Monthly Archives: July 2011

“MOMENTS” ARE LIFE’S MARKERS IN A JOURNEY

Standard

This research journey will cover a wide terrain. I will encounter a variety of different trails full of clear paths and unforeseen bends in the road. What is steering this research path? I am led by an ethical moral compass seeking truth for the participants of our study. This advocacy research will be a formal and evidence-based voice sharing the narratives of the change agents involved and the powerful stories of the participants involved with FGM. I firmly believe that this joint research path is a memorable life marker. One day when I’m old and gray…I will look back fondly to this memory and feel so humbled that God set me on this course. Where will it take me…only He truly knows.
Meeting with the Nairobi Team:
Today our research team met with the director of the Nairobi Equality Now office and we discussed our shared vision for our program evaluation study. The synergy between our teams speaks of the amazing compassion that we have for the child brides fleeing female genital mutilation. The EQNN women received us with such grace and enthusiasm. They communicated their appreciation for the special gift that the SCWB team will extend to their initiative. Social Changers without Borders, Inc. will conduct this program evaluation as a charitable service to support the TNI program director so that she can position herself globally to advocate for funds. Regrettably, the funding universe, seeks quantitative and qualitative findings that demonstrate how a program’s objectives are met. When the TNI change agent is on the field working intimately with the pressing issues of the girls… tell me…who has time to write up reports and do data analysis? I am asking God to use me as a vessel—a platform builder for others who need to establish this formal and scientifically-based voice.
Mentally Preparing:
I used a variety of resources to give me some background on the Maasai tribes. Today I learned that their lives mainly revolve around the raising of their cattle. This animal sustains this community because it provides meat, milk, and blood (the staple foods of their diet).

The Maasai are a resilient culture because of their nomadic roots. In fact, when it comes to issues of FGM…they are very resistant to change, because everything they do is deeply connected to traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. If you ask the Maasai to examine their practice of FGM and to change…you are asking them to do the equivalent of CTRL, ATL, DELETING a file that is central to their story…suspending their identity of who they are as a people.“Like many other cultures, the Maasai have myths about their origins, and the origins of their customs and traditions. Folklore explains the origin of female circumcision in the story of Naipei, a young girl who had intercourse with the enemy of her family, and whose punishment came in the form of circumcision, a decision her family took to prevent her from feeling the urges that had led her to commit the crime.Since that day, in a bid to protect their honor and the honor of the Maasai society, all Maasai girls who reach adolescence have been circumcised. The aim of FGM is therefore to limit the sexual desire and promiscuity of girls.” To read more on this you can follow this link  http://www.irinnews.org/InDepthMain.aspx?InDepthId=15&ReportId=62470

Advertisements

Safe in Nairobi

Standard

We had a wonderful flight. It was nice to spend some time in Amsterdam to gear up for the next leg of our journey to Kenya. Dutch is such a beautiful language…it reminds me a little of German.

Today we are in Nairobi getting ready to meet with the small grassroots organization director that will serve as a guide for our work with TNI. Tomorrow we are getting ready for the four hour trip. We are making sure we have plenty of water for our two week stay. I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight. I’m counting the hours.

Packed and Planning Ahead

Standard

The public health and educational disparities that affect child brides fleeing from female genital makes my “teacher’s heart” cry out for change. These girls don’t want to get married…they want to go to school. The minute they become a child bride, they lose an education! As a school teacher going on this trip, I have learned that I may not be a public health expert, but my desire to give children a chance to LEARN is what can truly make a difference. This is where I fit in as an educational researcher…I will not second guess myself… but walk boldly in faith that God can use me as an instrument for global educational change.

I have all of my research materials printed and packed. I can’t wait to see the girls and to meet the director of the Girls’ Refuge Shelter in Kenya.  The program evaluation that our SCWB team will conduct is a charitable contribution that will serve the TNI Kenyan grassroots organization.  It is an honor to serve in this capacity.

I am more honored to travel with Elizabeth. Believe me when I say… I have seen Elizabeth in action at the Charity Red Carpet Event in New York.  She shared so many compelling narratives regarding the tragic impact of female genital mutilation (FGM).  By the end of the evening, the benefit participants walked away eager to learn more about this cause and how we can all help.  If you want to read more…visit www.socialchangers.org and go to the BLOG page sharing more about FGM.

Don’t worry…in October…Social Changers without Borders, Inc. will have another event. A wine-tasting and silent auction that will showcase pictures and video from our work in Kenya.  When I get more information, I will post it on our Friends of Social Changers website. http://friendsofwaldeninternationalcorp.shutterfly.com/

PROGRAM EVALUATION: GIRLS REFUGE SHELTER AND SCHOOL IN KENYA, AFRICA

Standard

In less than a week, Elizabeth and I will be flying from Amsterdam and landing in Nairobi to meet with one of the program coordinators from the Equality Now office.  She will be our liason for the program evaluation work we will do in TNI.  Wow…it is only days away.  I’m praying for so many things…cultural understanding, prime research conditions, and our well being.

Female Genital Mutilation among the Maasai of KenyaCollaborative project with Equality Now. Click the link for more information:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HflMxeGeUOA

Program Evaluators & Researchers: Elizabeth Ndubisi-Ukandu, Dr. Vilma Caban-Vazquez, Ed.D and Dr. Tom Diamond, Ph.d