It had been too long since the last TAWA Chillout and the anticipation was clear as soon as the guests started walking into the intimate venue. We were chomping at the bit to get started, so – having learnt from previous experiences – we all trooped to order, getting the food out of the way first.
If there was one thing that characterised this Chillout, it was the sheer volume that the entire event happened at! Lord, but we were excited! Old friends hugged and kissed; new friends met and chatted; grown adults ran around like things possessed. Yeah, it’s fair to say that we were excited to be together again.
Domestic Violence UK
There is a very important cause behind the TAWA Chillouts though. Not everyday fun, games and fried fish; some days, help someone who might be experiencing horrific abuse to start on a new path. And this is exactly what www.domesticviolenceuk.org do and this is the cause that our raffle draws support. Domestic violence is no respecter of age, ethnicity, gender or status – it happens everywhere in all walks of life.
But one great weapon in the fight against abuse is lifting the lid of secrecy. We do this by getting people to talk about it, to realise that there is another path, and that there is help out there. This is why the great work that Domestic Violence UK do cannot be overemphasised.
And now, they’ve done one better – they’ve created an advice hub! The answer to violence is not “Eiyah, sorry o!” It’s realistic guidelines and help tips that helps the victim in moving forward from the abuse. This is exactly what the website www.theadvicehub.org.uk does. From housing to bank accounts to benefits, the Advice Hub offers free advice to anyone who needs to learn how to live and work within the UK. Truly a treasure trove of advice!
The Bare Necessities
One of the initiatives set up by the Domestic Violence UK team was the provision of care packages for the vulnerable victims of violence. Sometimes you have to leave a desperate situation with just the shirt on your back, and while freedom is desired, the victim starts regretting their decision if they lose their dignity. Simple acts like the ability to wash, to brush one’s teeth or even to brush one’s hair might sometimes be the difference remaining free or succumbing to pressure and returning to hell.
The guests at Tawa Chillout helped immensely towards this drive by coming to the event with enough toiletries and essentials for a small army. These are the things that make a difference. And last Sunday, we made a difference.
Sho-Sho Sho’Nuff Shut Down The House!
You know how we do by now. We pay a few games just to warm up the crowd; to get into the real spirit of chilling out. The charades are always riotous as people come back with the zaniest responses, and the karaoke is always a sure winner. Usually, we have people come prepared with some props for this event – Kennie and her Karma Chameleon by Boy George come to mind – but ladies and gentle moi-moi, we were NOT ready for what our eyes saw!
Here comes Sho-Sho, a staunch supporter and avid attendee of the TAWA Chillout with little but a chair and some attitude. The opening strains of Rihanna’s S&M come on the speakers and I guess we thought DJ Abass was simply buying time while looking for her piece. Oh, but how wrong we were!
When Sho-Sho started with the “Na-na-na come on!” we screamed the place DOWN! I was seated in a fortuitous position, so when I saw metal handcuffs peeking out of her jeans, I DAMN NEAR LOST MY GOD-GIVEN MIND!
None of us could deal! If you’re going to rock a song about sexual gratification, you cannot fly at half-mast and Sho-Sho came to slay! She embodied the song, acted it out and gave it welly! Lord knows Rihanna probably heard us in America, that’s how turnt we were. It was good. Oh, so good.
Business as Usual
Could anything top that climax? Not likely! But the fun just continued. By now, we had decimated the fantastic fish and other food shenanigans brought by Laredo’s Suya and Grill; and DJ Abass was, as usual, on fayah.
All that was left was a small matter of the raffle draw. Shola was on top cheating form, but luckily, we had employed extra security to deal with the situation so she couldn’t run off with any of the prizes as she attempted to do at the Christmas TAWA edition where she ran off with the grand prize of a Virgin Atlantic return ticket to Nigeria (fear not, she was apprehended and the tickets were retrieved and handed over to the true winner!).
The prizes were awesome as usual; among them tickets to Shakespeare’s Richard III as directed by Femi Elufowoju (the fantastic brain behind the upcoming theatre production of Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Bab Segi’s Wives) and a brand new laser printer! Several hampers by House of Hampers London and of course, traditional African print outfits kindly donated by FolajiLondon. Senditoo were also on hand to introduce and promote their business: the novel way to send credit to family back home right from your mobile phone. They gave 5 lucky winners free credit to test the service and it seems to be painless and working well!
Every good thing must come to an end; every amazing night must draw to a close. It would be nice to say that we all left in a civilised manner but the truth is that the management had to turf us out at the end (as usual) as the music was still electrifying.
And y’all ask why we TAWA Chillout? We TAWA because TAWA is life!
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