threads of our fabric

Reflections on navigating between two cultures and understanding the self-awareness process

Values and ideals: I am… December 5, 2011

Can one really complete this sentence?…I feel that it’s one of the sweet puzzling mysteries of life. To be honest, who I am is quite fluid and dynamic. It seems like every new life stage often brings new transitions and definitions of who I am. I remember when I graduated college, oh wow…I was such an optimistic then, believing that anything is possible, life had finally just begun! My personality then or the “Who I am…” reflected this train of thought, extremely bubbly, lively, and fun. One thing was unquestionably sure I was still naïve with navigating the new challenges of this transition period. Especially having to work and attend graduate school full time, while trying to somehow have a social life. Such is life, you live and learn but having an internal compass of values and identity definitely helps with orienting one towards making right the choices in life.

This week’s discussion topic on our Facebook page – African Girl Development in the U.S. (hyperlink) – was:

How do you think our African values can be used as a means of nurturing and prodding one another towards fulfilling our dreams/passions?…What are your thoughts?

As usual, the reflections were thought-full and thought-provoking. I do enjoy reading particularly from our African brothers. You cannot have complete and informative gender development conversations without having both sides represented at the discussion table. Overall the main themes that emerged throughout this past week included:

  • Culture equips an individual with the values that enables s/he to function and contribute in society
  • Identity or self-knowledge is crucial to succeed in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Values such as respect, hardwork, and determination will always transcend cultural boundaries and enable one to thrive in new environments

My take on this week’s topic is that when we (African sisters) recognize and encourage the strengths and positive traits in each other, that simple act can be a strong boost towards success. We can truly be our sister’s keeper because we share commonalities of a cultural heritage with very strong long-established traditions, beliefs, and values. When we choose to see the beautiful qualities that make each African sister unique, I believe therein lies the secret of complete Self acceptance. Additionally, I feel it is for our best interest to embrace our unique cultural values because when we reject them, we reject a fundamental part of who we are.

When I am fully me and you are fully you, together WE ARE…

Mirrored reflections of perfection, for I recognize that I cannot be unless YOU ARE…

Completely consumed and present in being, So therefore I AM…

Oh what a vision, unstoppable, strong, but above all full of potential being realized.

 

 

Can we be sisters? November 25, 2011

For the past week I have watched Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” about 7 times. I enjoy the intricate artistic portrayals of diverse unique Black women’s lives. Each character has a powerfully delicate story with a mysterious depth that unveils and sometimes unravels as the movie progresses. I really should be singing praises to the eloquent prose of Ntozake Shange in her play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.”

Perhaps the reason I push play so frequently on the DVD player is because I can relate to certain situations or different character’s reactions to some incredible life experiences. Or maybe it is the soulful lyrical words of the different soliloquies. Or simplyjust  enamored by the expressive beautiful movement in choreography. However, above all I love the beautiful closure of the movie in the “laying on of hands”…It sealed the bonds of a newly formed sisterhood between the Black women. I remember soon after this movie was released, there was alot of discussion on how Black women need healthy positive relationships with each other.

This past week on our Facebook page African Girl Development in the U.S., the Threads of Our Fabric Project team started a discussion topic on Sisterhood…

The gift of sisterhood certainly makes life’s journey worthwhile! They say women are their own worst enemies; some call it “a woman’s issue”… backstabbing, competitiveness, envy, and jealousy…. What are your views on that?…”

 

The responses were fascinating! Some included:

  •  “I feel women that do try to one up each other also have insecurities within themselves that are manifesting as competition.  Where those insecurities arise? Probably, upbringing and social situations that they’ve experienced.”
  • The high pressure on women to present themselves or mold themselves into what is agreeable  in their culture or society. When these expectations go against who they truly are there is a tipping and oftentimes explosive point.
  • “The competition amongst women/ young ladies nowadays is usually channelled towards the wrong direction like who’ s won what, who’s boyfriend is cuter, or who owns what?”
  • Education is crucial  “because someone with a good education has better social, critical thinking and problem solving skills than someone who is not well educated. Education enhances thought processes and gears them toward more peaceful interactions with others and better choices in life.

Maybe it takes one person believing in the possibility of healthy, strong, and positive sister relationships for a connection to occur. Like Shange’s Tangie and Nyla, most of us sisters can begin healing our current relationships by just being there for one another. Simply making ourselves available and supportive, not threatened by the infinite beauty in the presence of another sister, but celebrating our unique strengths, talents, and possibilities. Instead of looking at what separates us, let us extend loving hands with a promise to cherish, applaud, and hold one another.

Photo credit: Trendy Africa

We enjoyed hearing the insightful voices on Facebook and you are invited to comment on the page or on this blog. Stay tuned for more thought provoking dialogue!
 

“Sweet Mother” – Tribute to the Daughters of Africa! May 5, 2011

I have come to appreciate the NECESSITY of an event planner. The amount of coordination that has consumed my life the last few days has been intense and overwhelming to say the least. What motivates me to continue is that the occasion is a small tribute to GREAT women who tirelessly give of themselves daily without complaint – Sweet African Mothers…

Here is one of my classic tunes by Prince Nico Mbarga…”SWEET MOTHER”

 

 

In.to-me-C March 24, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration — Sharon Asonganyi @ 12:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

I am trying something quite unique with this post – visual poetry… At times pictures beautifully capture and fully express the profound sentiments hidden behind simple words…Enjoy!!!

 

The Threads of Our Fabric Project began by a step through a portal of uncertainty

Graphic by Saizen Media



To the sky I may soar or remaining rooted to the ground I might stay…either way total surrender was the only choice

Graphics by: Double 7 amar akhtar

 

Daring to expose and be transformed by the process

 

Graphics by: Nielly Francoise

 

One soul with a vision and a passion…Now I move with increasing assurance

 

 

 

Graphics by: Design42day

 

 

 

  


 

Discovering the power of – ONE

 

 

 

  
 
 

 

Gwen Rakotovao

 

 

EXTRA! EXTRA! Camer Spotlight… March 17, 2011

This sums up why I created the Threads of Our Fabric project…Enjoy!! (Click here).

Note: Stay tuned for very exciting news! The Threads of Our Fabric Project is going international 🙂

 

Why CARE For Women and Girls? March 12, 2011

CARE 2011 National Conference - Washington, DC

“Over the past century, women have broken through barriers to achieve political, economic and social advances never before imagined. Yet, there are still many places where gender defines a person’s ability to reach their full potential. The fact that more than a thousand people have gathered here in Washington to speak out on behalf of girls and women in poor communities is a testament to the compassion of the American people” – With these words, Dr. Helene Gayle opened CARE 2011 National conference, exhorting all in attendance and defined our purpose for this important meeting. Over a thousand activists gathered in the International Ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day and CARE’s 65th anniversary. The energy was exciting, hopeful, and purposeful. These activists will celebrate CARE’s many achievements from investing in women, and prepare to storm Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 to meet with legislative representatives and advocate on three main issues – the importance of foreign aid, providing financial opportunities for women, and empowerment through education.

CARE - Defending Dignity & Fighting Poverty

CARE is one of the largest private humanitarian organizations that has evolved to continue meeting the pressing needs of society. It was founded in 1945 when 22 American organizations came together to coordinate and rapidly provide relief packages to survivors of World War II.

Original CARE packages have been replaced with Digital CARE packages

It has since evolved to become a leader in fighting global poverty by providing resources to women and using them as leverage to change communities globally. CARE unveiled its virtual CARE package initiative as its anniversary gift to the world. An individual or a group can build a personalized CARE box online that can be sent to women and girls anywhere in the world! “Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, health, and economic opportunity” (www.CARE.org). The CARE 2011 conference emphasized this focus of women and girls by providing tickets to a number of young girls 10-14yrs to attend this wonderful event. This is quite powerful, educating the future change makers by bringing them to experience solutions that have been proven to be effective globally in addressing social injustices against women.

When I arrived at the hotel, I eagerly descended a flight of stairs unto the international terrace. After making my way to the International Ballroom with a new found friend, we located a couple of seats a few feet from the stage. The kick-off session was invigorating and a wonderful energizer. It set the tone for the upcoming conference’s jam-packed panel and advocacy training sessions. This opening night’s atmosphere was relaxed, playful, yet focused. Despite the technical difficulties and the energy of the room blowing out some speakers, the liveliness was infectious, enduring and unstoppable.

Performing artists and fellow activists featured Michael Franti, Crystal Bowersox (2010 American Idol runner-up), Sarah Darling (representing Join my village initiative), and India Arie.

These artists helped us remember that we have a commitment and an obligation to the world to fight for peace and social injustices. Our actions as activists are essential as humans, for every life has equal value. The night closed with these words sung by India Arie “This is my prayer for humanity that we respect our women and protect our girls”. The first day of CARE 2011 closed leaving me radiating with optimism and hope that it only takes the power of ONE to change the future!!!

2010 Voices of Our Future Correspondent – World Pulse

 

The New AGE (African Girl Evolutiion) – Sneak Peek! March 8, 2011

It is with joy, many long sleepless hours of labor, and tears that I present to you a preview of The New AGE (African Girl Evolution)…