The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Beauty’

Power of Opportunity!

Viola Davis delivering her speech at the 2015 Emmys.

Viola Davis delivering her speech at the 2015 Emmys.

Dear Reader,

So many things have inspired my life in the past few weeks that I actually struggled to package it in a way that I could easily share it with you. I want to share some of the sunshine I have been experiencing just the way you do the same for me. Yes, I enjoy sneaking into your blogs as well 🙂

Today, I found a way to share the sunshine with you and this amazing woman, Viola Davis, captured it in such a beautiful way. The message is clear and it’s all about the power of opportunity. The goodies in this world are for all of us and you too have the ability to break the barriers and achieve your dreams.

I challenge you to write your name here and read it to yourself in front of a mirror:

The only thing that separates  ___(your name)_____  from anyone else is opportunity. 

Speech by Viola Davis at the 2015 Emmys:

In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’

That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.

You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.

And to the Taraji P. Hensons, the Kerry Washingtons, the Halle Berrys, the Nicole Beharies, the Meagan Goods, to Gabrielle Union: Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy. Thank you.

###

Be Inspired!

❤

THE ANKARA FABRIC

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An Ankara print dress by RED MUS that I wore during a fashion shoot at the Kuona Trust Art Center in Nairobi

 

Did you know that the famous African Ankara fabric originated from the Netherlands under the name “Dutch Wax”?

In Nigeria, Ankara (also called the “African Wax”) had only been used by low class citizens as a cheap alternative to special occasion outfits.

 

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print

Brian in a blue shirt with touch of Ankara print. For special occasions

 

This was the case until the then Nigerian President Obasanjo embraced Ankara for his official wardrobe. He was known as a Nigerian cultural ambassador. Importation of foreign fabrics was banned and so Nigerian designers had to make do with what they had available; Ankara.

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

Susan in a dazzling orange dress and clutchbag with a touch of Ankara print

 

After years of modern day expression of the African Wax, this beautiful print made it’s way to international fashion runways and a massive following by Hollywood celebrities.

 

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

Hollywood songstress Solange Knowles rocking an Ankara print outfit

 

Also, much as the capital of Turkey is called Ankara, this has got no relation with the wax fabric.

 

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear.

Kevin in a red shirt with a touch of Ankara print. Casual wear

 

Regardless of it’s production in the Netherlands, what matters most is the history and level of importance associated with the Ankara fabric by Africans. It is our pride and we wear it bold!

 

I totally loved wearing this Ankara outfit with heaps of retro vybe.

I totally loved wearing this Ankara print outfit with a retro feel

 

How’s that for a quick history lesson?

Viva Ankara Fashion!

 

Love,

Ayuma.

 

Why Hate on Kenyan Women?

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I am not one to pick a bone with an attention seeking Twitter handle but this… I had to say.

A Kenyan bloke who is known for controversial posts on Twitter (with a specialty of hating on Kenyan women) thought it best to compliment Lupita Nyong’o by first saying that she has got tiny boobs and that she looks like a man but in the end says that she won an Oscar. Then he diverted his attention to the light-skinned Kenyan women with big boobs and big bottoms and asked what do they have to offer.

To be honest, I felt like I could vomit. But I just sat down and pondered about his comments:
It took me back to my childhood when small Kenyan boys would label me “AIDS” just because I was a tall skinny girl who looked nothing like what society deemed to be a beautiful girl.

It took me back to my teenage life in church when the boys would only talk to the girls whose breasts had poofed-up. No matter how much they read the Bible which states that God created all things beautiful, it didn’t meet the practical.

It took me to my freshman year when in whispers, the boys would refer to me as ‘the slim one with a butt’ and thought it would be a complement. Because the African culture celebrates curvy women with big breasts and especially big buttocks.

So what happens to the dark, slim, small-chested and small-bummed woman like me?
Does this make me flawed in the eyes of African men?
OR
Is there something that the young African men misinterpreted as beauty from their African forefathers?

But then, I thought about a compliment a friend gave me yesterday and it warmed my heart. This kind European who has lived amongst Kenyans looked at me and said, “Here in Kenya, many men love big bums. In Europe, many men are fascinated by big boobs. But you are perfect, you are beautiful just the way you are!”

I was silenced, and in that moment I felt a flicker of hope light up in me. That there are men who are capable of separating themselves from culture and see things for what they really are.

That there are men out there who would speak about women with respect regardless of who’s watching or listening.
That there are men who respect all women because their mothers, daughters and sisters are women too.

This is the hope that kept me from reacting in anger.

I remembered the Sudanese boy who gave me a golden ring in primary school because he thought I was beautiful. He didn’t care that other boys called me “AIDS”.
I remembered the American boy that I used to talk to after church. He thought that I was really cool to talk to regardless of how I looked as a teen.
I remembered the Ethiopian guy who stopped me to tell me that I had lovely eyes and hair as I went about my shopping.
And of course the warm complement by my European friend.

This comforted me that regardless of the evident brainwash about a woman’s beauty here in Kenya, the beauty in me is still VALID in other cultures.

To all the Kenyan men who think that Kenyan ladies are nothing but: ugly, needy, gold diggers, nagging, bad mothers, cheap, pathetic wives, career robots, pieces of ass and boobs.
Sorry that we are not good enough even when the rest of the world thinks otherwise.

PS: I love being a slim African woman with mild curves. I feel beautiful, sexy and healthy!

Peace, Love and Respect,
Ayuma

Ciao Bella 2012!

Dear readers,

As the year 2012 comes to an end, I celebrate those who took a chance to put a smile on someone’s face. Those who dared to make everyday richer with love.

I believe that the road wasn’t easy all-year-round, but we should count ourselves champions for we have made it to the end. Many started the road with us this year but they didn’t make it this far.

So I pray that your heart will remain youthful and full of cheer all through the new year.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and beautify it with your thoughts. Let’s talk some more in 2013!

Love and sunshine…

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

To put a smile on your face as we countdown to the new year, here’s a lovely tale about my favourite day in December this year. Photographs are courtesy of Paras Gudka of Westlands Chess Club (WECC) and Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa.

Enjoy the read!

My little friends at Kandara Children's Home

My little friends at Kandara Children’s Home

Oh December! What a lovely ring this month adds to the conclusion of a lovely, yet monstrous yet again a typical other year – 2012.

Let us do a little math, shall we?

Q: What is the result of a public transport strike, plus a car full of visitors, plus road directions, minus following road directions, multiplied by hours in a day to spend?

A: Easy, a Fun Day at Kandara Children’s Home in Murang’a!

Ok fine, not an easy challenge or even math for that matter, but this sure was the plot of the story that led me to the most amazing place to have spent a fun day in December this year.

Swaleh, a trusted taxi driver chatted with my good friend Esther Neema and me as we headed to the Nairobi City Centre to meet up with Paras Gudka, the founder of the Westlands Chess Club (WECC).

Esther Neema and her new baby buddy

Esther Neema and her new baby buddy

Paras Gudka; WECC founder

Paras Gudka; WECC founder

To our surprise, the matatu strike was still on and Swaleh swore that it had reached a point where the public transport operators were charging as much as KSH 400 for what would normally cost KSH 50 for bus fare.

GULP…

Paras gladly came with his team from the WECC to join us for a day of fun and games at the Children’s home. I was super confident that the directions that Kirsty McLullich (a full-time volunteer with Vision Africa) had given me will make me look good as a navigator.

GULP…

The WECC crew; Shammah, Gweyani and George

The WECC crew; Shammah, Gweyani and George

Being the social being that I am, I coloured the atmosphere with my warm personality through a story or two…or three… Ok, I might have talked quite a lot but I promise that I gave everyone else a chance to tell an anecdote or two…Hehe!

All this got me to a point where I forgot to check my phone for directions and we used a route to Thika that seemed familiar yet unfamiliar. What gave me confidence was the fact that the other passengers were on Google Maps, confirming if we are on the right path. Technology!!!

Unfortunately, we confidently made a turn that took us to a town that seemed familiar, yet unfamiliar. When we stopped to ask for directions… Typical Kenyan “asking for directions” Drama happened! There was a gent who went on with stories about how we are so lost and that he doubts if we’ll find our way to Kandara. Talk about a prophet of doom!

Seconds after what we seemed to have been an understanding of the directions the gent gave us, we were lost again.

We took on a challenge and asked a matatu driver for directions and his directions sounded like, “You see that road… Drive down till you reach a junction, ignore the junction and drive on, you’ll see another road but ignore it, then you take a left, then go, then take a right and if you even ask a small child for directions, you will find your way to Kandara.”

[Trust me, this English translation sounds nothing as hilarious as the original Kiswahili one with a local accent.]

As we got lost some more on our way to Kandara, we at least took the chance to sample the lovely green countryside. It was a farming community judging from the patterned strips of crop against recurring steep slopes.

Aha! An old wise man of the land who probably knew the paths more than anyone we had met already. Luckily we had a “translator” amongst us who could communicate with the old “guardian of the land”.

We were directed to a road though a steep slope even though we all doubted it. And soon our doubts were confirmed “doubtworthy” as several little boys directed us back to the right path to the Kandara Children’s Home.

Finally, we arrived after hairpin bends and as soon as we saw the writings on the entrance of the Orphanage’s gate – Kandara Children’s Home – we took a deep breath.

As soon as we arrived, we introduced ourselves to each other as Kirsty made her way to the parking area to welcome us. Yes, we forgot that tiny detail of introductions. Haha!

Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa and Mary Mwangi of Kandara Children's Home

Kirsty McLullich of Vision Africa and Mary Mwangi of Kandara Children’s Home

The day ripened with richness as soon as the kids came running to hold our hands and welcomed us. The atmosphere was filled with a great anticipation for a great happening judging from the preparations in the kitchen and the farm.

A goat had been slaughtered for a great feast! YUMMY…Mbuzi (Swahili for goat)

After a short tour by Kirsty round the orphanage, we were led to the baby unit. I actually got to learn how to hold a baby, play with one and feed one too. That beat my fear of dropping a baby just because of my skinny hands…Haha!

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Later on the WECC set up a table for a good game of chess starting with some quick lessons for beginners. The magic began! Esther and I got our girl-power kit and secured a spot for the girls on a green yard. Manicures and pedicures, hand massages, make-up and dress-up glam time and not forgetting the girly chat to complete this female bonding session.

There was also some face-painting in the dining hall and the little ones got creative with how they wanted their faces to look with face paint masks.

A lovely game of chess with WECC and the Kandara kids

A lovely game of chess with WECC and the Kandara kids

Pampering the Kandara girls

Pampering the Kandara girls

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Some football for the Kandara boys and friends before lunchtime

We girls and make-up. Can't get enough of it...

We girls and make-up. Can’t get enough of it…

Face-painting at Kandara Children's Home

Face-painting at Kandara Children’s Home

The kids who worked really hard this year got their gifts

The kids who worked really hard this year got their gifts

All smiles

All smiles

Goat stew... Yummy!

Goat stew… Yummy!

Fooooooood at Kandara

Fooooooood and cute face

Tasty Mbizu Choma (roasted goat meat)

Tasty Mbuzi Choma (roasted goat meat)

Lunchtime was absolutely heartwarming as all the kids sat together and ate as one big family. As soon as I saw chapattis, my search was over. I love chapattis!

The Kubamba Crew had a great Dj entertaining the crowd as we all gathered for a little booggie woogie outside. As I danced with Teresia, one of the little ones, I realized that the joy I felt inside was more than what I expected from the visit.

There’s something about a child’s smile that somehow makes everything seem alright. It was most definitely hard to say goodbye as well.

Tasty mbuzi for the boy

Tasty mbuzi for the boy

With love, from Kenya

With love, from Kenya

When I say chow-time, I mean chow-time

When I say chow-time, I mean chow-time

The smile of an angel

The smile of an angel

Jolly good times at Kandara

Jolly good times at Kandara

On our way back, we almost got lost again, but we somehow found our way to Nairobi.

A Fun Day?

This was more than just a fun day. It was a great day to get lost, LITERALLY, in fun adventure!

Have a fun-filled 2013!!!

Happy 2013!!! Kandara Children's Home

Happy 2013!!!
Kandara Children’s Home

Say CHEESE...

Say CHEESE…

More about Westlands Chess Club (WECC)

More about Vision Africa and Kandara Children’s Home

More photographs on Kandara Fun Day

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