The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘university’

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

HOW I SURVIVED DEPRESSION

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Much as I was excited to start my second year at the university, I sure did not feel like I was the same lady. All I felt was disappointment and his cousin called fear. For some reason, word had already spread round the school that I were a girl who “had it all”. As I interacted with schoolmates, there was always such a high  expectation of what I say, what I wear, the guy I am seen with, what I ate for lunch and how much I ate. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced in school life.

All I knew was how to remain socially invisible and just focus on my books. My expectations to remain socially invisible had gone down the drain once word spread across the campus that my two mates and I were the tallest girls on campus. I was horrified once I started experiencing what came with it all at once.

Suddenly, a classmate informed me that someone had placed a bet on me; to have sex with me and then he would win some money.
Suddenly, lady schoolmates felt the need to inform me as soon as I lost or gained weight.
Suddenly, everything I did went on the ‘campus grapevine’ and reached me at the end of the day.

In panic, I resorted to keeping my social circle on lockdown. My efforts were all in vain, for some ‘mates’ had been behind the betting, the rumours and the assumption that I were a politician’s daughter.

On the real side of my life, I was slowly sinking into depression. I was not okay and it took an emergency visit to the school clinic to know. As I walked to the hostel one hot afternoon, I felt faint in a way I had never felt before. A lady stopped me on my way to the clinic to ask if I was ok. But, she said this in reference to the weight I had rapidly lost. I told her that I was fine then staggered my way to the clinic.

After the nurse left me to rest and the fluid from the IV drip seeped into my body, I broke down and cried. For the very first time in my life, I felt so alone. The loneliness inside the hospital-scented room brought out the reality that had been existing inside me. I cried till my nose became hot. I sat in silence. Luckily, a good friend showed up and comforted me. Moments passed and others showed up as soon as they finished their classes. But, for some reason, I still felt alone.

When I went back to the hostel, I slept for a while and hoped to wake up feeling better. This was not the case. I soon received a call informing me that my only grandfather was no more. I had grown tired to a point my tears could not come out anymore. I felt so broken till my voice disappeared;I would open my mouth but no words could come out. Defeated, I lay my head on my pillow and woke up the next day confused but with enough strength to pack my bags and go to the village for the funeral.

All I can remember was that after the funeral, I felt more confident, stronger and complete. After a funeral? Yes.
Well, I’ve got God and my traditional culture to thank. Experiencing loss helped me discover my hidden pains, but also helped me appreciate what I’ve got left. I had my family with me and a great God who loves me. Love came rushing through my heart, kicked out depression and I had a wide smile on my face.

With this gift of a new appreciation of life, I had to carefully chose with whom to share it with. I am glad that we continue to share it even with the ups and downs that have challenged us in the years that followed and brought us to the beauty of today.

My hope is that this little story of mine will encourage you to let go of your past pains and have a deeper appreciation for what you’ve got left after a season of loss.

Love and Sunshine,
Ayuma

REAL BROTHERHOOD, BEYOND RUGBY

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During my freshman year at Daystar University, I thought that it was one big community of people whose friendships lasted only as long as your quest for a degree. But my thoughts slowly changed once I met Tim*, a fourth year student who was an active member of the university’s rugby team.

I had always feared him since his team members were so huge, loud, and all over the place. He was the last person I expected to befriend as a freshman. One day, I asked Tim why he and his team mates eat too much; their plates were always full, at times, too full. The answer he gave me was not what I had expected.

Tim told me that his rugby team mates are like his family and they all go through so much. Since the Post-Election Violence (PEV) in 2007 to 2008 there were some student’s whose lives totally flipped over. There were students living in school and no one really knew. Some went without food and could not even afford a basic meal; this included some of his comrades. This is why some filled their plates with excess food so that they could share it all.

This, to me, was a selfless act of courage. Tim and his friends chose to share in the embarrassment of looking gluttonous to protect and help feed their team members.

From that day, Tim continued being like the village idiot to other students who knew not his intentions. To me, he remains my hero. I still remember to stuff my bag with snacks every now and then so that when I walk in the streets of Nairobi and meet with a hungry person, I reach into my bag and offer them my little gift of food.

I cannot save the world, but I sure can leave a mark in someone’s life even if it’s with the blessed taste of food. With what you’ve got, please reach out and be a blessing to someone.

Love and Sunshine,
Ayuma.

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