Ann Njeri Reports On Poverty in Cambodia
Susan notes: I met the beautiful and amazing Ann Njeri at the Initiatives of Change Tools for Change conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2009.
Although still a relatively young (she’s in her mid-twenties), Ann
Njeri bowled me over with her confidence, energy, positive outlook and
wit. Over a period of three days, I had the pleasure of sharing 12
hours with her and a group of about ten other women from around the
world in a Peace Circle led by Jean Brown and Ann Njeri herself. It was
a moving and transformational experience.
It’s been more than a month since we said ‘see you again’ to our friends in AFL. Joan (Uganda) and I set into another journey after our enlightening, enriching, entertaining, educating and adventurous programme, AFL came to a halt. Our journey together hasn’t been any less of new learning, inspirations and adventures. We spent two weeks in Cambodia and three weeks in Indonesia.
I was worried that people will not be interested, whatsoever, with this two Africans in some Asian countries! Previously, it was easy to hide our inadequacies in the diversity of the AFL group.
But now, we were on our own, on the spot light and no diversity to make anyone interested in what we were doing! How do we still make our message likable? I have to admit that I was a bit stressed up! But I was wrong, even without the diversity the message was still very valid. People were interested in us and all that we were doing! We got a lot of invitations that we couldn’t make it all. Visited orphanages, NGO’s, made presentations in schools, universities, radio shows…name it all!
Among the highlights in Cambodia was conducting the Peace Circles
workshop with 13 young ladies from the university. It was a time of
realization and awareness for most of them ‘I have discovered that I
have to deal with my selfishness. Whenever I am doing something, I only
think about me. I never think of how I can use it for others. I now
want to be thinking about others’ said one lady during the workshop. ‘I
always thought of peace and how people should create it. But I never
thought of myself doing it. I want to be a peace creator’ shared
We also visited a NGO- ANANDA- which is running projects in the rural
areas of Cambodia. We visited two of the villages where the
organisation has projects. ‘God of the world, where are you when people
have to live in such poverty?’ I couldn’t stop myself from questioning
God. Talk of poverty in work. They work hard, very hard….but remain
poor, very very poor!
While sited on the motor bike on our way back
home, I was thinking ‘Why do some have so much and others have nothing
at all? When will we all learn how to take care of each other? When
will we learn to be ‘our brother’s keepers, our sister’s keepers? And
where is God when all this is happening?’
My heart bled…and I made a
decision to join few across the world that share their knowledge,
skills, talents, wealth, values and all that they have selflessly. You
wonna join? Welcome onboard!
On 24th May, we landed in crazy Jakarta and that was the end of our sanity!! We got busy…and I bet effective.
Among other things, we had a session on ‘Listening’ with 15 high school
and primary school teachers in one of the prestigious schools in
Jakarta. “This was scaring! I freaked out! It was the first time in my
life to stand in front of teachers and be their teacher! I always
suffer from overconfidence; this time round I was suffering from lack
of it! One of our audience was a British man who has been in Indonesia
for 10 years…at the end of the session he had this to say ‘I have lived
and worked in nine different countries, so you would probably agree
with me when I say I’m not impressionable at all, but I am must raise
my hat to both of you for today. I I’ve rarely been as impressed as I
was today. Good job. Well done!’ …Phew!! Thanks God.
The other scaring but successful meeting was with around 25
international students from 10 countries who are pursuing their Masters
degree in Indonesia. Our theme was ‘Role of the young people in today’s
world’ It was very interesting and fascinating to hear the very highly
educated young chaps speak out their minds about their countries.
are responsible for our future and our children’s future’ said one
gent. ‘Thank you for coming to remind us of our responsibility’ echoed
One guy had a very different mind….I felt sad that he was
thinking on those lines-with his level of education ‘There are very
many illegal immigrants in my country, if I get in power today I will
just kick them out. They are doing all the businesses and taking all
our money. I just want them out of my country and I don’t care where
they came from!’ His friend and country man came to apologize later for
what his friend had said. It was good to at least know that not all of
them had the same mentality. His thinking reminded me of Zimbabwe……and
the hell it has become now.
And finally… “Ann Njeri in the house!” You probably don’t know that I
like broadcasting. Well, I’ve got a passion for it. And we had a chance
to be live on air in two community radio stations. Our talks dedicated
to the most vulnerable people in any given society- the youth.
And at times when things were difficult and I felt down and out, I
realised how much the power of positive thinking can do to me and any
willing man. I totally agree with William Arthur Ward:
Real optimism is aware of problems but recognizes solutions; knows
about difficulties but believes they can be overcome; sees the
negatives, but accentuates the positives; is exposed to the worst but
expects the best; has reason to complain, but chooses to smile.
Two African ladies going around some Asian countries… It’s been all great adventure, great learning and great sharing.
P.S.: We are now in Malaysia and will be here for a month before proceeding to Australia. Thanks for your prayers and support.
Take the Initiative and lead the way… You can make a Difference!!
P.o Box 15089-20100,
Ann Njeri Says People Are Good
Long Live Islam Says Ann Njeri
Take The Initiative, You Can Make A Difference
Ann Njeri Takes a Pledge of Peace
Ann Njeri Didn’t Turn Out To Be A Nun, But She’s Still True To Her Calling
Ann Njeri Reports On Poverty in Cambodia
Initiatives of Change
Action for Life