The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Archive for the ‘Compassion’ Category

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.

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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

 

 

Flag of All Flags!

Flag of all flags is love.

Flag of all flags is love.

FLAG OF ALL FLAGS: It’s heartbreaking to watch people fight on social media about something that should actually bring us together as humankind.
“Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support France?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support Lebanon?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support Syrian refugees?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support…?”

If you’re like me, you might have already picked up on the real purpose of the virtual flags: Love for humanity.
But by choosing to isolate and attack each other because of Facebook flags, we’re choosing that which the terrorists are promoting? Fear, the mother of terrorism.

Fear makes us believe that we are more different than we are similar.
Fear makes us violent with our words, thoughts, intentions, and actions.
Fear makes us strip people of their power of choice.
Fear makes us foolish enough to be inhuman.

So whether or not you choose to use a Facebook flag, the biggest question we have to ask ourselves is, “So what next?”
So what next, after the terrorist attacks?
So what next, after we change our profile pictures?
So what next, after fear knocks at our doors?

Instead of fighting over Facebook flags, why not focus on what really matters? Sharing love with humanity.
How do we do this? It’s in the everyday simple things like smiling with a stranger. Sharing your meal with a homeless child. Offering a friend your shoulder to cry on. Affirming what’s good in someone instead of magnifying the faults.

As we start the new week, I encourage you to observe the world around you and spot opportunities in which you could directly respond to fear with love.
We are all superheroes if you think about it. We fight in the background with acts of courage that save the world from further decay.
This is how slowly, we get to change the world one act of love at a time.

Love & Sunshine

A little = A lot

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To share is to love

This week, I was blessed to enjoy an evening walk in the company of three boys who live in the street.
How did this happen?

Well, I had been carrying two apples in my bag so that if I met someone who was hungry, I would have something to give.

So as I walked along Ngong Road this evening, staring at the caterpillar of cars due to crazy traffic, I spotted an unusual heap of garbage bags under a tree. As I walked closer, I spotted a young boy, Dan*, with a bottle of “glue” in his mouth.
I approached him to say hello.

Surprised, Dan sat up straight and said hello with a smile on his face. As I spoke with him, his friend Jim* joined our chat as I handed Dan an apple. I made him promise that they would share the fruit. I did the same for two other boys who joined us later on.

As I said goodbye to the boys, I heard the voice of a little one Steve* saying, “Sister, something small to eat please…” I had no food with me and felt bad that I didn’t have something to give. The sincere look on his face made my heart melt. Steve’s older friends, JB* and Mike* were also standing at a distance. They respected my silence and slowly retreated.

This is when I called Steve and his two friends for a walk to the market nearby. As we walked, I asked them if they thought that the street was the end of them. With confidence, they said, “NO!” I was super glad to see the hopeful smiles that follow.

Thank God I had some money in my pocket, enough to buy 6 bananas for the boys to eat. As I made the payment, Steve approached me with the bunch of bananas in his hands. He looked at me with his big glassy eyes, raised the banana bunch and said, “Thank you!”

That moment, my friends, was a moment I will live to remember.

Do you have some food, juice or water in your home that you could share with someone who is hungry?

I encourage you to use the little you have to spare in your home to share a little bit of sunshine with someone else who desperately needs it.

Loving is sharing!

Innovative Teen Farmers!

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There are no words to express just how proud I am of my students at the Seed of Hope Centre!

As a mentor, I had decided to explore a different mode of teaching. I took a chair, sat down and gave the teens a platform for creative self expression.
These kids spend all-day learning in class but it was about time they had a form of output outside class activities.

Value of Student Clubs

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After successfully establishing four clubs during the last school term (Technology, Young Leaders,  Talents, Agriculture), the students are still packed with energy for more ways to develop their interests.

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The Agriculture Club stepped up and officially launched their club with fun landscaping activities around the school where both students and teachers participated.

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Innovative Farming

During the August 2014 school holidays, the Agriculture Club members independently organised holiday club activities like purchasing potato sacks (with their own money) for their landless kale farming project.

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All this, I came to witness recently when I visited the Centre to surprise the teachers with some news about the support of the Rabbit Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries through a rabbit production manual for the students to use.

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The potato sacks had been filled with fertile soil and vibrant green kale seedlings danced to a gentle breeze as they hang on the sides of the sacks.

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From the teens at Seed of Hope, I have witnessed a great shift of behavior and attitude. They no longer need to be told that they could have a great future; they believe so. They don’t need to be closely monitored, they have learnt to be independent. They don’t need to be told, “Smile” because they naturally smile all the time.

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How to get involved

There are a number of ways you could get involved as a friend of Seed of Hope:

The teens at the Centre need mentorship for club projects by professionals under the following fields:

*Agriculture – Kale farming. Rabbit farming. Chicken farming. Pest control of kale seedlings.

*Techies – How to use iPads. How to create and manage a Facebook page. How to use the internet for school research projects.

*Young Leaders – How to be a leader amongst fellow young people. How to overcome challenges that come with youth leadership. Opportunities that teen leaders need to explore.

*Creatives – Innovative projects for a club with a mix of talents (Singing, Fashion Design, modelling).

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How to make a donation

The Seed of Hope teens are in need of various items that will go a long way in improving their lives and stay at school. These include:

1. Bras, panties, clothes, sanitary towels and bathing soap for girls.

2. Underwear, bathing soap and clothes for boys.

3. Farming equipment for the Agriculture Club. (Spades, hoes, digging forks, farming machetes & rakes)

4. Any support that will contribute to internet connection for the students. (Currently no internet access at the Centre)

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Contact:
Florence
Headmistress – Seed of Hope Centre
Mobile: (+254)721405298
OkHi Map Link: http://goo.gl/e0yXNz

For more about the Seed of Hope Centre, please click here.

We are dearly trusted

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Have you ever witnessed the hatching of a chick?

Or have you ever watched an elephant matriarch as she watches over orphaned baby elephants?

Better yet, have you ever held a newborn baby in your arms?

Well, every time I watch the evening news I suddenly become aware of how alarmingly unsafe the world has become. So why would dear God continue to bring such delicate little beings into this bullying world? It took me a while to understand this with a little trip down memory lane.

As a little girl, I used to like watching my grandmother preparing some tea in her traditional mud hut kitchen. One morning, I witnessed the hatching of about a dozen chicks for the very first time. It was such a beautiful experience! The little blind birds broke through shell with faint cries and after a while puffed-up resembling yellow cotton balls. Mother hen led them from the smokey kitchen and out into the world the little ones would experience a fresh. A hungry hawk patrolled nearby and so I watched over Mother hen and her chicks until eventually they safely made it to Grandmother’s garden which was protected by an expanse of greenery. Exhausted, I walked back into Grandmother’s kitchen where she poured me a refreshing cup of tea.

The lesson I still carry from this beautiful memory is that like the little chicks, we were all exposed to so many dangers on this earth from our time of birth. But looking back, we can trace the small acts of love, kindness and sacrifice by people who chose to do what they did just for us. We may not have perfect lives but perfect is the love we come to unwrap and experience even in a world full of grey. What makes the world what it is is the presence of humanity and how we choose to treat God’s creations.
The late Nelson Mandela said that if people are taught to hate then they too can be taught how to love; because love comes out more naturally from a human heart.

If the great creator of the universe trusted others with you, imagine how many more people (and creations) He trusts you with? He created us with the capacity to love and love some more.

Blessings,
Ayuma.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Child

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Today, I had so much fun teaching the kids at the Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Centre.
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The children were energetic and excited to learn. Some coloured some drawings, others wrote stories, others played with word blocks and others followed the teachers with books in their hands saying, “Teacher! Teacher! Please give me some homework…”
Now, how often do we hear children ask teachers for homework?
These kids love learning despite their state of physical health.
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The smiles on the faces of the little ones was like sunshine. They would like to stay engaged at the learning center but there aren’t enough volunteer teachers.
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Guess what? There is hope! This Friday, 23rd 2014 there will be a training session for volunteer teachers. This will be from 2:00 to 3:30pm at the Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Centre (3rd floor). You are most welcome to join the team of volunteers!
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Volunteering at KNH Paediatric Learning Centre

Young people are encouraged to volunteer at the learning center.
Volunteering hours are usually from 11am – 3pm and from Monday to Thursday. Every volunteer will be part of any of the teams which work in two-day intervals. E.g. Team 1: Mondays and Wednesdays.
Kindly forward your name to Liz (below) for security clearance at the Paediatric Ward.
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Cancer Survivor Party!
You are invited to a great party at the KNH Paediatric Ward on June 2nd, 2014. Join the kids for a fun day of Arts & Crafts, Puzzle games and other fun activities.
Kindly confirm attendance by 30th, May 2014.

Sponsorship for this event is welcomed and will be much appreciated.

Paediatric Learning Centre Wish List

Priority
Toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap (washing & bathing), petroleum jelly, baby diapers (Huggies diapers, 0-3months), face towels, sanitary pads.

Classroom
Exercise books, pencils, colour pencils, crayons, erasers, rulers, ink pens, writing ink.
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Contact person:
Liz
Programme Director
Colour My World Kenya
(Partners with Kenyatta National Hospital Paediatric Learning Center)
Mobile: +254714481371

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