WI spirits were lifted to new heights in March with the news of the possible reduction of Covid restrictions in the summer. It gave us renewed hope that we may be able to hold meetings in the Village Hall again, go for ‘chatty’ walks, gather for afternoon tea or morning coffee, and plan our customary August Outing to a local venue. These plans were driven forward by booking the Village Hall for our meeting on September 13th and agreeing to provide refreshments at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta on 11th and 12th September. Only time will tell if this is a rash decision, but hope lies eternal in the human heart!
Our Zoom speaker in March was Misba Khan who had participated in a life changing expedition to the North Pole in 2018 with a group of 10 women from Europe and Asia. 30 WI members and friends joined to hear of Misba’s experience of planning, training, funding and carrying out the expedition. At 49 years old, Misba was the most senior member of the group, the youngest being 24. The range of skills in the group was wide. Some were experienced athletes and skiers, others, like Misba had to learn to ski very quickly. She related anecdotes of their gruelling journey to the Pole, the discomfort of living in tents which were also kitchens and clothing driers, the intense cold and the challenges of climbing over cracks in the ice. The excitement of actually reaching the North Pole was almost palpable. Misba’s Muslim faith (she is a chaplain in the Muslim community in Manchester) evidently underpinned her desire to participate in the expedition and to subsequently spread the word to other Muslim women whose traditional expectations are that they should stay at home and care for their husbands and families. She has indeed brought about positive change in her community and will continue to undertake more challenges, such as a trek to the K2 basecamp in Pakistan. She is a truly inspirational woman and we all declared her to be one of the best speakers we have had in a long time.
Eight members celebrated their birthdays in March and received birthday greetings: Hilary Blurton, Corinne Jones, Sue Kingsley-Thomas, Maggie Greenfield, Kathryn Whalley, Vicky Wales, Wendy Wallace and Diane Webster.
The Speaker at our meeting on April 12th at 7.00pm will from the New Forest Bees organisation. As usual, the meeting is open to members and visitors. Non-members can contact us for Zoom joining details. We are always happy to welcome new members to our happy throng. If you would like more details, just contact us!