What is the journey that leads me to these voices? I am no longer young, but not yet old. I have learned things during these decades. Patience for example. I have learned to listen. I have walked barefoot on dusty paths and picked thorns from the balls of my feet. I have jumped stone to stone in rushing mountain rivers and tasted the earthy freshness of water close to its deep source. I have watched my children grow and learned to stand back while they step into their own lives, their own selves. It’s a hard learning that one. I have delighted in their laughter and watched the loss of innocence and the growth of protective shells. I have seen them become men.
I work with and listen to other young people as they grow into their power, as they walk through life - thorn trees, shadow and light, as they explore their work and who they are.
“The main media portrays us as so hopeless. There is no story about all the good things people are doing. All the strength. I want to be able to tell those stories too. Look through the positive eye…. a story about Africa.”
So says Allan in a conversation about what is important in his life. A big man with a ready smile, long dreadlocks and a bright, loving energy, he gives a good hug. Once he was a street dealer – buying and selling - cellphones, fuel, foreign currency – whatever was in short supply and could turn a quick profit. He was living the fast life, talking the fast talk, living by his wits and ‘connections’.
Six years ago he came to Kufunda Learning Village, where he rediscovered a sense of self and a sense of community. Now he works as a community facilitator helping youngsters to discover and acknowledge the ‘wealth’ within themselves. To appreciate what they have rather than bewailing what they lack and to grow in confidence as they take their futures into their own hands.
He is passionate about the environment and renewable energy and brings this care and concern into everything he does. It’s a positive story – a story of resilience and respect and love. The kind of story I want to tell and want to hear. The small stories of people who are making their own difference. ‘Being the change they want to see.’
I was introduced to World Pulse by an online friend. Someone who had read some things I had written. I don’t browse the internet much because its expensive and slow, so I rely on hints from others for links.
Its magic for me connecting to this web of voices and stories, the stories like Allan’s that don’t get told by the global news networks or the international agencies. I know these things are happening here in my country. Through this community I hear whispers from other parts of the world, whispers growing louder, growing stronger and bringing us closer together.