WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Puppets Used To Convey HIV, STDs And Other Tough Topics

Play associated audio
Nash Dhala and Chacha Musya with their puppet counterparts, Ari and Bobby.
Armando Trull
Nash Dhala and Chacha Musya with their puppet counterparts, Ari and Bobby.

About a dozen actors, six young men and six young women, performed a skit Tuesday before a group of residents on the outskirts of the nation's capital — Kenya's version of a mass communication public health announcement. The actors are in town as part of the 19th annual International AIDS Conference.

While large-scale skits help convey their message, more sensitive issues such as rape, female genital mutilation or HIV/AIDS are harder to convey in a conservative society.

"It's very difficult for the actors to act out," says Nash Dhala, a emember of U-Tena in Nairobi. "So two actors acting out a rape scene or a genital mutilation doesn't come across."

For those difficult issues, the troupe turns to Bobby and Ari — two puppets that are each just about two feet tall. In this case, the pair is acting out a skit about HIV testing. Master puppeteer Chacha Musya learned how to make the puppets from a workshop by the Jim Henson company.

"The materials I use are very simple," says Musya. "Materials that you can get anywhere, they’re just trash."

That means the low-cost puppets can be replicated easily as the actors fan out through Kenya.

The U-Tena puppeteers are performing this afternoon at the Global Village of the 2012 International AIDS Conference. Admission to the village is free and open to the public.

NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
WAMU 88.5

Europe's Ongoing Migrant And Refugee Crisis And The Future Of Open Borders

The Austria-Hungary border has become the latest pressure point in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. An update on the huge influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa and the future of open borders within the E.U.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: How to Build Smarter Transportation And More Livable Cities

A new report says the traffic in the U.S. is the worst it has been in years. Yet, some urban transportation experts say there's reason to be optimistic. They point to revitalized city centers, emerging technology and the investment in alternative methods of transportation. A conversation about how we get around today, and might get around tomorrow.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.