Long story - for the past two weeks I have run a training with a Kenyan co-trainer, for a local community project in Dagoretti aiming at improving communication skills of youth working with the Uwazi Project in Nairobi. It is about communication, reporting about issues of importance for community, how to find solutions and seek improvement.
That is basically the technical explanation. To me it is also about finding that inner motivation which makes you get up early every morning, go out and try to do something which improves life, not just your own. And that is the real, big challenge as I see it.
So - during the training I had talked with Chris Mukasa from Kenyan Poets' Lounge, if he would visit our training (in fact he suggested it himself a long time ago). Chris is a fantastic exponent for less talk, more action. And that it doesn't have to cost money to get things going. All that nonsense (where to get money for refreshments, transport and sitting allowances) which can kill any spontaneous idea.
Chris came and gave a huge boost to the participants - telling them that they should think beyond limits. Chris has big ideas - and they are worth spreading. I interviewed Chris - and Nuru - last year about what poetry can do - see this article.
Our participants from Uwazi got so inspired that they decided to join Fatuma's Voice and bring some school children from Kawangware. Some of these children basically support themselves, i.e. by selling paper bags, to generate money for school fees. Some of these children are very talented in spite of difficult living conditions.
Yesterday's theme at Fatuma's Voice was about selfesteem - and many talked about that where you come from shouldn't decide the scope of your dreams. I was invited on stage to introduce the Uwazi Project - and I could only say that to me this is also about unlocking Kenya's potentials, the youth...and about making connection between places like Kawangware, Kibera and Karen.
After Fatuma's Voice the children went upstairs at Pawa254, here Kanaiszha from Love School in Kawangware is posing in front of Bankslave's Lupita grafitti.
Remember Lupita's words? "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."
So right up there on the top of Pawa254, looking over the Nairobi skyline a lot of things fell in place.
Kanishza gave me a big hug when she left, and said it wad a most beautiful evening.