Led by a brass band and boy scouts, a procession of 700 Kenyan women, mostly poor villagers, marched to the UN Conference on new and renewable energy sources here carrying tree seedlings and such signs as "our energy crisis is firewood" and "fuel--will we be too late?"
African dancers, massed along the route to greet heads of state and themselves mostly women, spontaneously cheered the marchers with piercing ululations, their tongues rippling on their palates to produce an ear-splitting sound.
It was a particularly rousing African spectacle. Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, among the officials who spoke to the women, told them he had been listening to a great many speeches. "I coundn't help thinking we were a lot of politicians and bureaucrats," he said, "and wondering whether our debate is related to reality."
When it gets down to reality, the Nairobi conference may essentially be setting the stage for President Reagan's role at the so-called North-South talks in Cancun, Mexico, in October.
For the United States seems increasingly isolated here. A consensus among the other 140 nations represented in Nairobi, both third world and industrialized, is to fund something like the World Bank's proposed new energy affiliate to finance development of a variety of energy sources in the third world.
This is seen as the best way to help the poor countries meet their oil needs and get the capital they will need to develop such alternative sources of energy as solar and hydropower and massive reforestation.