I can sum up 2013 as the year I learned to love. Anyone who knows me, truly knows me, knows that I struggle to let people in. Yes I am a social person and yes I enjoy meeting new people, but very few people actually see beyond the surface into both the beautiful and the ugly. This is the year I learned to love, to forgive, and to let go. I experienced some of the worst moments in my life so far as well as some of the best moments. I recall spending the first few months of the year virtually depressed and miserable and wanting to call it quits, I couldn’t understand why things were going the way they were going especially when I was so sure that 2013 would be my year and it would be smooth sailing. Ha! Joke was on me! Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, someone took a drill and a shovel and I fell further in. But it is during this time that I got to experience some of the strongest bonds of friendship and I also learned the power of prayer. And it was also during this time I learned to let people in.
I didn’t realize that a lot of the negative that was going on in my life had to do with my surroundings. My turnaround came after I started letting go of some people and some things. I slowly started coming out of the dark hole I was in and could actually see and feel the light. Not to say that all my problems miraculously disappeared, but I had a better grip on what I needed to do and doors started just opening everywhere and I was finally doing things that mattered to me such as my project African Queens. 2013 was also the time I met a man who showed me that good guys still exist and he had opened my eyes and my heart to a world of possibilities.
Just as doors had opened this year, others have shut, however I am not afraid of what 2014 may bring. I have never been so thankful for life as I am now, and though this year ends with an unexpected twist, I can only take everything that I learned this past year and use that as my foundation for the new year. I look forward to continuing to strengthen my old friendships and to making new ones. I am excited for the new adventures that are in store for 2014 and I know a lot of people will be surprised when they see what I have got going on behind the scenes.
I also want to say a big thank you to all my faithful readers and subscribers of this blog in over 116 countries around the world. Wow! I am humbled and blown away. All I can say is you will definitely not be disappointed in 2014 as I plan to turn things up. I am going to really expose myself in the hopes that people learn from my mistakes and hopefully they will also see what I am doing right and apply it in a way that makes sense in their own life.
I leave you with this quote from one of my favourite authors: “Our histories cling to us. We are shaped by where we come from.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
So a post has been long overdue, but I have been busy working on building a project very close to my heart called “African Queens Project“. A lot of people have been asking me who is behind this project and how did it come about. So I have finally decided that with recent events that have taken place (which I will happily share) this will be the best time to let you guys in on the behind the scenes of “African Queens Project”.
First to address the questions of who and/or what is behind ‘African Queens Project’ I must take you to the beginning to where it all began. It was the summer of 2012, in the bustling city of Accra, Ghana. I had just landed and was busy taking in my surroundings and praying that the people who were to pick me up were not operating on African time. I saw a tall lady holding a sign with my name on it and made a beeline for her pushing my luggage on the trolly as I went. I did not know what to expect, all I knew was that I was going to be surrounded by 27 women from different parts of Africa for the next 3 weeks. My prevailing thoughts were: PMS and a whole lot of Estrogen! If someone had told me that I would form life long friends and inspirational connections with my fellow African women, I would have given them an, “In your dreams” look.
So I bet you are now wondering why was I in Ghana with 27 other women? I had been selected to attend a prestigious fellowship whereby they look for 25 young African women leaders each year in Africa, and bring them to Ghana for intensive training and workshops and upon graduation you become a part of a prestigious network of women known as MILEAD Fellows. Part of the fellowship requires each fellow to carry out a project that targets women and children in their home country for at least a year.
So I remember taking my time while I thought about what I could do that I could willingly and happily put all my heart and soul into that would make a sustainable impact. I went through a lot of ideas in my head trying to think of the best way I could go about doing this while still staying true to my passions which is media and journalism. I knew I didn’t want to do just another program or project that would eventually die or be forgotten. I continued to ponder this as I went through the fellowship, listening to the intensive lectures and taking part in some of the workshops. We got to the part where different fellows shared their stories and backgrounds and what they are doing to revolutionize their country and community. As I sat listening to these stories, I was moved to tears several times when I heard stories of hardships, defeats, triumphs, and accomplishments from women who were still relatively “young”. That’s when I knew what my project would be about: providing a uniform platform whereby inspirational women can share their stories thus inspiring other young girls and women to aspire for more. ‘African Queens Project’ was born and the rest is history.
So currently I have seen ‘African Queens Project‘ taking shape and growing and becoming even more than I had imagined. I can happily and officially say that ‘African Queens Project‘ is an award winning project, and we will be honored in Sri Lanka as part of the World Summit Youth Award winners event. So that is it in a nutshell, you can read the press release to fill you in more about the award: http://africanqueensproject.com/awards/. I like what the Professor Peter Bruck, Chairman of the World Summit Youth Awards Board said about ‘African Queens Project’:
“African Queens Project’ is helping many women in Africa to exchange vital experiences and share a new world of possibilities and opportunities. It is important to make visible the struggles, triumphs, and victories of anonymous African women who are making a difference in this continent.”
So I leave you with that and be sure to check out the website as well. Until next time, inspire to aspire!
So I am back home in Tanzania and feel like I have woken up from a dream. Was I really in Ghana and surrounded by such incredible women, lectures, and leaders that have left me both humbled and inspired? Well, I know this for a fact: I was in the presence of greatness. I went into the experience skeptical and a bit pessimistic with thoughts like, ” This is going to be the same old type of conference, with the same old boring lectures, surrounded by a bunch of tired and worn-out workers and volunteers.” Boy, did I have another thing coming! I can honestly say I came out a different person, a better person because of the experiences and knowledge imparted to me from the MILEAD Women’s Fellowship (http://www.moremiinitiative.org/.)
I honestly wish that everybody could be a part of the greatness that I was immersed in, from the lectures, to the activities, to the friendships developed as well as to the mantle that has been imparted on the 2012 MILEAD fellows. This expeirience only established the fact that I am not a feminist, I am a humanist, someone who will stand up for injustice irregardless of race, creed or color. Though I support feminists who are fighting for women’s rights everywhere.
We are called for so much more and I know that Africa is going to be a force to reckon because of such women that I had encountered when I was in Ghana. Below are photos of my last day in Ghana and the completion of the program. My friends, watch this space because their are exciting things to come. We are one!
I still can’t believe she is gone! Just when I started accepting Michael Jackson’s death, another great one falls! But the deaths of these great artists, who in my book are beyond legendary, have left me with some thoughts that I would like to share.
Greatness is relative! You may look at someone and think that they have it all together, that they have made it. Yet they’re measuring themselves to a different standard, dancing to a different tune where they feel they still have not nailed the choreography yet. I think both Michael and Whitney fell in this boat, putting impossible standards and pressure on themselves until one day when it was already to late, they realized that they were human.
Another thought I had was the ideas of gifts and talents. I believe there is a major difference. A gift is something that we already have, its something that comes naturally to us without any effort. Talents need to be cultivated and nurtured for them to really shine through. I believe our creator placed in each of us different gifts and talents. Some are more obvious than others, examples being Miss. Houston and Mr. Jackson. Others are more subtle, not as conspicuous, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I also believe some people are blessed with more gifts and talents than others, and with this of course comes greater responsibility. If we don’t treasure these gifts that we have, just as they were easily given they can easily be taken.
I look at my own life, and what I have accomplished and what I am yet to achieve and have to remind myself that at the end of the day, I am going to be the one living with myself, my thoughts, and my actions. May my life (and yours) be all it can be and more, because the greatest gift that we can ever have is the gift of life.
Till now there are people who still think I am working at Capital Television and are shocked to hear that it has now been more than 3 months since I left there and have been working at my new job. Why did I change jobs when everything looked so bright and happy over at Capital TV you ask? Well maybe this will help a bit:
So now you are wondering, what is this new job?
Well we recently launched our revamped website and thought I would share it with all of you so you can see for yourselves where it is I work and what it is I do: http://www.maanisha.or.tz
We also moved in to our new offices which I love at 1st Floor C&G Plaza, 672/2 Old Bagamoyo Rd, Mikocheni B, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I will be sure to put up pictures ASAP.
So until next time, keep well and be blessed!
Thought this would be just another “Christian” event and it basically was the first day. OK dancing, mediocre singing, the confrontational call for money, nothing really moved or blew me a way. I was also one of the MCs at the event and was annoyed that things were not panning out the way it was suppose to, though I know a lot of effort was put in. I was even considering not going and probably wouldn’t if a few of my friends hadn’t convinced me otherwise.
But boy am I glad I did, something took over on the second day and everything was real and authentic from the dancing down to the rapping. My cold heart (towards religion not generally) was warmed and moved in ways I thought were lost and forgotten!
Though I no longer consider myself a Christian, but a seeker of truth, I can say with confidence that God was glorified that day.
Gone is the big hair, and in with the bob! Yes no more frizz, curls, or waves. I have finally taken the advice of my girl, miss Catheryn Massamu, (may have seen her on FNL on EATV) who has been telling me that she thinks a short bob would look great on me. I was hesitant to give up my Diana Ross/Tina Turner look, because long hair has a way of making you feel powerful. But I was wrong! Great hair = power!!
With this whole new look, I feel like I got this new freedom! Yes it may sound lame to some people, but if you have ever bought an outfit that makes you feel like a million dollars, or rocked a new do then you know what am saying! So here it is people, the new and improved Gloria!
This is my old college roommate back in California, Kimberly Adams. I found these as I was perusing through old pictures and was just washed over by a floodgate of memories.
These are some pics of the launch that had taken place back in August on the 14th, 2010
Rwanda`s Ambassador to Tanzania, Fatma Ndangiza (R), is interviewed on the sidelines of yesterday`s ceremony by me!
The executive chairman of IPP media, Reginald Mengi, speaking at the launch of Capital Television, the first complete English local channel in Tanzania.
Members of the diplomatic corps also attended the colourful ceremony….you can see the USA ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt kinda leaning in there.