Tuesday, October 8

Letter to Mama




 Celebrated the International day of older persons with a “Letter to Mama”

On this year’s International day of older persons, October 1st, I asked a couple of good friends both online and offline to join me in celebration and to name and write a letter (shared below)to one woman aged 60 or and above who has inspired her / him.

six lovely people (including myself) named one elderly woman who has inspired and influence their life and perspective positively.





Dr. Kristin Bodifordon Ms Peery

Ms. Peery,

You have welcomed me into your community with open arms.  I am grateful to you and know that you will change me and my life. In the way that you move through this world and are in relationship with others around you, you remind me that we are all connected to each other and to nature.
Would you be OK if I write a book called “What I learned about community building from Ms. Mary Peery”? You have much to contribute to those working to make their communities a better place for all people.

I look forward to journeying with and learning from you. I also look forward to meeting more of your wonderful and large family. You amaze me. I would say you are a hero.

With much love,

Kristin

Villacrese Guilleon her Mum

I join the United Nations International Day of Older Persons celebration.  I honor all the older persons that have influenced my life and helped shape who I am today. Immediately, I thought of several people I could direct the letter to. 

After much consideration and reflection, I write this letter to a woman who has demonstrated; more so, by actions than by words what it is to have determination, wisdom and grace.  I speak of a woman who faced many obstacles in life. 

She raised the children by herself, while her husband worked long hours to provide for the family. She spent her time making sure her children had homemade meals, succeeded in school and learn values on how to relate to others.  She was determined to wisely administer those resources to make it through each paycheck and then save for a “rainy day”. 

She demonstrated how to live modestly yet, “comfortable”.  She emphasized the greatest accessories one can wear is one of a positive attitude and gratitude.  In her life I saw her reap rewards as a result of her determination and wisdom investing in her home and her family.  For now, her adult children care for her and her grandchildren honor and respect her.  Her grandchildren seek to have her cook their favorite dish and hear her tell stories of life "back then".   This woman is my mother; an example of grace, wisdom and determination.

Zoneziwoh MbondguloonMami Helena N.
Dear great grannie, or should I say, Hulo ‘Holy’ sister, as you are fondly called. Today seems to me as your birthday. I wish I was around to light your+80th candle or throw you a huge birthday party, which you deserve.

With you in my life, I am proud. You have set several positive lessons – you haveaffected many lives particularly that of young mothers and girls- who needs your words of wisdom for self-growth and development.

Today as I write, your little thatch home in the village is a grassroots daycare for children, little infants while their parents go to farm or work. An unpaid job you do with all passion and love.

Your kind heart and compassion to humanity is always aninspiring, and a teaching guide to many – including myself.

Today, in commemoration of the International Day of older persons, I show my gratitude to you, and 
to all other elderly mothers who have shown compassion to our world.

Thank you ‘hulo’ sister!


Kathryn on Sandy

Dear Sandy,
            Thank you for everything you have done for me throughout the years.  Your strength, courage and faithfulness have really inspired me to be the person I am today.  I am forever thankful for the wisdom and power you have taught me.
           
         You have always welcomed me with open arms, and never have turned your back to me.  Not everyone is as lucky as I am to know a person as great as you.  Your love and support will always shine through me as I continue to follow my dreams. 

You have inspired me in more ways than you will ever know.  Through the years, you have taught me the importance of family, and the significance of life values.  Many admire your loyalty, motivation, and determination.  Thank you for your guidance.  You are my hero!

Love always & forever,

Kathryn

Breana on Kacie

Dear Kacie,
            Thank you so much for opening your mind and your heart to all of us these past few years.  Your kind words of wisdom, strength, and determination have truly been an inspiration.  I look forward to your home cooked meals and freshly baked cookies (just for me) every time we get together. 
            You have impacted my life in more than one way.  You have exposed me to the realities of our world, and have helped me navigate my way through it all successfully.  I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it wasn’t for you.  Thank you for being you, you are truly my hero!

Love,

Breanna 

Grace Ikirimaton Honourable Dr. Miria R.K. Matembe

Dear Honourable Dr. Miria R.K. Matembe,

Today I reflect at that moment I first had a touching encounter with your words in the 1990s. Politicians, activists …talk outrageous words and it is the usual.
Your stern statement “Men are in possession of a potentially dangerous instrument which should be cut off unless it is properly used”, “castrate men who defile and rape girls and women”will remain a landmark. This took many people by shock and flabbergast. But this was a reflection of the outrage of the affected. Like the saying goes ‘When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news’. This was the situation.

I remember as a young woman, these words of passion, energy and voice put me in a sober moment to gather myself and rethink what really was contained in your words. From then, I began to follow keenly debates on gender issues and this has shaped my personality, broadened my judgment and understanding generally.

Indeed today, I have no doubt that your ability to voice the universality of women issues and consistently standing up against unjust situations that need correction, without compromising the need to contextualize women’s oppression in different settings has yielded positive results.

No wonder you have earned a gallery of strong adjectives describing you. “You are: a professional conversationalist, political evangelist, senior concerned citizen, avant-garde preacher, governance specialist, hard core, bitter truth vendor, moralist, women rights activist, avowed feminist, voice of the voiceless African woman, wife, mother, …name it, the list is endless”.

Dr Miria Matembe, you are one of those brains that have shaped the legal environment and constitution of Uganda and today we have one of the best gender sensitive constitutions in the world. To date, at least one third of women are in political offices. You have made women visible and audible.

While in Parliament you stood up and demanded fair treatment of views of women to be heard and not treated as intruders in the House. To you, it was serious business in Parliament; hence you were labeled “alarm-clock” for waking up sleeping Members of Parliament. You were vocal against use of sexist remarks and promoted use of gender-neutral language in Parliament. Today, women can stand up and demand to be respected and heard (including myself) in any sphere of life without being shut down.

Hurray! You championed the ‘1.5 Struggle’ on the education of the women and girls in Uganda. The introduction of affirmative action for girls’ education is a policy that enabled me pursue my university education. Many women will attest to benefiting from the 1.5 additional points for admission into an institution of higher learning. Otherwise, I would have not joined university then.
You championed the amendment on spousal co-ownership of the marital home and land used for daily subsistence of the family in 1998. You put up a spirited fight that saw the Domestic violence Act; the Female Genital Mutilation Act and the Trafficking in Persons Act passed. To date, refund of dowry, Female Genital Mutilation is outlawed. I now understand and value I'm not commodity or a good to be priced and paid for, neither is my daughter.

You have always stood for the truth such as opposing the constitutional amendments that did not favor democratic principles of governance in Uganda such as removal of Presidential term limits something you termed a form of corruption. As minister of Ethics and Integrity, you were vocal on corruption and called for zero tolerance and stern action on all those found unethical and corrupt. I today appreciate that it is women and children who suffer most from the effects of corruption and detest corruption...[ read more]