Miss Raina is an American English teacher working in Swaziland, Africa. She first meets Femi on the first day of school, the first girl to arrive early. Femi is not a supporter of the American teachers that come there to “save the poor African children.” She expresses this feeling through raps. She is quite brilliant when she raps her feelings and assignments. Eventually through a series of interactions Femi is finally on Miss Raina’s side. She finally believes that this American woman is really there for them and they create a lasting bond. Unfortunately in the midst of a revolt all teachers must leave and return to their home country. As Miss Raina packs furiously Femi enters and confronts her for leaving them. Miss Raina tries to make her understand she doesn’t have a choice but Femi reminds her of all the things that she had taught them in class about choices and using their voices, owning their future. But in an instant Miss Raina is gone. When she returns some months later many people including some of the girls have been killed, Femi is gone as well. Unlike the people in the village Femi has passed away as a result of AIDS. In a beautiful spirited moment Miss Raina stands in front of the girls, with Femi majestically by her side and encourages them to stand together and move forward teaching us that we all sacrifices some will never know the sacrifices of others but together we can choose to move forward stronger in spite of our own realities. This is a story about relationships and helping others even when you don’t realize you are doing it. These two woman fight to keep each other’s spirits up in the midst of a very difficult reality that is very present in this country today. *Femi needs to be an African girl but Miss Raina’s race is not specified within the text.
Duo/Duet- Light of the World
- Femi: (To audience) Another American is coming today. They bring them here, they act like they care about us and the things that we are experiencing, we aren’t experiencing them, we are living in hell. No one who’s not living in it can understand. You can’t relate to living in a clay and dirt built hut. You aren’t affected by watching children drink from the same water we wash our clothes in, and right next to the animals grazing. (Raina enters. She is unpacking boxes and writing on the board. She is full of positive energy.) Swaziland has one of the highest AIDS populations in the world; we just keep dying. No medicine, hardly any food, no assistance, and then in comes these teachers. (Laughs) Of all the things going on and all the things we are desperate for, we’re sent a teacher to save our world. (Raina finishes per preparation and steps back looking at the board. She doesn’t realize Femi is standing there.) Raina: Oh, good morning. I’m Mrs. Raina. (She offers her hand, Femi doesn’t take it.) What’s your name? (Silence) Okay, you don’t trust Americans? Femi: I don’t trust people who come and go like the teachers do. Raina: (Smiles) You speak, that’s great. Femi: You come and do a dance for the poor African children, build up your resume and then poof you’re gone. Raina: You seem to have it all figured out, yet you’re the only girl here twenty minutes early. Interesting isn’t it. Femi: (Silence) I don’t like to be late. Raina: Right. Now that we’re on speaking terms, kind of, Femi right? What does that mean? Femi: Mean? Raina: All African names have meaning. Femi: Not mine. But you are Queen Raina. Raina: You know French names? I’m impressed. Femi: Why are you here? And no bs, don’t tell me to make a difference. Why are you really here? Raina: (Beat) No bs, okay my mother was a missionary all of my childhood. She would be gone to other countries helping people months at a time. I hated her for it.