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Power of affirmation

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The power of affirmation

Yesterday I was struck in the most amazing way on the power of affirmation. This came from pupils from Mang’u Primary School where I schooled many years ago. The inspiration to start the ‘Dare to Dream mentors’ was this same school. I felt that something is missing as far as school's academic performance is concerned. At the time that I schooled in this school, we had kids going to national schools, and during my year we set a record where four girls were admitted to national schools while many other pupils were admitted to provincial level schools following excellent performance in the
Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams. In Kenya, the admission to schools is based on performance in the region, hence the quota system. In the recent years, the school and many other schools in the locality have been performing poorly barely getting any children admitted to secondary schools! I felt this strong urge to go back to the school and the dream was…

Wangari Maathai - Unbowed

Unbowed- celebrating a great life

It has been two weeks since I set to write this, but no words seemed fit enough. How can one say anything about this great lady of the universe?

Wangari Muta Maathai – Rest In Peace.

Monday 26th September 2011 will remain significant to Kenyans. Mondays are interesting days, mostly the bad day. I have made a conscious decision to love Mondays, after all I have to experience one every 7 days! I have realised that attitude is everything and that this works. However, on this day I woke up feeling sluggish and even as I prepared I was not sure I was going to enjoy this day. I therefore didn’t check my phone messages as I woke up as I normally do, but when I finally did in the middle of preparing myself to go to work, I was shocked. I received two text messages from my brother and my sister in law, with one core message “Wangari Maathai is dead!” I felt numb, somehow I still feel like some people are not meant to die, they deserve more than a lifetime, an…

Our greatest fear

There is a quote I like that is often associated with Nelson Mandela but the original author being Marianne Williamson; “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”

I found myself reflecting on these words as I tried to make the best of the 5-hour flight to Lagos which seemed longer than that. I was reading the Dr Myles Muroe book, The principles and power of visions. I realized I can get myself busy putting some words down.

Very often I talk with (young) people about setting goals and having a clear vision in life; yet the book still speaks volumes, and it seems every word has a new meaning. When I look back to my younger days, teenage years, I often say that the words that I would wish that someone had told (and that I had believed them) are that “you are powerful beyond measure” I am not sure what was missing, the persons to tell me those words in whatever way, or my heart and mind having doubts believing in this, or both…

Naivasha IDPs visit – mixture of hope alive; and ailing/dead moral fabric

In the last week, an idea was floated and supported by members of the Kikuyus for Change to take a step in addressing the victims of the Post Elections Violence. The case that was chosen was of a couple that was affected by the Kiambaa fire tragedy and 4 other families. For any Kenyan, the name ‘Kiambaa’ means something different since the Post Elections Violence (PEV) in Kenya. It no longer means just an area in Kiambu county but a Church in Eldoret where lives were lost in a gruesome way. The PEV was the most horrific violence that Kenya has experienced post independence. Arguably severe PEV has been happening around every General election in Kenya for a long time but the development in ICT may have hindered the reporting and hence realizing of the full extent of the violence. However, the violence has been in most cases in one or two regions but in 200/2008 the violence rocked the whole almost country brining life to a standstill. One of the most shocking occurrences of that violen…

Who will anoint her?

While reading the Bible in the Old Testament I am reminded of a story of a certain young man who was anointed to be king despite all odds. In his culture like it is in many traditions, wisdom is seen to come with age, and leaders should be ‘wise’. This young man didn’t fit the ‘set criteria’ so when the time for anointing the king came he was almost overlooked. Those who seemed to qualify were lined up as ‘the young boy’ was herding in the fields.

Today I had an encounter that brought this event to mind. I met a young woman, 27 years and determined to make a difference in Kenya and in her community. The young woman from the North Eastern Province is determined to vie for elections in 2012. With the current constitution of Kenya, there are various opportunities for leadership and she had her mind on Parliamentary seat; had as this is no longer an option. For one to become a leader in the community he/she- mostly he- will need ‘blessings’ from the community elders. She has been hopi…

You touched hearts - Tribute to the late Margaret Mukui Kiumo

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RIP- 16th April 2011

Once in a while, I interact with community members in the process of my work who leave a great impact in my life; such was the case with Margaret Kiumo. I cannot recall the first time I met Margaret but I know it was in 2004 when I was newly employed at the Women’s Resource Centre and Development Institute (WRCDI). It was my first trip to Makueni, meeting a group of volunteers for a training workshop and I arrived late in the evening. I had been given her contact “in case of anything” and I found myself at home! She was quite welcoming, calm and composed, with maturity that was just amazing. With time she became my mark for Wote Makueni, any time I was in the field I knew I “I was in safe hands”. Margaret was one of the trained community advocates who were referred to as the Violence Against Women (VAW) Advocates, a role she performed with her whole heart.
I came to meet her sister Mary and some of her friends as her salon became my ‘office’ in Makueni. I was not…

Opportune moment - God loves Kenya

Opportune moment - God loves Kenya
Reflections by Sophie Ngugi

‘The day is here”
That is the sentence in the tongues of many Kenyans at this time. We have about 24 hours to commencement of the cases of what have commonly come to be referred to as ‘the Ocampo 6’. This follows the naming of six individuals by the Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Luis Moreno Ocampo named the six as the persons who hold highest criminal responsibility on the Post Elections Violence (PEV) in 2007/2008. The PEV holds sad memories for all Kenyans, within and without the country and for the rest of the world as violence we did not think possible dominated our nation. While the violence was generally said to result from disputed elections in 2007, more so the presidential results, it is generally believed that the violence was planned for the most part. While the names of the six are in public domain and are mentioned literally every minute, I will not repeat these names as I refle…

Going back to the roots- Old girls reunion

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I recall the day like it was yesterday. I was sitting outside our house in rural Thika, bored after the afternoon house chores. I don’t remember much anxiety apart from wondering if I had performed well enough in my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams. My family kept assuring me that I had done quite well. The KCPE exams determines much of the future for a young person in Kenya. It determined the kind of school one would get admitted to for high school education. January 1991 was a significant year for me. Apart from waiting patiently for secondary school admission, there was also the Gulf war and I remember my young mind disturbed that we will all get bombed. It was in such moments that a boy from the neighbourhood arrived with a letter. He had been sent from school with my secondary school letter of admission. I don’t remember the circumstances under which one of my siblings was not given the letter, but it seems the headmaster (Mr James Muiru who was a great inspi…

Curiosity, hidden in books

There is a common saying that curiosity killed the cat, and a belief in that saying precisely denies us the opportunity to explore and learn. Growing up, curiosity was my second name. In fact I feel, I have missed out on getting the maximum from life, due to reduced level of curiosity in the name of growing up and knowing that the world is not a straight line, that life is not always as it seems; that people are not always as they seem. When I look at my nephews and nieces I can’t help but see aspects of my childhood in them. My niece Bridget in particular reminds me of my childhood curiosity with books! I grew up in the rural, where newspapers and other reading materials were not common. But this didn’t deter my curiosity, as a child, the world was a whole as it could be, after all as a child you don’t know what’s missing, just what’s available. One of the issues I was curious about was how the body ‘knows what the medication is meant for’! As young as 7 years I used to really wonde…