Abstaining from Reality: TBT- Tamar Abrams

Photo from Tamar's Facebook
Tamar and Hannah. Photo from Tamar’s Facebook

I never thought I’d one time post these posts where everyone can easily have access to them and relate them to me. That’s what age teaches you. As you grow older, you develop your sense of identity and stop caring what people will say about you. One also learns the importance of giving thanks to the people who God has placed in their lives to take them to where he wants them to be.

One such person is Tamar Abrams. She has impacted my life in so many ways ever since we met at that hotel lobby in London. I remember it was the Strand Palace. This was a culture shock bearing in mind that I came from a slum in Nairobi. Something that I prefer talking of in another post.

Here’s an article that Tamar wrote after our acquaintance.

“Standing in a gilded stateroom in London’s Westminster Palace was a slight young woman from Kenya named Juliet Awuor, preparing to tell her story to members of Parliament, heads of British and international NGOs and the press. It was early March and Population Action International’s latest documentary—Abstaining from Reality: U.S. Restrictions on HIV Prevention—was making its worldwide premiere in the U.K, followed by events in the Parliaments of Denmark and Sweden. Juliet, who never in her 24 years had left Kenya, had bravely flown to London so she could share her story of contracting HIV the very first time she had sex because neither she nor her boyfriend knew how to use a condom.” Read more here.

Tamar went ahead to set up an online campaign to raise my school fees to Daystar University. Here is the article she wrote.

Make Juliet’s Dream a Reality by Tamar Abrams, Population Action International

June 19, 2007

In Population Action International’s (PAI) seminal documentary, Abstaining from Reality, HIV-positive Kenyan Juliet Awuor says about the boyfriend with whom she contracted HIV, “He took away my dreams and my future.” For those of you who have seen the short film or even met Juliet during the film’s European and North American rollout, you know that she still has many dreams for the future. Neither her HIV nor the loss of her infant son nor her subsequent stroke has stolen all hope. This was evidenced by her thoughts in March when PAI took her to London for the film’s debut in Parliament: “After London, I see so many possibilities,” she wrote. Read more here.

She went on to ask me severally on email whether I still wanted to go to college. I had to do what was right, enroll to Daystar University. Despite having qualified for a degree program, I took the diploma due to the duration of my scholarship. Thanks to all who contributed to my education because three years later, June 2011, I graduated with honors, a diploma in Print and Electronic Media.

That was just the beginning because I dreamt on and enrolled for my BA in Public Relations. Going to Daystar opened my eyes to possibilities of achieving an education. (A dream which I thought had been snatched before it began.) I recently graduated from Daystar, a second time.

I would rightly say that Tamar has been my mentor. She is a communications professional and writes for the Huffington Post among other platforms. This is what her profile reads on Huffington Post “Tamar Abrams has worked as a TV producer, magazine editor and newspaper reporter but has spent most of her career helping nonprofits, foundations and individuals leverage their resources to maximize the power of communications in educating, persuading and motivating their target audiences. She is also a freelance writer and a foster mom. Tamar and her daughter live in Arlington, Virginia.”

Tamar is just a person who likes making people’s lives better. When she visited Nairobi in 2009, she came to my neighborhood in Kibera. They were shooting another PAI documentary, The silent partner. She saw the condition of the swing set at the school where they were filming the Nubian Wedding and decided to give it a make over. She bought the paint and I did the painting. View the photos here.

Besides being a single mom to beautiful Hannah Lily, 23, Tamar has fostered many children. Reading from her article in the Washingtonian gave me an understanding of why she ventured into being a foster mom.

I remember the night we went to a cabaret in a London theater with Tamar and Amie Coen. Oh! Good memories that still make me smile. To Tamar, here’s one more life you made better.

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