I’m still not used to being called for speaking engagements, I always go through that whole “who me? Talk about what” so this was no different. I received an email from Allen of CivSource Africa, asking if I was available on Saturday morning for a couple of hours to share Vessel is Me’s journey with a group of ladies. Now, I want y’all to note that all I did was write a book about my journey on lack of mourning etiquette around neonatal deaths. I shared my story out of confusion because many women around me had gone through this loss but they remained silent. There was no African narrative to this loss, it’s mentioned in one or two books but there was no comprehensive book telling me that at some point I’m going to hear a baby crying even though I stay in a house with only adults or that out of this particular grief my thought would be suicidal every night. So, I wrote it.
When I get calls to come speak, I’m perplexed because I feel I poured everything I have onto those pages. I don’t feel like I have anything new to share, given that this book was published on 1st December, 2018 but I do recognize that awareness is an everyday job so I put on my lipstick and go tell-it-on-the mountain. The Woman Thrive Brunch caught my eye because of the theme: Health, Healing & Planning. I love such gatherings. Gerry Opoka, a Mental Health Advocate and Sole Proprietor of Soul Fitness said, “there’s such magic that happens when women gather to heal and nurture each other” and I couldn’t have said it better. We are magic, and we need such gatherings to remind ourselves of the light that exudes through and around us.
Gerry Opoka said, “there’s such magic that happens when women gather to heal and nurture each other”
The first speaker Diana Bagarikayo started us off with actualization of our dreams. This is the power of manifestation, its something that many women do, but we don’t put these dreams in plain sight so she advised us to create dream boards, then action plans from a realistic point of view and begin planning. Diana, please publish the book(Dream it Possible) already, many women need that tool and the Master Class as well. The discussion around Citizenship and residency opened my eyes to the fact that yes, Uganda allows dual citizenship but where would one go to that would be beneficial to them, in her case she has a son going to University aboard so how do they align his choice country with this great opportunity. Something to think about as we look for greener pastures, right? Do you have a will? That question threw me off, but its genuine question. We have seen so many families in this pandemic go to war when the breadwinner dies and doesn’t leave a will. What of your living will? Who makes decisions for you if god-forbid you’re in a coma? Very sobering conversation for a Saturday morning right? Well no time like the present to start setting these up.
Dr. Lilian Kaliisa of H3( Hope Health Healing) really nailed the self-care talk. Listen it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you can’t pour from an empty cup but we are out here running ourselves into hospital bills that we ideally wouldn’t have if we could be selfish on ourselves. Fill your cup and then pour into others. My problem with is that capitalism isn’t for good mental health. People actually brag that they are busy?? Like it’s a sign that you’re progressing but at what cost? When you watch your loved one, breath their last breathe after the doctors tell you they did all they could: no amount of money. Calling specialists from all over could have saved them…that’s the bitter pill that the world system serves up. The question ultimately becomes how do I stay healthy to enjoy this life that I am chasing? Lilian shared how she had to drag herself out of a mental breakdown and pick herself. Something that I know many women don’t know how to do. Either we are going to feel guilt or shame about this decision but I clap for those women who have understood the assignment. They go on hikes, dancing, travel, make new friends(banaye why is making friends as an adult hard?) and leave toxic situations…they are blooming. Our mothers didn’t have that as option, it was guma till the end, besides those are the vows you took, right? Middle finger to your mental health. Yet, without good mental health there’s no health. We are all on borrowed time kwonka something as small as thirty minute brisk walk every evening for a year or incorporating water in your everyday routine increases one’s lifespan. This got me thinking about my Sunday morning walks, I started them out of a challenge to myself. My siblings and I used to walk long distances but somehow cars came and everyone became boujee so I decided to go back to this activity and I incorporated taking photos, but lately I have been dodging….time to pick it back up.
Now, Fortunate Ingabire is no stranger to me. I heard of her in 2020, after she lost her child. I had never met her physically, this was the first time, to put a face to the name. Many people had recommended me to her and vice versa after her tragedy but I had a problem with walking this journey with her. Why? Her child was older than one year, I couldn’t relate in anyway whatsoever and based on previous sessions I had had with angel mothers of older children, there was a mismatch. I could only comfort them so far and so I prayed to God that whoever this ministry was for, she or he would show up and take it on. Guess what? Fortunate started a healing community for these specific parents called F.I.R.M( acronym of her names) Healing isn’t linear, neither is a one size fits all but it’s so much easier when done with someone walking side by side. She credits God for getting through that season of darkness, and blessing her with a second child! I know, I like such happy endings.
I would like to thank the partners for putting this together and I do hope we shall have these gatherings quarterly to rejuvenate, reenergize and educate more women. Kudos to the Woman Thrive team, talk about sharing what holistic woman would look like. I was truly grateful and honored to share this space with such talented females. Positive vibes oyee!