Literacy Project which I will explain in my next posting.

Happy Spring, Everyone! Let me know what you thought of our Poetry Circle of the Air today, and how we can get more of you to call in.


1 comment:

norah said...

i really love your music!