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It doesn’t always feel right yet it sorts you out

Hand reaching out
Hand reaching out

 Photo credit

Giving up is easy, anyone can give up. I have felt like giving up quite often. I have asked, “what’s the meaning of this life?”

Then I meet someone in a worse state than myself. Well, not that my state is bad. It is just bad according to the lens I am using at the moment.  Sometimes it’s good to just step out and look at situations from God’s perspective.

Today I have just seen  a text from one of the  many friends I made after being  on TV. The text read in part that she is still carrying the painful cross, waiting for Jesus to come. After texts like these, I am jolted to sense. I have a greater purpose than to mope about the little challenges I encounter.

Sometimes just encouraging another person, is all it takes to lift your spirits. Sometimes your spirits are low because you are not adding value to another life.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11: 25 NIV

Your generosity can be in form of the small encouragement you have. It doesn’t have to be a lot. I personally have had friends who have reached out and been a blessing to me. We are created to be relational beings, first to relate to God then to each other.

Three weeks ago, I offered to host a young girl in my house, thinking that she needed a roof over her head. I noticed she was living in the office. She told me that she doesn’t feel the pressure now, because she is doing some projects that need the internet.

First she thought I wanted to reproach her for using the office as her house. But when I offered to host her, she really appreciated my kindness. I saw her desperate situation, she saw her opportunity to work. In the next 5 years, she probably will be having her own company.

Maybe that was God teaching me a lesson on perspective. How do you view that situation you are in? How can you be a blessing to someone? Would you follow a prompting even if it doesn’t make sense?

As I write, I am speaking to myself. I hope someone also finds light in whatever tunnel they may be in.

Some relationships aren’t worth your time

betrue

 

This life has taught me to be humble enough to accept my wrongs. It has also taught me how valuable I am. Truth is people will place as much value on you as much as you place on yourself.

Girl, you don’t have to beg to be loved, you are so damn beautiful for that. Take a look at the mirror. The girl staring back has some value. The amount of value is to be determined by that girl. Ooh! It frustrates me to have to squeeze information out of someone who calls me their ‘sweet wife’, ‘baby’, ‘darling’ and other sweet nothings during the chatty moments. If someone feels so sweet that they can’t spare some communication time, then it’s time to smell the coffee and stop wasting your life on them.

It seems some men just think of themselves as a gift from above to the womenfolk. As if being called a wife will solve all of your problems. No seriously, it’s as though that trophy written Mrs. So and so, would suddenly elevate you to a new level.

People in relationships disagree all the time. They also communicate and sort their issues out. What if someone decides to go silent when you’ve hardly had any disagreement? Even the most introverted of people communicate. And this should be even more if they are in love. I am the most terrible introvert that I’ve ever met, yet I try. They are just not that into you, the earlier you realize it and move on, the better. Not much collateral damage!

I don’t get this issue of someone snubbing all your conversations only to contact you when they think it suits them. Only when they need to make a booty call, that’s when you feature in their mind. Responding to them then, only feeds their dysfunction. It’s time to stop playing the wimp and Girl, run! He is a heart break waiting to happen.

Image Credits

 

Does our healthcare system value everyone?

KNH

 

So yesterday I arrived home at about 7 pm, and found some neighbors looking at something that seemed like a framed photo.  I greeted them and walked on to start the journey to my new forth floor penthouse.

I churn out a few signature tunes  as I climb the fleet of uneven stairs. Those stairs seem like someone must have run out of cement just before finishing the top floor. So I stop the singing momentarily to catch my breath before going on. That tells me of the weight I have added since I graduated. I have always had these signature melodies that announce my arrival, and not once have I stopped to catch my breath.

So I reach my humble aboard, open my door still singing (I can’t recall which song). If you know me well, songs just come subconsciously and my vocals oblige. None of my neighbors have ever complained about it. I guess that’s why I have carried this habit. You see living alone can be a lonesome affair. You have to spice it up with something.

I open the door and right at my foot, I meet a white paper. Now who is this secret admirer? Imagine getting a love note dropped in your door. Just kidding. This was not a love note, this was a note informing the tenants of the demise of one of us.

He fell down about two months ago at work and injured his spine. Since the accident, he has been bleeding internally, so he was swollen. He had a clinic appointment every week being treated for the wrong thing. He was seeing the physiotherapist, yet he had internal  bleeding. Now that we have this background, let me begin my rant.

On Thursday last week, Kelvin Juma Wangila, went to Kenyatta National Hospital and stayed for two days waiting in line for admission. His family then took him to a smaller clinic because he was in so much pain. He died on the way. That is why my thoughtful neighbors organized for a meeting to contribute money so that we go condole with his family after the burial.

Now KNH has not been in the best of books. Earlier this month, an accident victim spent 18 hours in an ambulance because Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi claimed it did not have an ICU bed. Private hospitals would not admit him without a cash payment of Sh200,000.

I am outraged by this disregard of human life because I experienced the same treatment when my baby died. I was calling the nurse to come have a look at my crying baby who was obviously running out of breath. The male nurse very comfortably seated at the nurses station, was saying the same thing, “I am coming”. When my baby got worse, a doctor came to check on him. I remember her saying, “we can only wait for the morning, because the ICU is full”. She was talking to a colleague as they put drips on my baby.

Thirty minutes later, the situation got worse, and the male nurse instructed me to carry my baby and follow him. I removed my shoes, held the drip carefully and carried my baby to the room where he breathed his last. That was 13 years ago. This is 2015, and still the full ICU story exists.

My question, why the negligence? Does it mean that in our health care system, someone’s life is measured by the worth of his wallet? Just asking.

Image Credit

Dancing 4 Demand on Global female condom day 2015

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Wednesday, September 16, was the Global Female Condom Day (GFCD) 2015, and the world’s leading manufacturer of the product announced it has sold more than 500 million female condoms in over 144 countries since launching its product in 1995.

In Kenya, female condoms are rare and expensive. They are available in select donor funded clinics and not many women are aware of their existence. They are mostly associated with commercial sex workers, yet, they provide a great substitute of the male condom. Awareness on the use of female condoms could increase women’s options of contraception methods.

The day was commemorated in Kisumu by PATH, an international health organization that transforms global health through innovation, in conjunction with Keeping Alive Societies Hope (KASH), a local based NGO addressing the health and rights challenges faced by marginalized populations in the Kenya. The day was marked by dancing for demand of female condoms, discussions on the challenges of distribution and condom demonstrations.

The Commercial Sex Workers at the celebrations raised among other issues, the high cost of female condoms compared to the male ones. A female condom retails at 300 Kenya shillings. They also asked questions why female condoms are not packaged in 3’s like their male counterparts. Here is a clip on how it went down.

GFCDhttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Jr-t2IkYDveUM3ZEphRzkzbm8/preview

Dance4Demand, a collaborative initiative by Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights organizations, holds dances globally on GFCD, while advocating for the availability of female condoms. Anyone can organize a dance in their community with resources to facilitate the advocacy efforts provided on their website.

According to Guttmatcher Institute, widespread promotion of the female condom will help to destigmatize the method and normalize it as a potential method for all sexually active women and men, not just those who engage in high-risk behaviors or are living with HIV or AIDS.

The female condom was designed to give women greater control over their own protection, without having to rely on their partners to use a condom. However, many studies confirm that partner cooperation is necessary for women to use the female condom successfully.

Female condoms are inserted in the vagina before sex. An inner ring on the condoms aids in insertion, while a larger, softer ring remains outside the vagina and keeps the condom in place. Like traditional condoms used by men, the FC2 helps prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Improvements on design keep evolving as manufacturers respond to the consumer feedback.

Dear Paullette

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Julieinspire

You asked me the other day how I manage to be bubbly, full of life and always happy. You wanted to know the secret to such a fulfilled life when I am different from others. You said that your kind doesn’t have friends. Oftentimes, you feel alone in the midst of many.

Well, I’ll tell you the truth. I sometimes feel out of place. I am not that confident, sometimes I feel too self-conscious. What I do during those moments is I try to look like I am happy. Sometimes the cares of this life overwhelm me, and I feel none can understand me. Ever heard of fake it till you make it? It really works, you should try it.

Smile when you feel like frowning,
Laugh Out Loud when you feel like crying,
Read or watch something funny if you must,
Just to get that laugh, smile or grin,

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Reality check: Awards vs Success.

Image from www.bcam.org
Image from http://www.bcam.org

This morning I received a message on my WhatsApp that got me thinking. It was a quotation from Prof. Abletor Sedofia of the University of Ghana.

“Academic excellence is overrated! I said it. Being top of your class does not necessarily guarantee that you will be at the top of life. You could graduate as the best student in Finance but it doesn’t mean you will make more money than everybody else.” He says.

It took me back to the different levels of learning and the most recent, the university graduation. There were different awards, academic and non-academic. Moments of glory that made hearts proud of associating with the crème of the academic crop. And the creativity award goes to… Drum rolls… yours truly.

All through my different academic encounters, I have been an exceptional student. A top performer, you know the kind that gets depressed with a C grade- grades that dirty my transcript. That has been my reality.

I have come to the realization that education and academic excellence is good, but one should at the same time be an all rounded person.

Most of my classmates who were not as ‘serious’ in class are now making it big in the marketplace. Some own companies that employ graduates. This is not to discourage academic excellence or to encourage sluggishness when it comes to books.

Prof. Sedofia’s advice,

“School rewards people for their memory.
Life rewards people for their imagination.
School rewards caution, life rewards daring.
School hails those who live by the rules. Life exalts those who break the rules and set new ones. So do I mean people shouldn’t study hard in school?
Oh, no, you should. But don’t sacrifice every other thing on the altar of First Class.”

This coming from a university don is advice that everyone especially in our education system needs. Our system churns out people who trans-night cramming to Ace an exam. Ask what they learnt in class a few days from the exam and you would be amazed at how quickly information evaporates.

Someone even joked that there are different categories of students. We can joke about it and come up with several theories but we still have to face reality. Sticking to book knowledge limits our creativity. Though a cliché phrase, please allow me to use it, we need to throw the box rather than think out of the box. This seems to be the secret that my classmates grasped.

Finally, Prof. Sedofia wraps up the nugget of wisdom by saying, “Think less of becoming an excellent student but think more of becoming an excellent person. Make the world your classroom!”

SHARING PIECES OF ME WITH THE PUBLIC

14 years into this walk, I still find myself asking this question- is it worth it? Just last week I was at a dilemma of whether to accept the invite to a local TV station or just decline it altogether. This was after the People Daily highlighted a feature story on my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sharing my story. It is a way of reaching out to young people. The problem comes when as a Christian, I know that I am a new creation and the old is no more. There is power in the words we speak. No word is idle. With this in mind, I have been lately very wary of my confessions.
Even though my story is out there and uncle google can help you find it, there are just moments when you have to think critically about the spotlight. I do not want to own HIV because it is not mine. I am not living in denial- I am past that stage. I just do not want it to define me. There are very great things that can describe Juliet.
So I did some soul searching as I am used to. Then said I to Juliet- “You have written a memoir that is about to be published, you are passionate about helping young people and your ministry has to go on even though you are a new creation.”
Today at 7:20 am I was at K24 studios to talk to parents. The responses I got were so overwhelming and I know that age appropriate discussions on sex between parents and children will be taking place. I even got invited to talk to young people in a church, in two weeks. I am glad that today with God’s help I may have touched a number of lives positively.
It is my hope that better things are in the future because God tells me that He knows the plans he has for me. They are plans not to harm me, but to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11). I go home feeling fulfilled today, because I followed the small still voice that speaks within. I look forward to a good birthday on Friday because I am confident that I will see the day.
Thank you for watching.

Juliet H. Amor