After employing a social media manager I must say I have had a few minutes or hours to myself and decided to be spending time reading books, so for the past one and a half weeks I have read this amazing book by Wangari Maathai.
I know we all know her and her amazing journey with the Green belt movement. The book starts by introducing us to her and where she began in life, the village she was born in, her siblings, her parents, her schooling, her marriage, her children, her career life and her social life. The struggles she goes through, how she overcomes them, her positive attitude, her love for Kenya, I could go and on. It is truly overwhelming and how I wish I met her, may her soul rest in eternal peace.
“Every experience has a lesson; every situation has a silver lining. Each person needs to raise consciousness to a certain level so that they will never give up or succumb” Wangari Maathai.
As a young girl who happened to be the first born she would help her mother do the home chores. When her parents were in detention camps she would be the link for them to communicate as she would move freely from one camp to the next. How she particularly dealt with her family life is something worth emulating, there was a time she was pregnant and she would still go to work as a lecturer in Nairobi University and come home tired but would still attend to her husband and his visitors, she supported his vision to win in the Langata constituency sit and thus would go out of her way, campaigning for him, going to meetings when he was busy somewhere else. After he got elected and did not want to honor his word and provide employment like he said he will, she tries to restore his public image and she does this by creating a company that will help people earn a living. Later on, however they get divorced and though this is not what she wants she accepts it and it gives her motivation to go out there and be the best she can for her children. She even encourages them to maintain a relationship with their father amidst that all. She brings out the idea that family is the most important thing in life.
Lessons that I have learned from her book;
You can easily turn what you term as a life misfortune in life into an opportunity to excel. Wangari had tremendous support from her friends and family but yet so many a time’s life seemed to throw her down. At one point she even mentions that maybe victories and struggles will forever be her companions. Her husband falsely accuses her in court that she was adulterous so that he would be granted permission to divorce her and this leaves her hurt, the government was against her and also takes part in their share of accusations towards her, things that she had not even committed, there was a time she lacked a place to sleep, she lacked enough resources to even buy her children a plate of fries which am sure was way cheaper than it was now. But above all these she decides to rise and focuses so much on the restoration of the Kenyan forests that leads her to getting several awards and the common one that we all know, The Nobel Peace Prize. She simply does not give up even after various misfortunes seem to come her way instead uses them as a stepping stone to fulfill her purpose.
Blood is heavier at all times. After her husband divorced her she struggles alone and takes care of her three children as a single mother and never at one point does she call her husband Mwangi to ask him for anything until the time she is meant to leave the country for six months. She then decides to leave the children with him, actually she leaves them at his doorstep and tells them that their father will take good care of them. Which Mwangi does irrespective of the situation with their mother. Now following is a valuable lesson I picked up, when she came back and her children eventually went to United states to pursue higher education she ENCOURAGES them to keep writing and phoning their father in order to maintain that relationship with him. She brings out the fact that they are blood and it is thicker and even though he walked out on them, they deserve that relationship with their biological father. Now how many of us ladies are willing to do so? Reminded me of the very many important times that I felt that my baby’s father should be present and I would text and inform him, now to me whether he did not show up or he did not matter as long as he knew and it was his decision to accept or decline because after all if he did not show up he had more important matters to attend to.
Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times but all of them have picked themselves up and kept going and that is what I want to urge you to do. Wangari’s life was being threatened from time to time, she even had to wear nun like attires to disguise herself, she would crouch under the cars of her friends at night in order for them to transport her from one region to another and yet she maintained a positive spirit. Just think about all those things you feel are constantly knocking you down on the ground and choose to rise above them, it is quite hard at the beginning but positivism is one virtue you should never throw on the ground.
Pray for those who you feel are treating you unfairly. The first time she lands in prison she meets a group of prisoners who decided to pray for the judges who wrongly passed judgement on them and she is astonished. Why? That these ladies would take time and pray for people who have ill treated them. One of the young mothers asked me a question before she made a very strong statement; she asked how could you forgive such a person? And then she said I will never forgive that man unless I am dead, never! For a minute I did not know how to respond to that message and then I asked her if she has never done anything wrong to someone and went on and urged her to forgive for the love she has for her baby who carries his blood as well and above all for the love she had for that man once upon a time. I will pose a challenge today; pray for your child’s paternal side whether they have sidelined you and pretend that neither you nor their own blood exists and as you pray bless them genuinely that the Lord may grant them the desires of their heart and things may be well in their lives. Light can only chase away darkness.
There is a special bond between people who have share a child. Wangaari is more or less a jailbird for she is in and out of prison a couple of times, however this one time the policemen came for her at her house and it was left open, Mwangi on hearing this bought padlocks and locked the place and went ahead and hired policemen to guard her home and her belongings among the any examples she mentioned. See it is not a matter how ‘dotcom’ we are becoming there are some things that just do not change with time. I can totally relate with this one but for today I will mention one instance, last year when I was going back to school in August I was very worries about the baby for I had never left him in the care of the nanny alone and his father suggested that so I may concentrate more on my studies and pass well he will drop by thrice a week and spend time with him. I know many maybe are not believing this statement is true but as I said some things can never change. My mother always says a baby is a forever bond there are no two ways about it. I wonder if this is what the Bible meant when it is mentioned “and the two shall become one in flesh” I am no theologian though, just my two cents.
Some people are not fans of keeping their own word however that should not shake you into forgetting your purpose. I must have read this book just at the right time. The other day one of the people I had chosen to work with decided he was not going to fulfill his part of the agreement, so noticing this I asked him bluntly whether he is one of the many people who give their word only to turn on it again. You might have guessed right for he denied it and told me he would never do that but his actions days later confirmed to me, so I decided to let him slide and closed that chapter of us working together and got another man for the job. Wangaari many a times wanted to do things without being a nuisance to the law so she would write letters to the attorney general or the president himself , all of whom gave her their word but they never fulfilled their part of the agreement so she choose to follow her path because after all it brought more good than evil and she did amazing.
Above it all, be unbowed in your journey in life. You will be surprised what you may achieve.
I must say it has been quite an inspiring story that if you have never read it, you should grab a copy today, today! It only goes for £17.99.
On to the next book 🙂 🙂