Home Is Us, an introductory video
I squeezed myself into the trunk of the tree, cautiously lifting my feet off the ground. The large tree let my little body hang freely, my thighs intimate with its bark. I held tight, afraid to make any move.
“Come on”, my sister Pam encouraged me. My feet tightened around the tree. Then I slowly wiggled against the tree’s bark and stretched out for the first branch.
“You got this, Bisieri,” Mama used my nickname as encouragement. She gave my little bootie a push. I stretched out my hands, dug my feet deeper into the tree, and swung my body away from it to move myself up. Using my left hand to anchor my body, I gripped the lowest branch and pulled myself up, reaching for the higher branches.
And there they were: perfect yellow loquats, hiding amid the broad dark green leathery leaves, enticing me to savor their sweet and tangy taste. I hurriedly plucked them. I shoved three of the small, round and juicy fruit into my mouth all at once. I devoured their irresistible flesh while spitting out their dark brown seeds.
The Girl Child: And Her Long Walk To Freedom
When I was a little girl, I watched my mama tear her wedding pictures into pieces. The pictures had been beautifully displayed on the wall in our house, depicting my mama and father looking crazy in love and happy. I couldn’t understand why my mother would tear up these pictures, the only evidence of beauty in my parents’ relationship. The real picture of life in my household was one of domestic violence and struggle. My father and some paternal relatives physically, verbally, and emotionally assaulted my mother every single day, openly in front of us three girls. I am the last born of my sisters. We grew up in a rural village in Kenya where Mama was beaten down and suffered so much stigma and discrimination for not bearing sons. The domestic violence affected not only my mother and us but also the very people who perpetrated it, especially my father. My father was a churchgoing career man who worked at the bank and also as a teacher. He, too, suffered societal norms of boy preference and was publicly insulted as the “sonless, unmanly, uncircumcised woman.” Without a son, a man was considered unworthy of community leadership or respect, unless he remarried and bore sons to carry on his name and inheritance. My father eventually drank himself to death—alcohol abuse, together with violence, addicted and intoxicated him like a deadly pandemic.
Mpanzi women and girls: stories of hope
Mpanzi supports women and girls by promoting education, economic empowerment, livelihoods, and social wellbeing.