Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Empowered Divas: Exuberant Eunice

Empowered Divas: Exuberant Eunice:  Eunice Kilonzo is not your average 23 year old! I had the distinct honor and privileged of spending close to a week with her and couldn't...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Call for Volunteer Bloggers/Contributors!

Do you LOVE to write? Are you Comfortable writing and talking about TRIBALISM, POLITICS and PEACE? Would you like to be part of a Youth led Peace Initiative?

I AM NOT MY TRIBE is looking for
YOU! If you have something to say about tribalism, (negative) ethnicity, peace concerns, political and current events where you are, get in touch, we'd love to share your thoughts with our Kenyan/ global audience! 

Email a resume, short writing sample and a cover letter (with your reasons why you would like to contribute your experiences, what you think you could bring to the blog, and your main areas of interest that you would like to write about) to: 

eunicekkilonzo@gmail.com with the Subject line: I AM NOT MY TRIBE

Looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Making of a Feminist: Part I

The Making of a Feminist: Part I
I got to Hilton Bata at exactly 2pm. I was hungry but my excitement clouded this. You see, today is going to be an historic day. I was one of the participants to attend the Bi-annual Feminist Leadership Institute in Naivasha! The Lake Naivasha Country Club to be precise. When I got there with a packet of fries on my hand I spotted a few young girls with luggage on their side and I was certain these would be my new friends in a few hours. What I found interesting is that, these were totally new faces to me yet I knew there was something in common that we shared. I just couldn’t put my finger to it.
I did not know whether to approach any of them, and how to do it as one of my ‘best kept secret’ is that I am very shy especially to strangers. But a light complexion bubbly lady did not have this mantra; she just came up to me, smiled and said: I am Faith, is this where Young Women Leadership Institute (YWLI) is picking people from? From her question I could pick she was from Mombasa, feeling at home now I said, yes…and I am Eunice. We sat together to our destination and exchanged stories now and then. Until now, I hadn’t known any of the participants yet. However, by the time we were waiting to get our keys to our rooms, I had known a few as well as realize that I had not carried my tooth-paste! By dinner time, I had known:
Catherine (who shared her tooth-paste with me and my tent neighbour- she was in Tent 2 while I was in Tent 1)
Iminza (who was quiet but had an ‘athletic’ aura going on, Tent 3)
Rachael (slender, bespectacled with a beautiful gap between her very white teeth, Tent 4)
Faith (my ‘first’ friend who we also shared with the table during dinner)
Becky (with neatly made Abuja lines and with telltale signs of stories to share upon knowing her)
Gloria (first thing you notice about her is the infectious smile and short precise answers)
Jane (she was one of the organizers alongside Nicole and Kathambi. She was calm collected and her parting words were: We met tomorrow at 7am for stretches and exercises! Ahem)
Jackie (quiet as well, relaxed with a tinge of reservations and a mature demeanour)
Esther (Bubbly, excited, talkative and a sense of fashion style)
Trizah (who was in a green low cut dress-top, a smile clouded in mystery of what is going on in her mind but excited all the same)
Mary (whose eyes flickered with anticipation and jolliness of being amassed among other young ladies)
Emma (whose lovely smile, smooth complexion, American height and laughter added variety to the already mixed bag of great women leaders)
12 beautiful ladies, who I will learn and share the leadership space in the next three days. I was excited as well, what would tomorrow hold?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who sank her Ship?

We saw the ship at the far Seas. It the was calm then, very calm after the storm but a smoldering breeze crept in.

The ship swayed left and right.
It shook, it sighed, it pushed, it resisted, it struggled but a series of big waves came.
They blast the ship.

In the middle, on the sides, at the front, the back.
Small chunks of wood.
The oil spill.
Limp on the water it lay.

The weather changed, the clouds darkened, darkness smeared its fragrance all over.
Oh! the turbulence.

More ships swayed, the thirsty angry Hail walked in.
Head high.
Demanding attention.
She opened her mouth and blew a kiss : a kiss of death.
Of terror.

More ships were destroyed, sailors were displaced. A harbour nearby blew up, yet another gave way.

The mess.
The disruption.
She kissed some more.
The ship on the high seas heard the warning.

They are scared, petrified, unprepared...BUT

The HAIL says she wont stop...spreading her love, her kisses, her touch.
She wont stop until she is given an audience, the audience that sank HER SHIP.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'd Rather Write

I'd rather Write

She said it was easy
I couldn't get it

She said it was simple
I found it hard

Algebra, Differentiation
Bearings, Integration

She caned me for:
Wrong formula, wrong step
What is so hard about this Eunice?
It is just simple maths
Simple easy calculations...

No Miss, but its not..
Its not a sentence, a simile,
a phrasal verb...
Its H-a-r-d

Maths is...is...difficult for me,
I would rather...
Write poems
Write short stories
Write Scripts

See...this is easy,
This is simple.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blogger: My Digital Paper

Blogger is a Google Product that I am grateful for. It is accessible both on computer and on mobile thus able to write on the move.

In 2007, Kenya was heading for the General elections and negative ethnic polarities were rife. The elections were marred with violence, internal displacement of families and deaths. The Media and politicians accused each other for this. Things were getting out of hand, I had to speak up, I could write about it, Blogger came to my rescue, literary. I created my first blog, I AM NOT MY TRIBE, at that time.

I had a vantage point, where I could write (still write) about tribalism, its effects on society as well as other social injustices. I learnt how to share my links on Facebook and email and slowly people were checking out my blog! There it was, Blogger facilitating communication on topical issues and five years on, I can attest that my blog has been used as a reference point for discussions, forums and analysis.

Blogger is an integral part of my life as a Kenyan and a young African, as communication in no longer a mirage. As a writer, Blogger has let my story be heard. If this is not an integral part of Africa, then I don’t know what is...what do you think?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I am a human being first, Gay second

His black and grey stripped college sweater gave him a youthful look. His neat shaved hair and beard gives one the impression that Mark is particular about his grooming. The soft spoken young man is the elephant in the room as the members of the workshop do not know him and neither is he being introduced.

Hello, I am Mark I am gay, an MSM and a LGBTI activist…” he said adjusting the microphone to ensure that what he said was clear for all. Heads turned, few jaws (especially from the ladies) dropped and more people listened to the revelation.
“Well for those who do not know LGBTI means Lesbians Gay Bisexual Transsexual Intersexual and for MSM means Men having Sex with men.” He concluded and took a deep breath. 

One could sense the change of atmosphere in the room. Eyes roved around the room as if to search for certain answers. The young man in front of the dais had said it, without fear of criticism, that he was gay. Unlike common misconceptions in the society, Mark did not have a third leg or spikes all over his face. He was a ‘kawaida’ guy who unless he told you his sexual orientation you would never have guessed otherwise. 

Mark continued “I had been in the closet for a while about my sexuality. I knew I was gay during my adolescent, actually when I was 14. My mum particularly was suspicious of me but she couldn’t a certain. However, early this year she confronted me about it.”

From how Mark was talking, it was clear that he was addressing an issue that many shun from talking about. Homosexuality is a topic most if not all parents want to talk about. Here is a young man, who the society views as odd, a misfit and weird. Interestingly, Mark is quick to point out that he is as normal as everyone what sets him apart is his choice of sexual orientation and matters pertaining to sex. Otherwise, he should not be discriminated or/and stigmatized for being gay and particularly in opportunities such as acquiring a job and the likes.

He proceeds to add that in this age of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), they take precaution. Considering the high rates of HIV and STI infections through anal sex, Mark and his partner use water based lubricants and Latex condoms. However, there are instances that he gets an STI and when he seeks medical attention his case attracts unnecessary intrusion from the nurses who want to know how a man got throat gonorrhoea. 

Mark is questioned whether being gay is a behaviour or practices of the wealthy in society, he states:
“Homosexuality is not a rich man status, neither is it a poor man’s as well. Anyone can be gay…actually, gay people can tell someone who is gay from a crowd. We have some sort of connection…so it not a particular group only”.

Despite his composure, he has several fears. To begin with, he is wary of how his dad will take it when he discovered he is gay considering he is his sole provider and the one paying his university fees. His mother on the other hand does not like to accept his sexual orientation, in fact once she tried to take him to psychiatrist. In addition he dreads upon being known to be gay and consequently being disowned by his family. His bag of fears are not yet over has he is afraid of losing more friends after knowing his sexuality. Furthermore, homophobia in Kenya is at an all time high. Members of LGBTI are always under the fear of a homophobic attack as witnessed in South Africa and Uganda.

His hope is that the society would first try to understand the LGBTI community before holding prejudices against them. 

“Many view us as queer, as immoral…I hope they know and understand us, me first without passing judgment”