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Showing posts from May, 2009

Modest? Not me

The other day I had an interesting experience with some friends in my circle that has left me with much to reflect on. I had been going through a rough period where for a month it was one bad news after the other until I felt I couldn’t hold up, but had to keep going. In between losing two friends and two relatives; losing some personal items like my mobile phone and my bank card, the world was really looking grey to me. I skipped weekly coffee with my buddies but kept in touch when I could while appreciating their support. Now here I was, when I could say the storm is over, and one of them commented, “Sophie you are strong, you look good considering what you have been through?”

I ignored this knowing it was to pass but my friend Mercy was not to let it go!! Soon the discussion became even more focused and in using mathematical language I literally became the subject of the formula!! They started pushing it down my throat that I am very modest when I am given compliments and my effor…

Revolution, Lets dance !!!

I came across a title of a book, yes a book on activism that was far from the dull topics, I normally come across, , ‘What’s the point of revolution if we can’t dance?’ by Urgent Action Fund Woo!!May be the reason I first picked this book is because I like dancing!! In addition, if I am to connect activism and dancing, why not!This publication brings us the experiences of more than 100 activists from around the world. The book is written in a very easy language and unique style. It describes what women go though in the process of activism in a way only a woman can. It touches on issues that sometimes women find themselves not able to talk about, lest they are seen as not being committed to the course. It touches on their fears, hopes, exhaustion, grief, pleasure, pain, loss, funding issues, burn out…you name it in a very personal way. I picked the book since it speaks to me. In the process of human rights and any kind of community work, there is rarely cause for joy, in fact what is a…

Mending her torn dreams

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Tabitha Ndila*(not her real name) was a humble young woman, determined to go past her secondary school education yet her family could not afford the fees required. She decided to go to work at the local centre as a cyber attendant where she sold air time and did photocopy, printing etc for her boss. It didn’t pay much but at least it gave her hopes, hopes that one day she would be able to get a college certificate and make her chances in life better.
She had big dreams.
Her father did not support this, “why should be a girl live away from the house”, he asked, yet he was not willing or able to pay a cent for her college education. He felt that Tabitha was old enough for marriage, at 22 years of age she ‘should get married and give him wealth not ask from him’.

Tabitha persisted and worked hard while saving the little she earned. She hoped to save at least Kes 40,000 (approximately 460 USD) despite earning only Kes 4,000 (45 USD) per month which she used for her upkeep and house rent. Sh…

I will make a difference in my small ways

There is a quote, which I like “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in the same room with a mosquito”. Whoever came up with that quote must have lived in Africa and you must have been in same room with a mosquito at night to understand what this means. The almost invisible creature can cause so much discomfort that you would have to be dead not to wake up to sort it out!

Many times, I have felt disillusioned in my own country and what comes to mind first is the referendum 2005. I had just arrived from an exciting training on anti-corruption and good governance in the USA and I really felt I had changed my mindset, I was thinking like a Kenyan after the 5 weeks experiential learning. I arrived back to Kenya in the middle of the Banana / Orange craze. First, I did not quite understand when friends sent me email asking ‘are you banana or orange?’ Immediately I landed, it was like being hit with some air balloon (never been hit by one anyway) but it was a sta…