The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Archive for the ‘Causes’ Category

Lets Talk About SEX(uality) Education

I remember being taught sex education (how to have sex) at age 14 in class by three male teachers – Mr. Ngugi, Mr. Njoroge and Mr. Waweru.

Not even one female teacher.

As an A-student and a super geek with a dream career in the world of science, every detail mattered. And so I asked all sorts of questions just as the boys did, but even the teachers made me feel awkward for asking too many questions as a girl.

At some point, I wondered why I was the only girl in class asking questions. Even fellow A-student girls didn’t raise their hands.
Yet the boys kept asking all sorts of questions: “How many ‘holes’ do girls have?” “What happens during sex?” “How do you wear a condom?”

And while in the name of science I needed to know facts, I still had questions to ask that I didn’t think the male teachers could answer:
“Does it hurt?” “When do I know I’m ready?” “What if I’m not, ready? Can I say No?” “Do they know that my body hurts sometimes?”

Looking back, I realise that while the teachers did their best to educate us about sex, it still wasn’t enough. It wasn’t holistic.
And as a girl, I didn’t have a safe space to honestly ask questions about sex.

Soon after, a rape culture began in school, where boys would chase after girls and force themselves. They would pinch, press onto, and grab girls’ body parts. They would penetrate the girls using their fingers. And they would do it in groups.

One boy appointed himself as a referee. As soon as a teacher left class, he called out so the boys could start grabbing onto girls.
The only thing that saved me was that I was not popular and my body had only been developing vertically – height vs curves.

With time, the girls started enjoying it. It made them feel like the boys liked them.
The school caught up too late when they organised a separate platform for girls to talk about sex.

The women teachers who run the platform were strangers to us all girls. The same women who thought we were spoilt, ratchet, and over privileged. How could a girl ask them about sex or even report being harassed?

And so the hypermasculine boys and hyperfeminine girls went on with a new sex culture that was built upon sex education in class.

Today, I saw a news update that 50% of new HIV infections in Kenya are among youth between 15-24 years old.
I’m not surprised by this data, to be honest.

+ Not when school kids are exclusively being taught how to have sex (sex education), and then reactively being taught about sexuality when crisis occurs.

+ Not when girls are still shamed for talking about or even showing interest in sex.

+ Not when women are still being blamed for being raped or sexually harassed.

+ Not when parents expect teachers to introduce their own kids to the world of sex.

+ Not when boys in Mosques are being molested by Imams, girls in Churches are being raped by Pastors, alter boys in Cathedrals are being sodomised by Priests, teenage girls are labelled sluts by older church ladies.

I believe a powerful answer lies in learning from our traditional African sexuality approach (way before the rot and rape of colonization).

We taught sexuality, not just sex.
We taught respecting the human body, emotion, mind, soul, and voice.

Our women could walk half naked, and the men would have self control.
They respected the mother in the woman.
Our men could fight great battles in war, and the women would allow them to cry, to grieve, and show emotion.
Our youth had age sets and age groups where they would journey through life with accountability partners.

But most importantly, there existed active safe spaces for youth to talk about sex without feeling ashamed, isolated, judged or misinformed.

Sex was not taboo, it was a lifestyle.
Sex wasn’t shamed, it was celebrated.
Sex wasn’t a dirty ungodly word, it was a beautiful gift created by God for humankind to enjoy.

Friends, it’s about time we changed the story and conversation about sex.
Let’s talk about sex in a holistic fashion.

Only then can we rediscover the beauty of sex by it’s original design.

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Too Woman to Love?


As I write this, my heart is broken.

Broken for I’ve recently recovered from a season where my heart was broken.

Broken as I now to witness yet another good woman’s heart break.

Break with grief after her beloved and family suddenly woke up blind to call her a “bad mother.”

Bad mother? What does that even mean? 

Mean to a woman who carried this child in her womb for 9 months. 

Months of pain, uncertainty, sacrifice, love and hope.

Hope that her baby would be welcomed into a safe haven of love.

Love that has now turned bitter, selfish and cold.

Cold as the prison cell she had to live in, 2 weeks away from her baby.

Her baby who’s now kept away from her embrace.

Embrace that she’s now fighting for in court.

Court that seems to traditionally see her on the losing side.

Side that’s not black, immigrant, nor minority.

Minority because her legal fees are out of this world.

World that would let a mother with a grieving womb fight for the baby she grew in it. 

It is unacceptable.

Unacceptable, yet here we are.

Are you willing to help get back her baby by holding her hand? 

Her hand that desperately longs to hold her baby again.

Again, are you willing?
Donate now to her GoFundMe campaign!

Link: https://www.gofundme.com/help-me-get-ami-back

Finding Your Own Tribe

Finding your own tribe

Finding a Tribe Through Shared Values

During a wonderful conversation with my taxi driver recently, we talked business and discussed the tariff rivalry between Uber and that of Safaricom’s new Little Cab taxi service.

I was really concerned about the climate of his business but he confidently reassured me, “Don’t worry, it’s business as usual for me.” “Uber and Little Cab customers are actually not my customers,” he added.

He explained that his customers are people who’ve known him over the years and now trust him. Also, that it’s ok if Uber & Little cab users don’t opt for his services, he’s got his own pack hooked onto the value of friendship, loyalty and trust.

Now I know why I’ve been his customer for all these years despite Uber & Little Cab cheap tariffs.

I’ve been investing in a relationship, not money.

Truly, a great business lesson from my dear taxi driver, Victor (aka Baba Daniel).

#BeInspired

Totally Femme and Able!

A woman is enough.

She can protect herself and her loved ones. 

She can be confident to step out of her doorstep and be safe.

She can be in the company of a man and know that she too can defend.

She can discipline her mind to think heroine and not victim when in danger.

Femme is enough.

 

Action Time!

I believe that women and girls in Nairobi need to be proactive with their personal security. I’ve had close-shave incidents at work, school, in the streets of Nairobi, and in the company of friends, where to be honest I wasn’t equipped enough to defend.

So this is how we can always be prepared heroines …

 

Krav Maga Women's Self-Defence Class Poster

 

Shadow Krav-Maga Female Self-defence Classes

Yuly G, an International Krav-Maga and Karate instructor invited me to join him in signing-up groups of 20 women and girls in Nairobi for self-defence classes. We both believe in proactive over reactive personal security measures. The classes will begin from Sunday, 27th March 2016 and sign-ups are ongoing via the email provided on the poster above.

Ladies will be trained using the Shadow Krav-Maga technique which was initially developed as an unarmed combat system for the Israeli Defense Forces. Its goal is to stop violence without violence. The Karen, Parklands and Jaffery Centre (Lavington) Sports clubs will be the locations for the classes which will be happening on Sunday and Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings at 6pm. Ladies can sign-up for the One-day or the 2-month classes as shown below:

+ One-day class for 3 to 4 hours at Ksh. 2,500 or USD $25. Acquired Skills include basic self-defence skills against grabbing, choking, pushing and theft.

+ Two-month class for 16 hours at Ksh. 8,500 or USD $85. One hour per class twice a week, or more hours per class if the group is happy with that. Acquired Skills include basic and advanced self-defence skills from attacks with sharp objects, punching, kicking and ground attacks (like sexual attacks). Psychology self-defence and manipulation of mind and body of attacker. Self-defence by using surrounding objects. In addition, there will be Fitness, Cardio, weight management training.

 

Yuly Profiler

 

How to Prepare for Class

First, ensure that you’re signed-up in a group of 20 ladies for either one of the classes on offer. This is done through sending a request via email on poster above and making an advance payment of 50% (non-refundable) of the total class fee to the Mpesa number that’ll be provided via email. The other 50% can be paid right before class.

Second, once your group of 20 ladies is all set, a date will be confirmed for your class. Yay! All you need for class is proper training gear (long trouser and strong T-shirt), a bottle of water and a towel. Training equipment and shower rooms will be available at the locations. NB: Girls between ages 13-18 should come with a guardian or parent.

Third or even immediately, do share this information with other women and girls so that just like you, they can proactively equip themselves for self-defence. Imagine the news stories changing to: “Nairobi woman defends herself against armed attacker.”

Woman_power_symbol

I choose to be a heroine.

I choose to be prepared.

I choose to be totally femme & able.

 

Let’s do this ladies!

🙂

 

Where is Boni?

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Boni* is a street boy whom I met a year ago.
I enjoyed a chat with him as we walked towards a nearby grocery market to buy some bananas for him and friends.
I remember him sharing that despite being a street boy, he will, “Never give up!”
The boys used to stay and nap under some trees along Ngong Road. The trees were their homes.
After an early meeting today at iHub Nairobi, I walked past the same trees that are now chopped, burnt to ashes, abandoned.
No longer tall and green.
No longer a home.
“Where is Boni?” I thought.
But the lonely air responded with heartbreaking silence.

Rivers or Dams? Pick one!

 

Berta Caceres 2015 Goldman Environmental Award Recipient

Berta Caceres stands at the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to local environment, river and indigenous Lenca people from the region. Source: goldmanprize.org

 

As we chase after modern knowledge, skills & lifestyles, are we loosing ourselves?

We are all indigenous to somewhere on this earth.

We all came from somewhere!

Our human identity isn’t in fashion brands, fast cars, academic achievements, air mileage and fancy houses.

Our identity depends on real connections with humanity, not things.

Berta Cáceres has taught us an expensive lesson – to protect our identity or allow our footprints to vanish from existence.

This International Women’s Day 2016, I celebrate Berta’s courage as a female warrior who fought for equality, environmental conservation, protection of her indigenous culture and peace!

Visit goldmanprize.org for more about Berta Cáceres!

#IWD2016

 

 

Coffee Culture in Kenya!

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Kenyan Coffee Berries - AA Arabica

Coffee culture is simply any social atmosphere that heavily depends upon coffee. It goes beyond coffee as a product and uses it as a social lubricant to bring people together for a purpose.

Growing Coffee Culture

In one decade, Kenya has experienced a fast-growing coffee culture as coffee houses like Nairobi Java House, Art Café, Pete’s Cafe & Burrito Haven, Savannah and Dormans continue to provide exceptional coffee experiences at various urban centers in the country, mainly Nairobi.

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Coffee House in Kenya - Pete's Café & Burrito Haven

Truly, we have come from far as a nation because decades ago, one could only experience coffee at high-end hotels like the Sarova Stanley hotel which was an exclusive atmosphere for the wealthy in Kenya. Today, the Kenyan middle class is the popular coffee consumer marking a remarkable market shift!

Celebrating our Own

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Coffee Workshop by Kenyan Coffee Barista - Photo by Ethan Mumo

Today, Kenyans have so many opportunities to learn about coffee better yet, from our very own champion barristers who compete at the global coffee barristers’ competitions. They inspire and edify the public about Kenyan coffee and the great need to celebrate the world-class coffee that our country produces.

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Peter Owiti explains the qualities of Kenyan Dark Roast Coffee Beans. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

One shining example is Peter Owiti (Founder, Pete’s Coffee & Burrito Haven) who is a popular amongst the Nairobi techie community. He is a Seattle-trained coffee barrister who after working at Nairobi Java House and his educational travels in America and Europe chose to further pursue his passion for coffee through entrepreneurship.

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Pete's Café started at iHub

On 26th November 2012, he launched his business as an in-house coffee shop at iHub. His business has since expanded and is also now an in-house coffee shop at the Nairobi Garage and Airtel HQ in Nairobi.

Kahawa Culture Meet-up

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Kahawa Culture Meetup for youth networking

On Saturday 13th December 2014, Pete and I partnered for an event called Kahawa Culture Meet-up where we invited young Nairobians between the ages of 16-35 years for a fun afternoon of positive conversations over coffee at Pete’s coffee shop (at Bishop Magua building). About 25 young middle-class Nairobians got the chance to learn from young Kenyan YouTube personalities about how to share one’s passions and earn money through YouTube channels.

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Ken Mwatha - Kenyan YouTube Personality (IWATCHSTUFF). Photo by Ethan Mumo.

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Oliver Holding - Kenyan YouTube personality (GAMING4KENYA). Photo by Ethan Mumo

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James Karanu - Kenyan YouTube Personality (AXCESS). Photo by Ethan Mumo.

Also, Peter Owiti conducted a mini coffee workshop about the qualities of Kenyan coffee, how to make French Press coffee and how to make excellent coffee at home without using an Espresso machine.

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Mini coffee workshop by Peter Owiti.

Event attendees got the chance to give-back by sending love-filled messages to and making donations of toiletries, colours and colouring books for the kids at the learning centre at the Kenyatta National Hospital Children’s Ward.

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Sending some love to the Kenyatta National Hospital Children's Ward. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

The donations were collected by Colour My World which is a charity initiative that works closely with the kids, accounts for donations and ensure that the donations reach the children.

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Liz Njenga - Founder, Colour My World. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

Speed networking was also a highlight at the event as we witnessed strangers becoming friends. We hope that our next event on January 17th, 2015 will be yet another opportunity to celebrate Kenyan coffee culture through meaningful conversations that inspire patriotism and positive change amongst young people.

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Speed networking at Kahawa Culture Meet-up. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

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Positive conversations over coffee. Photo by Ethan Mumo.

This is the objective of Kahawa Culture, a startup events company that I recently launched to promote positive conversations over coffee in Nairobi.

Kenyan Coffee Facts:

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Expert ranking of coffee growing countries in the world. Photo by Thrillist.

1. Global coffee experts rank Kenya as #2 best coffee growing in the world! Kenya comes in second after Ethiopia. Colombia is ranked #3 coffee growing country in the world.

2. Coffee is mainly grown in Nyeri County in Kenya. The area is mountainous and has got rich volcanic soils.

3. The excellent coffee that Kenya produces is of the AA Arabica coffee variety.

4. Kahawa is the Swahili word for coffee. So when in Kenya…

5. Kenya is one of the countries in the Coffee Bean Belt which runs from Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Java.

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For the love of Kenya Coffee

Contact Info:

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Follow Pete's Cafe & Burrito Haven on Facebook and Twitter (@petescoffee).

Peter Owiti
Pete’s Café & Burrito Haven
Email: pete@petescoffee.co.ke
(Coffee Shops & Setup, Coffee Consulting and Barista Training)

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Ayuma Michelle
Kahawa Culture Ltd.
Email: kahawaculture@gmail.com
YouTube Channel: KAHAWA CULTURE
(Kahawa Culture Meet-ups, partnership opportunities and presentation slots)

Before leaving earth, ensure that you’ve experienced Kenyan coffee! ^_^

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