That’s what modern thinking wants us to do, always focus on the positive, and that is part of our MO at C4C. Yesterday’s attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi cuts a clean swath through our minds as we have family, friends and colleagues in that city. Our C4C team spent time there last year, immediately after another Al-Shabaab extremist attack, the suicide bus bombings, and so the thoughts that haunt us now as we await an outcome are playing real time in our minds. Our programs work to advance thought patterns about ourselves by using creative thinking and photography as a way to “transform”, and while working in Kenya last year this became so evident as many of our participants had deeply traumatized histories, some girls from Somalia and other East African countries that were emotionally scarred from events as a result of conflict and war involving Al-Shabaab. We hope and pray for the best possible outcome in all of this, and our hearts are with the victims, their families and all affected by this horrific attack. We stand with you.
Recently someone in my family made the reference that they could no longer support any financial aid to African countries due to the fact that the money and effort previously poured into the continent has not done a thing! I was astounded by this attitude, as I thought that this way of thinking was really something of the past! I am also sure there would be millions of people living and working there that would be surprised too, as they are likely proof of the changes that have made positive transformation in lives and communities there. Further investigation shone light on the fact that my family member had been involved with an organization where the in country ground partner absconded with donated money and equipment. I can understand how as volunteers and donars they would feel angry, but this is such an out of date sentiment in this day and age. I think fear stops many from actually taking action, maybe of doing the wrong thing, or wanting to shut out the pain that others may exist in. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. Its like saying, we have poured millions into healthcare, but people still get sick. I myself have experienced the wrong end of the stick in the Zambia, Kenya and Haiti, but I don’t want isolated incidence’ to color the page for every person and thing that happens there. We all have eyes and we can all see that life can change in an instant, we have all been helped and supported in some way in our lives, and we have a responsibility to others too.
I am thankful that as a human being I have come to the realization that there will likely always be huge divides in the world, but that does not mean that we should not be caring, compassionate and make effort to do something. We are all given chances to help others every day. Missed opportunities happen all the time, but don’t worry, there will be another one just around the corner! If you have never taken action, please try it sometime, you will be surprised as to how “you” feel afterwards, and how it will change the way you “see” things. We are all actually “one” and if you don’t see that then you are part of the problem, be part of the solution instead. Nuff Said!
It works both ways, Jennifer was one of the first girls Sol Garcia and I worked with in Kenya on the subject of Child Marriage and FGM. She changed our life, and hers was changed too by a sponsor who has allowed her to educate herself and move forward. This meeting was 2 years after our first introduction, and she is a changed girl!
These Kenyan women work hard in their own communities to exact change on the lives of girls in the community by saving them from child marriage. The risk and sacrifice to their own lives is extensive, but they work to do it, very often with the support of others from outside of their country that allows the work to continue.