So I recently attended a leadership training program for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse(CALD) young women. All that means is that the programme was for young women from none Anglo-Saxon backgrounds. It was a lovely three-day programme and I have to say I learnt a lot. Part of what was talked about was those people we look up to…mentors. mentors can be anyone, even Musicians like Nicki Minaj, unfortunately. Mentors need not even know they are mentors. Okay, so this isn’t just a post on mentors, it’s going to be about a woman I found so inspirational. She passed away this week and unfortunately she never even knew that a little girl was watching her.

This woman, lost her husband years ago and raised beautiful children, one of whom I have the privilege of calling my friend. I remember that she went to University and studied but if you asked me what it is she studied I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I remember seeing her in our small town, Chingola, at thirteen and thinking, “If she could raise three children on her own, I can definitely raise one.”

More than her achievements, there was something about the way she carried herself that made me think, “I want to be like that”. She had a confidence about her; something about her demanded respect but not with arrogance, self-exaltation or pride, but with humility, confidence and grace. She was soft-spoken and kind and I can never say I knew her well, but those were the impressions I got from watching her as well as the few times I spoke to her.

I believe the greatest legacy she left, has been passed on in the children she loved and raised; children who carry themselves with confidence and respect for both themselves and others. She lived her life for God and I’m sure I’m not the only one she affected aside from her family. I have been a beneficiary of her son’s wise words, I’ve benefitted greatly from his strength, generosity and caring heart, his friendship and zeal for God.

Remember that  you never know who is watching. You never know what encouragement someone can get from seeing you rise and live life to the full. Walk in integrity, because the best mentors, sometimes never even know they lead someone.

State of Affairs

So I recently finished reading a report on the state of prisons in Zambia and while I didnt agree with every recommendation made, for me the report was an eye opener. It made me ask, “How did we let it get that bad?” Growing up I never really thought about Zambian prisons. I can honestly say, as with other things, that I led a very sheltered life.

It seems our governemnt is open to reforming the prison system, however did they really need an independent organisation going in to investgate the state of prisons to know how bad things are? Can they say they didnt know? It angers me to see how things are and yet who is there to blame but ourselves??? We can’t blame the government for everything that goes wrong, because when we really think about it, it’s us who bury our heads in the sand rather than hold our governement accountable.

There’s a lot going wrong, and the question “how did we let things get this bad?” can be applied to all areas of our society. Children on the street, unemplyment, the number of teachers sleeping with students, pollution and damage to our environment without any consequences for the ones responsible, lead poisoning, etc. How did we let things get this bad??? Fact is we just don’t care.

Now that I know, the question is, what am I going to do about it??? With a lot of things we sit back and just accept it, but nothing is going to change unless we fight for change, not with violence but with first changing ourselves and fighting for truth and holding ourselves accountable before we hold our leaders accountable. With caring enough to start to think about solutions, caring enough to reach out and pull someone up. To stop pretending that everything is okay, because it is in our own little worlds.

I forgive you

You walk in and I freeze,
I don’t want to be here.
At five you’re the witch in my nightmare,
The demon I feared, My tormentor
A mere man

I discover that I’m the girl in the shebeen
And you’re my Zamdela!
Finally making sense
The tears that never graced my cheeks,
Finally flow,
Realisation hits!
Worse still, eleven and I understand exactly

Can’t push you to the back of mind anymore
Your face is etched in my mind’s eye
Your frame towering over me like a cloud
Threatening to bring devastation.
I can’t push you to the back of the room even if I tried.

Rather fear gripping me,
I cover my face,
Wasn’t meant to look.
I hear your voice.
‘Cover your eyes’ was your request.
But I understand more than you think…

There’s something wrong with this set up…
I’m gripped with fear,
Yet what follows is a blank!
What follows? And what follows,
I hope to know
But like a rain coat as the nimbus finally gave way to the storm,
The blanket kept the memories out.

My world, crushing down at the realisation
Yet has been broken from the day you strayed
No matter how much I don’t remember,
A part of me still knows that the storm hit.
Just have to look at the broken walls of my soul to know Katrina hit with a vengeance,
For what crime I’ll never know.

The rain coat never went down to my toes…Did it?
I’ve carried your sin, guilt and shame and made it my own
Ever since…ever since you strayed I’ve ached and screamed
And no one had eyes wide enough to see
And even after they knew, they let you in.

No wonder
I cried myself to sleep for so long…
In the dark where I could hide…
So no one could see, the pain you caused.
I wanted to be strong, but all I was lost.
Felt expected.
Your deed, somehow never mattered…

No one saw your shame on me,
The fear in my eyes.
No one heard, even though I could,
My heart threaten to break my sternum open and bleed, like it always has.
God forgot too…right?

Hurt and lost you left me,
You, I loved and respected,
You denied me my childhood,
You denied me who I was.

The truth I do not know…
But the lies I cannot separate.
The sound of your voice still imprisons me,
Filled with lies and the truth only you know…
The truth that you replaced with lies…
Another kind of truth…that leaves me with nowhere to turn

Tell me …give me back what you can never replace.
That which you have stolen that I can never reposes.
Give me my heart’s desire…
To know that which I never knew and yet did know.
To know that which I forgot you took.

The confusion, so great
The sanity you deny me so important.
Destined for success,
Formed by One greater than this
I know I will be fine.
Because God saw you and I before the foundations of the earth.
He saw your error and my pain and He saw the destruction that Cut through…
That Kat threw,
That you threw.

The day you strayed,
opened the door for Satan’s work.
But like foundation and destiny colliding, He won it for me.
I will cry no more…
You poses me no more…
You imprison me no more…
I forgive you!

falling and judgement

So this post comes after reading about the dangers of technology for young people and reading news reports about a beautiful young woman who found herself in a sticky situation with the law. In Zambia, my country, production, possesion and/or distribution of pornography are all illegal, and the young lady in particular was involved in the production of pornographic matterial with a young man, who for some reason was not arrested, when the video was made public, by another individual. I don’t want to focus on the girl in particular because I don’t want to add to her distress, however it breaks my heart to see young women in such a situation. what breaks my heart even more is us Christians standing behind the name we profess and yet yeilding the stones of the pharisee.

This is to all girls out there, believe me when I say, there are no secrets in the world and if you do something, most likely it will come out in the open. Certain things should never be put on video. Right now it might seem like whatever you are doing is never ever going to be revealed, however, that is usually not the case. Sex is something to be treasured not something to be given to any man who requests it. I know there are people out there who will say times have changed and women have been liberated, but what liberty is it if because you wanted instant gratification, you end up  pregnant and the man who once softly whispered sweet nothings into your ear, whose breath was so warm and enticing against your neck, whose voice was hoarse with passion, now stands with his back to you, not wanting to hold you, and everytime he looks at you or speaks, his eyes and voice speak rage? Worse still, you end up HIV positive.

Don’t take unneccessary risks with your life. Risks aside, women are  not men, no matter how the feminist movement tries to make us seem the same, we are not the same. Men and women, while equal, are not the same. We are wired differently. “women have more to lose if they give in” to sex. Was all the fight for women’s rights just so that we can drink our heads off like the men and sleep around like the men and  not care who we hurt in the process??? Yes we have the right to choose, but if all we see is the opportunity to choose to do the wrong thing, you would have  wasted the chance at living your life to the full.

Consider your friends, choose them wisely, because if you don’t, you’ll end up turning 40 with nothing to show for the years you’ve walked the earth. Growing up, my mother always told me, “if it’s something you don’t want me to find out about, you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”, and while I have found myself hiding stuff from her in the past, I can say that that statement has not been proven wrong in my life…yet.

Those of us standing on our pedlestalls, rejoicing at the fall of another human being, while I don’t agree that as a country we should pardon those who commit crimes on the basis of “we are Christians” and “we all sin”, we cannot claim to love Christ and yet not be heart broken at the state of affairs in the world and country. We cannot demand, of everyone, the standard set by Christ, unless they profess Christ, in which case, our correction should be in love and not in anger, rooted in self righteousness because we recognise just how much in need of Christ our friends are, and know we are no different. Be angry but love even in your anger; be filled with gratitude for all that we have recieved and let the same grace be extended to others who need it.

Girls don’t sell yourself short, be the best you can be. If he can’t treasure you and respect you, he doesnt deserve you. A man who honours and respects you, doesnt want to use you for his own gratification. You cannot find love in compromise. If you’ve made mistakes and found yourself face first in the mud, pick yourself up, clean yourself up and keep walking because it’s not how you fall that counts but whether you rise after the fall. Today is a new day and no one but you stands in your way.