Ann Njeri Reports On Poverty in Cambodia
Although still a relatively young (she’s in her mid-twenties), Ann Njeri bowled me over with her confidence, energy, positive outlook and wit. Over a period of three days, I had the pleasure of sharing 12 hours with her and a group of about ten other women from around the world in a Peace Circle led by Jean Brown and Ann Njeri herself. It was a moving and transformational experience.
It’s been more than a month since we said ‘see you again’ to our friends in AFL. Joan (Uganda) and I set into another journey after our enlightening, enriching, entertaining, educating and adventurous programme, AFL came to a halt. Our journey together hasn’t been any less of new learning, inspirations and adventures. We spent two weeks in Cambodia and three weeks in Indonesia.
I was worried that people will not be interested, whatsoever, with this two Africans in some Asian countries! Previously, it was easy to hide our inadequacies in the diversity of the AFL group.
But now, we were on our own, on the spot light and no diversity to make anyone interested in what we were doing! How do we still make our message likable? I have to admit that I was a bit stressed up! But I was wrong, even without the diversity the message was still very valid. People were interested in us and all that we were doing! We got a lot of invitations that we couldn’t make it all. Visited orphanages, NGO’s, made presentations in schools, universities, radio shows…name it all!
We also visited a NGO- ANANDA- which is running projects in the rural areas of Cambodia. We visited two of the villages where the organisation has projects. ‘God of the world, where are you when people have to live in such poverty?’ I couldn’t stop myself from questioning God. Talk of poverty in work. They work hard, very hard….but remain poor, very very poor!
While sited on the motor bike on our way back home, I was thinking ‘Why do some have so much and others have nothing at all? When will we all learn how to take care of each other? When will we learn to be ‘our brother’s keepers, our sister’s keepers? And where is God when all this is happening?’
My heart bled...and I made a decision to join few across the world that share their knowledge, skills, talents, wealth, values and all that they have selflessly. You wonna join? Welcome onboard!
On 24th May, we landed in crazy Jakarta and that was the end of our sanity!! We got busy…and I bet effective.
Among other things, we had a session on ‘Listening’ with 15 high school and primary school teachers in one of the prestigious schools in Jakarta. “This was scaring! I freaked out! It was the first time in my life to stand in front of teachers and be their teacher! I always suffer from overconfidence; this time round I was suffering from lack of it! One of our audience was a British man who has been in Indonesia for 10 years…at the end of the session he had this to say ‘I have lived and worked in nine different countries, so you would probably agree with me when I say I’m not impressionable at all, but I am must raise my hat to both of you for today. I I’ve rarely been as impressed as I was today. Good job. Well done!’ …Phew!! Thanks God.
The other scaring but successful meeting was with around 25 international students from 10 countries who are pursuing their Masters degree in Indonesia. Our theme was ‘Role of the young people in today’s world’ It was very interesting and fascinating to hear the very highly educated young chaps speak out their minds about their countries.
‘We are responsible for our future and our children’s future’ said one gent. ‘Thank you for coming to remind us of our responsibility’ echoed another.
One guy had a very different mind….I felt sad that he was thinking on those lines-with his level of education ‘There are very many illegal immigrants in my country, if I get in power today I will just kick them out. They are doing all the businesses and taking all our money. I just want them out of my country and I don’t care where they came from!’ His friend and country man came to apologize later for what his friend had said. It was good to at least know that not all of them had the same mentality. His thinking reminded me of Zimbabwe……and the hell it has become now.
And finally… “Ann Njeri in the house!” You probably don’t know that I like broadcasting. Well, I’ve got a passion for it. And we had a chance to be live on air in two community radio stations. Our talks dedicated to the most vulnerable people in any given society- the youth.
And at times when things were difficult and I felt down and out, I realised how much the power of positive thinking can do to me and any willing man. I totally agree with William Arthur Ward:
Real optimism is aware of problems but recognizes solutions; knows about difficulties but believes they can be overcome; sees the negatives, but accentuates the positives; is exposed to the worst but expects the best; has reason to complain, but chooses to smile.
Two African ladies going around some Asian countries… It’s been all great adventure, great learning and great sharing.
P.S.: We are now in Malaysia and will be here for a month before proceeding to Australia. Thanks for your prayers and support.
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