What do you think the WI stands for – jam and Jerusalem? Well if you think that then you are wrong. The modern WI has moved with the times and with the many ways in which women’s lives have changed but it still focuses on what really matters: helping women live the lives they want in the way in which they want. For many the WI is an opportunity share knowledge, to come together socially and to learn new skills and everyone who joins has the freedom to make what they want of it, perhaps to just dip in and out whilst juggling with everything else in their busy lives.
October’s speaker, Sarah Buttenshaw, certainly shared with us her knowledge of life in Burma, or Myanmar as it is also known, through her wonderful photographs and descriptions of life in both the cities as well as the small villages some of which are built on stilted houses in the rivers. The changing political scene has had some impact on the population through modernisation but the traditions still live on: fishermen balancing on one leg to get their catch whilst on their boats; young people being encouraged to become Buddhist monks or nuns for a while; teak logs harvested from the northern forests being floated down the river to Mandalay and there are ladies from the Kayan tribe in the east who are still wearing numerous brass rings around their necks as a sign of beauty and status (although the government is actively discouraging this practice). How life there is different to our own here in Wiltshire.
We are going to be very creative at our November meeting and with paper, glue, fabric and paint will be making Venetian carnival masks under the guidance of Karen Johnson. So, if you would like to come along as a visitor to this or any other meeting to see if you would like to join us, or just want to find out more about our WI, then call Meg on 01380 830755 – we are a very friendly bunch and only sing Jerusalem once a year!