Uganda recollections – Threads of Our Fabric Project April 24, 2011
In the past few weeks, I have spent time with amazing people who have enlarged my familial connection in Africa. Some of who were initially web acquaintances but have since become amazing and inspiring people that I will treasure for the rest of my life – Grace, Catherine, Stella, Eva, Joan, Jane, and Johnson. They shared with me the warmth of their company and re-connected me with the genuine hospitality of Africans. I will miss their inviting smiles, scrumptious food, and pleasant company. In their presence I felt my whole being acknowledged and accepted. I felt free…free from pretense, raised defenses, or the pressure of having to prove something. I was valued for me.
I truly believe that if one allows themselves to become fully immersed in a culture during travelling, good things really can happen in new surroundings! One thing I definitely noted was Uganda is not quite so different from Cameroon, my ancestral home. Amazing striking landscapes, lively people, the superb nightlife ambiance, and the unvarying climate. On the not so pleasant side of things, the similarities also include rife political tension, rising cost of fuel and commodities. In Uganda, I discovered an extension of “home” and increased my appetite to explore other African countries. I took great pleasure in learning some of the culture, sampling the culinary delicacies (heavily matooke-based), and enjoying the various ethnic rhythms.
It is worth travelling! I believe that by travelling one’s world and life experience is further expanded and consequently forever changed. In Uganda, I became connected to another world outside of my norm. For a brief period in time, I disconnected from routine and in the process discovered more of me. As I wait for my flight, I can already feel my heartbeat quickening to match the fast-paced rhythm of daily life in America. Part of me is grateful to return, but another yearns to hold on to the spiritual release, tranquility, and excitement of Africa.
In the weeks to come, I will attempt to present my experience in East Africa. I spent time visiting secondary and nursing schools with the phenomenal Sexual Health Improvement Project. The newest partner with Threads of Our Fabric Project focused on youth gender empowerment on sexual health issues. Additionally, roaming through Queen Elizabeth National Park and stopping by the fish port at Lake Edward. Finally, witnessing deadly political riots, saddening spillage of the ongoing unrest in many parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Let’s take a journey into the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.
Women: Undervalued, Untapped, and Unaccounted for… April 21, 2011
Women often contribute to the world in many ways – mothering, beauty, nurturing, passion, sensitivity, intuitiveness, resourcefulness – which are oftentimes perceived as insignificant in the eyes of some. Women are continuously lost in the shadows without a voice to express their stance on issues that profoundly affect their lives. Women are also disproportionally affected by many of the world’s burdens today such as poverty, maternal mortality, HIV, war, and illiteracy.
The plight of women…undervalued, untapped, and unaccounted for…so what?
There is always hope…light that stands strong when darkness surrounds and threatens to overwhelm…Hope always remains…
Countless enties such as the USAID (United States Agency for Internationa Development), International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), The Coalition for Adolescent Girls, CARE, UNFP (UN Population Fund), and PSI (Population Services International) stress the importance of investing in women, empowering them, and providing opportunities for self-development and financial sustainability as the surest methods to alleviate some of the problems in the world today.
Additonally, there are women who in simple yet powerful ways have taken on the responsibility of safeguarding the future livelihood of many women and girls. For example, I came across this blog today, Shakesville that shared a photojournal chronicling many women farmers globally, who are contributing towards alleviating the world’s hunger in their communities. According to Dorothy Okello, Director of the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), “approximately 85% of farmers in Africa are women”, yet sub-sahara Africa has a huge proportion of undernourished people. Why? Well for starters most of these women are subsistence farmers..tilling land and growing crops to feed a family and some to sell to purchase other household goods. According to Rebeca Grynspan, (United Nations Development Program Under-Secretary General and Associate Administrator) “Even talking only about the rural areas, women produce 50 percent of the food of the world. They receive only 1 percent of the credit but they produce 50 percent of the food.” I wonder what would happen if these women had access to resources, information, and entrepeneurial skills that will exponentially increase their output and elevate the income levels of their families.
How is the Threads of Our Fabric Project adding its strength to these efforts?…
As a woman, I believe that our greatest contribution to the world is our whole “Self”. We are gifted with innate qualities that are needed, important, and necessary to the vitality of societies and the entire world. When we are connected to our inner qualities that are “heart”-based, we can fully live from our complete potential. This is one of the many reasons why I created the Threads of Our Fabric Project, seeking to bridge the gap and share the feminine wisdom of influential successful African women with other African women and girls who have begun or are still contemplating beginning their unique journeys towards “Self” discovery.
The Threads of Our Fabric Project will be helping African women in Ohio honor the many women who are often unrecognized, yet significantly affect the development of strong, confident, courageous, and amazing African women.
On May 7th, 2011, the Threads of Our Fabric Project in partnership with Mimi 4 Christ, will be hosting a Mother’s Day reception for African mothers and daughters. We want to honor the many women who silently and selflessly give so much daily to raise and support families. A contest is currently being held and finalists will get the opportunity to be celebrated for being a “Sweet African Mother”.
The process is simple –
Tell us why you think your mother is AWESOME and we take care of the rest… GOOD LUCK!!!
**NOTE: If you are not in OHIO visit the African Girl Development in the U.S. Facebook Page for information on how to participate in weekly contest Mother’s Day gifts delivered within the continental U.S.