“Can’t the whole world hear this?” That is a question that I often ponder on in the process of my work among different communities. There is so much happening, yet the world doest seem to know what is happening as it never gets into the main world news.
The past two days have been an ‘aha’ moment for me. I have been attending the WWP (Women Peace Makers Program) writers’ forum. I first came across WWP in December 2007 during the first training on gender and active non violence for African women leaders. I have been involved in the program in different activities and training since then and I was excited to get invitation for the writer’s forum for the WPP alumni. As the sixty women and one man from about 21 African Countries gathered in the hall at Silver springs Hotel in Nairobi one could only see woman, but by the end of the two days, one could not help but see great women, with great stories to tell.
As the session started, it was clear that the main of the session was just one, to write our stories. As I listened I felt that I didn’t have any story to tell. As we began sharing in groups our different stories I felt that something was taking shape, the stories that different women told were so touching that I couldn’t look at any woman the same way once I heard their story. The emphasis on personal stories shaping the lives of African communities and literature was emphasised. By the end of the first day, we started writing our stories and as I opened a fresh page to start typing, I was not sure I had anything to write nothing glamorous or heart wrench. Surprising that, but once I started the first sentence, I could barely stop and found myself sleeping after midnight, not having finished my story! There is a story to tell after all.
It reminded me of the many great stories of women that I have listened to or read about, great stories of courage, suffering, inspiration, disillusionment……..all in a day’s work. Last year, I was engaged in capturing stories of courage of women, through my organisation. During this period I could not help but wipe a tear with every new story that I listened to or read about. I interviewed a few young women while others wrote their stories. The women who gave me their stories were all aged below 38 years, quite young. However the stories they told sounded like someone who had lived 101 years, and I was always amazed, “how did you manage all that” I kept asking each and every one of them.
The different answers given can be summarised as follows, “Because I am a woman and I have other women in my life and I have a belief in myself”
It became all clear; it was all about what women have been doing each and every day but it remains invisible. It all came back to support from other women in their lives. Each and every woman I listen to in my daily life always leave me having a different view of the woman in all cases, a very deep respect of these women. I wish the stories can be written over their faces so that everyone who encounters them knows that there is a story behind this woman. Many other persons, youth, men…are doing great things in their lives, and sometimes, as I look at a person on the face value I can not start to imagine what they have had to go through in their lives to be where they are.
When is sit back to listen to the news, I only hear a fraction of what is happening in the world and I feel that there are unrepresented voices that nobody will get to hear. My passion is to make life better for community members’ women and men, girls and boys and this can always happen if the voices of women are heard. I find peace and joy in the shared stories of life.
I have listened to many women and girls tell their stories and wondered how better the world would be if their stories were told. I feel privileged that even if I can not access international, national or local media houses, I can have a space online, where I can tell my story and the stories of other women with the freedom of knowing that I can be editor and the writer of my news.
I believe that every woman has a great story to tell, but many times women have remained in the background, their voices unheard. There is a story behind every woman, and the story need to be told. There is a story behind every yet many times we never get to tell them. How inspiring it would be for others if we can make our stories known. One’s life can not be captured in written, but just a fraction of it is inspiring enough to make changes in others lives. I now believe more than ever, there is a story… that should not remain untold.