The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Archive for the ‘Causes’ Category

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

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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! ^_^

#StrippingShame in Kenya

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Stop Violence against Women

Dear World Citizen,

I am not sure about you but I can’t escape the feeling of disgust and fear every time I leave my home nowadays.

I don’t drive but use public transportation quite a lot to go about my errands. This means that I’ve got to walk a lot in public.

However, never have I felt so paranoid in my life when in public! As I walk in the market, at the bus stop, inside the matatu (public transportation mini van), along the street at the city centre… almost everywhere.

Why? Because there are men everywhere. Recently, perverted men have been attacking little girls, women and even grannies in broad daylight!!!

Every day, I realise that yet another woman has been attacked by men, even a police man. As she tried to board a public bus, as she sold food in the streets, as she went about her day along a public path, as she sat in a matatu.

Worse is that our local authorities wait until a violated woman personally reports an incident as perverts are allowed to walk free just because they are men.

I don’t wish for my country to be like India where rape cases increased by about 500% in a decade simply because no one cared to discipline young men who viewed women as objects.

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Real Cause of Rape

The attacks on women in Nairobi are not about dress codes or the length of a woman’s skirt. Perverts who are young non-empowered men are releasing their frustrations by attacking women because they KNOW they can get away with it.

Neither the President of Kenya nor the First Lady have addressed this issue yet… they do have a daughter. Don’t other people’s daughters, wives, sisters, mothers and grandmothers matter just like their own?

Kenyans have recently marched in the streets of Nairobi to protest against the  attacks.
Social media campaigns like #MyDressMyChoice continue as the public reports and condemn the attacks.
TV exposés and debates have been done by journalists and still continue.
Yet still, the most effective way to correct this situation remains dormant – Kenyan legislature and executive!

Female members of parliament have issued press statements. Others have even offered their own money to reward those who expose the offenders. Still, their voices remain clouded by silent male MPs – some who think that it’s the women’s fault.

Surely, what can we do to end this?
You and I are the public in the public.
We are the ones in danger!

What are some of the things we could do as the public to ensure that perverts and attackers don’t get to run our city?

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A safer world for women and girls

No matter the risk of sounding like a delusional woman, I still pray and hope that my country will become a safer place for women and girls to live in.

For now, the battle against violence against women and girls continues. In our individual capacities, wherever we may be around the world, let our purple ribbons wrap and protect women in our societies.

Ayuma.

Equality begins at Home!

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Female offspring are not second best

Recently, there was a news report in Kenya about a man who welcomed his newborn son at the hospital with a convoy of limousines.

I was thrilled that a father would go to such great lengths to celebrate the arrival of his newborn son. After a while, I wondered if the man could have done the same were the newborn child a girl.

Like a thorn, the answer pierced my thoughts to realise that in Africa, the norm is that a son is valued more than a girl.

This took me back to a time when a friend told me, “The African girl is broken even before she leaves her father’s roof…She leaves knowing that she is second best.”

Having shared my thoughts about this reflection on social media, only one person commented; a man. He agreed and said that our African culture has unfortunately caused us to see the boy child as more valuable.

So what happens when I one day give birth to a beautiful baby girl?

Should I throw a small party because she isn’t worth a higher cost for celebration?

Should I tell my husband, “Sorry, we’ll try again?”

Should I tell her that when she sets out into the world she’ll have to be grateful for at least being number two?

Should I pat her back and tell her that she could try marrying a wealthy man instead?

My personal answer is, “Not if I am her mother!”

I might not be a world famous woman but I do believe in the power of purpose.
My purpose in this life is not to be second best but to be the best in fulfilling my individual purpose.
It might not attract global paparazzi to stalk me nor make people want to know which dress or perfume I recently wore.
But one thing is for sure, I shall leave a positive mark in my capacity!

This is the philosophy that I would teach my baby girl.

I would not teach her to do better, I would teach her to do things differently.

I would remind her not to fight with or hate boys, I would remind her to appreciate others’ efforts but compete with her personal vision.

I would tell her not to feel bad when people sigh and say, “She is just a girl.” I would tell her to smile and say, “Thank God I am a girl!”

Most importantly, I would not shy away from celebrating my daughter.

This is because God must have had a darn good reason to go back to His drawing board and design a woman. Surely, the world is a much better place with girls in it. The works needs girls!

No single child in this world should ever grow up feeling second best. All children are equally special and equally able to transform this world into a much better place than they found it.

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Blog Action Day 2014

This is my special celebration to girls all over the world as we commemorate Blog Action Day 2014.

Remember, equality and all the good things begin at home ^_^

Love and Sunshine,
Ayuma.

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