So school is beginning to pick up a bit. Sadly the reason school is picking up a bit is I’m stirring up a bit of trouble.
The interesting thing about being a white woman in Kenya is the paradox I am to many people. I am white and thus powerful but a woman and thus weak, so the compromise often made is that I must be rich but fragile. This is a theory I am constantly disproving through bumming cigarettes as well as slight fights.
Now when I say fights I don’t mean any sort of street fighting with punches thrown and blades out (although one guy did step into me); these fights are more along the lines of intense arguments.
I have found myself on the side of radical feminism in this country as I argue for more education as well as available contraception for women all over the country. Weirdly these are radical ideas. The men here find me as one said “a destroyer of the traditional family life and thus traditional family and societal values and thus society itself) because I said I wouldn’t was his underwear.
This seems like a strange argument but essentially this is a live action example of globalization. Kenyans want a globalized economy and technological industry but were unprepared for the flow of ideas. It’s actually fascinating to be in the middle of.
The really mind blowing part is when the girls over hear.
My argumentative friend asked why if women were so strong why men were able to keep them down. I made the radical (and I do see how it’s radical) assertion that it is because men are the weaker sex.
My argument was that men knowing they had less innate power then women intentionally kept women uneducated, ignorant and pregnant as soon as possible. As ignorance leads to early pregnancy and early pregnancy leads to continued ignorance as well as the ability to control a woman through her children. I claimed that women’s sexuality actually shaped most history (e.g. Anne Boleyn, Helen of Troy) and that when given access to education women are able to expand the economy in ways never thought possible.
At this point my friend left the table.
Now the point of this conversation wasn’t to change this man’s mind and force him accept equality (although that would have been nice) it was for the girls to overhear.
Because that’s when the magic happens.
Women made aware of their own power as a woman suddenly feel stronger then ever before. From there the conversation was able to grow into hope of building all girls schools in India, teaching sex education in the bush, opening clinics for poor young women in the city and from there it grew into orphanages, free schools, space stations. Anything we could think of. The world was ours to build and to create us merely required the ability to think it.
And this is what I love about living in Kenya. There is simply so much more world left to create. There are more views to argue, more experiences to be had. (Did you know you can go sky diving in Nairobi for 3500 shillings? That’s about $45.)
In a country that is rapidly changing and developing through things such as the new constitution and new schools and new immigrants we are at the center. We are the new change. Here is the new change. Africa is the new change.
Here is the final frontier.
Because this really is the unexplored land. It is mapped out (sort off) but it is unexplored. Right now each step taken in this country is new, each breath different then the ones taken before it, and everything is growing and changing in ways thought impossible. The moon isn’t where we want to go to learn who we are as humans or where the future lays. Africa is.
In many ways Africa is our last chance. This is our chance to industrialize without severe damage to the environment; this is our chance to create fashion embracing all shapes. This is our chance to create governments that are equitable on the first try. This is our chance to put into place all these beautiful ideas we discussed in our basements as kids.
I firmly believe that the entire future of humanity lays in Africa. These are some of the last world being built up and changed and grown and if everyone here and around the world works to protect these worlds from the economic hit men, and fascist puppet governments and if we all start to care about the fate of this continent then within a few hundred (decades?) years these will be the societies we look up to.
And that is what I feel apart of. That is what is bigger then myself. That is what is bigger then the mission and the kids and the water and the anything and everything.
That is the ripple in the pond.
The stars don’t have shit on us.
So everyone care. Do donate, do visit, do volunteer, do anything you can think of. Help your community but think of this as your community to. Think of us over here as your poor but very smart neighbor who you help put through school. Low input high output. High interest rates on your loans.
After all Carl Sagan did say we are all essentially the same as we are all made of star stuff
So I guess that gives space something
Love and miss you all
Aliya de Grazia