Ann Njeri Says People Are Good

Susan notes: I met the beautiful and amazing Ann Njeri at the Initiatives of Change Tools for Change conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2009.

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.

Now, Ann Njeri shares her travel and cultural experiences as her life journey continues...

ann_njeri_aug_2009.jpgDear friends (August 2009),

“I keep my ideals because in spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart” Ann Frank 15yrs
Yes, I am with Ann Frank in this, people are really good at heart! I know this has a very questionable base- no doubt about it. No wonder people like Mme. De Staal had the courage to say “The more I see of man, the more I like dogs” I am sure you know what De Stall meant…what he felt. Don’t you? We all have seen it, if not done it ourselves!
But despite all the evils that are manning our world, society and even our homes, people are just beautiful creatures and in spite of our inadequacies, I will still fall for man other than a dog!

In Action for Life I had the chance to live with people from all sorts of background, academics, religions, cultures, traditions….A month ago while I was in Malaysia I was still living this experience since as a Christian I had the honour of being hosted by a Hindu family- which I must mention was absolutely remarkable. Their home was the most open homes I have possibly come across. At the same period I interned in a company owned by a Muslim. And how wonderful that I could still be a Christian in that environment. The more I stay and meet all these different people, the more stamps in my heart and head of how incredible people are.
It is from these experiences and others that I have been convinced beyond any doubts that human beings are just marvelous. I remember when I stayed with a Jain family for a week in India. Believe me the family treated us in a manner that will remain indelible in my heart. Our host mum, a staunch Jain, always cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for the seven ever hungry foreigners from seven countries. I don’t know if you have an idea how difficult it is;  a) to have foreigners in your house  b) to cook for more than 10 people? c) to have them for a whole week!? As if this was not enough, our host mum and dad gave up their bedroom for us!!
The love and hospitality was just unbelievable. I felt ashamed of the prejudices that I had been fed with about India, Indians, Hindu’s –Kenyans might understand this a little too much? I just couldn’t stop my tears as I said ‘see you another day.’ to the family.
In Cambodia I was moved so much when we visited a family which is quite poor. But they had gone an extra mile to get us some rare and expensive delicacy in the area- four barbequed rats, which were amazingly delicious!! I know that awakens the devil in you!! I can confess that I am quite picky when it comes to food and you would have expected me to be the fussiest but the love, respect, the acceptance that the family showed us broke my fussiness into pieces and I was there enjoying the rats like no one else! I swear people are just good at heart! They really are.
In all the places that I have been, I have experienced a people that I never knew. I have seen the side of life I never dreamt of; The University students in Jakarta who had to miss their lectures to transport us to places where we had to talk or lead workshops; the endless dinner and lunch invitations in Malaysia; The gifts that kept on flowing in our hands from so many people.  The bunch of winter clothes that had been collected for us to shield us from the biting cold in Australia; The financial support from individuals, to support my journey to join Action for Life all through to Stepping Stone Programme in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and now here in Australia. The Kalenjin family, who transcended the tribal factor and slaughtered a lamb for my friend and me when we went to lead some workshops in their area-back in Kenya; The love, the care, the honest concerns, breaks me into tears.
People are good. But even with the best of intentions we all make mistakes. For this reason, I have come to find it very helpful to view life and people from a positive perspective. A perspective that can forgive when one goes astray; one that can respect and understand when there is a conflict. It is good to remember that many people are trying to be as good as they can. Along the way comes frustrations and disappointments…..and we go astray-who doesn’t? And when we go astray, it doesn’t mean that we are all bad. We just need a loving and caring heart, hand, ear.. to bring us back to the right way.
Don’t get tired of thinking and doing well. You are not alone.
With all this scattered efforts…there is hope of a better world.
With Love,
Ann Njeri

Related links:
Ann Njeri Didn't Turn Out To Be A Nun, But She's Still True To Her Calling
Long Live Islam Says Ann Njeri
Ann Njeri Reports On Poverty in Cambodia
Take the Initiative: You Can Make a Difference
Ann Njeri (Change Agent) Takes a Pledge of Peace