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"One bite at a time": Thinking big while starting small

When one asks me about my community, I sometimes have difficulty trying to decide how to summarise my community, Africa is my community and it is a very large community.

I have always had a weakness for roasted and boiled maize. When my grandmother prepared them, I often lost control, scuffing the yummy seeds off the comb hurriedly and greedily, not taking time to properly “uproot” each seed. My grandma patiently chastised. “Take one bite at a time”, she said. “Chew properly and swallow, that way, you will eat more, you will avoid wasting and will have no stomach pains”. I will employ the wise words of my grandmother by choosing to tell the story of a group of girls that I met a few days ago in the rural village of Lushikishini in the small and beautiful country of Swaziland.

I first met them in a clouded hut, a huge flame was blazing in the middle of the hut, and an equally massive pot with white boiling porridge sat comfortable surrounded by the blaze. I was determined not to choke despite the smoke as I listened to one young intelligent woman tell their story. They told their story in siSwati, a language exotic to me, but their fervour was not lost in translation. The language barrier could not put out their blazing passion, and I was challenged.

They have a business plan; starting a poultry farm, but they lack enough capital. However, this does not deter them, they have decided to bake local cake and sell them in the hope of making enough profits to start their poultry farm. Profits are trickling in, and though the pace may seem slow to a greedy and impatient observer, their resilience is a challenge to all entrepreneurs. Every day, they gather together to bake cake the traditional way, since they do not have electric cookers and ovens. They walk out looking for clients, saving every penny they have to invest in their vision.

Their organisation is impressive, yet they do not have fancy degrees and diplomas. They have a chairlady, a secretary and a treasurer. There are rules and regulations to be obeyed; discipline is paramount if they are to succeed. “We only need 1700 South African rands to set up poultry farm with proper structures” they confidently explain. They have so far been able to buy a couple chicken: though they are constantly fighting with the hawks for ownership rights. Nonetheless, as my grandmother wisely advised, these girls are not afraid to start small, working hard towards a grander vision.

Poverty, poor infrastructure, access to education, early pregnancy, HIV/Aids, abuse; young women all over Africa and beyond are moving beyond challenges and taking control of their lives. I view online communities such as PulseWire as that extra necessary tool needed by women of all backgrounds to further boost their empowerment, to tell their stories, to ask for help, to share ideas, to motivate!

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Dream big, Start small

Dear Grace,

It begins with a big dream implemented by small, patient steps, and nothing excites me more than hearing of stories like these. This journal was a joy to read, and a confirmation of the work we do here at World Pulse, especially as we grow and aim to provide more training, more resources, more exposure and farther reach so that women can shout out to the world and secure the resources they need to take their dreams to the next level.

I love your writing!

In friendship and solidarity,
Jade

The Afrika way's picture

Hi Jade, I agree! In

Hi Jade,

I agree! In solidarity we can empower young women. It is so encouraging to see these young women struggling to empower themselves even with their limited resources, one just feels like dropping everything just to help them.

warm regards,
Grace

olutosin's picture

Not Easy

starting small is no easy task, I do not like it but now I know that it gives peace of mind and also you would have gained more experience and will definitely have loads of pages when we write our autobiography. LOL
You are doing a good work my Dearie.

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

https:

The Afrika way's picture

Hi Olutosin, loads of pages

Hi Olutosin,

loads of pages to write an autibiography...lol...thats a refreshing way of looking at it,...

I know it is not easy, but thats what makes it worth it, plus it is better than not starting at all, and if you succeed, wow! you will enjoy writing your autobiography. With such forum and the global support of women, why wouldnt you succeed?

You are also doing great things and it is a pleasure to meet you.

Warm regards,
Grace

Your story is so inspiring with your references to how you have learned from your elders and how you also desire to pass your own wisdom on. I also feel that women can achieve anything they truly believe in and are willing to work hard for. Thank you for sharing a view into your world.

Kathleen Abood

The Afrika way's picture

Hi Kathleen, If my

Hi Kathleen,

If my grandmother were to read your comment, I would never hear the last of it...lol...she was a very wise and hardworking woman, blessed with many many words (too many...kidding). It is an honor to share some of her words with the world, and I agree with you, we only need to believe in ourselves and work hard.

With warmth,
Grace

Julie Tomlin's picture

Small steps and wisdom

Hello Grace,
I think your own ability in story telling and your appreciation of the wisdom of women and their words is clearly evident in this piece.
You have an ability to engage your readers with a story and inspire them and the potential for what you can do using social media is exciting. I look forward to hearing more from you and learning how these dreams are being worked out.

Yours,
Julie

@julietomlin

olakitike's picture

Inspiring

Hi,
I find your story inspiring. As an African, I can identify with some of the challenges of the people you mentioned. I can also identify with the resilience of the ladies. I see this relentless determination around me everyday, it is this resilience that makes me believe in the future of Africa. Thank you for capturing a section of our spirit in your piece.
Best Wishes,
Ayobami

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