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.
Now, Ann Njeri shares her travel and cultural experiences as her life journey continues…
Dear friends (August 2009),
“I keep my ideals because in spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart” Ann Frank 15yrs
Yes, I am with Ann Frank in this, people are really good at heart! I know this has a very questionable base- no doubt about it. No wonder people like Mme. De Staal had the courage to say “The more I see of man, the more I like dogs” I am sure you know what De Stall meant…what he felt. Don’t you? We all have seen it, if not done it ourselves!
But despite all the evils that are manning our world, society and even our homes, people are just beautiful creatures and in spite of our inadequacies, I will still fall for man other than a dog!
In Action for Life I had the chance to live with people from all sorts
of background, academics, religions, cultures, traditions….A month ago
while I was in Malaysia I was still living this experience since as a
Christian I had the honour of being hosted by a Hindu family- which I
must mention was absolutely remarkable. Their home was the most open
homes I have possibly come across. At the same period I interned in a
company owned by a Muslim. And how wonderful that I could still be a
Christian in that environment. The more I stay and meet all these
different people, the more stamps in my heart and head of how
incredible people are.
It is from these experiences and others that I have been convinced
beyond any doubts that human beings are just marvelous. I remember when
I stayed with a Jain family for a week in India. Believe me the family
treated us in a manner that will remain indelible in my heart. Our host
mum, a staunch Jain, always cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for the
seven ever hungry foreigners from seven countries. I don’t know if you
have an idea how difficult it is; a) to have foreigners in your house
b) to cook for more than 10 people? c) to have them for a whole week!?
As if this was not enough, our host mum and dad gave up their bedroom
The love and hospitality was just unbelievable. I felt ashamed of the
prejudices that I had been fed with about India, Indians, Hindu’s
–Kenyans might understand this a little too much? I just couldn’t stop
my tears as I said ‘see you another day.’ to the family.
In Cambodia I was moved so much when we visited a family which is quite
poor. But they had gone an extra mile to get us some rare and expensive
delicacy in the area- four barbequed rats, which were amazingly
delicious!! I know that awakens the devil in you!! I can confess that I
am quite picky when it comes to food and you would have expected me to
be the fussiest but the love, respect, the acceptance that the family
showed us broke my fussiness into pieces and I was there enjoying the
rats like no one else! I swear people are just good at heart! They
In all the places that I have been, I have experienced a people that I
never knew. I have seen the side of life I never dreamt of; The
University students in Jakarta who had to miss their lectures to
transport us to places where we had to talk or lead workshops; the
endless dinner and lunch invitations in Malaysia; The gifts that kept
on flowing in our hands from so many people. The bunch of winter
clothes that had been collected for us to shield us from the biting
cold in Australia; The financial support from individuals, to support
my journey to join Action for Life all through to Stepping Stone
Programme in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and now here in Australia.
The Kalenjin family, who transcended the tribal factor and slaughtered
a lamb for my friend and me when we went to lead some workshops in
their area-back in Kenya; The love, the care, the honest concerns,
breaks me into tears.
People are good. But even with the best of intentions we all make
mistakes. For this reason, I have come to find it very helpful to view
life and people from a positive perspective. A perspective that can
forgive when one goes astray; one that can respect and understand when
there is a conflict. It is good to remember that many people are trying
to be as good as they can. Along the way comes frustrations and
disappointments…..and we go astray-who doesn’t? And when we go astray,
it doesn’t mean that we are all bad. We just need a loving and caring
heart, hand, ear.. to bring us back to the right way.
Don’t get tired of thinking and doing well. You are not alone.
With all this scattered efforts…there is hope of a better world.
Ann Njeri Didn’t Turn Out To Be A Nun, But She’s Still True To Her Calling
Long Live Islam Says Ann Njeri
Ann Njeri Reports On Poverty in Cambodia
Take the Initiative: You Can Make a Difference
Ann Njeri (Change Agent) Takes a Pledge of Peace