The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Archive for the ‘Rude shock’ 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

Parents, Please Teach your Sons How to Cook

Cooking is not a gender role but a life skill!

Over the past 3 months I’ve had the opportunity to share the same house with different people who’re travelling in and out of the country. As a long-term Airbnb resident, I get the joy of interacting with different people and learning from their stories. Yay! 🙂 

However, one of the observations I’ve made is how oftentimes male housemates struggle with food and nutrition. 
For example: 

There’s a Kenyan guy who depended on Festive bread and tea for every meal. And occasionally he’d buy pizza from Pizza Inn. FOR A WHOLE MONTH!!!
There’s also an African-American guy who actually asked me to help him make a cup of coffee. COFFEE!!!
There’s a Ugandan guy who always waited for his girlfriend to prepare his food so that he could eat. EVEN AT MIDNIGHT!!! 
Friends, this is the danger of gender roles!

It robs a human being of their capacity to be self reliant. And one can’t surely depend on another for their own food and nutrition. It’s dangerous and anaemic.
However, not all of the guys have been like that.

My good friends, 2 Japanese guys, often used to cook really well and we’d even exchange recipes and ingredients. They even gifted me with a little coffee maker when they left. ❤
My new Kenyan-Tanzanian housemate who upon arrival dropped his bags and went to buy food. He’s staying with his son and is already preparing some food for both of them, along with a serving of good whisky.
And an Indian guy who was often in the kitchen, preparing meals for his wife and himself. His wife barely entered the kitchen for she was unwell. And I saw that he really loved preparing food for her. I’m sure his acts of intimacy rewarded him in the end 😉 

Ladies, you know what I mean? When someone takes their time first. God bless such men, we need and value them!
So let’s kick out this nonsense of gender roles and see each other through the God-given lens of purpose roles. If you see the world that way, suddenly you see the magic of being human. 
We can really do anything.

Anything!!!

Kenya, we need to talk!

#KenyanLivesMatter

Dear Kenyans,

Did you sleep last night?

I didn’t. 

I couldn’t.

Not when in a distance, a neighborhood was forced awake all night with riots.

Not when police helicopters flew over my roof.

Not when gunshots poked through my sweet dreams, awakening me into a live nightmare.
Somehow, I fell asleep in the morning.

And I woke up to a stomach full of acid.

Loss of appetite (haven’t eaten since I woke up).

And a broken heart.
How on earth did we get here again?

How did we allow politics make us look at our neighbours differently? 

How could we bring chaos to our neighborhoods while the politicians we support go back to safe and secure homes?
I’m so tired.

I’m tired of being tired and scared every election season.

This needs to stop.
I’ve prayed and kept my peace.

I’ve voted wisely for leaders who promise great change.

I’ve been a good Kenyan.

It still seems not to be enough.
So what now?

We really need to figure ourselves out and make a decision about what we really want.

ALL the leaders we choose mirror our current values and priorities.

So why are we shocked when a police gun no longer protects us but is aimed at us?

When a 10-year-old girl standing at a balcony loses her life from a stray bullet?

When a journalist tries to capture and report to us a real story on the ground and gets arrested?
Kenyans, we need to talk.

We seriously need to sort ourselves out.

But as we painfully become aware of our mess…

We can at least try to be peaceful and see that we really do matter.

Our Kenyan Lives Matter.
Love, 

Ayuma.

🇰🇪❤

Enough. 

For the last 4 days, a stranger has been calling and texting me using multiple numbers. He knows my name and it’s scary! 

It all began with a, “Please help me, I’m homeless” message. It soon graduated to a, “May God forgive you for ignoring me” message. Today I woke up to “Why??? I love you, I’m not giving up” message. Truecaller confirms that it’s been 35 calls and 23 text messages.

After calling the police hotline to report, the officer advised me to visit a police station and make a report and get an OB number. 

Yesterday, I visited a police station and as soon as I stated my case, the male officer didn’t even look at me and pointed me to a chair using a pen. I sat down and waited. 
When a female officer walked in, she asked me to state my case and immediately referred me to another male officer to help me make a report. It seemed she was the only one making things happen at the police station. 

But as soon as she left to handle another matter, the male officer laughed and said he didn’t know what to report about my case. He read through my messages and abandoned my phone at the reception, as soon as another male officer came though with a request for a spare tire. 
Luckily, another female officer walked in and immediately attended to my case. 

As she recorded my statement and handed over my phone… her male colleagues distracted her with kicks in her shin, spanking her bottom, and another even forced a hug on her. I could see that she was uncomfortable but afraid to tell them to stop.

Walking out of the police station reception, I saw a group of policemen in civilian clothing silently staring at me in a way that made me feel like bolting away. 

All I felt was a deep sense of shame and betrayal as a Kenyan woman. 
Because it seems that our women are seen as objects, and not whole worthy human beings who deserve respect. 

#RespectOurWomen

Where is Boni?

image

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

 

 

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