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My friend Alice

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It was at a screening of the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell that I met Alice who was talking about women in the Niger Delta and the naked protests they had carried out against the oil companies there.
Since I've known Alice it's been as if she has lifted a curtain showing me a world I know so little about despite it being on my doorstep.
I'm not sure how old she is but I know she came from Niger Delta in the 1970s and she brandishes her senior citizens' bus pass in pride. She is a woman who has given a great deal of her time and energy to helping women and families in this part of London where so many women from Africa have come to live.
We're all so harried, it's easy to forget to 'see' people for who they really are in the the hustle and jostle of the street or a crowded bus. My chats with Alice over a cup of coffee have opened my eyes to the people I encounter every day. After she pointed out to me the women sitting around us who were feeding the children but not themselves I've seen the same scenario time and time again. And instead of seeing just another woman I have to negotiate past to get to the bus exit I see a woman who is struggling in the same city as me but may also be carrying the burden of supporting family members back home.
Alice tells me the stories that she has seen repeated many times in the lives of women: women who have been abandoned; single mothers who fall prey to con artists who promise them everything then once they are under their roof start using the home for their dodgy dealings.
Now I take time to look into the eyes of the women I see on my journey home rather than keep my head down, minding my own business.
In the same way that I have learnt so much from Alice I look forward to hearing the stories of women on World Pulse. This opportunity to 'see' beyond the boundaries of the world I live in and learn about the experiences we share and the uniqueness of our stories is a real privilege.

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