The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Women’

Listen to Her

If there’s one big piece of advice I can give as a woman to men who’re looking to grow healthy, long-term, and purposeful relationships… it has got to be, “Learn how to listen.”
This is a frustration that often comes up during conversations with quality women that I am so honoured to call my friends, mentors, and business partners.
While the world looks at these women as strong, perfect, successful, and independent. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have any room for love in their lives. Strong women need some good ol strong love too…
Sadly, they’ve witnessed men allowing themselves to fall victim to the classically emasculating picture of masculinity. The picture of a man working so hard to prove his worth to a woman who society considers too empowered.
Yes, you guessed right. It never lasts. Many men try their very best to flex the hyper-masculine muscles – money, control, mansplaining, appearance, dominating conversations, superman, holding back affection, and even triggering jealousy using other women.
Any woman who really knows her worth quite frankly just leaves. Women are natural favour. And it’s not worth witnessing a man break himself apart to appease a societal expectation. Even worse, to contribute to the mess.
Yet one of the best gifts a man could offer a woman is to actually just listen. It is simple yet so priceless.
Many men have been taught to be fixers, performers, and achievers. This is often useful in sports and business.
But when it comes to relationship building, the attitude has to change. It requires collaboration with critical skills like Communication, Empathy, Listening, and even Emotional Intelligence.
This is where “I” is replaced with “us.” A WE attitude.
I know it’s tough.
Especially after years of practice in societies where women aren’t expected to speak up, share their thoughts, or even have anything meaningful to say.
But it can be done.
When a woman wants to talk, stop for a moment, and just simply listen.
In that moment:
She doesn’t want any fixing.
She doesn’t want money.
She doesn’t want superman.
She doesn’t want to argue.
She doesn’t want your opinion.
Maybe. Just maybe, she needs you to love her best in that moment by intentionally listening.
Only then will you know what to do with what she shares with you.
Why is this important?
Because sometimes when a woman is speaking, the very essence of her heart is speaking. She is giving you a key not many get to access. She is showing up in her feminine spirit.
She is connecting you to her most authentic self.
Honour the moment.
Listen to her.
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Finding Her Voice

Let her gather among sisters.
Dropping her cape at the door.
Here, she can be in her natural element.

Soft, vulnerable, open and beautifully feminine.

Her feelings, welcome
Her thoughts, unlimited.
Her laugh, as loud as she wants.
Her words, healing.

She’s a young African woman.
Finding herself.
Finding her voice.
One story at a time.

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!!!

All isn’t All

All is not All
Oh, how heavy the load of our longings when we make them the responsibility of One.

Oh, how heavy the load of our hope when we make it the responsibility of One.

Oh, how heavy the load of our dreams when we make them the responsibility of One.

Oh, how heavy the load of our deepest of trust when we make it the responsibility of One.

Oh, how heavy the load of our purest of love when we make it the responsibility of One.

One that isn’t ourselves.

One that isn’t God.

One that just can’t make us whole.

One that genuinely can’t be strong enough to carry it all, even if they truly care.

One who deceives us that All they’ve got it All.

All is not All.

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

Totally Femme and Able!

A woman is enough.

She can protect herself and her loved ones. 

She can be confident to step out of her doorstep and be safe.

She can be in the company of a man and know that she too can defend.

She can discipline her mind to think heroine and not victim when in danger.

Femme is enough.

 

Action Time!

I believe that women and girls in Nairobi need to be proactive with their personal security. I’ve had close-shave incidents at work, school, in the streets of Nairobi, and in the company of friends, where to be honest I wasn’t equipped enough to defend.

So this is how we can always be prepared heroines …

 

Krav Maga Women's Self-Defence Class Poster

 

Shadow Krav-Maga Female Self-defence Classes

Yuly G, an International Krav-Maga and Karate instructor invited me to join him in signing-up groups of 20 women and girls in Nairobi for self-defence classes. We both believe in proactive over reactive personal security measures. The classes will begin from Sunday, 27th March 2016 and sign-ups are ongoing via the email provided on the poster above.

Ladies will be trained using the Shadow Krav-Maga technique which was initially developed as an unarmed combat system for the Israeli Defense Forces. Its goal is to stop violence without violence. The Karen, Parklands and Jaffery Centre (Lavington) Sports clubs will be the locations for the classes which will be happening on Sunday and Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings at 6pm. Ladies can sign-up for the One-day or the 2-month classes as shown below:

+ One-day class for 3 to 4 hours at Ksh. 2,500 or USD $25. Acquired Skills include basic self-defence skills against grabbing, choking, pushing and theft.

+ Two-month class for 16 hours at Ksh. 8,500 or USD $85. One hour per class twice a week, or more hours per class if the group is happy with that. Acquired Skills include basic and advanced self-defence skills from attacks with sharp objects, punching, kicking and ground attacks (like sexual attacks). Psychology self-defence and manipulation of mind and body of attacker. Self-defence by using surrounding objects. In addition, there will be Fitness, Cardio, weight management training.

 

Yuly Profiler

 

How to Prepare for Class

First, ensure that you’re signed-up in a group of 20 ladies for either one of the classes on offer. This is done through sending a request via email on poster above and making an advance payment of 50% (non-refundable) of the total class fee to the Mpesa number that’ll be provided via email. The other 50% can be paid right before class.

Second, once your group of 20 ladies is all set, a date will be confirmed for your class. Yay! All you need for class is proper training gear (long trouser and strong T-shirt), a bottle of water and a towel. Training equipment and shower rooms will be available at the locations. NB: Girls between ages 13-18 should come with a guardian or parent.

Third or even immediately, do share this information with other women and girls so that just like you, they can proactively equip themselves for self-defence. Imagine the news stories changing to: “Nairobi woman defends herself against armed attacker.”

Woman_power_symbol

I choose to be a heroine.

I choose to be prepared.

I choose to be totally femme & able.

 

Let’s do this ladies!

🙂

 

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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