Before we roll any stone, allow us to introduce to you this wonderful and great innovation by our beloved human rights activists, feminists and young women on the frontline to sensitize and help each cope up with the negative impact caused by the deadly Coronavirus pandemic plus beating the trauma that the virus may leave behind. Under Elle Parle Diaries (French term meaning She Speaks) which is a women’s association where the do many things like giving a platform to women to speak up and express their views across various topics pertaining matters around them.
WHAT THEY SAY…
We have always kept connected and supported each other’s struggles through continuous check in as a support mechanism, optimism in each one’s goals and pushing each other forward to experiencing platforms to better our skills that vary and now that we are handling the COVID-19 situation, we have challenged ourselves to write and share our stories, with hope that they may be of help to other sisters out there.
It took us quite a long time to develop voices, and now that we have the voice, we are not going to be silent, we want to share every bit of our footsteps and strides. We took time to pour out our experiences into writing. We hope our stories will make you feel okay as we together embrace changes that come along with the pandemic, now and its post effects. We highlight our self care treatments, our pushing forces, words of encouragement to any of us going through the deepest pains, we hope our stories can inspire you into writing, and speaking up in the struggle! We want the stories to spread all over Africa in order to maintain the spirit of our common goal of comfort and security of our inner selves.
ATIM VANNESSA opens the diary by an inspiring quote that gets the women rolling on with the inspirational talk as you are about to read, She is the founder of PROINTERNS and a very inspiring woman and here is her quote that will get you moving on.
“Never underestimate your worth, talents, skills, beauty and strength. You are deserving of great things, let no one tell you any different. Stop waiting around to be saved, start with the resources you have to make small changes on a daily basis. Have faith in yourself, and do the work. God bless you.” Atim Vannessa
This time round, it is a Law student at UCU Kampala and Christian feminist at Elle Parle Women’s Association, founder Femme Talk West Nile Patience Poni Ayikoru who is inspired by Dr. Miria Matembe as her mentor and mother alongside Fancy Sheila a feminist and a Law student at IUIU that are holding the mantle to make sure everyone reads through this diary of feminists and get to understand what women are holding for the World. Let us roll you through what every woman is writing in this wonderful diary that include Miria Matembe and more influential women.
VISION MUST BE DISTINGUISHED FROM AMBITION, BY DR. MIRIA MATEMBE
FEMINIST, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE Leadership is a service. You must know what drives you. Effective leaders are driven by vision. And vision must be distinguished from ambition. Ambition is that which drives you to compete with others and be on top of them whereas vision is that which drives you to do good for others. So, there is a big difference between a person with a vision and one with an ambition. Many of our leaders, they allow their personal ambition to drive them in Leadership and therefore at the end of it all it’s not about ourselves.
Leadership is a service. They act like they are not human centered, and service oriented. They are self-centered and power oriented. When you are self-centered and power oriented, you cannot be an effective leader of integrity whose purpose is to serve others. So, for me as a person, to be successful in leadership and I say successful because leadership is About Influential service, it is not about making wealth, or making power. But how you serve. Follow a goal that is good for the betterment of your life.
The foundation of good leadership is integrity. Integrity is central. Humility too of course, However humility comes in terms of service, the moment you know that leadership is about service, then certainly when you have to serve you have to have humility. You don’t boss over others. If you want to be an effective leader, then you must serve others. But central to leadership is integrity. I want to quote the scripture; where David knew that God had made him a King of Israel and made him to serve the people of Israel. And he managed to shepherd them with integrity and a skillful hand. He knew that God had made him the King for the sake of his people of Israel.
Quoting the Bible, 1Chronicles 14:2, “And David perceived that the Lord had confirmed him King over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.”
This rides us to the next feminist that is writing in this amazing Elle Parle diary…
WE MAKE OUR PLANS BUT GOD HAS THE LAST WORD BY PATIENCE PONI AYIKORU
FOUNDER FEMME TALK WEST NILE.… Indeed! many of us made plans for the year; we had set deadlines, programs and all the sort, but as a result of forces beyond our human control, we had to adjust accordingly. In the play Aminata by Francis Imbuga; the antagonist Jumba learnt from his lessons of refusal to adopt to change and finally stated, “If one does not accept change, then change will change him”. I want to agree with Jumba. My sister, it doesn’t matter whether your plans have been canceled, or postponed, you need to adopt to this and also fit in by creating plans that can fit in the situation. Our journey is not to be limited by circumstances, we are created in a unique and beautiful way, in that we can do a lot in our various capacities using available resources.
For example; if I were in the village, I would adopt and learn how to cook more traditional dishes, learn the culture that is in place today, compare it to that of our ancestors, appreciate the need for our struggle to achieve a seat at the table on a daily. I know… it’s not easy, but I believe we can do something on a daily within our reach to keep ourselves interested and pushing on. Well, the guidelines on the lockdown found me in Arua district at home; at first everything freaked me out, I found it difficult to adopt to the change. I was set to attend a number of conferences. I am currently sitting at home, writing this while seated on a mat under a mango tree.
I do housework, engage more with my siblings, and my very best! I have been learning so much about feminism. I have read so many books in this time, I interest myself in reading more than writing. Actually, this is the first time am writing in the lockdown. I have read books like The Proverbs 31 Woman by Mike Murdock, Healing the Soul of a Woman by Joyce Meyer, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and many others. I have also watched series like Queen of the South, Friends, Scandal.
I am also engaged in a project with Students Against COVID-19, and I enrolled for virtual internship with White and Case Law Firm in London. Dear sister out there, I am with you at heart, I think about us on a daily and I can’t wait to share stories of our experience in person during our physical circles. Do not tire!
A FANCY LETTER FROM FANCY BY AROMORACH FANCY SHEILA
FEMINIST… Dear beautiful sisters, you need to start smiling as you read me please! but first let’s have a mini flashback. For some time now, I have emotionally struggled with “My Body Vs My Age“, where people take me for a much younger girl because of my physic and this became worse when I cut short my hair; and so I wasn’t taken for real until my tongue slash-open with sound!!! Now during this lockdown, I have focused on practically effecting an Ideology I learnt overtime thus ‘Focus on what your body can do and not what It looks like’. I am working on my Oratability by practicing what to say when, how, and getting my diction right plus dressing up for when and what -#SpeechIsMyDeal!
So keeping my mental health upright has been greater now for I don’t want to get back to society weak for I themed my lockdown as #SeekingPositiveVibes thus with even the many articles on our little hope on survival of this pandemic, I have decided to sieve where I shall be getting information on happenings around the world; from specific media especially news times as well as from twitter handles of Medical persons at the frontline like Ministry of health…believe me this is a relief and am up to date on information with hope on life after this. I have also decided to keep myself happier by cooking my cultural foods better, this makes me excited every time; to try, fail, eat, too salty – it’s fun.
In a wrap my dear, I with trust encourage you to be a part of meaningful discussions and engagements via Tweet chats, Zoom, and the like for this shall keep your social spirit alive. Number two is you need to decide from whom and where you need to get Information on COVID19 and any other happening (but don’t limit yourself again) during this time for it shall moderate your anxiety levels. You can also draw, write up the Utopia livelihood you want to be a part of after this Novel Virus, this will get you excited to do a lot after the lockdown.
Lastly, do what you like doing best (dancing, eating, cooking, modeling, singing), make a recording of it, watch it and just have fun or share with close ones, for who knows your hidden talent or passion is there. Don’t forget #YourMentalHealthIsYourPower.
We are then brought to the epic talk, the diary is getting better and hitting the notch, let us bounce to Edna and read her say about defeating the effects of COVID19
LETTER TO SELF BY EDNA KANYESIGYE FEMINIST, ELLE PARLE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER FARAJA AFRICA FOUNDATION
I see you, beautiful. I see you trying to be better, to make use of this season, to make ends meet, to make sense of the changes. I see you trying to keep that smile, trying to hold steady, trying to remind yourself that life is ok. I see you trying to live through your every day and remind yourself that you’re a queen, that you have purpose and value. I see you dear one, trying to keep those demons in, trying to shut out the silence screaming at you. I see you trying to feel like yourself again, trying to love yourself, trying to be human.
After all the sun on your face no longer feels the same; it’s just a cruel reminder that another day has started. The gentle wind that once held whispers of strength, love and assurance now blows open those forgotten favorite hard copy books. Those calls and texts are not what they used to be; it’s getting harder every day to check on your loved ones. Binge watching’s become your new favorite thing because renewing your subscription gives you unmerited joy. And that food? Reducing on your carb intake just doesn’t matter anymore. I mean who still works out, right? There’s no white or black.
It’s all grey… Some how you’re ok. Even in those dark moments when getting out of bed is an uphill task, the Almighty looks after you and your loved ones. You’re healthy and alive so there must be a reason for living in this time. Think of the aftermath. I bet you’ll have plenty of reason to be grateful because you’ll have made it through this seemingly bleak season.
So, in the meantime slap on that lipstick. Throw on that hot number hanging in your closet and model in the corridor. Play in the rain. Lay under the great sky in its wonderful vastness and count those stars. Sing in whatever keys you want wearing socks that don’t match. Keep making those calls and checking on your loved ones because those conversations will definitely get you through the days ahead.
Dust those books and let your beautiful mind go on several adventures. Live. And give thanks for every little thing because there’s always something to thank God for. He’s watching over you. You’re not forgotten. Life may go back to square one for a while some days but you’ll make it through. You always have and you’ll most definitely will. One day at a time. Step by step you’ll get there, sweetheart…
FOUNDER, NILE GIRLS’ FORUM… 2020 is the year lockdown became the new normal. Businesses, places of worship all suspended, Nevertheless, this does not mean our brain and ideas are on a lock down too. What are you investing in your brain right now? I am proud of myself and every girl out there that are ambitious and quick to try new things even when we do not succeed.
You see the value of investment, building relationships, whether that’s hours of exchanging WhatsApp messages, reading Gabrielle Unions we’re going to need more wine, or having lengthy conversations with a friend while you take a walk along the Kampala Northern Bypass without disregarding their differences. Though you do not yet have many of the things you dreamed of when you were younger, such as that dream job, you walk with your head up through the doors that open to you. You truly live your reality, even though it is different from the one you expected
As you embark on your next years in life, here a few things I want to tell you that may help along in this journey. You are not perfect and you do not have to be. Never let your mistakes define you. Maybe you feel time is running out for you, it is okay to start a business at 30, it is okay to get married at 35. You are more beautiful and you are strong. At times, it does not feel like your sacrifice is paying off. Keep fighting, you are strong=strong enough to fix another girls crown. The Lord sends us to the broken to the hopeless to be a channel of restoration and hope not because we are the most qualified or the crème de la crème. He chooses us to show his splendor and glory.