THE REAL ME

florence kekong
Posted April 5, 2020 from Nigeria
THE REAL ME:FLORENCE CARMEL KEKONG
Standing with my daughter (the tallest here), AngelFlora Michaels and my son's girlfriend, Mary Asi (By my right), as I mobilized them to observe this year's International Women's Day celebration. "I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights

​​​​​​Greetings to you all. I hope this piece meets us all in good conditions. I know, it would and we will all be fine, as long as we play our simple part-keep safe at all times.

 The frequent calls from World Pulse asking sisters to share their stories get me saying to myself at all times, "Thank God for World Pulse. May God bless and increase in wisdom,  the woman who initiated this community.

In an attempt to write just a little about myself, I recall now, a few conversations I had, a few years back (not too long), with my half-sister and Niece that we grew up together. 

On one occasion, my half-sister or you may say, Step-sister. But in any case, she is my sister. I was "lucky" to grow with my mother in the house but she wasn't because her mother left her with our  father when she was just about three years. My father's mother took her to live with her. Her house was just opposite ours and so, we shared everything together, except that we never slept together at our Grandmother's. when finally, our Grandma died, my sister, moved in to stay with us. I was over joyed. She was just two years older than me. We had a good childhood together, so much that we still flow so affectionately together. But she was not happy. My mother wasn't treating her well. I felt for her and stood by her all through our childhood. I know that there were times I spoke to her badly because I got the power of Mother protection over her and I felt the guilt from time to time. Now I know that it was the child power in me. Last three years when I lost my 23-year-old handsome boy, my sister shocked me with her words when we gossipped about my mother. I complained to her about my mother's attitude towards us, her children. How she has been most unreasonable and wicked to me in several ways and how she talks to people without regards to their feelings. And we concluded that it is because of the much love and protection our  father for/over her that makes her insensitive to others' feelings. She is a very lucky woman. My father, even in his early nineties, still Pampers her in her old age. Great love, so overwhelming. 

My sister recalled, as we shared our bitterness together, with nostalgia, how my mum maltreated her, encouraged  our father to neglect her and even caused her sisters to hate her so much.  She told me a story of how on a certain day my mother's sisters gathered around her, with my mum and made her totally miserable. She said to me, "When you saw that, you moved to my side and sat down with me but one of your Aunts drove you away from me and as she left, you came back to stay with me". I said to myself, "Oh, dear, this is terrible". Amidst tears that I struggled with, I cracked a meaningful joke. I said to her, "Hey, so I have been this way, since, fighting for a just cause? No wonder we One of my younger sisters and I) don't ever agree with my mother as my other sisters do. So I didn't start this my fight against partiality and injustice today". We laughed and she told me other several ways I stood by her. Most of them, I don't remember. Bit I was grateful that my sister has appreciated me all this while without my knowing it. 

However, I pleaded with her to forgive my mother and our father and even, her mother who abandoned her.

The next incident I remember was the story my Niece told us recently as we shared childhood memories. She said to me,  we were cracking jokes about her husband, who also grew up with us in the neighborhood. As young as we were, the boy, now her husband was quite mischievous. His thoughts and deeds were all about sex. How to have sex with all the girls around. How old could we possibly be, 7, 8, 9 and 10 years. Some other girls were well above us , 11 years and above, up to sixteen. He was two years older. We all played  freely under light moonlight and our parents had no fears about that because, truly, we were safe. But what goes on with girls and boys "just" playing under the moonlight is something else. This is where the girls and boys who parents thought are just children begin to practise sex. This my Niece's husband was the Lead Sex  Seeker always. I gave him a real fight when he tried his pranks in me and I didn't stop there, I made sure that I took it upon myself to protect the other girls who I saw as his potential prey. One day a physical fight ensured between us when he called me, "Spoiler", because I kept a Ken watch over the girls as we played and immediately I noticed that he had excused any from the, "Wider! Wider! Form-a-Circle...", Play that we are together, I would cunningly call out the girl's name and she would have no choice but to join us. This angered him and he launched a fight. This took us to one of my Aunt's house and when they demanded to know why we fought, he couldn't bring himself to say what happened but I was bold enough to tell the elders in our midst that's each time we came out to play, Eddy was always coming to lure the girls into sex. And the elders gave a loud laugh. I was very furious. But this boy turned out to be my In-Law. Hahaaaa! Childhood memories. But I now see that I have always had this craving to fight for the right. His wife said to me as we cracked the jokes, "Sister, do you remember how you mobilized us once to go confront girls in the other neighborhood? She narrated how I equipped them with the words to use when we got there. Since we speak only our language in the village and the other girls have not been privileged to attend school and even gone out of the Village, I detailed them not to exchange words with them in our language but use English through out the quarrel period. And if you ask me, did these ones understand anything in English? But with my push, they went hit hard words that made no sense but tell you what, the other girls who already had an inferiority complex as they saw me, a teacher's daughter who has gone out of the village and the other girl whose father worked at the Post Office, they said to us, as we "Broke" the English language our own way that theybeven thought was perfect, " We are not quarrelling in English. Let us quarrel in our own language" But my soldiers stood strong. And they ran away... Oh! The power of Education. Hahaaaaaa.

Another one was at our home,. I had written this on World Pulse once. I saw that things were not going right. All because ours, was a polygamous home. The other sisters of mine were also rebellious because their mother is the one in the home. So many reasons, we had it like war front. I drew up a Duty Roster and later it on the wall. I guess I was just about 10 years. I sincerely wanted things to go right. I meant no harm but my eldest sister, from another mother, didn't find any good in that. So she tore it. And it got worst for me among my siblings when my Father praised everything about me. 

I grew up with a positive dormineering attitude that fights for things to go right. When the politicians gave my Father some confrontations, I was always at the fore front to make sure that they don't have their way.

I also have been blessed with a proactive instinct. I do things that shock, impress and also teach others, depending on your thinking. 

I began to put my pen on paper in 1999, to see how I can possibly mobilize support for the Change -dreams I had. This time, I wanted to run a Non-governmental organization (NGO), because I heard about what NGOs were doing to change life's situations but I didn't know how to start and where to get help. I wrote a piece of my dream on how to empower our local women and I gave it to one of our illustrious daughters (May God rest her soul) who was them An Assistant Inspector-General of Police. In that document, I outlined what could be done to educate the women and empower them to stand strong on their own. The woman looked at me with both surprise and happiness. She applauded my intelligence and even  mentioned it to other people but she did nothing to help the situation, until she died. All the people I approached lived my ideas and zeal but refused to join me in taking action on any thing.

Not until, God provided this Platform for me. When I searched the net for possible women supporting what others were doing, I ran into the SWEET MOTHER INTERNATIONAL organization. I wrote a few stories on the website on the activities I conducted in my State but when I searched further and ran into the WORLD PULSE online community, I stayed. I left the other groups and got  stuck. It took me also some years before I became active on the World Pulse. Reason is that, I wasn't just a computer illiterate, I had no means of using the computer. I couldn't go to cyber cafe to sleep as people used to do, even if you just wanted to send a simple greetings to someone on an email.

I searched and even saw Olutosin as she attended the COHORT Leaders training or sa. I saved the photos, not knowing that someday she too would run into me and make a telephone call that would connect us forever, together.

Today, through the World Pulse, I have met wonderful sisters and I am still meeting more. I am happy. And truly happy that at last, I have found for free, a space where I can share my dreams and aspirations. And it is working real good.

So now, you tell me, who do you say  that I am? Who do people say that I am?

In simple terms,  I will describe myself as passionate Crusader of equal rights and justice, raised standards of living and Social-Change Communication Activist, shifting the paradigm from noise making to taking actions that truly work and bring real change society can believe in.

I am not relenting efforts in changing the narratives for women. I mobilize them into a cohesive network that offers them opportunities and tools leading them to share skills in changing the narratives from conventional Women associations, to adopting global standard empowerment strategies.

I am sometimes a Lone-ranger that launches quietly but leaving echoes that are endless.

I am Florenece Kekong

A Journalist, Mother and Friend

A Self-Taught  Mobilizer/Social Entrepreneur

Passionate Change Maker

Fearless Woman

Initiator of Change Processes

An Empowered  Empowerment Agent

A World Pulse Ambassador

An Encouger

A Vocal and Inspiring Leader.

This story was submitted in response to The Real Me.

Comments 6

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Jill Langhus
Apr 06
Apr 06

Hello Florence Love,

What a lovely, in depth account of who you are and also why you love World Pulse so much, too:-) I'm glad you found it, and that it found you:-) It's an honor to have you on the platform.

I hope you and your family are safe and well, dear:-)

XX

fidelity
Apr 07
Apr 07

wow it nice to read about you, i am encouraged.
fidelity

florence kekong
Apr 07
Apr 07

Hi Fidel,
Enchante! Yeah, I spoke out to encourage others o speak out. Hope you are doing fine?
Kind regards, Dearie.

Hello, dear Flornce,

You really already have that leadership and thirst for justice as a young girl. I am so happy you found World Pulse, but more than that, I am so glad you stay active. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us.

Please stay safe and healthy always. The world needs more women like you!

florence kekong
Apr 07
Apr 07

Oh! Dear Karen, thank you so much. I truly feel good to be among great and fun loving women like you. Warm regards.

Selma Ndi
Apr 13
Apr 13

Hey Florence,
It has been so much fun reading your story. Funny how everything turned out right?. I am glad your relationship with your half-sister continues to grow. You make a badass leader. Continue being awesome