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Women peace makers and associates

My name is Jane Wanjiru Ndugu. I am 54 years old. I was married and my husband got sick and died because we were unable to raise the hospital fee. I was left with our 6 grown up children, 2 girls and 4 boys, but 2 of them have died, a boy and a girl; and I was left to care for my orphaned grandchildren, one was only 9 days old then.

After the death of my husband, I suffered a lot of rejection from my in-laws since I refused to be inherited. I got depressed and sick and I went back to my mothers’ house. My mother was a single mother living in a slum in Nairobi. In the slum I was working in people’s houses to get some money to support my mother in buying food for all of us.

During the post-election violence, we lost everything in the fire and we were displaced and traumatized. We took refuge in a church in Ngong for a while and later moved to a settlement in Ngando where I met the AOSK sisters and joined the women peace makers with alternative livelihood to try and make heads meet. After attending the sessions on peace building, self-acceptance, team work and entrepreneurship, I felt encouraged and hopeful. I was able to share my story with the sisters and they advised me to embark on bead work because as we trained they and I realized I had a talent, I remember getting so excited and saying I can even make a person with beads. It is this bead work which has now become source of my daily bread. I am also happy that unlike before, I have been able to forgive my in-laws, even though we don’t agree, I have no more bitterness with them and even those who were roughing at my state of life. I am now happy and grateful to God and the sisters. The skills they gave us have empowered me so much that as much as I am not sick, I can’t sleep angry. Unlike when I used to go to the bush to fetch fire wood and I could fall there due to hunger and low blood sugar.  At the moment my joy is indescribable, when we inaugurated the container which is now the venue for our weekly group meetings as well as market. I volunteered to help pilot the shop for the 1st month, to my surprise, in the second month I received a little money from the group as an appreciation. I was more motivated and I worked very hard, as a result, I now have a job there. I am able to take care of my diet and drugs for the symptomatic diseases since I am an HIV/AIDS and BP patient.

May God be praised for his goodness to me and my women colleagues the sisters have opened our eyes and abilities.

My name is Ruth wayua Ngulu, I am 70 years old. I am married, my husband is living, and he is 80 years old. Our marriage has been blessed with 4 children, 3 girls and one girl. All the children are married and we have 14 grandchildren.

My big problem in life as a mother and wife has been poverty, domestic conflicts and poor relationships with the neighbors. I was a bitter and violent woman, and I was known for that in the village, such if  I was unhappy with a neighbor, that day the village had to separate a fight, my own children had become enemies, I could not share food or anything with them, I was a loner, and always withdrawn. I used to be in the women group a bitter and unhappy person, until I attended the forums on peace building given to us by the sisters. I remember a certain facilitator (Fr. Makau from Catholic Justice and Peace office machakos) who was brought by the sisters to talk to us, and he gave us a secret for building and sustaining Peace. He said when we feel angry and want to fire out ‘’ kunyua maji’’ ie drink the water, so your mouth will be full of water, you can’t speak, it literally means so and it also means shut your mouth, withdraw, don’t argue. As we went on sharing in the group, I realized many women were making a lot of effort as they shared their stories on how they have changed, I went home one day, determined to do something. I remember it was a Sunday after we had meeting with the sisters and they encouraged us to go and start a spiritual project on peace, with self and others through prayer, generosity, kindness etc. we had received some food stuff and this day, I was able to share with my grandchildren who were angry, I had been touched so much by the words of the sisters about the generosity of people who are sharing with us, and we too need to share and God will bless us. I felt in my heart that day, I have lived a cursed life in the past, where everyone was condemning my bad reactions; I wanted to be a blessing because I had experienced Gods blessings through the teachings and sharing.

Today I am proud and not afraid to share my story, and I am happy to say, I am the happiest person after realizing that I was the problem and by changing my attitude towards others has changed a lot of things in my life and family. Now I love my daughter in low and even teach her the farming skills we have learnt, and because of that we had a good, good harvest we have never had in our life. I am able to reconcile with the neighbors, unlike before when I used to quarrel and insult the neighbors if their goat could enter my shamba. I now know the secret of happiness in life is overcoming self. I am grateful to God who found me worthy of this project, I was lost and now I am found, I came to the group to be helped materially because I was hangry and poor, in the process, I got more than material. The knowledge and skills I now have are a treasure that will help me and others.

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