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The Ripples of the Pulse


Even if we are not aware of the phenomenon, the World Pulse is causing rings of ripples that get bigger and bigger as they move away. I have been a witness of this phenomenon and I would like to share it with all of you.
From the US, I went to Uganda and Kenya granted by the Center For Global Health at the university where I teach. The grant was meant for me to work with the prestigious organization Reproductive Health Uganda in Kampala and on female genital cutting for my own project “I am not Cut” in Kenya.

Once I had the details of my trips more or less set up, I decided to contact some of the World Pulse sisters who live in these two countries. It was at that moment when the Pulse started to send tiny ripples of hope, love, and sisterhood, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and from thousands of miles away. Those ripples built a current that swept down all the differences and created a strong and powerful bond among us. Now, my World Pulse dear sisters Nalubega and dr. Edonna (Uganda), and Consolata and Mama Africa (Kenya) are making sure that the ripples don’t stop, for the sake of the women we work for, for the sake of our communities, and for the sake of our own. We are all eternally grateful to the World Pulse for giving us the chance to create these ripples. Here is the short story of our encounters:

Kampala May 2009
I met Nalubega Teddy and her colleague Wangi Godfrey Mario, both from SPACE Uganda (World Pulse Group) and we started right away our collaboration to work with the women of SPACE in Kampala—single mothers, widows, and orphans with dependents. I talked with the women about reproductive health, and they all had plenty of questions to discuss. Although the health of these women is of my priority, I realized that their dream is to be self-sufficient and have enough money to pay the school fees for their children. We are brainstorming now on how to create a microfinance system so the women may develop their own small business, and here is where dr Edonna comes into the picture with a ripple of hope (read below). These women have no money but their hearts are generous and have plenty to give; the ALL collaborated with my project on female genital mutilation because they realized that they have the power in their hands to help other women who struggle with different but also important issues. These widows, single mothers, and orphans donated their time and their images for a documentary on female genital cutting, committing themselves to stop the practice. I am most grateful to all of them.

Mbale, June 2009
I went to Mbale, long trip from Kampala just to meet the amazing and powerful dr Edonna; more that worth it the five-hour bus trip! (no bathroom stops). We talked for hours and hours about our own lives, our work, our dreams, our hopes, and we were certain that our ancestors and spirits had brought us together. Dr. Edonna decided to collaborate with SPACE Uganda in Kampala. I believe she has already met with its director Kasinja Tonny. Dr Edonna and I brainstormed strategies and ideas to make the dream of these women a reality and we will keep working towards this goal along with Nalubega, Wangi, and Kasinja Tonny. We are all connected!!!
On a more personal note, I spent a fair amount of quality time with Nalubega and her family in Kampala, to the degree that she adopted me into her clan, WHAT AN HONOR! Now, I belong to the Empeewo clan, from the kingdom of Buganda, and my name is Nakiryowa. The funniest and scariest moments were when Nalubega and I navigated together through the streets of Kampala on a boda-boda (taxi-motorcycle). Sadly, the last day of my stay in Kampala I attended the funeral of Nalubega’s brother, a young man who died of tuberculosis three months after the diagnosis. His condition would have been cured if he happened to live in another part of the world. Hopefully his widow will be able to benefit from the microfinance system we want to create for SPACE Uganda.

An unbelievable connection happened after I left. SPACE Uganda also contacted with my friend Janet in Kampala, the nurse I worked with at Reproductive Health Uganda. Janet and I are working on coordinating a sanitation project in Kifumbira, a slum of Kampala, where the girls will have the leadership.

KENYA June 2009
I met Consolata, my dear pure heart Consolata. She hosted me in her house and I had the chance to meet her sister and her lovely daughters Sherry and Stacy. Consolata took me to Kuwinda, a slum in Nairobi where she is working with the girls through her organization WomansHope. I talked to the girls on reproductive health. Right at that moment Consolata and I dropped the stone on the calm lake that starting forming new rings of ripples. We created a support group for teenagers in Kuwinda, a mentorship program, and another support group for girls who haven’t reached puberty yet. Consolata and I will have video conferences every month to monitor the development and implementation of the project. We count with the help of the school teacher of the slum, a terrific and very committed lady. The girls from the slum are also contacting me to keep track of their work. This project seems to have come from heaven, from the Pulse of heaven. I have never seen girls living in a slum who are so eager to improve their lives and make a change for the sake of their children (yes, most of these teenagers have already children of their own). My aim here is to keep the reproductive health program running for the teenagers and a prevention program for the youngest girls. Of course, the oldest girls would also like the opportunity to get trained to make their own living, but for now I have to be real and start slow. Our dream would be to keep the little girls away from pregnancy and the older ones away from STIs/HIV and from more unwanted pregnancies.

Mombasa June 2009
Lungalunga and Godo
This is the part of my African journey that I treasure like the most precious and fine jewel in the world. What I experienced in Lungalunga and Godo was my gift from the Pulse, my gift from the universe.
Once in Nairobi, I decided to go to Mombasa to meet my Rafiki (Rafiki Club-World Pulse). I wrote to Mama Africa (Project Africa-World Pulse) expressing my interest and she found the idea as fascinating as I did. The Rafiki Club is a literacy project launched by Mama Africa where women in these isolated areas of Kenya are taught how to write and read through an incredibly successful pen-pal system.

Mama Africa contacted Judy and Bendettah, the coordinators of the project in Lungalunga, to make arrangements and pick me up in Mombasa. The trip from Nairobi to Mombasa was long, 10 hours by bus. I left early morning and arrived at dusk. My guardian angel Judy was at the bus station waiting for me. We took another vehicle, crossed a small bay by ferry, on the Indian Ocean, and took a matatu (a public mini bus with capacity for 14 passengers; I counted 31 that night, promise!), another three-hour drive to reach Project Africa in Lungalunga. I arrived a little disoriented but happier than I could be.

Next day I meet the Rafikis from Lungalunga; what a beautiful moment! My heart is with all of them. We shared stories, we laughed, and we read the letters from the Rafikis from the “West”. Of course, we talked about reproductive health, and the women shared with me many of their health concerns, conditions most of them that can be easily prevented with a minimum of health care.
Next day came, and with it the time to go to Godo and meet my Rafiki Mariam. I had taken the letter that I received from her to prove that she was my real Rafiki. The letter I wrote to her arrived in Lungalunga a week before my visit and Judy and Bendettah waited to give it to Mariam so she could read it in front of me. This experience was intense and surrealist, full of fantastic images and juxtapositions of realities, like a dream inside another dream, or a reality inside another reality.

That experience, as surrealist as it was, gave meaning to the nature of the written words, it gave meaning to what I write and to what I read. “Who is Mariam?” I asked to the group of many women who were waiting for me at the village school, “That one!” all at once answered pointed to a shy and beautiful woman. Mariam and I stood up, went towards the other, and became like two magnets from opposite parts of the world, strongly united in a tight hug of love and sisterhood. Together we danced, moving from one side to another in a rhythmic and slow motion while the other Rafikis laughed and applauded. We couldn’t separate. We were glued together through a powerful attraction. I don’t know if I was crying or laughing but tears ran down my face and neck. Mariam had my letter in her hand, I have hers in mine. Mariam opened my letter and read it aloud in front of all of us, and I lost track of time and space. Hearing Mariam reading a letter I had written for her two months ago when I had no idea this journey would be possible was too much for me. At that moment I sent a prayer to the universe, not to ask (I have more than enough) but to give, a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness, and I felt a warm awakening to the native words again "We are all connected."

Mariam’s daughter Peninah also read my daughter’s letter (Peninah and my daughter Sophia are also Rafikis). The experience became more and more unreal when Peninah read aloud the part where my daughter said “I just had a hair cut today, 8 inches, and now I have short hair…” (she even drew a smiling face). The Rafikis started laughing, literally cracking up, finding my daughter’s hair cut the funniest thing on earth. Considering that the women in Godo have no water, no electricity, no nothing, and work really hard everyday… and they cover their hair, the haircut issue of my daughter sounded too funny indeed, even to me. What my daughter didn’t say in her letter is that she donated the 8 inches to “Locks of Love” the organization that provides hairpieces to children who suffer burns or cancer.

The time passed fast, laughing and crying, even more when I tried to hold Peninah’s little baby (she is a 19 year-old single mom). The baby cried as he had seen the boogeywoman, and as a matter of fact for him I was the boogeywoman because he had never seen a white person before. Every time I looked at him from the distance, he cried unconsolable and of course all the Rafikis laughed even louder. I have a picture that captures me trying to hold the baby, I will share it soon.

After this experience in Lungalunga and Godo, I am determined to create, with the help of the Rafikis from the “West” (I am not sure what is East or West anymore, that is only a perception depending on where we are, right?) a MOBILE CLINIC, yes, I know this might sound like too much, but this is a very feasible project that can be launched very soon. If we all collaborate, we will not allow the ripples of life and hope to stop now.

Literacy and Mama Africa brought us together, the World Pulse made it possible for all of us to meet, and once again the rings of ripples that started forming then are becoming bigger and stronger as they moved away.
Thanks to all of you, thanks to the World Pulse, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!




In my mind's eye, I see the ripples spread across the waters, up the shores, through the forests, over the mountains, across the deserts... caressing each of us with love, courage, and hope as they pass. Taking our wildest, most secret dreams and visions and giving them voice.

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

Araceli's picture

I see the ripples that way too

Dear Jennifer, that is the way we see and perceive the ripples because that is the way they exist. The ripples, however, only exist when we look at them and give them meaning, right?
Thanks for your words

jadefrank's picture



Thank you for sharing your incredible experiences in Uganda and Kenya with us. This is Jensine's vision coming to life and what PulseWire was created for. The ripples are currently pulsing through my body as my arm and neck hairs stand on end while I read your beautiful story and imagine the love, friendships and partnerships you have fostered across Kenya and Uganda and the important work that you and other dear friends from PulseWire are doing together there to empower women. Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience in Lungalunga. Two of my rafikis live there and now i have a greater sense of the community and the remoteness of this region. I dream that one day I can meet my rafikis there as well. And I love your idea for a Mobile Clinic that would be created and supported by the Rafikis in the west. I am on board! I've now read your journal three times and cannot wipe the ear-to-ear smile off my face.


Araceli's picture

our Rafikis

Dear Jade,
I have many pictures of the Rafikis, I am trying to put them on Picasa so all of you can see your Rafikis. I recognize all the names and faces of the Rafiki from Lungalunga but in Godo there are many more and I have no names. In any case, the pictures will give us a sense of connection and more desires to write and encourage the Rafikis to write back. I will print some of these pictures and send them to Lungalunga and Godo. I am still not very much on this earth, I have so much work to catch up.
My very best for you, dear Jade.

mamaAfrica's picture

When Women Connect...

Dear Araceli,

Thank you for sharing your experinces in Uganda and in Kenya. I have been earnestly waiting for your report because I was sure there was plenty of good food for thought. When women connect, our diversity is our strength, our giving is complimented by our receiving and our love is unconditional. My gratitude go to all the women in Kenya and Uganda who received you and were kind to share their lives with you as you embraced them with love. And even much thanks to you Sister Araceli for the sacrifice and the love. I Know how difficult it is to get to Lungalunga and even further to Godo. I know scares one may have of going to a new country more so to Africa but you braved all. For sure nothing could have driven you out there across seas to Africa, except unconditional love and humility. Like you said it does not matter any more whether we come from the West nor East because we are connected by a cord of love whose energy relays from one end the another.

Your testimony is a lesson for me. You have confirmed to me yet again that there is nothing to stop a woman who knows what she wants and where she is going, because within her is a power that alligns with nature to bring her what she desires. Many times as women, we doubt out abilities and our strengths because we have been raised to beleive we cannot do anything by ourselves. But if we dare take steps of faith then we accomplish with greatness those things we thought we could not do.

I have read your testimony yet again and could not help but cry tears of joy because I never thought the Rafiki Club would have such a meaning and such an impact. I am glad we launched the club that women like miriam and her daughter Penilla may connect to the pulse. Anything that is in motion produces energy/power which can make a difference. Your travel to the slums, homes, villages in Uganda and Kenya confirms this.

Araceli's picture

Your joy is my joy

My dearest Lindy,
Many of us have cried tears of joy with the stories or our Rafikis. You my dear, and wonderful Judy and Bendettah, have made this amazing project possible. I see the Rafiki Club growing and growing, expanding beyond words. Wonderful things will happen for the women of Lungalunga and Godo, I know, I feel it in my guts.

Lindy, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of angels Judy and Bedettah, these two women are amazing, I love them dearly. Their energy, compassion, enthusiasm, knowledge, sense of humor, and warm personality make a big different for the women of Lungalunga and Godo. I wish I can connect with them often, they made a big impact on me.

All my love, gratitude, and admiration my dear Mama Africa, my dear friend Lindy.

olutosin's picture

I missed U


Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


olutosin's picture

Rain of Blessing


After reading this, I wiped the rolling tears and say: God Bless You, the God we serve will rain his shower of blessing on you, on all Pulse wire members too, may this fire of love never quench, may it continually blow steadily till these ones have voices of theirs, at a time we think it is not our duties but most times I think this is why we are alive and having our being, to liberate the dark World and to create that smile where life is sour.

From the bottom of my Heart I say thank you to all. If I were not an African, I would still have said, God Bless You for touching lives, for creating hope where we belive it is hopeless. To everyone involved, God will shine light into your lives.

May Heavenly Rain of Blessing continue to shower on you all.

Thank You for Remembering US!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Araceli's picture

Miss you too

I've missed reading your posts, dear Olutosin. Your words are always charged with so much energy and love, what a treat for our souls.

You are absolutely right, my friend, when you say "I think this is why we are alive and having our being, to liberate the dark World and to create that smile where life is sour." Your quote reminded me when I went to see the Children's Oncology unit of the Mulago Hospital in Kampala. The children were so, so, so sad, not only for their severe lethal condition but also because they had no reason to smile. I couldn't take that sadness and I started playing with them and doing games with my hands and funny faces. With one of my funny faces, all children at once made big smiles and some even laughed. I returned the next day to make more funny faces.

All the blessings of the universe for you, dear Olutosin.

JaniceW's picture


Ara, how profoundly sad that we live in a world where children do not know joy. One thinks that laughter and smiling are ubiquitous yet these young souls live in a world where the light of laughter does not seem to penetrate. What an incredible gift you gave them that day and who knows, perhaps they started making faces at each other after you left, spreading your legacy of smiles throughout the hospital. With love,

Araceli's picture


Janice, the faces of these children broke my heart. It was not their disease but their unhappiness what was more striking.

I went to visit this unit with my two friends, both physiotherapists from my university and we decided to buy some toys for the children because we were surprised to see them sleeping every day they. Soon, we realized these children had nothing to stimulate their attention and interest so they just slept. We bought legos, cooking sets, and rattles for the babies. We made a mistake, my friend. the children were thrilled to have the toys, they smiled and even laughed when they saw the toys but the outcome was far what we expected. The parents were very happy with the toys also, but neither the children nor the parents understood the meaning of the legos and the cooking sets, so each child grabbed a piece of legos and hid it, the same with the plates, spoons, etc. The children did not interact with each other becuase they didn't understand the concept of playing with these toys. We showed them what to do with these toys but it didn't work anyway. Only the rattles helped the babies to stop crying and made the parents happy.

It was devastating, and paradoxical, to see each child with a piece of legos, like a totally useless treasure.

Of course, the unhappiness of these children not only came from their disease or the lack of toys, but from their malnutrition. the hospital does not provide food for them and their families have no $ to buy food. Families have to pay even the medication and often parents have to choose between buying food or paying for the medication. Birth is not very democratic, isn't it?

Much love

consolata's picture

How blessed?

Sista Areceli,
I feel like it is just the other day we shared with you on the many wonderful things happening round us because of the wonderful network started by Jensine.How I pray for God blessings to this wonderful woman who He used to help women connect making our world a wonderful place to live in.
I feel my hair stand when i read this post not because it is scaring, but because it expresses alot of love from you Araceli. How did you manage all this? I believe it is because of the love you hold for your beloved sisters.

Mama Africa too! wao.. she is doing a great job in Kenya. When you told me how far she has come with her group,i was really encouraged and knew God is using women to intervene for their fellow women.May Almighty bless her to continue with her great mission.
For all the plans you hold for Africa, May Almighty be with you and guide you. A long journey start with a step, may Almighty bless you as you plan on the rest of the journey.
Be blessed dear.
Warm hugs from my family.( sherry,Stacy amd Chiku)

mamaAfrica's picture

Dear dada Consolata Thanks

Dear dada Consolata

Thanks so much for the encouraging words. i have been desiring to write to you but I always get caught up with other siisues along the way. You are in my heart and I thank God for the things he is enabling you to do. Thank you so much for warmly welcoming sistaer Araceli. Nyumba ikaribishayo wageni siku moja itawakaribisha malaika.

Ninakupenda sana dada, Kazi yako yanitia moyo


Araceli's picture

My beautiful sista

I am a little behind putting all the points together and answering to your emails to make the next meeting at Kuwinda successful. It will be successful because of you, anyway. But I really want to give it a deep thought.
I will write you very soon to your e-mail.
Love to Sherry, Stacy, and Chiku

Maria de Chirikof's picture


Wow, I loved reading this and can feel the ripples way up in Alaska too! So inspiring to see everyone getting to meet and connect in person!



Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for sharing. Regards

Thanks for sharing.



fatma's picture

the power of love

dear araceli;
i am deeply moved by your journey to africa...the meaning of which points to one thing....THE POWER OF LOVE FOR LIFE AND VALUING HUMAN LIFE CAN REALLY MOVE YOU INTO AVCHEIVING WONDERS........
its amazing how you connected with the pulse sisters as if you have known each other for life...this is beautiful....
its beautiful to be connected to others through the love for giving and the love for inspiring as it is..its also quite challenging for all of us to try and give...give as much love and hope as we can.....
i salute you...i salute all the sisters from uganda and kenya...
and i dream of a mobile clinic touching the hearts of women suffering in sudan....with all of you on board...!!

Araceli's picture

Love and collaboration

Dear Shiraz,

I apologize for not answering your beautiful note sooner. It has taken me "only" twenty days to reply. These twenty days have been full of work I left behind before my trip to Africa and it has been difficult to catch up. There are many things I want to tell you. First of all to thank you for writing to my post and for sharing your thoughts.

Four years ago I went to the Emirates to present a paper at a conference on Women's Leadership; what a shame I didn't know you then, I would have gone to visit you.

One of the reasons I went to Kenya and Uganda was to film committed women to stop the practice of FGC. I managed to film around 40 something women saying variations of "I am not cut". For example a pregnant lady from Somalia saying "I am cut but my daughter will not be cut." I also interviewed one of the youngest and most powerful voices against the practice, Najma Ahmed, from Somali, who lives now in Nairobi, we have been good friends for several years now. Her interview was astonishing.
Now I am in the process of editing the mini documentaries with these images and put them online. My intention is to show the positive aspect of not being cut instead of the negative consequences of being cut. History has demonstrated that showing pain and sorrow does not change things much because this is precisely one aspect of the practice, to handle excruciating pain with dignity and strength.

My colleague in this project, Lili Miller, is updating our website "" to see if we are capable of showing the mini
documentaries there.

We also need written testimonies, like the one you wrote in your post. We need to show the pain but also sucsessful stories; stories of women who are committed to change within their own communities.

I am working on issues of FGM for more than 6 years and it is not easy as a women from the "West" because the solution or the change must come from the communities where the procedure is performed. I want to put my knowledge, my commitment, my technology... everything I can to collaborate with my sisters around the world to stop the practice.

Is there any way you and I can collaborate with this issue?
You can write me directly to my university account or a private message through the World Pulse.

If many of us unite, with respect, understanding, and sensitivity for the cultures that adopted this harmful tradition, I am positive we can change from within. We can develop online projects, radio programs, soap operas, TV adds... all together would make a big impact.

Blessings and Joy for you my dear Shiraz.

jodelight's picture


your story left me both speechless, and bursting with joy. It was absolutely breathtaking. I loved when you spoke of the letter reading; the laughing and tears at the same time. So so moving. I can understand how amazing it is, to see rafiki on the other side of the world. It is a precious precious thing. I also love love loved that you spoke of sending a pray to the heavens, not for a request, but to send a blessing out to the universe. I also sent a blessing out to these women you spoke of in your story, and to the women who have moved me in ways beyond my understanding. May we all nurture our friendships-our rafikiships all over the world, and connect through the amazing resources available to us. Thank you for you sharing your precious story.
Blessings, many many blessings
PulseWire Online Community

Araceli's picture

Sorry for not answering sooner

Dear Jody,

I have been soooo overwhelmed by the work I left behind before my trip that I don't see the time when I can catch up. But life is good and I am still full of ideas, projects, dreams, realities, and more than anything energy and enthusiasm to keep having ideas and projects and dreams...

You made me smile when I read your story, at the end you say "Life is bigger than me..." and for what I read in your post, it is just the other way around "You are much bigger than life," that is the reason you enjoy life so much and soul searching and working with people. You have given so much life to LIFE than in return you will receive the best part of it.

The blessings that you sent me were received and multiplied by hundreds and go to you again to keep multiplying.

Rachel C's picture

Share your Stories with the NY Times


As you say: "We also need written testimonies, like the one you wrote in your post. We need to show the pain but also sucsessful stories; stories of women who are committed to change within their own communities."

If you don't already know about this, you should:

Share your story here! They have to be short, so I might pick one of the experiences you had this summer, or perhaps mention World Pulse as a link that took you to each of these places, and culminated with meeting your Rafiki. Either way, I hope you get to spread the word via Kristof's blog. It would be exciting for all of us. I posted to my journal as well, in the hopes that WP members will submit.


Rachel Clift
media for CHANGE

Araceli's picture

Beautiful Idea!!

This is great, Rachel! There is so much to do... and all is good!
Feel free to use my story if you wish, it would be amazing for Project Africa and for the Rafiki if this name goes public and more people know about it.

It's true, showing sorrow and pain causes sadness and paralyze people. Showing positive stories of change, commitment, and positive activism inspire people and take them to move forward. Years ago, my own students made me understand that showing the struggles of women was not enough to produce any positive change. When I gave my students the tools to change the world they took them and changed the world.
Much love for you my dear.
I would love that you send your story about this because so many good things are happening as a result of the contacts I made through the WP.
Much, much love for you dear Rachel.

Araceli's picture

Rafiki's photos

Rachel, I forgot to tell you, maybe you know this already. I wrote a post to the Rafiki club sending the pictures of the Rafikis

The post is called Photos from Lungalunga, there you can also see two samples of the literacy program of Project Africa, the difference between a first and a fourth letter from the Rafikis.

The pictures are not great because my camera didn't work really well indoors, it was a new camera and it took me a while to understand it.

To see the pictures from the Rafikis in Lunga Lunga go to this link:

To see the pictures from the Rafikis in Godo go to this link:

More love

dr edonna's picture

Missing You

How are you doing now that you have returned home. Have you been able to do anything with the video footage on female circumcision? Looking forward to hearing about the progress of what you started in Africa.
Your beloved sister

Sophie's picture

Global sisterhood

I have read your post and its quite intriguing to see how much the ripples are spreading. Your narration of your experience in Kenya and Uganda leaves one breathless, fascinating to read I can only imagine how great it was to experience this in person!!! The fact that the distance need not be barrier is so obvious in the connection you got with the women, surely sisterhood is global, we share so much despite the differences we may think we have!!

Keep up, and welcome to Kenya again and again, we are optimists in saying 'Kenya hakuna matata' (there are no woes). I am sure your experience of being in a vehicle with 30 persons instead of 14 is for real!!!!!


Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe

Nalubega's picture


Dear my sister,
It's long time since we last talked!!! How are you? How is your family and work? I'm happy to tell that the women you met send so much greetings to you and we have made progress on our project works.

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