The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Dream’

Little People

When you are a little person, they call you ordinary. To the world around you, you are like a grain of sand.

Not many know or want to know your name.
Not many think you can be great.
Not many want to be associated with you.
Not many trust your judgement or advice.
Not many think what you say is of value.
Not many think your time is of essence.
Not so many think you could outgrow your current situation.

Not many don’t. Not many have to. But keep on keeping on!

Hold on to those who believe in you.
Avoid negative people.
Work on your weaknesses and challenge them with your strengths.
Don’t settle for normal standards.
Stop giving yourself excuses.
Learn from those who have gone before you.
Don’t underestimate people and opportunities.
Pray and don’t stop even when you get there.
Live to inspire others. Let them know that they too can make it.

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” ~Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress OSCARS 2014.

I am a little person, but that is not all of me. I am on my way up. Just give me time, even a beautiful flower has its season to bloom 🙂

Love and Sunshine,
Ayuma.

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Scars into Stars – A Lifestyle of Mentorship!

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

 

My failed businesses had a purpose after all! Recently, I learned the positive side to all of my failed business projects in the past.

My mother once looked at me as I cried, one failed business followed by another. I had done my research right. I had prepared a super business strategy; I had already contacted some business mentors. Yet still, my businesses did not pick up and failed in the end. I truly learned the art of trial and error with an extra baggage of frustration.

But today, my mother’s words, “My dear child, don’t worry, one day all these things will make sense.”

That ‘one day’ was today!

I met a young man on my way home who camped outside in the cold selling some warm snacks for passers-by. I was intrigued by his determination and the fact that he was the only vendor within vicinity who was actually standing up, waiting for customers. Other vendors had wrapped themselves in warm things as they curled themselves on their chairs waiting for clients.

I’ve got the blood of a marketer so I simply gave-in to the young man for his commendable appeal. What I had planned to be a one-stop trip to buy a roasted smokie with kachumbari led to a deep conversation about business.

He said that he never got the chance to finish school but he’s using what he’s got to earn a decent living. In the freezing cold weather he smiled with excitement over his small business and said that he would like to try out new products. Other vendors had taken up his idea and he needed to beat the competition.

As he spoke, I remembered all of my struggles; all the capital I had invested, burning the midnight oil doing research and coming up with a business strategy, prayers galore and making my family members guinea pigs for business experiments

I could not leave this young man without fueling his passion for his business.

And so I spoke, and asked him questions, provided him with examples and gave him ideas on how to expand his business. He was amazed that a stranger would take time to motivate him!

Well, at the time my business was failing flat on the floor… my friends had no idea about why I needed to make it work so bad, my mentors suddenly went A-WALL, my family honestly just needed a break.

Then I finally learned my lesson today: my business failed not because my attitude or plans were wrong. They simply failed because of that extra push to greatness that I lacked from someone who believed in me.

I know not if I’ll ever meet the young man again, but one thing is for sure – I made sure that by the time I left that young man, he didn’t have questions but ideas to put into action. After purchasing the snacks that he sold, I am glad that he was more determined than I had found him.

~Even if we suffer through challenges, the least we can do is carry the lessons we learn though it all and use them to inspire another person.

This is the true spirit of mentorship!

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

 

UPCOMING HAY FESTIVAL!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World OR Waza Dunia

Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

 

HISTORY OF STORY MOJA:

Storymoja Hay Festival is a collaboration between Kenyan publishers Storymoja and Hay Festival UK to create a platform for showcasing great literature, poetry and ideas in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
Out of the various editions organized by Hay Festival UK the Storymoja Hay Festival is the only one in Africa. It is arguably the biggest literary event in East and Central Africa. It is held annually in Nairobi and features internationally renowned creative minds.
Founded in 2008 The Storymoja Hay Festival is a four day celebration of our stories and our culture through storytelling, books, live discussion forums, workshops, debates, live performances, competitions, mchongoano and music.
The Storymoja Hay Festival has grown from 500 visitors the first year, to over 5000 attendees in 2012
We have enjoyed the support of over 50 partners over the last four years, including HIVOS, US Embassy, British Council, Dutch Embassy, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya ICT Board, Google, Alexander Forbes, Oxfam,

Kenya’s No.1 Monster

Kenya at 50 years!

Kenya at 50 years!

 

Was there a memo that I missed on the day I was born?

Did a particular group of people sign a contract that I did not?

Why am I forced to feel like I am less of a Kenyan?

Growing up in Kenya has taught me that of all monsters, there is one that many have failed to conquer. It comes in the form of a friend but often changes face as it thrives in conflict. There were times I found myself surrounded by fiends who I had long known as friends.

“Where did my friends go to?” I asked, but often fell on deaf ears as if it were meant to be an unanswered question.

Tribalism is Kenya’s No.1 monster, created by an external force yet fuelled by our very own!

It robs us of everything we fight for, everything we hope for, everything represented by our national values – peace, love and unity!

A childhood friend once told me that we could no longer be friends after her father found out where my parents “came from.” I was heart-broken and thought that I had done something wrong to her that crippled our friendship.

My parents have always been liberal and thought it best to teach me to approach life with an independent type of thinking, unswayed by stereotypes. They knew that unlike their past, there was a chance for me to grow up knowing that people are their character and not their tribal clusters.

“Who does he think he is? Just because he is from Tribe X he thinks he can get away with anything?” I never understood why my teachers would avoid explaining this question to me. It often flew across the school environment like a spark from a wild fire.

“Why did the pastor preach in a language that doesn’t represent the entire flock?” I never understood why church folk avoided addressing this question. I often heard it escape from conversations after Sunday service.

“These are the only tomatoes we’ve got left! Who are you to demand fresh ones?” I never understood why the neighbourhood shopkeeper always shouted at me. She always sold fresh produce to a particular group of people, just not me.

“Usiniletee mathe! Lipa gari ama ushuke” (Woman don’t try me. Pay or step out). I never understood why the matatu conductor hurled this comment to my mother. She was forced to pay more fare yet some individuals paid less.

These are some of the issues I battled with for years as I grew up. But I have found a solution, and it begins with me!

I am so blessed to have parents who allowed me to grow up as an independent thinker. So much so that during the most recent general elections in March 4th, 2013, our household had a mix of candidates to support. We had fun analysing each presidential candidate while maintaining our respect for the individual choices we made. I believe that this was unlike many others, attested by the brutal conversations I watched going viral on Social media. It was sad that even relationships came to an end because of the monster.

In my home, tribalism is illegal! In my home, people’s characters are more important than affluence and political anarchy.

And though this is a slow process in battling the vicious monster, I shall carry-on the liberal tradition that my parents have taught me to my little ones – should God bless me with children in future. Despite the ugliness of the monster that stares at me every day, I shall hold on to the almost hazy dream that our forefathers desired for our nation. I may not know what made them thirst so much for that future, I may not know what their yoke felt like, but I know that there’s no way I’m going to look away from the blessing they gave us. It’s ours to cherish!

To those who are tired of the stink of tribalism in our country. To those who are strong enough to accept that the monster exists. To those who are tired of the hush hush reproach of the monster, this is our chance to shout and say, “No more!”

“Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.” ~Plato

The giants that play in the monster’s field may not even care what we do and laugh at our efforts… But I promise you, we shall conquer! Our children are the progeny of the Kenyan dream. Let’s ensure that with our sweat and blood, they’ll get to enjoy every bit of it.

Here’s to a great year of jubilee/ freedom/ revolution as our country Kenya showers us with her golden dust during her 50th year of independence.

God bless Kenya!

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013 at the National Museums of Kenya. Follow @SMHayFest on Twitter, and Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook for updates on guest authors, events, pre-fest events and tickets.

Amazing Zanzibar!

Have you ever longed for a holiday for quite some time only for reality to constantly strike you with demands, demands and more demands? Well, that was me for quite a number of years but little did I know that one awaited my indulgence in April 2013. I recently found out that I had been booked for a flight to Zanzibar for a business trip. You can only imagine how my eyes welled, for I never thought that the day would come this soon. I could finally accomplish my dream travels to Zanzibar! Why the emotion? Well, let’s just say that I had been longing for a Zanzibar holiday since high-school. It may seem fairly naïve but I guess once a girl, always a girl!

 

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

The best thing about this trip is that it barely hit me that I was working during my stay at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa added to the importance of pursuing a job that I love. I had a great time bonding with my colleagues and discovering their great sense of humour. I got the chance to build friendships with some of the other hotel guests which was amazing as we still communicate. The staff members were polite, the themed dinners at Mangapwani Restaurant absolutely scrumptious.

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Mwangapwani Restaurant Poolside – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The venue was breath-taking with scenetic traditional Swahili architecture, tropical plants gracing the landscape, the Jetty Bar that literally floats atop the Indian Ocean, a lovely beach by day and crushing waves by the ocean cliff by evening.

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Jetty Bar at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

There’s also a mini-beach within the hotel compound, bicycles available for cycling and even a gym that I escaped visiting out of laziness…Haha! I had the chance to enjoy a Jacuzzi in my room and this added to my indulgence.

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Jacuzzi in Executive Room – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The conference facilities were excellent and perhaps this explained why there were so many international guests flocking in for business conferences! Other guests incuded families from all around the world enjoying a summer holiday and even some couples possessed with love on their honeymoon. There was enough for everyone to feast on at the great location!

 

Meeting the Locals

I learned so much from the locals in Zanzibar during a tour to some of the CARE International humanitarian projects. It was clear that I came out as a city girl since my Nairobi Kiswahili called for assistance with translation into the heavily Arabic Swahili spoken in Zanzibar. I got empowered by the strength and resilience of the ladies who fought tradition to pursue a wholesome life for their families and protecting the dignity of their daughters by daily breaking sweat to educate them. Early marriages are often the trend on the island and due to lack of proper girl-child education; homes are often dependent on men as bread-winners. The main project feature tree farming, jiko (ceramic stove) making and butterfly farming. We had a great chat with the project beneficiaries and even managed to receive great shopping tips from the ladies. We women and shopping!

 

Shopping Experience

Oftentimes, many go to StoneTown to shop where prices are hiked due to its popularity as a tourist centre. Instead we went with our driver to do some shopping and it was funny how he got into the shopping fever to a point of recommending which dress I should buy for my mother and the Swahili make-up that would best suit my yellow-skinned little sister. A funny guy he was, but he was really helpful in the bargaining process at the Daraja Market where locals do their shopping at friendly prices. We had to make sure that we had Tanzanian currency to access goods or services and we had done this as soon as we arrived at Kisauni Airport. Also, we were advised to keep watch of our money as the market is busy with activity, hence easy location for pick-pockets; merchants following potential buyers in the streets, motorbikes hooting for way, vendors unpacking fresh catch from the sea, children running around and the jobless corner with individuals offering shopping-errand services in exchange for money. It seems crazy but funny at the same time for I thought that I had transposed to a typical Indian market. Luckily, we had a great shopping experience with great buys at awesome bargains. My family members now have something cool from Zanzibar and I was lucky enough to actually find a lovely dress that touches my toes, which is often a shopping challenge for me in Nairobi!

 

Hard to Say Goodbye

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa in Zanzibar

As I sat down on the terrace, enjoying my last moments at the hotel, I decided to post a Trip Advisor travel review about my amazing Zanzibar experience. Whether they approve it or not, all I know is that one has to experience it personally to understand the emotional attachment triggered by this little island of mine – my island of escape to great adventure. You bet I’ll be back!

PS: This post had to come early, I couldn’t wait 🙂

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

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