The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Reality’

RAPE; The Unspoken

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It is unfortunate that in today’s world, a woman is often forced to interact with rape indirectly or directly on a daily basis.

The silent monologue always happens at the back of her mind but she can never just talk about it openly. She will be seen as a coward! After all, in Africa, most rape victims are always blamed for “seducing” the attackers.

As she prepares for a meeting with her boss, she has to look at the door and ensure that it is not locked or with enough space to let sound travel fast. Just in case…

She has to dress just a little less sexy as she goes for her date with a guy she likes. She has to insist that they go to a place where there are people. For security, just in case.

She has to ensure that her children know how to drive at an early age just in case her husband continues to come home late and intoxicated.

She has to ensure that she downloads the most effective Rape App so as to know what to do the next time the male teacher gives her that look during tuition.

She has to avoid family reunions just in case her uncle kisses her on the lip and spanks her bottom in the name of being funny.

She has to leave work a little earlier than the rest because of the male colleague who recently stood too close to her in the elevator as she worriedly counted down from the 20th to the ground floor. If it wasn’t for the janitor popping-in at 15th floor…

She has to use a different path as she walks home. The shopkeeper started closing shop a little later than usual and he stares at her a lot in a way that makes her really uncomfortable.

She has to learn how to pray all by herself because the last time she made a confession, the priest talked to her the way her boyfriend does.

This is just how real rape is to most women. Even worse, studies show that women in Africa are often raped by people they already know.

How great it would be to have a world free from the fear of rape.

For now, it only remains as a stupendous take on optimism.

Still, I choose to hope because giving up is never an option!

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The Pain that Heals

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Ever heard someone share a personal story that you totally identified with and learned from?

Today, I asked myself about the confidence it must take for such people to open their hearts in public about a painful moment in their lives – for the sake of empowering others.

Furthermore, I asked myself what would happen to me if these people suddenly stopped reaching out to me though their personal stories. How then would I get practical lessons on how to face life?

A friend recently enlightened me when she said that to be a true mentor and touch lives I must be prepared to be vulnerable. This type of vulnerability is not about being emotional or mushy. It deals with deliberately sharing your life stories – truths, hurts, victories, challenging lessons – with people so that they may identify with you as a real human being and learn from what you did wrong or what you did right.

Many of us have gone through hills and valleys in the journey of life. But why is it always easier to share about the good things? Is it because they paint us better, is it easier, is it less damaging to our reputations?

Why is it that we cannot share about the very same things we need help with?

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Her Heart to Yours

Emma* who is a mother of three went through a bad marriage for 10years. After a lovely Sunday afternoon spent with her kids in church and at the pizza place, she would go home to a mouthful of mockery from her drunken husband. He would call her a whore and that going to church would not help her cover up her filthy acts. He had been unfaithful to her and had slowly started shifting the guilt towards her which triggered obsession. But this only became worse with time when her husband beat up their children suspecting that they might have not been his. The little one who was only 7-years-old was hit so hard that he lost consciousness. Emma spent the night in hospital waiting for her son to recover. This is when she picked us her phone and made the call she had always avoided for years. She called up her mother who had always had her suspicion about James from the day she met him. Her mother had always tried calling her even after her rushed wedding but she never answered. She was filled with guilt having realised that her mother had been right about James after all. Her mother promised to be at the hospital by morning. Emma prayed all night until her mother arrived. Emma was able to rescue her children from an abusive father and from the dangers of an abusive and broken marriage. Now, a happily married mother of four Emma realises that if she did not take that bold step to leave her husband, she would be in double jeopardy since her ex-husband was found dead in his house after refusing to resolve an outstanding bill at a local pub. During her trying times, she remembered feeling helpless even at church because everyone else seemed so perfect. No ladies talked about their challenging times; just how happy they are and how their children are doing well. Emma now purposes to talk to young ladies who are thinking about marriage and those who are newly wedded. She opens her home to them so that they can share their challenges and successes. She has learnt that the best way to touch people’s lives is by sharing the hurts and challenges and the lessons she learned from it all. Because of this, many ladies who had faced and overcome marital wars started opening up about the challenges faced in marriages even with young ladies who had often been misled by media and other women about the real face of marriage.

*Emma is not a real name.

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This may seem like just another story about a woman who faced a tough time and is now living a better life. But just think about it, how many people don’t get to see the other side and heal? How many have that one person they can call up and help them though a rough patch in life?

One thing I have come to learn from my interactions with relatives, friends, neighbours and total strangers is that there are so many hurt people in this world. There is so much of it that people prefer to think that they are facing their own unique type of hurt. The truth of the matter is that hurt is hurt – it steals, it kills and it destroys when we don’t learn from it and get stuck in it.

But finding that one ray of hope to see and even pursue the life beyond hurt is what makes us a unique creation as the human race. It all starts with a step, and it begins with you.

How can you make yourself more available to receive help or to help another person?

How willing are you to learn from other people’s experiences?

How willing are you to share, teach and train people having achieved a handy experience?

What are you waiting for? Go right ahead and do it!

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The human race does not break because of what we give (or don’t give) materially but because of what we say (or not say), what we show (or not show) or what we learn and not share.

Open your heart and share a pain that heals and empowers lives. It was and has never been in vain!

 

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

 

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,

The Lonely War in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

Poaching for Ivory in Kenya

My opinion is that poaching in Kenya is a great result of corruption in our government. I totally support the fact that Hands off our Elephants is a great campaign to address this matter but my worry is that this time it’s our elephants; next time, it might be our lions, then perhaps our flamingos which are already facing a population crisis. Or perhaps our forest covers which continue to be echoed by the late Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement.

I say “I will not cry over elephants”, not because I don’t care about our elephants but because crying and worrying are emotional reactions to a situation that I feel is caused by our very own leaders. Yes! There is no way that all that ivory keeps escaping our borders without even one of our leaders knowing about it, leave alone blowing a whistle.

Our rangers can’t be out there risking their lives to fight poachers yet our leaders are part of the problem! This is the main reason behind my loud rant and I am glad that I have stepped on a few toes to make people speak up even in the social networks. The problem isn’t just the fact that our elephants are being killed by “foreign” poachers often pinned to the Chinese, China Wu Yi… The numbers of suspects are endless. But the problem is that while we are having sleepless nights about the poaching menace and how our economy is failing us, our very own leaders are part of the problem. This is why I strongly support the fight against corruption. This is the root cause of the problem!

I just wish, truly wish that all the vigour used in the anti-poaching campaign – the determination, the research and filming efforts (which I strongly feel Kenyan filmmakers should take lead on and not foreign filmmakers), the heavy emotion towards the loss of our country’s treasure (elephants) through the poaching crackdown – was put into fighting corruption which is the mother of this poaching menace.

How can we as Kenyan citizens best fight this poaching menace? How can I help to fight in the anti-poaching war in my daily life? Honestly, there aren’t too many options for us that will produce quick results that we need given the current state of the situation. My guess is that it might somehow boil down to raising funds just as we did with protecting the Mau forest, bringing Zack back home, Kenyans for Kenya and many other public appeals to take care of our own people and natural resources. But this shouldn’t be the case in my view. Instead, the country should be appealed to participate in a massive cleaning up of our house in our quest to fight impunity in our country. Yes, it might seem farfetched but I truly believe that if we as a nation put more effort in collectively fighting the big fire and not the sparks, then we would start seeing the change that we need.

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Corruption is the mother of all evil

Guess what? We don’t have to raise funds to fight corruption in our country! In fact, we’ll save loads of money by ensuring that resources go where they ought to go. You and I can simply start the war on corruption in our very own homes; the change begins with us! We could speak up and support the very few leaders in our country with a passion for a corruption-free Kenya.

I believe that all’s not lost and that we do have the opportunity to be a better Kenya and stop hitting global headlines as one of the world’s top 10 corrupt countries. This shouldn’t be, not with all the beauty I still see in my country. If Nigeria was able to fight this monster and be in a better place after the war on corruption…We can do it, we can make it. Not by getting together to raise funds but by collectively deciding, “WE AS KENYANS DO NOT TOLERATE CORRUPTION!”

We need to support true leaders who are managers, not crusaders who we often see in the evening news. It shouldn’t always be about them so let’s give them the silence that they deserve. We need to support our leaders who are true managers and focus on making do with what we have, not demand for more. Those who make strict policies to protect the dignity of Kenyan citizens. Those who don’t complain to every camera that points at them, but those who work and give results.
Then our elephants will forget the scent of poachers and roting blood of their own. Then Kenya will no longer be one of the highest taxed counties in the world. Then our children will grow up to taste the sweet fruit of integrity within our country.

The fight against corruption is big, insanely big, but we do need to start it soon before it’s too late.

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

Storymoja Hay Festival September 19th -22nd 2013

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.
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.

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

My Indian Boy by Michelle Ayuma

My Indian Boy

My Indian Boy

 

“Wake up! You are going for a motivational talk.” Dad woke me up early on a Saturday morning. He always took-up mum’s role whenever she was gone for her field work. Sleep vanished faster than usual as his rude deep voice woke me up to panic compared with the smooth sail out of sleep my mum’s sweet voice. I had to shake my 12-year-old sister, *Carol, out of bed on Dad’s behalf. She was a tough one! She would envelope herself with her blanket, and pulling the thick bed covering meant playing tag-of-war. That is how I often did my morning exercise.

We took a quick shower and dressed up for the strange event Dad was taking us to. He always wanted the best for us. At times I felt that he tried too much, but I also felt that it would be so disappointing if we dared show disinterest in his push towards our excellence. And so I wore a giant clueless smile for him so that he would see my enthusiasm. I often did this to reassure him that he was doing the right thing.

 

 

We rarely mirrored what our peers did over their school holidays. Dad always insisted that excellence meant making some sacrifices in our lifestyle. Mum was working during the August holidays so he kept the home running and our brains fed with wisdom. At times I wondered how it would have been to live like the other kids in our neighbourhood. They always had interesting stories to tell after the school holidays, especially last year’s Christmas. I rarely have any tales to tell, not unless it is about the interesting documentary I watched on Discovery channel. Or perhaps how funny it was when David Copperfield bit his step-father, Edward, in Charles Dickens’ book which I later on watched as a film by Hallmark.

It didn’t really bother me to go for a motivational talk. I always love to learn new things, go to places I’ve never been to, meet people from different cultures, experience things that sharply intrude on the normality of my life. My only disappointment was Carol’s constant nudge to express her discomfort in going to a strange place early in the morning.

“Excellent! We are on time.” Dad announced to prove a point to an invisible time-thief. He hurried to open the car door and ensured that we had carried our then fashionable “Monkey Bags” stuffed with our glittery Spice Girl pencils, Mickey Mouse rubbers and a classic black pen from Dad’s office.

“Hello girls! Welcome to the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training.” A lady reached out to welcome us. She had a shinny face and a warm smile that had no end. I wondered why she exaggerated her smile but I just followed the direction indicated by her arm. “Be the best girls!” Dad said.

A boy, possibly a 15-year old just like me hurried past the main door. It was evident that he was Indian as his father’s voice with a heavy accent echoed though the corridor as he helped him look for the right room. They said their goodbyes and we found ourselves walking shyly into the room which greeted us with big clueless eyes from other kids. The Indian boy let me into the room first and Carol followed. There was a large oval table surrounded by kids who assembled while waiting for the smiling instructor who sat at the front to start off the session. The boy sat on the opposite side of the table right next to Carol who placed her Monkey bag on the table as if it were a pet.

He gave away a gentle smile from across the table and I sent him one as well. During introductions, he picked up a pen and notepad and scribbled away. He only looked up when I introduced myself by name. When it reached his turn, Carol nudged him and he was startled for a moment. He introduced himself as *Raj Pandit and when he saw me smile he suddenly went quiet and gave the next kid a chance to introduce herself. He then picked up his pen and notepad and continued sketching. Carol stole a peek whenever she could and sent reports to me though her winks. Silly girl, but I loved her!

During our break, it was like Raj turned into a robot. He suddenly stopped drawing, stood up straight and marched outside, unlike the other kids who rushed for munchies at the snack table. Carol stuffed herself with snacks and threw some sweets into her bag. As I was about to grab a samosa, Raj grabbed it and then handed it to me. We both laughed and he told me that samosas are the only interesting snacks he could spot on the table. How Indian of him! I told him that I hadn’t taken breakfast and that samosas looked more filling than the other snacks. After our samosa talk, the instructor told us to get back to our seats. Raj took up his pen and notepad and continued doodling.

Whenever we could, we stole a stare or two from each other. Raj was a quiet boy but whenever I made a contribution to a discussion he actively participated by listening. His widened eyes made me realise that he really paid attention to what I said. I had met other cool kids but I was sure to pay a little more attention to Raj who was a little reserved and interacted less with the other kids. But one time, he had a deep chat with one of the boys. I bet they were talking about some boring boyish stuff judging from their gestures and words such as ‘gadget’ ‘Beckham’ and ‘NASCAR’ that escaped their bubble of chat.

The toughest moment came when the training period came to an end and all the kids had to say their goodbyes. Although there was no easy way for kids our age to keep in touch, I made the best of the last moments I had with Raj. I laughed a little more so that he wouldn’t forget my smile. I stared at him a little more so that I would not forget his geometric face and his spiky black hair. The colour of his face that was as smooth as the fresh pies that Dad used to buy from a new coffee house near home called Java. The impact of his tiny yet sharp eyes that pierced through mine whenever he stared and his gentle nature even in his silence as he drew on his jotter. My curiosity swelled with every stroke of pen on paper.

During the last session, he looked at his notepad and took a long gaze at me. I smiled and he rested his notepad. The instructor called him to the side and he rushed to listen to what she had to say. Carol sneakily stole a glimpse of Raj’s drawing then quickly moved away from his chair. When he came back for his notebook, I stood up and walked towards the main door along with the other kids. My heart started pounding as I waited to ask about his drawing.

But all this was in vain when his father’s voice echoed into the room. Raj looked at his father who wore a wide smile that raised his thick moustache and had some round glasses just like Mahatma Gandhi’s pair. He took a step towards me but his father patted him on the back indicating that they should get going. The two hastened past the corridor and I rushed outside as if pulled by his last glances only to find Dad at the end of the corridor.

Carol had followed me, curious to find out if Raj would manage to show me his drawing. Our fathers exchanged firm manly nods on our way out as I literally felt the bond between Raj and I tear away. We were from different worlds but the bond I had with him felt so cosmic and familiar that I didn’t want to let go of his watch. There were no quick means to help us reconnect and we barely shared a lifestyle. As soon as Carol got into Dad’s car, she told me about the notepad. “Raj was drawing you,” she said with a worried look on her face as if we were running out of time to do something.

And so I reached home and sank back into my world of excellence – of books and documentaries. But I soon started one of my own – of imagination and wishful thinking. I grabbed a pen and notepad and wrote about Raj –his smile, his eyes and the samosas that he liked so much. Writing became my new world where culture, technology and time could not get into my way. Writing became my haven, where I could escape and meet my Indian boy whose smile will remain eternal in my words.

 

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.

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

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

 

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Limitless #4 WIL Series

Photography by George Kanyingi

Life has a way of teaching us things ahead of time, much earlier than we often expect. So in my personal walk in life, I daily discover new angles to LOVE. I keep finding out that love is not just what we often think it is; that mushy feeling inside that can make you fly above hills, or run across a field of yellow lilies or just a good feeling that never stops.But hear it now dear friend, LOVE is not and will never be a feeling!

Love has always been and will continue to be a choice, a discipline, a sacrifice of self for the greater good of others.

As soon as you understand that the focus of love is never on you but another, then you will begin to understand the true language of love.

With this in mind, I would like to reveal to you one of the many faces of love. Yes, love has many faces even what we don’t expect, many avenues, as well as challenges. But all in all tis LOVE.

Have you ever wondered why at times things do not just seem to be functioning well in your life especially when it has to do with people?

Well, I have had quite a number of those. Also, some sad instances where people take advantage of my time, effort, kindness and even my nature of being concerned about the well-being of others.

I once felt so guilty asking myself why I am always the one giving and I never get presents back, never get return favours, never get quality time back… But I remembered what my mother once told me:

“When you notice that you keep waving your hand to people who never take the time to wave back, maybe it is time to give your hand a rest, until it is worth to raise it.”

I was young and at that time I did not know what she meant until it came out in black and white recently. Perhaps the main reason we get fed-up with others is because they do not add value to our lives. When you give effortlessly to those that matter in your life, it is bound to multiply and bear fruit in one way or another.

But if we keep giving effortlessly to those that don’t really add value to our lives, it is like casting seed in a thorny bush where it will suffocate, never growing, never bearing fruit, never rewarding.

So with that in mind, let us take time to identify the people who REALLY add value to our lives (not just with physical or monetary bits) and choose to acknowledge them by loving them unconditionally and offer them what comes with it.

Love is a choice, so choose wisely!

 

Limitless #4 WIL Series

 

It would be nice if people gave instead of just receiving,

It would be nice if people cared instead of swelling in pride,

It would be nice if people communicate instead of launching war of silence,

It would be nice if people met and connected instead of hiding under passive “social networks”,

It would be nice if people loved instead of feeding fear with selfishness,

It would be nice if people accepted each other instead of drowning with DOs and DON’Ts,

It would be nice if people opened their hearts to help themselves and others instead of hiding under “personal struggles”,

It would be nice if people knew how short life really is instead of postponing special moments in life,

It would be nice if people expected the best from themselves instead of others,

It would be nice if people remembered these things instead of squeezing them at the backseat of their lives.

It never hurts to care. It never hurts to be the best you ever can be. It never hurts to love unconditionally those who care about you. It never hurts to live life as the LORD expects us to.

But try not to… And the best of guesses is that it will hurt like you never expected!

 

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Fool’s Gold #3 WIL Series

WIL Series #3 Fool’s Gold

Ladies may long for your money, cars and expensive shiny things- but not you,

They may long to have your name and all that comes with it- just not you,

They can spend the rest of their lives happy in your house- not with you,

They may have pleasure with your shallow body but never taste your honeyed heart.

Their affection lasts as long as your plastic hosts a family of zeros,

Their clothes drop at every cling and clang, clink and clank,

They know neither of a woman’s heart nor verbs,

Just the twisted tongue of plastic queens.

They bear hearts of gold all covered in mould,

To them, love is a putrid mess they tolerate,

But I holler through the lonesome halls of your heart,

“Not I!!! Not I!!! ”

For I live and breathe, set to conquer your doubts,

To surrender all the expensive nothings you hold,

For with your sturdy arms wrapped around me,

I am home.

Next to you I rest exultantly on my treasure…chest,

Your heart, my treasure I find.

Love,

Ayuma.

*This poem does not attack ladies as a whole but seeks to unveil the traps of plastic queens.

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