Thursday, April 26, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

the reality of inequality

in my research on sexual and gender-based violence, i came across these quotes:

'Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.'
Robert F. Kennedy

'Violence against women is global in reach, and takes place in all societies and cultures... It affects women no matter what their race, ethnicity, social origin, birth or other status may be... Much more reamins to be done to create and sustain an environment where women can go about their lives free from this scourge.'
Kofi Annan

'Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home... such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.'
Eleanor Roosevelt

'The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.'
Albert Einstein

'[Rape] is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.'
Susan Brownmiller

'The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in coucils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.'
Susan B. Anthony

'Women are the victims of this patriarchal culture, but they are also its carriers. Let us keep in mind that every oppressive man was raised in the confines of his mother's home.'
Shirin Ebadi

'There must be no impunity for gender based violence. Let me be clear. What we are talking about is not a side issue. It is not a special interest group of concern to only a few. What we are talking about are not only women's rights but also the human rights of over one half of this globe's population... Violence against women concerns not only women but above all the rest of us.'
Sergio Vieira de Mello

'A great many people think they are thinking when they are just rearranging their prejudices.'
William James

although the material i am reading is shocking, disgusting, and appalling, i am grateful to be in the position to use it in appeals for money to combat such inequality. as a friend told me this morning, i won the lottery by being born in canada. i don't disagree.

Friday, April 20, 2007

the blind date.

when a good friend asked if i wanted to go out with a friend of hers who was in town who i knew nothing about besides he had facial hair, i said yes. because what else is a girl to do on a thursday night in nairobi but go on dates with random bearded strangers?

i had never done anything like this before and thought it might be fun and it was. i got a dozen roses (i didn't count so it was probably more like 17 because this is kenya and some things don't make sense) and picked up at precisely 8:45pm after i had to postpone the pick up time because, surprise, surprise, i was running late. the whole night was up to me because this dude was a proper gentleman so we ate sushi, drank red wine (which led to this morning's hangover), and listened to live music. we laughed a lot, which is always a good sign, and i was impressed with his knowledge of kiswahili and of the politics of africa, which made for great conversation.

but here is the part that i know my mom will tell her friends. this guy is a hunter. a professional hunter. like he gets paid to shoot things. with a gun. he tracks big cats, buffalo, elephant, hippo, and royal game and then kills them. which is rather fitting considering i just spend hours on the safari mobile in awe of these animals. or not fitting at all, depending on how you look at it.

first a neighbour, then a coup in guinea, and now a hunter.

back to the daily grind, well sorta

in my first week back at work i...
  • got in trouble (as mentioned above)
  • got a whole project to do myself, which really makes me so much happier in this job that i was starting to loathe for various reasons
  • signed my contract and my official title is Junior Programme Associate, which sounds much fancier than my old Assistant title
  • tracked down the thief who stole my chair, but did not retrieve the chair so i am sitting far too low at my desk in a borrowed chair, look like a munchkin, and banged my foot really really hard on the corner of my desk because now i am out of alignment
  • saw a monkey chased out of the parking lot during a meeting
  • went on my first blind date (details to follow)
  • had to stay in bed an extra 3 hours due to a moderate/severe red wine hangover this morning
  • took a 3 hour lunch after i dragged my sorry ass into work for 20 minutes

i realise me complaining about getting in trouble for being slightly late is a bit ridiculous considering my work ethic today so we can all shake our heads together at my behaviour. and i am still laughing at me waking up, dragging myself into the kitchen to locate my phone and gather the strength to make coffee and then bring my coffee and phone back into bed with me as i cursed my askaris and their crackly radio playing annie lennox this morning. i wouldn't have minded if anyone laughed at me either, it was my own damn fault.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

reality hits

in my first day back to regular life in nairobi i...
  • had chocolate cake for lunch
  • came home to my flatmate sitting in his skivvies in the hallway with his laptop on his lap (where a laptop should be, i suppose), with his pants hanging on the stairwell to dry and his shoes and socks discarded on the floor because he had been caught in the rain and then got home to realise he didn't have his house keys, it made me both laugh out loud and appreciate living with such a nut
  • got in trouble from la barracuda for being less than 15 minutes late back from lunch because i was waiting for her sandwich to be made, only for her to then tell me to print off materials for our meeting that she had emailed to me that had to be printed on the printer in her office, seriously? yes, seriously
  • ran into my neighbour that i used to date (which is bound to happen when you inadvertently date your neighbours) and he still has a beard. a beard! it is like a cruel joke
  • found my little brother's ecosystem in my room that he forgot or my mom 'forgot' to pack, it is now on my windowsill to remind me of the days we spent collecting shells, sand dollars, and various sea creatures on the coast of kenya in lamu
  • contemplated trips to ethiopia, egypt, and uganda in the coming months
  • contemplated the amount of debt i could possibly put myself in in the span of a few months
  • then contemplated what the hell i will do with my life and what i want to be when i grow up, which seem to be rather constant thoughts recently

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

safari njema

i am back from safari-ing around kenya with my family and have returned to the office to a new contract, to find my chair has been stolen (welcome to kenya), and so many competing emotions about it all without the time to write more about it.