Meaning lies in action not the words

More than just words

Have you ever promised anyone a date and then on the due date you backed out? The number of times I have personally promised things to people is countless. We will plan to out and even go on to draft a budget and the dresns code but still when the day comes am like, no, I can’t make it, I am too busy, all of which are mere excuses. Or as we say in our home country, siwezi make, aki kuna ka-emergency, Leo aki kuna place nafaa kwenda let’s reschedule (Swahili for I can’t make it to our date). And the story continues…, I am almost certain that every one of us has a history of cancelled dates.

We have normalized “lying” for lack of a better word, such that we have excuses for every failed promise we make, and have made it look like a cool thing. Well it feels cool to just say anything to serve the purpose at the moment and never have to fulfill it. A greater percentage of people myself included are fond of making promises with every intention of convincing the other party that we are together, knowing very well that we have no intention of ever making the promises surface into a reality. And we actually feel okay about it. Si Ni life, loosely translated to mean, (iris watt iris). However funny that may sound, it most definitely carries some weight.

It is cool until you realize it is not so cool after all. It is okay for one to say that they do not care and just throw hands up and walk away. But for any rational person this could be a little serious than we perceive it to be.  I was going through some devotion a few days ago and from that one thing really stood out for me; that words are not just alphabetical letters arranged in a sequential manner. Words are carriers of life, words are transmitters of change and words are powerful instruments. 

That was like a whole new awakening process, not that I did not know that words carry more meaning but I hadn’t put much thought into it as I have lately. So for me the lesson am learning from this is that there is a need to construct a culture of accountability and trustworthiness;  for me to not just say things for the sake of it or just because it’s required of me. I am trying my best to keep promises or avoid making them all the same.

THIS KEEPS ME GOING.

What drives me?

Keep going

Hey lovelies, happy day, happy Monday make sure you are happy, so today we’ll do things differently and I hope you’ll be up to it as much as I am. I love telling stories and I am certain that am very good at it too (at least it has been said to be me a couple of times, talk about self esteem and confidence ha-ha). And so with all that in mind I will give you a story as a prelude to what I want us to talk about today.  So a few days ago I was having a heated discussion with my girl Essie and this came after the demise of one of my all time actor and hero, Chadwick Bose man aka king Tchalla, famous for his role in the Wakanda movie, may his soul rest in peace. A discussion ensued about how sudden his death was and how much nowadays untimely deaths of famous people are on the rise.

This continued for a while until we found ourselves deep into the topic of depression and self acceptance which are the reported attributing factors in the rising cases of premature deaths among the youth and mostly artists in our country. This goes without saying that we were getting caught up in the moment but then still in the moments of wondering, Essie asked me a question that seemed rather easy on the surface but was when I tried to answer it I became tongue tied. The question was, “what keeps you going?”

This question caught me rather off guard but I had to answer it all the same. And one of my responses was that sometimes I don’t have to think about what I am doing and I just do it and to my surprise the outcome is not always that bad. This comes from a place of self encouragement and asking I the major question of, “what do I have to lose? Or what would happen if I tried something new? And the answer to this lies in me trying to do it because there would be no way to find out.

 Secondly, is the fact that there will always be people around me to support me, and no matter how small the number is, there is an inner peace that comes from knowing this. This may not always be a great factor to motivate me because sometimes we feel so empty yet we are surrounded by many great people. But all the same it is enough to keep me going. This again is dependent on the kind of people I choose to be by my side. If at all I am surrounded by toxic friends then I have absolutely no right to expect anything else than toxicity from them.

The final response I had was finding a platform or some sort of safe space where I can always pour out my heart and soul. I found my very own space on Maggie’s thoughts and what this means is that I can write anything and clear my head in the event that I had no way to explain to anyone what I am feeling/ going through. And I really do feel the need to have all the above factors in my life.

Identify what keeps you going which could be a constant thing (s), or a progressive one, but make sure there are intent and a motive behind what you are doing. What keeps you going?

Good luck as you figure it out.

Tight? I could use Tighter!

I was walking home one evening with my younger brother who is about 4, and those with kids can assert that at this age a million questions are asked each day. But that is besides the point, as we were walking home from town we passed near a very big open sewer line and apart from the obvious foul smell that came from it, there was also the danger of one slipping and falling into the open ditch. My baby brother Jose, as we call him could not help but shout at me to hold his hand tighter. Not that I was not holding it but he just felt unsafe and kept ranting at me to tighten my grip around his tiny hands.

I did as he said and it was not until I reached home that I realized how much that meant. It was more than just me holding his hand tighter; it made him feel safer and he could now walk without any fear of falling into the open sewer line. To me this was a physical illustration of how sometimes words of assurance have no effect and there comes the need for something more; being held tighter. A hug is said to do wonders and more than anything think about what a tight embrace would do. It is not always easy to comfort of encourage people when they are in distress but just being there and holding their hands tighter does the magic for you.

Many, myself included have at some point felt the need to be alone or rather the need to not hear anyone say anything to you. Often times it is not that the person is being rude or anything, but they just need to be held and not only that but be held tightly. We can all admit that warm tight embraces are worth far more than a million words of comfort. Is not wonderful to know that no matter what happens there is someone holding your hand tighter and preventing you from falling? Well be that someone today and maybe tomorrow there will be dozens of hands ready to hold you tighter.

Motivation Monday {Love and strength}

“Imagine doing a job that you actually enjoy? I would love that.”

“I don’t have any hobbies. I would like to find time for a hobby that I enjoy.”

“I wish I had the time to do something that would give me self-satisfaction.”

Sound familiar? Sure it does. We all feel this way and even those that seem to have everything search for the return that doing something we enjoy gives us.

We look on this as a nice to have. Something that we must earn the right to or be privileged in order to have time for or to be lucky to have the opportunity to add to our lives. While it is true some of us have privilege that makes it easier for us, whatever the circumstance if you are able to do something that you love which uses your strengths you get energy from it.

This energy feels like the adrenaline injection you see in movies. It fills us with positive thinking and helps us feel in touch with who we are. I feel it every time I write or coach. We spend so much time disconnected from ourselves in this world and if you can find connection you will have the motivation and energy to do things that you don’t find time for living an ordinary life.

For most of us we don’t feel like going for a run after a long day at work where you are instructed to accomplish someone else’s goals. Where we are taught that achieving a promotion or pay rise is all we need for self satisfaction. When you get home your mind and body tell you that you need the numbness that only TV or something similar can give you.

The flip side is that we all know the feeling when we use a strength.

Some of us find this in moments at work and very few are lucky to have this in their work. If you do something you love to do, no matter how small or ‘draining’, it fuels you with energy that you can use in other areas of your life. You can run, you can be creative, and you enjoy it.

The results are incredible. Sometimes you need someone to stand for you when life isn’t letting you stand for yourself.

I want to leave this post with a caveat. We all have a battery that will drain. Don’t be surprised when it runs low. Aim to accomplish things when that battery is full. Use its energy wisely and when it drains, rest. It will fill up again if you recognise that you need to make time to do things for you.


Proud partner of Maggy’s thoughts

The Danger of a Single Story

Those familiar with the TED talks will immediately recognize the story behind this title. It is from a talk delivered by one famous African writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I found the urge to speak/write about it too. I recently partnered with a very amazing and talented guy who also happens to be he a co-writer on my blog. I call him Dino because trying to pronounce his tribal name makes me sound very alien, ha-ha. I was very excited when I learnt that he wanted us to work together and you can imagine how mesmerized I was when I learnt that he was not from my country. It caught with utter surprise and I found myself thinking how lucky I was to work with a person from the other side of the globe, regardless of the distance.

My learning that he was Nigerian, came in with a lot of mixed reactions. As I mentioned I was excited and surprised at the same time. And then came the funny bit of me trying to sound Nigerian, I could be watching some Nollywood show on TV and then found myself paying close attention to the native language used with every intention of using it the next time I called Dino. And this happened for a while such that I could read books written by Nigerian authors and found myself feeling proud about it and thinking to myself that I was one step closer to knowing and relating with people from West Africa, how mistaken I was. 

Dino laughed at me every time(he still does) I tried to say no wahala, nawa o, try me nah, and he would be like, “did you just say that?’’, and I would boldly tell him I just did. And this went for a while until recently I said something that made me snap back into reality. I told Dino how much I knew about his people and he was very pissed (or so I think). He made it clear to me that just reading and watching materials related to his people does not actually make me part of them and neither does it mean that I now knew him I could be with them virtually but then it would take me a while to know and relate with them. You can imagine how ashamed I was that a whole I had judged a person by what I saw and heard about him.

It was certainly wrong for me to do so but still it was a lesson well learnt. I just had a single story that people from West Africa had a certain accent; they ate certain foods and dressed in a certain type of way, which was very inaccurate. It takes a lot more to get to know a person and in this case it means that I have to confront the reality of getting to know Dino personally, what he likes how he speaks, what his beliefs are and so on. And from there I can be in a position to say that I know my friend from West Africa. This is my story which many can resonate with, because without even mentioning it there is an instance where you have judged someone from the way they looked or from the way they sounded. I mean we have all at some point had a crush on someone because to us they sounded so good over the phone and later on were met with a rude shock. Where I come from there is a great deficiency which lies between what you see Versace what you really get. In other words, what you see is not what you get. 

Getting to know someone in depth is very vital, it prevents so many future misunderstandings and makes it easier to harbor relationships. I can be sure to have a great time around my friend Dino since I have now decided to know him personally and not basing my knowledge of him on some assumptions. The process may not be that easy but it is very much worth the effort. In one of his very hilarious shows, Cedric the Entertainer once stated that you cannot go through life with your mind already made up about things or people you like or do not like, you are going to miss out on a lot of things. This means that the only way to change this is by actively making the effort to know them. 

Let’s Handle this!

Its is just fair to find happiness when no one is offering it

How we handle moments in our lives is a very crucial part of our whole being and personal growth. I say this because being able to handle situations especially those which may seem to really weigh our spirits down, requires a learned mind. Now there is a whole difference between a learned mind and an educated one.

Whereas a learned mind is that which doesn’t have to acquired from books and scroll and that the field of learning varies, an educated one has just but a specific field of training. Understanding this is key to being able to deal with matters. Again I stand to be corrected.

There comes a time when things will not go as we expect no matter how much effort we may be enunciating. And it is at this point that we really have to be on the look out on how we will handle these situations. From a day gone bad, to a relationship gone sour, it doesn’t matter the circumstance because in this case it a bad bad moment in one’s life.

Apparently in most cases no one teaches us how to deal with bad days, or how to act if we get rejected, or even how to behave in general if what we are looking for in life doesn’t seem to want be found. It’s a rough journey many of us have to endure alone behind closed doors. And this is often times than not the case, we prefer to wallow in our dismays and most of the time we do it in places where not many will see us lest we be termed as being sensitive.

But what if we taught our minds that it is not always going to be ok and that at some point the river has to meander. That is okay not to be okay, it is alright to feel vulnerable. What if in our life the lessons taught goes hand in hand with those of how to deal with bad days. We are not being oblivious of the fact that we should always hope for the best, but even in the midst of hoping there comes a point where we feel like hope doesn’t work out at all.

It is said also in the Holy Bible  that “when you pass through the waters I will be with you”(Isaiah 43:2). What we are highlighting in the verse is the word when which is a conditional clause. The Bible doesn’t leave out the fact that we will go through trouble. So it true in life we will go through tough times, we will struggle, and most definitely we will all feel pain at some point. 

Just like the Bible says that the Lord will be with you when you go through the worst of moments, it is very important to  teach our minds that life cannot always go as we expect. There are bad days and there are good days. They are not always the same. And whether we like it or not we all have to go through all of them.

THE AFRICAN CHILD IS STILL WAILING

In 1991, the world started celebrating the International Day of the African Child every June 16; as initiated by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).

The day is to recognise students, who, in 1976, took part in a peaceful demonstration to press for improved education in Soweto, South Africa. They also cried to be taught in their native language, Afrikaans.

Unfortunately, hundreds of these youngsters were gunned down by trigger-fingered policemen. A 13-year-old, Hector Pieterson, was prominent among the dead.

This day, African governments and stakeholders meet to discuss the rights of the African child, especially as related to his education.

The dream is to have a day when the African child will wake up to enjoy qualitative, free and compulsory education, amongst others.

It is 29 years since the death of these students occurred. They didn’t step out that day for selfish reasons; all they begged for was to be duly educated. They marched the streets because they wanted a kind of education that could give meaning to their dream.

29 years ago, these young boys and girls wanted their fathers and mothers, especially those in leadership positions to give them the same opportunity, if not better opportunities, to rise to be worthy leaders.

They wailed, they begged, they cried, but they were shot dead instead.

It’s been 29 years of wailing for the African child; he is still crying for the same reasons. He is wondering if 29 years should be considered too short to have his request considered and implemented.

The African child is still wondering why his leaders would climb up with the ladder, only to fold up the ladder from his top position, denying others from being able to reach his height.

He has regularly observed workshops being held by his leaders to discuss his future. He has read about the large sum of money being allocated for the fulfilment of his educational dreams.

He has been visited many times by government officials in his shanty, where he sits on the floor, or at best on a three-legged chair, with his books on his laps. They have come and gone, promising him a future with mere words of mouth.

To say that he is disappointed would be trying to paint his wailing heart in bright colours. If his leaders are not aware of the many hurts they have subjected him to, he is, actually, not surprised at that.

With his few years on earth, he could rightly conclude that those meant to pave the way for the realisation of his burning aspirations are men with cold hearts and cold feet. Dream freezers!

The African child is in a dilemma! He has a small voice, a tiny stature and unfortunately, weak-minded leaders. He cries to be loved. He longs to be listened to. He dreams to be educated.

He wants to stay healthy. He is tired of succumbing to every heap of nuisance in town. With his weighty dreams, he needs his elders to yield him their shoulders in support.

The year is 2020.

Today should be better, but for the African child, he wonders how Moses got the best of education in his time, while he is still struggling donkey years after.

Are things really getting better?

Not when he has read how Joseph, a teenage slave boy, had earlier risen through the ladder to become a Prime Minister in this same Egypt; an African country at that.

Did another Joseph not also take his family, made up of Mary and Jesus, to seek asylum in this same African nation?

Had Ethiopia not provided sound education for her children, the Ethiopian Finance Minister (Ethiopian Eunuch) would not have been able to read the scripture that eventually got him saved.

African nations are known to have provided sound education long before now. Educating our children came easily to us.

However, along the line, we started having leaders, who are comfortable with toying with the future, by providing directionless, irrelevant and selfish educational systems across Africa.

The voice of the blood of those innocent young students is still being heard across Africa. They, along with their living contemporaries, are still crying for attention.

They are not asking for the impossible. They are not asking for the moon, sun and stars. They are only asking to be given a pathway that leads to a glorious future.

They want financial budgets increased and deployed in their interest. They are asking to be recognised and respected as the future that they are.

Are you still insisting they are asking for too much?

God bless the African Child.

#mediafountsocialvoice
#theburningbushboy

Picture credit: Wikipedia (Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo. His sister, Antoinette Sithole, runs beside them.

Original post gotten from

THE BURNING BUSH BOY

Understanding gender roles and sexuality in Africa ( Sex Ed: part 2)

Most of the sexual and or sexuality related conflicts we face today originated from the general misconception of the topic of discussion “sex”.

Introduction

Nigeria:

Ancient theories and ideologies about sexuality, circled around the power of
dreams, the individual as a sexual being, the power of self cultivation and
processes of essentialism.
Although the concept of sexuality can be dated back to our ancestors, who laid
much emphasis on the care of self and the act of procreation, emerging
population and health concerns have led to the re-thinking and re-identification of
the relationship between sexuality and human activity and behaviour.
Invariably, the concept of sexuality has undergone many changes within the past
forty years. The emergence of the sexual revolution has also impacted greatly on
sexual orientations, patriarchy, sexual relations, family formations and
reproduction.
In recent times, the youth who constitute ages 10-24 and 36.7 per cent of the
Nigerian population, are found to be highly vulnerable to antisocial behaviours
such as violent crimes, unsafe sexual activities and drug abuse among others.
The Nigerian Association for the Promotion of Adolescent Health and
Development, (NAPAHD) has also alerted that, an hospital based research has
shown that, 80 per cent of patients with abortion complications are adolescents.
This assertion was based on the fact that, over 16 per cent of teenage females
reported first sexual intercourse by age 15 while 8.3 per cent of boys of age 15
have also had their first encounters. This adolescents’ health dilemma has been
attributed to their great lack of information and knowledge about the implications
of their population behaviour on their sexual health and the general welfare of the
nation. In this vain the introduction and institutionalisation of sexuality education
became one of the immediate efforts made to address this problem to create
awareness about these sexually based problems. The rational was to acquaint
the youth with factual and accurate sexual information about the dimensions of
sexual knowledge that will enable them understand and clarify their personal
values, improve their sexual knowledge and sexual decision–making and
promote their knowledge about how all these interact with socio-cultural and
religious factors to affect personal well-being. This set of values sexuality
education was set to promote perhaps form part of the motivation for its
introduction into the Nigerian educational system. However, in view of the
predicament suffered by similar intervention packages such as
Population/Family-life Education it is relevant to examine the potentials for
success and failure of this nascent subject.
With this backdrop, this paper will examine the origin of the concept of sexuality
education, how it evolved in Nigeria and how well it is fairing in Nigeria. In doing
this, the paper will highlight on some conceptual perspectives of sexuality
education, identify its definition, its content and structure. The prospects and
challenges of sexuality education in Nigeria today will also be identified by
looking into the relationship between sexuality and; society and culture, socio-
economic status, ethics, communication, information, gender and the media.

Kenya:

Timely provision of accurate and comprehensive information and life skills training regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is essential for adolescents to achieve sexual health and rights and avoid negative health outcomes. While sexuality education is just one component in a multifaceted approach to address, and ultimately improve, the sexual and reproductive lives of young people, it provides a structured opportunity for adolescents to gain knowledge and skills, to explore their attitudes and values, and to practice the decision making and other life skills necessary for making healthy informed choices about their sexual lives.

Abstinence-only education programs have shown little evidence of improving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. In contrast, comprehensive sexuality education programs that recognize sexual activity during adolescence as normative behavior, that seek to ensure the safety of such behavior, and that focus on human rights, gender equality and empowerment have demonstrated impact in several areas: improving knowledge, self-confidence and self-esteem; positively changing attitudes and gender and social norms; strengthening decision-making and communication skills and building self-efficacy; and increasing the use of condoms and other contraceptives.

Adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health

Addressing the high levels of unprotected sexual activity, STIs (including HIV infection), early pregnancy and abortion among adolescents is a priority for program planners and policymakers in Kenya.
Despite efforts targeting these reproductive health issues, recent studies indicate a persistently high need for SRH information and services, further emphasizing the need for high-quality sexuality education.

Sexual activity

Nationally, more than a third of adolescents (those aged 15–19), whether married or not, have had sexual intercourse (37% of females and 41% of males), and about one-fifth are currently sexually active.

The median age at first intercourse is 18 for females and 17 for males, yet among 15–19-year-olds, 11% and 20% of each gender, respectively, initiated sex before age 15. In the three geographic areas included in the current study, adolescents living in Homa Bay county were more likely to initiate sex at an early age (24% of females and 39% of males) than were those living in Mombasa (6% and 26%, respectively) or Nairobi county (10% and 17%, respectively).


I’m working on a project to help create awareness for SRE, understanding sexuality and gender roles which will be premiering here on “maggy’s thoughts” so buckle up and stay tuned.

Yours truly

Is it Sacred or just another dirty word?

Sacred or Dirty 

Many people do not like talking about sex openly and even mentioning it in a public space earns you fierce stares from those around you. Christians attribute this oddity to the fact that the whole sexual topic is sacred and therefore it should only be discussed in the dire context of marriage. And those outside the realm of Christianity have their own reasons why they would not talk about sex openly. From the fact that it has been characterized with immoral and dirty behavior, those involved would rather be caved while talking about it. 

It is a very rare scenario to find a parent discussing sexual matters with their kids and I am sure most of us would agree that our parents are not the major contributors of our profound knowledge about sex. Whatever our parents tells us is that sex before marriage is sin and that abstinence is the only key to having a good sex life later on. I would not blame them for this shallow advice but it is their fair opinion and it is actually the dream of every parent for their child to remain a virgin till they say “I do”. The problem however with this kind of thinking is that we are now living in a world that is constantly changing and the social environment we are living in may not always allow us to walk down the aisle as virgins. A study done in the recently shows that a quarter of adolescents and students in Kenya had already had sexual intercourse at the age of 15-17.

Parents leave the responsibility of sex education to teachers but this too does not seem to be the wisest of moves. In a research done by Guttmacher institute, it was proven that most students in high schools 96% had received some sexual information by the time they completed primary school, but the information given at that stage was just basic and did not include information on safe sex.  From the study it was also proven that almost all students 93% considered sexuality education very important and useful in their personal lives and 67% of them wanted more hours dedicated to sexually education related topics. And while this might be what they want 30% admitted to not having received sexual education from their parents. 

Parents should be in a position to teach their children about sex without fear or shame.

The role of sex education cannot be overlooked and it should be as basic as any other subject taught in class. However the success of this initiative cannot be met if at all teachers only dwell on abstinence alone as the only way of preventing STDs and HIV, leave alone pregnancy prevention. Teacher training would be the first step towards the journey of sex education to our kids. The main barriers to teaching sexuality education, as the study reported, were lack of teaching materials, time on training, and embarrassment about certain topics. Nearly half of teachers 45% felt unprepared or uncomfortable answering students` questions on sexuality education, and a similar proportion of students reported feeling embarrassed, despite being excited to learn about the topics. Teachers wanted more information and training, particularly on violence prevention, contraceptive use and positive living for people living with HIV, the study revealed. 

 Despite the polices aimed at promoting safe and supportive environment, 76% of students and youngsters however either never or only sometimes felt safe expressing themselves in front of others,52% feared being  teased and 34% feared physical harm. So the main duty that teachers and parents have is to make sure that the sexual topics are taught adequately and at a young age in order to help students and the youths in general to harbor proper choices about their sex life.

Ignorance as said id not bliss but not knowing anything about your sexuality means that you will utterly agree with anything and everything which comes your ways. It is important to know that you have a choice to make when it comes to your sex life. Many of us would agree that if we had the profound knowledge about sex then, as we do now maybe, just maybe some circumstances would have been avoided. We owe it to our kids to inform them about their sexuality if at all we require them to make informed decisions on their sex lives.