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…
My dear friend, I am now back in Kenya. But first I take you back to my time in ancient Ethiopia the mother of human kind and the home of the late Haile Selassie- One Love! Respect. I landed in the land of Ethiopia with great enthusiasm; after all I was coming back to Africa after more than a year!! It didn’t matter that I wasn’t yet in my sweet country! I was in Africa and heavens know that am a proud African! What made it more exciting is the fact that for the first time I would be meeting with a bunch of young Africans who are passionate to mold and pave ways for that Africa that Africans and the world longs to see!!
My dear friend, I am now back in Kenya. But first I take you back to my time in ancient Ethiopia the mother of human kind and the home of the late Haile Selassie- One Love! Respect. I landed in the land of Ethiopia with great enthusiasm; after all I was coming back to Africa after more than a year!! It didn’t matter that I wasn’t yet in my sweet country! I was in Africa and heavens know that am a proud African! What made it more exciting is the fact that for the first time I would be meeting with a bunch of young Africans who are passionate to mold and pave ways for that Africa that Africans and the world longs to see!! Harambee Africa was the programme that had brought the more than 30 Africans and a few non Africans together for moral, spiritual and intellectual leadership training. For a very long time I had longed to such a moment with diverse Africans and hear what they think, dream, wish for our dear continent which has the worst connotation and reputation ever! Mention the name Africa and all the devils and their relatives wake up. Do other young Africans have hopes as well? I was in journey of discovery.
As days unfolded and as we brainstormed and shared of this great continent, my face was all smiles! Smiles because from many corners of Africa- South, West, and East – there was shared hopes and vision. Accepting that yes, our dear continent is sadly decorated with poverty, diseases, corruption, wars….name them! But that is not the end. There is a chance to change the course of history. This bunch of ‘African Dreamers’ dreamt without fear of failure or intimidation! And we came up with a collective vision of the Africa we need; “An Africa that is economically vibrant, ecologically sustainable and socially inclusive; a continent of people who celebrate their cultural heritage and diversity, bringing hope to the world.” And we all knew that this vision can only make sense and materialize if we live it in our daily lives. The question, ‘What is my role to build the Africa that I want?’ was posed to every individual to reflect and decide how and where they want to take on leadership and impact positively. One thing that hit me was the discussion, ‘Why are Africans fleeing from Africa to the western world?’ There were all sorts of reasons, explanation and justifications- but I personally wondered… and still wonder- if we all flee and don’t come back to mend our motherland who will remake our continent? I have no objection whatsoever of people going to study or get greener pastures abroad. But I feel it is important that we remember where we come from and work towards making it a desirable place for ourselves and for the next generation. As one lady shared, ‘History will ask- what did you do?’ I was later sliced right in my heart by one Burundian man, who stays in Sweden and was visiting Ethiopia, when he said, ‘Africans are the most unhappy people both in their own countries and abroad.’ I agree with you brother. Unhappy in our own countries because when we are home, we are physically here and mentally abroad. And when we go abroad, for many of them life is not the heaven they expected, for they are still being referred as “Africans” with the connotation of failure and all the dark corners!! Hence they are there physically and mentally they are in their respective countries!! If we can make our land a good place, then we will be more happy and satisfied here and even when we go abroad; they say East or West home is the best! But of course that calls for some collective bitter sacrifice, commitment and hard work especially by us Africans! That collective commitment, sacrifice and a sense of hard work is what I saw and heard from those young breed of Africans that met in Ethiopia. That made me more proud and serious Kenyan & African! And the words of a song we used to sing often during the programme keeps me inspired for I know I am not alone in remaking Africa – the mother of the world; United as one we stand, together we are moving ahead, Proclaiming, in every land, the truth of the things we say We are moving day by day, on the foundations that we lay, We will make the land we live in a better place for all God bless Africa!! Happy 2010! Ann Njeri P.S: In the next mail, after more than one year away, how do I fit in back in my society?? The excitements, shocks and realities on the ground… Know of my home coming.
Take the Initiative and lead the way…You can make a Difference!! Ann Njeri NdianguiP.o Box 15089-20100,Nakuru. Kenya.
More from Ann Njeri on AWR