Friday, June 26, 2009

The Magnitude of Michael Jackson

siwezi kuamini [i can't believe it] wala sina sauti ya kuongea. Lakini nitajaribu.

I am numbed by the news. Reading Anengiyefa's post helped me this morning.

His question nudged me to express a little, to process now that he is (supposedly) gone, the impact MJ had on my life. Here's a comment I left in response to his question:

Within seven minutes of my walking through the door from work, tired and starving. Having just washed my hands in the kitchen after popping some leftovers in the microwave - I had not eaten since breakfast. My husband walks out of the master bedroom, where he'd been watching the news, leans heavily on the interior balcony railing; and in a voice choked with emotion says "...Michael has died."

I was not hungry any more. Just sad. Really really sad.

Rock With You. That is the song that does it the most for me. The one that helps me remember things my soul wants to forget. Those things that make me who I am. Those occurences, the cockles that line my heart. Rock With You revives those memories, delivers them to the forefront of my brain, because they matter.

Because "...even when the groove is dead and gone, yeah, you know that love survives, so we can rock forever..."

Michael Jackson, Rest In Peace.

And then I read Rethabile's beautiful poem, and that helped as well.

Kifo cha Michael Jackson kimenishtuwa, wala sina sauti ya kuongea.

Mama Shujaa

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Collective Voices

I have been conducting some interesting work: selecting one candidate to represent the Kenya Diaspora at the upcoming Biennial Ambassadors/High Commissioners Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in July-August, 2009.

Just over a dozen of us were contacted by the Kenya Embassy in Washington, D.C. under three weeks ago. We were charged with nominating amongst us, Kenyans in the Diaspora (the US, Mexico and Columbia), ONE member of the Diaspora to participate in the conference. The original communique came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nairobi.

Exciting stuff. As a vetting committee member, I've especially enjoyed discovering our talented candidates and their commitment to moving Kenya's agenda forward.

My recommendations on who will make a candidate for the role include:

- an individual who is best able to represent the aspirations and needs of the Diaspora in such a meeting;
- an individual who is able to participate effectively in the meeting;
- someone who is an active member of the community;
- someone who is engaged in organizing the Diaspora to be a collective force;
- someone with the knowledge of the realities of those in the Diaspora and also challenges and opportunities back home;

Essentially, someone who is involved in efforts to organize Kenyans in the Diaspora for the greater good of those here and those back home.

This weekend, we complete the vetting process and then begin the "grooming" of the candidate. At that point, we will tap into larger communities to develop a think tank of sorts as we develop well thought-out views, topics of interest that encompass our aspirations as a Diaspora community, to be presented by the representative. I am interested to hear from those of you in the Diaspora; and I will keep you updated on our progress.


Mama Shujaa.

The Shady Taxi Driver will be continued on next post.