“Ay, que susto!” says a woman walking away from the polling station, as a sad looking baby horse nudges her from behind. The owner must have allowed it to wander off, with all the hubbub around the election here.
We could hear the voices and music from early in the morning, and now that we were outside the walls of the compound, I could see that in front of the polling station there were awnings set up by supporters of the different candidates.
Eyeing the two heavily armed policemen at the gates, I questioned whether I should be hanging out outside on the street at all. The girls from the home had taken their identity cards out on their arrival at the gate of the polling station, and I had assumed that I just wouldn’t be allowed in.
I stood on the pavement, leaning against a wall, drinking in my illicitly won freedom. Apart from attracting a few curious glances, the families rolled by me, on their way to the school which was being used to place their vote. One police officer eyed me in a friendly way, almost smiling. I felt conspicuous as the only woman on the street on her own.
After 10 minutes, the girls came out, Paola admonishing me for having my cell phone out. “They’ll take it from you” she said, meaning the locals hanging around on the street. I was given the phone as a gift, and wouldn’t have been too upset if someone had decided to take it from me, but I didn’t say anything. She was obviously uncomfortable here and she knew more about this place than I ever would.
The director of the film had asked me to try to film a few interviews, and get the girls to say something on camera, but they were all reticent about saying anything, never mind being filmed while saying it. Luckily, Heather (a graduate from the home system who is now studying engineering, pictured below) was there, and started assertively filming them, asking them questions over lunch about what they thought about the election.