Wednesday, 8 June 2016
YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INTIATIVE [YALI]
Today I would like to talk alittle about a program I am part of this year called the YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS INTIATIVE otherwise known as YALI
Here is the link to the website YALI SITE
This program was started by the current US President Barak Obama to invest in the next generation of African leaders in areas of Business and Entrepreneurship, Public Management and Civic leadership.
Those selected into the program are known as Mandela Washington Fellows [MWF], named after one of the greatest African leaders Nelson Mandela.
The program consists of going to the US for 6 weeks in different institutions across America to be equipped in what they are already doing under the tracks they applied in.
The application process is very vigorous and highly competitive.
There are also regional courses that offer courses and also online courses one can still do.
I encourage people to check the website for more details.
I will personally write my experience from the perspective of culture in the next couple of weeks. It will depend on my schedule and availability of my time to work on the blog while there.
I hope you will learn from my experiences and see the US in an African perspective.
There will be more information as we go along
To be continued soon……………..
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
I come from a big family, and I LOVE IT! I actually have no idea how people without siblings even function.
As a first born you would think I hated having a sibling come after me but from my childhood I have always had a sibling around. My cousin was my sibling before my sister came along so I have always had someone else in my life to share life with.
Over the years I have seen how our relationship has siblings has grown and changed as well. I remember how we would fight and argue when we were younger over the silliest things. Now it makes no sense but at that time it was a huge deal. And there was no one who was allowed to ever bully one of my siblings or for sure you would get it. I recall my little brother always using my name in defense when other neighborhood kids were being mean to him, yes, I had quite the reputation
Then there is the aspect of your siblings copying everything you do. It was great when it was a good thing, but when it was bad, the oldest always got all the blame. Sometimes even all the punishment. It was a tricky balance but still great fun.
Most of the time when people talk about their siblings they refer to the past when they were kids, for me I want to dwell a little more on the present.
We are at the age where we are in transition season as siblings. When life looks like we are about to go off on our own and our interactions with one another will eventually become less and less.
It has already began in some ways, over the years. Especially when all the careers started and one starts to get interest in other things.
You still share a lot in common but you also gain other new things. This also means friends. When you are kids it easy to keep the same friends. You tend to keep a united front and demand the whole family is included in gaming activities. When you grow up you become more individualistic. Things take a new turning. You may share a lot of what you did growing up but you also develop other interests.
What I love about having siblings is that they are never afraid to just tell me if I go too far from being who I am or never be afraid to tell me I am playing it too safe.
We have grown up challenging each other and also appreciating one another’s individual strengths. It’s true there are families that a sibling doing better than another is a problem but in my family that is not a problem. We know we are different. We were never raised to compete with one another rather to help one another. We lift each other up and encourage each other. We do not give up on each other. We are one another’s best friends.
It’s been amazing watching my siblings grow into such great independent adults. For a long time I was very concerned about their well being especially in my absence. Being the first born sometimes you feel it is your responsibility to be the best example your siblings will ever see. It is true for me because I was told that severally by my parents. It can be a huge burden but I am relieved that they are all doing well. It is hard to always be the responsible one that sometimes you can lose your relationship with your siblings because of being too authoritative. There are many moments that it happened and I had to really slow things down and remember I was just their sister not their mum.
Either way my siblings are great go getters. They all have a lot to be proud off and still have a lot more to accomplish. You would be amazed how automatically we are there for one another in times of joy and of crisis as well. It isn’t even something you need to ask twice. I love that I know they always have my back and will look out for me even as I would them.
Over the years we have adopted honorary siblings which I guess is because of the closeness we already have with one another. We literally talk daily and update each other on major news in our lives and we also support one another’s careers.
I can’t wait for the next season of our lives. It will be amazing and I know we will remain just as close but in a different perspective all together.
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
WAITING FOR LOVE
I recently realized that I wait a lot and I am not sure if that is a good thing but I do. The thing I wait most on is love. I have started to wonder if it is me who is not recognizing it or am not paying attention.
Either way I read this article that made me realize I am not the only one waiting.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we all wait for love. Maybe in different ways but we do.
Not just romantic love but it depends on how you view love.
I realize that a lot of the time it is easier for me to accept my faults when pointed out to me and not compliments. I have grown up in an environment where what you do is just a stepping stone to better things so you are never really allowed to celebrate an achievement for very long because more is expected of you.
That is not a bad thing but it make you live life always in transition and never in the moment.
Anyways let me address romantic love for this article. I realized one thing about my interaction with men. I am always waiting for them to step up.
I am not sure if I am having unrealistic expectations or its basically that we are wired differently but I get so disappointed that I am starting to think it is normal for them not to.
I wonder what it is most of the time. If fear of failure and rejection really that bad that one would not want to take the step.
Isn’t love about risk just as much as it is about gain?
We all take risks for things we love and people we love. Sometimes we are not even sure we will get the love back. I do believe women take a higher risk in love because even when they do not get it back they are at least glad they gave it a shot. Men are taking less and less risk and are more content living in an less than ideal situation or life then complain later that there are no good women out there.
The truth is good women so to speak are there in plenty. They are made. They come out when they feel secure. And they are waiting for the guy who would risk love for them. Women crave security and when a woman is secure she can conquer the world and would do anything for her man.
I may be wrong but for me that is how I am wired. I would not put myself in a position of being with someone who will only take a risk or make a move when it suits them. I am also taking a risk. Relationships are hard enough as it is that putting myself in a position with someone who is always second guessing themselves is not very helpful.
It goes for me as well. I would not keep a guy second guessing their position with me because I am not sure of what I want, it wouldn’t be fair.
My post today is all over the place. I guess I just wanted to let this out there, so hope it makes some kind of sense.
My point is I will wait for the right kind of love where there is some sacrifice and work involved from both parties. This is too much of a big deal to leave it to chance or give in to pressures of life.
It will not be perfect because it is only God Who has that kind of love but it should be sacrificial.
Lets start loving more. It is a verb, meaning action is involved. Start living
Check out this amazing article I read as well especially for the ladies a new perspective on waiting what-if-your-boaz-is-waiting-on-you
Thursday, 12 May 2016
LIFE REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Once in a while I like to analyze my life and see where it is heading and if I am achieving what I want or what I need to.
Life can get you into such a rut sometimes so you can feel kind of stuck. And then you don’t know what to do and then it’s time to reflect and see what you can do. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Someone shared with me a bunch of very great questions that I thought I would share this week,
Feel free to reflect on them this week and share widely
1. What am I good at?
2. What am I so-so at?
3. What am I bad at?
4. What makes me tired?
5. What the most important things in my life?
1. Who are the most important people in my life?
2. How much sleep do I need?
3. What stresses me out?
4. What relaxes me?
5. What’s my definition of success?
1. What type of worker am I?
2. How do I want others to see me?
3. What makes me sad?
4. What makes me happy?
5. What makes me angry?
1. What type of a person do I want to be?
2. What type of friend do I want to be?
3. What do I think about myself?
4. What things do I value in life?
5. What makes me afraid?
Answer the questions with the first thing that pops in your head, don’t over think it.
Everyone interprets them differently so do not over analyze.
Write it down, review after one month
Have you made any changes? Do you need to change anything?
It’s easy to complain about stuff in general but the truth is you have a lot more choice than you may think.
It is easy to try and avoid the bad stuff in life but the truth is that is when you actually grow. Check on what is making you grow as an individual even if it is not the best thing. But one should always work on self-improving
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
LESSONS FROM MUM
I want you to know that you are an amazing lady. As a woman it is more obvious now than when I was a little girl. I always thought your life’s ambition was to make my life hard. I was wrong. It was to make me a strong woman just as you are and even more. So many things I see when I look back and didn’t make sense now make so much sense.
How often I have misunderstood you and what you were trying to do and how often I resented your correction and thought you had a backward way of thinking. That you were trying to prevent me from having the fun you had when you were my age.
When you told me to help out with the chores and I just felt that since we had a house help that was her purpose there and it was unfair for me to do something she was being paid to do. Little did I know you were preparing me in the skills of being a home maker and actually learn to look after myself. When you gave her the time off, you were giving her time to be with her own family and with her children who always miss her and barely saw her and all I thought about is how inconvenienced I was that I now had to take on her job. I didn’t realize I took it for granted that you were always around when I needed you and her kids were actually growing up without their mum so she could give them the best life she could afford to.
When you were at work how glad I was that I had freedom to do whatever it is I wanted without restrictions and was mad when you were on leave because it meant you would always be home spending time with us. How naïve I was and took your presence for granted. How naïve I was not to realize that you could have used your leave days to go off on a holiday but you chose to spend more quality time with me.
When you insisted on buying us more fruits and vegetables and eating a well home cooked meal than eating out and eating candy and fast food for the sake of our health. How I’d complain about how other parents bought their kids all that fast food and we ate it rarely. I didn’t notice the fact that we seldom got sick because of good nutrition that developed into the healthy eating habits I have now. I took for granted that in the process I learnt to cook well balanced food and the value of eating a home cooked meal with family, not to mention the money you get to save by budgeting for groceries.
When you insisted that there were restrictions on watching television and made us read so many books during the holidays. I felt so short changed when I would meet my classmates and they would discuss all the shows they were allowed to watch and how unfair I felt that I was just stuck reading books and studying. Little did I know the discipline I developed on prioritizing what was important and the value of studying and hard work.
When you would tactfully mention that you disapproved of some of my friends and how I would be so offended feeling you barely knew them. The truth is you could see that they were not being genuine or they were a negative influence on me and you were just looking out for me. Now some of those friends are not even in my life and I know why but at that time the most important relationships were that of friends and suddenly now it is family, and the friends who become close enough to be family.
There are so many lessons and there is no way I can mention them all now. My favorite one of all is that you learnt to trust God and I saw you grow in trusting Him daily. When there was no money for fees you knew He would come through, when the groceries ran out you knew He would provide, when we got sick you knew He would heal us, when we doubted our abilities you knew He would make us great. There was no time you showed us that God would not come through for us, even if you sometimes battled with doubt. However the faith you had, even as small as a mustard seed was enough to keep us going through those difficult time. Reflecting back I can see how your faith grew with every answered prayer and how it made you become a better mother. You became more and more the woman God wanted you to be and grew in love and patience. I would be truly blessed to be half the woman you are but knowing you expect me to be even more than that. I know I will because I had such a wonderful teacher.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
So lately I have been thinking about life and how we can let life issues swallow us up. The truth is it is very easy to dwell in the negative and the truth is very few people you tell will encourage you. Most people will either feel sorry for you or add to your sorrow.
So for the longest time it has been easier for me to see the negative side of things and to just see like life was unfair and was not seeing when I would get out of the rut I was in.
That is until I started to view things in a different perspective. I did not make sense why I would feel so bad about stuff and remain in my gloomy state and expect change. Something had to give. It may not have been immediate but something had to be done.
I started with writing something I am grateful for each day. It could be as simple as the weather but it helped me view things differently. Sometimes I was forced to really think of something to be grateful for especially during the tough seasons. At that time even being grateful to get through the day will do.
Another thing I started to do is write a grateful list every end of year. You know you can just be glad a year is over because all you remember is how tough it was, then you sit and write a grateful list. I was so excited by the time I was done with some of my lists and realized the problem is that I kept dwelling on what when wrong I did not notice what went right or what I had learnt through that tough season.
I also started listening to worship music. Yeah it sounds cliché but the truth is the Lord really does dwell in the praises of His people. There is just something about an uplifting atmosphere that no matter how down you are you will get your spirit lifted.
There is also sharing with people. As people say a problem shared is a problem halved. HOWEVER one should not talk to just anyone about your issues. Not everyone is helpful. Not everyone wants your circumstances to change. So pick the people you speak to wisely.
Distract yourself. Yes I mean take a break from the issues at hand. If possible go on a trip. I have found it very helpful to just change environments sometimes. It really helps to just be in a new place that doesn’t remind you of what is stressing you all the time. There is a friend who once told me that when she is low and stressed she would go volunteer in an abandoned children’s home and just play with the babies. She always felt so much better and was glad to give some joy to someone else. There are also people I know who go to an old people’s home and just listen to their wisdom and their life stories. There is no way you would leave such a place without a new perspective.
One thing I did this year is learn a new skill. I signed up for a class and it was a real challenge but I paid so much attention to what I was learning that I barely thought about issues that were bothering me. They did not go away but it certainly helped me get new perspective that no matter what is going on in one’s life, life goes on despite your problems. If you choose to only dwell on the problems you have life can easily pass you by.
My favorite on is to walk with someone either as a mentor or in discipleship. Helping a young person trying to figure out life especially when you have passed through that stage makes you feel that you are not a total failure after all. When you look at your life through a young person’s eyes it makes you realize just how much you have accomplished.
We need to learn that we are not the only ones who go through stuff and even what we are going through we are not the first ones nor will we be the last ones. Our issues may seem like a big deal when we are going through them but the truth is that you will always find someone who went through worse and they either came out victorious or miserably failed.
All in all making a joyful noise means accepting to live a full life beyond your circumstances. Joy is more than happiness. It is a state of living. It is knowing that tough times do not last but tough people do. It is know that we will be stronger at the end of this trial. It is knowing that this situation will not last forever. It is knowing that good times are ahead.Make a joyful noise.
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
BEING A DISCIPLE
So I recently re-watched a Jesus film. Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli's. It was one of those films we watched a lot as kids, for some reason an it was actually an annual ritual considering its 6 hours long
Anyways I hadn’t watched it in a while so I decided to give it a go and watched it in bits, It’s divided into 4 parts so it was easy to schedule. What strikes me at first is how Biblically accurate it is. I appreciated the effort the director did to actually follow the scripture as accurate as possible. As compared to some of the current Biblical based movies he really tried to include the message very well and it is always clear what the purpose of Christ was.
So yes highly recommended
For some reason I got curious what it means to be a disciple. Because of how they were depicted in the film they seemed very human with real struggles.
It is easy to judge them because of their weaknesses but how differently would we have acted in their place.
First you have to deal with a man calling Himself the Messiah in a day and age where they were not as many and the focus was on Roman rule and how to survive the oppression. Also because it was someone known to people since He was a child and seemed like an ordinary fellow and suddenly your next door neighbor is a messiah, yes for sure there would be some skepticism
Then there is this issue with Judas. Over the years I have learnt to cut Judas some slack, here is why. Judas was part of the Zealots and the Zealots wanted to devise a plan to overthrow the Roman government and become free from their rule. So when he came across Jesus who said He was the Messiah, he automatically thought Jesus was going to be a political leader similar to the Kings they had had in the past. He was expecting a militant king like David who would lead them to victory.
His accepting to betray him was a way to provoke Christ to act into the military role he was expecting. But because instead Jesus was crucified, Judas was riddled with guilt over what he had done. He blamed himself for Jesus death and could not see how he could get any form of redemption from what he did. He clearly was not really paying attention to the times Jesus mentioned His crucifixion and resurrection.
How often have we as believers let our daunting circumstances overwhelm us that we cannot even recall God’s truth. How many times do we just give up and not seek God’s purpose for allowing things to happen. Maybe Judas rushed and killed himself too fast because of his guilt but what if you were in the position of betraying the Savior of the World, the Messiah and he actually dies, what would you do?
Then there is Peter and denying Jesus. Most people do not do well with being confronted an especially when it’s a controversial topic and you are on the opposite side of what majority think. Or the side you currently support is looking really bad and you just do not want people to associate yourself with it.
That is what Peter was facing. We have all been in a place where you want to disassociate yourself with a controversial matter you may have been involved in.
It is easy to say we would not have done what Peter did but when you have been following someone for 3 years and suddenly the government comes and arrests him and tries him as an enemy of the state, the truth is you would be tempted to say you did not know him at all just to save yourself.
Then there is the matter of Thomas. This guy always need Jesus to prove Himself to him one way or another. Was it because he was weak? How many times have we just felt there way no way Jesus was going to come through for us in a situation and we want proof that He will. How many times have we tried to do things our own way before we surrender it to Him. We have our doubts as well
I could go on and on but it is important for us to know what following Jesus will cost us and be willing to go through with the cost.
He promised us in Matthew 28:19-20 that He would be with us always even till the end of the age, meaning we are not going to do it on our own strength.
So here are some points I came across from various sources on what being a disciple means to us today. There are very many but I have picked a few.
Our decisions will either encourage or discourage spiritual growth so they are very crucial.
· Being a disciple of Jesus means you are a follower of Jesus Mark 2:14
· Being a disciple means loving Jesus more than anyone else Luke 14:26
· Being a disciple means bearing fruit John 15:8
· Being a disciple of Jesus means studying and obeying God’s word. John 8:31
· Being a disciple means loving one another John 13:35
· Being a disciple means denying [surrender] yourself and taking up the cross Luke 9:23
· Being a disciple means forsaking all you have Luke 14:33
· Being a disciple means counting the cost Luke 14:28
Those are just a few I came across and yes they are not easy
There is a lot one has to consider but the beauty is we have Christ to help us through the power of the Holy Spirit that is why He sent us a helper.
I encourage you to be the best disciple you can be and also to disciple others.
It is important that we reach out to new believers and share our walk of faith with them. It goes a long way to helping them with their own discipleship journey.
You too must be disciple by another mature Christian so you do not grow weary.
I found some good tips on Disciplers Manual
Here are a few lessons from the site I would like to share
Suggested guidelines for discipling another person.
o Arrange to meet together once each week for about 1½ hours or so. The time can vary depending on their spiritual hunger, assimilation of Biblical concepts, and maturity level.
o Plan on spending at least with a disciple, meeting regularly.
o The purpose of the meetings is to explain Biblical truth and principles, and to give the disciple opportunity questions, spiritual struggles, and related topics.
o It is important for you to be a thoughtful ; it’s the best way to identify gaps in their spiritual understanding.
o enough to allow the Holy Spirit to change the direction of the study or conversation, yet enough so the time is not squandered on less significant matters.
o Teach .
o The disciple should be encouraged to look to the Lord to apply Biblical principles to his life.
o A goal is for the disciple to increasingly understand and be able to clearly explain those Biblical principles to others.