On The Treadmill

Wambui Kairi
Posted October 6, 2010 from Kenya

Today I appeared before the same lady in the same office I was in yesterday in the same outfit. In other words, I did not change attire except for a Tee shirt and other body enhancing aids not commonly visible to the eye unless you are a model like the one on the picture here. Needless to say, I was pretty uncomfortable and fidgety as I sat next to the same credit officer in our cooperative society to discuss the loan I had applied for. I could not help thinking that she is looking at my outfit and wondering silently “just where did this woman sleep or is she a uniformed watchman passing through after her night shift”. To my relief, she went on with the discussion with the freshest disposition and professionalism. Then I realized that what I wore was the least important in her mind at that moment and she did not even notice it or care if she did. Her concern was that I got all the assistance to make an informed decision on my business loan plan.

This experience was a win win episode. My fears were arrayed and I was transformed into a confident participant in the discussion. I had perceived change in its physical sense as in change of attire but the credit officer transcended beyond that by making me at ease and building my confidence. Very often in our community, we are bogged down by tradition, prescribed roles and practices that defy the changing times, fear and low self esteem, lack of communication etc. We are concerned more with physical change rather than the ultimate psychological and spiritual transformation. Like the jogger on a treadmill, we keep pumping the same spot without moving forward.

It is recognized that change is very dynamic and problematic at most. There are so many changes I would wish to see in my community and in the world but experience has shown that they may not happen in the change-mover’s life time but someone has to take the first step. It is also true that change does occur when we tackle the seemingly ‘small’ things and issues instead of waiting to move the world. I am engaged in a couple of these but just to mention one.

Back to my cooperative society. The United Women Cooperative Society was started to take care of self employed women entrepreneurs and professionals who may not fall within cooperate or salaried organizations that have registered their own cooperative societies. Among its members are small business women such as fish-mongers, freelance consultants, designers, general merchants etc. Among them would be retirees and retrenchees from public and private sectors. Being young, the society needs to build up membership to ensure sufficient guarantor base when one needs a loan. I am on a recruitment drive to support my Society and reclaim the cooperative identity of self employed women. Pulse wire Kenya Sisters, are you one of them. Let us meet here for details.

Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change

Comments 3

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  • Leelee
    Oct 06, 2010
    Oct 06, 2010

    Interesting - just the other day someone told my really intelligent, beautiful, social activist friend "why are you in development work, you need to be in the private sector, you just need to lose the locs" (i.e the hairstyle linked to Rastafarianism) It is interesting that we are still "judged" by how we look or dress - I have locs too but I am not rasta - but yet I guess I too would not be seen as being "professional" enough in some circles! It's crazy!

  • Carri Pence
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oct 13, 2010

    Thanks for your strong commitment to VOF. Your views are strong and your want for a better world enlightens us all who read your entry.

    -Carri Pence

  • amymorros
    Oct 19, 2010
    Oct 19, 2010

    I often exercise on a treadmill and I never quite feel the sense of accomplishment I do when I have walked outside and can see how far I have gone. The work you do fills an important need in your community. Those seemingly small changes can have a ripple effect and be transformed into bigger ones.