Christina Perkins, from Calgary, started a reading club with several volunteers coming on Saturday afternoons to read with some of the students that may be having challenges reading.
The Las Vegas Centre Global Heart committee organized several used book sales and purchased about 4 suitcases full of books for the Briton slum school. As the pictures can attest the children were so excited!
Christina Perkins, from Calgary, started a reading club with several volunteers coming on Saturday afternoons to read with some of the students that may be having challenges reading.
September 21 marked the UN's International Day of Peace
"Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind." — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
I participated on the day by attending an event organized by Sifa Children's Centre located in the Kawangware slum. This was the first time they had celebrated the event and they invited several other schools to attend the day long event. I was also invited to speak along with several other local dignitaries. The following video will give you a snapshot of some of the events.
At Briton school we celebrated Peace with the Class 8 students writing words and symbols that represent peace to them on a large canvas, which we later framed and hung on a wall as you enter the school compound... It is a beautiful reminder!
Saturday September 10 marked the 4th annual Center for Spiritual Living World Day of Service.
We participated at the Briton SOM School by picking up garbage outside the school compound. This is an ongoing battle because the culture here is one where the majority of people throw their garbage and litter everywhere... especially in the slums where hopelessness is prevalent. To make matters worse the area just outside the doors to the school compound has been used for the entire community to dump garbage. Geoffrey has been working with the area chief to get this garbage site moved and enforced.
The event was attended by students, teachers and even some parents came out!
I recently had an experience that helped me to understand one of the ‘race/collective consciousness’ beliefs here in Kenya and how deeply it affects their everyday lives. It has allowed me to open to even more compassion and awe for the students that are learning to apply the principles of Science of Mind and are making such huge leaps in transforming their lives.
It was a huge decision to purchase a car here! Driving in Nairobi can be a challenge… The new government has been making huge steps in insuring that drivers are beginning to adhere to road rules… and there has been incredible amounts of road construction both in Nairobi and outlying areas. That said nothing here happens in a hurry! Yet another Kenyan cultural belief that things happen in Kenyan time.
The car I purchased came directly from Japan and as a result sits very low; so with the potholes, rough roads and huge traffic ‘bumps’ to slow down traffic it became clear that I needed to have the car raised.
I had heard ‘stories’ about the mechanics here; how you had to stay and watch them every moment as they would take your good parts and replace them with faulty parts so that you had to return for even more repairs. This was of particular concern to me as I am not mechanically inclined; I always figured that I didn’t need to know how the car ran – after all that is what mechanics are for! So, even if I watched them I wouldn’t have a clue! And of course, I am a woman and a muzungu (white person) so it is a given that I would be taken advantage of… On and on my thoughts went… and yes I am a metaphysical minister and I know how my thoughts create, so I had even more concern in finding a mechanic!
Shortly after purchasing the car I was making a trip to Kisii to visit the students in that area; while there I stay with Mishael and his family (from earlier posts). Mishael’s brother has a car so I decided to ask him if he could arrange with his mechanic to have the car raised. Much to my delight they said they could fix the car the next morning; this was perfect as I had a class booked for 1pm that afternoon. Now, Mishael lives in Nyabagege which is about half an hour from Kisii where the mechanic is and the class was in Rongo about half an hour in the other direction from Nyabagege; which was perfect as then we could stop and change clothes before going to the class. They said to be there at 8am and the repairs would take about half an hour… even giving extra time (to account for Kenyan time) we thought this was good timing. I really am an eternal optimist!
We arrived shortly before 8 and they (about 6 young men) promptly put the car up on blocks (read rocks) and removed all of the tires. I really wish I had taken pictures… the ‘garage’ is just a small tin shack on the side of the road and they do the repairs in the dirt in front. I was blessed to have Mishael with me to deal with them as I don’t speak the local vernacular and I don’t think they spoke any English. Then they sent one of the boys off on a boda/boda (small motorbike) to find the parts. Mishael suggested I go across the street for a coffee as I was attracting a lot of unwanted attention… I don’t imagine they had ever had a white woman there before!
They were still insisting that we would be done within the hour, so when I still hadn’t heard from Mishael by 10:30am I was getting a little anxious and went back to the shop assuming that the car would be ready soon. Every time Mishael asked how much longer they had another excuse… the boy couldn’t find the right parts… the car was too new… there was an accident causing traffic delays… etc, etc. By 11:30 my anxiety level was increasing as my car was still up on rocks and they refused to put it back together, insisting that the parts ‘were on the way’. So, it was becoming apparent that I would be late for my class, which is a big deal for me as I have been firm in insisting that the classes start on time given the belief in Kenyan time that means they may arrive at anytime during the scheduled class… even up to just minutes before the end of the time expecting to have a full class.
At noon Mishael another mechanic finally hired another boda/boda to go and retrieve the parts… and yes they both rode on the back of the bike! By 1pm (when my class was to be starting) we were just leaving Kisii – about an hour away. Mishael had contacted one of the other students and had him go Rongo to let anyone that came know that we would be late. When we finally arrived (hungry and dirty) we did have a very lively class as I shared my learning with them.
So, on to the good part… my understanding of the culture. I have been aware of the tendency for Kenyans to tell you what they think you want to hear… and I have come to realize that it is rare to find a Kenyan man that will admit he doesn’t know something. The interesting thing is that if you were to ask them if they tell the truth they will insist that they are ‘honest’ Christians. They don’t consider not telling the truth as lying and I don’t even think they are really aware of what they are doing; or of the consequences.
In talking with the SOM students about this phenomenon they all agreed that this is standard Kenyan operating procedure and that not only do they not tell the truth they also will not take responsibility for the results, blaming others or circumstances for the consequences. The result is that there is an underlying current of distrust, both of each other and even more importantly of themselves. Not only do they automatically assume that what they are being told is not the truth they expect it. They don’t expect me to tell the truth either so when I make an agreement they don’t expect me to fulfill my part of the agreement. This has made so many things that I have experienced make sense!
Many years ago, before I started my SOM journey, I took a series of courses offered by Context Assoc.; the first course is called the Pursuit of Excellence and everyday there is a sign at the front of the room that gets bigger everyday… it says ‘Tell the Truth’. I remember how impactful that concept was for me, when I realized how many ways that I didn’t tell the truth – both to others and myself. How I might enlarge or expand a story, or perhaps withhold information that I thought might ‘hurt’ someone’s feelings, or perhaps tell a little ‘white lie’ to escape punishment or criticism. Then, in my SOM training realizing the power of our word cemented my current beliefs in radical honesty and living in integrity.
I am currently facilitating 2 classes based on the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement is ‘Be Impeccable with your Word’ and the students are being pulled into a new awakening of the power of their word; and they are loving it! I am getting requests from many others to offer this again, many from people that have not been aware of CSL Kenya until now. What a great way to introduce people to the Centre. The challenge is that the books are not available here so if you have a copy you would like to donate (of this book or any other metaphysical books) please send them to the Edmonton address and I will bring them with me when I return to add to the lending library.
Over the past couple of months we had the opportunity to distribute the donations collected for the Britons school project. The children in the soccer program were thrilled that they now have uniforms and shoes for when they participate in local games days. Previously, they usually had to play barefoot and wearing either their school uniform or shorts and t-shirts if they had them; which was very degrading and affected their self-confidence when playing other teams.
Once again, many thanks go to the Comrie Foundation and to Verna Schmidt and her family for paying to send the 4 large hockey bags full of equipment.
Shortly before I left Canada I was introduced to an organization called Days for Girls (http://www.daysforgirls.org) whose mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions. In developing countries many girls miss so many days of school because they cannot leave home due to not having any supplies during their periods. I was gifted with 40 kits to distribute to the Briton school girls.
I was also given the contact information for a local woman, Christine, that has been involved with the organization and she joined me at the school to distribute the kits and help with the local customs around the issues these girls face. An interesting outcome was that Christine is now attending SOM classes!
Christina Perkins from Canada has joined me here in Nairobi again and also attended the Days for Girls presentation and this is her perspective:
Last week I sat in on a Days for Girls presentation…and by sat in, I mean I had to put adolescent sized undies on over my pants and demonstrate how to use a pad to endless giggles!
Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about what an impact Days for Girls really makes. Their name is meant to tell you that by giving young women these really handy washable pads, girls who wouldn’t be able to afford pads each month will now be able to attend school whether or not the red devil is in their belly! It’s so insane to think that just because you are a girl, you could miss up to two months of class time each year. Really giving that some thought, like REALLY thinking, “What would it be like during those days that I would just have to stay home because if not I would bleed though my clothes?” is a sobering thought. First off, where in your shack is an ok place to just let it flow? How can you manage to keep that situation sanitary? How would I feel about being a girl if I couldn’t help but just bleed around my home? These are things we wealthier folks never have to consider.
After thinking about that for awhile I looked at Days for Girls website and was absolutely astonished to find just how bad life could get without access to pads. While these girls are isolated at home they are more vulnerable to sexual assault, people also lure the girls into trading sex for pads, and some girls have been found to use numerous unsanitary things like leaves, cow dung, and even rocks in the hopes that these items will absorb the blood — obviously leading to some very bad infections. These are the really unthinkable truths that make me so grateful for the talented and dedicated people around the world trying to make a better world for the most vulnerable. To think that keeping a girl in school, freeing her of weird leaf rashes, lessening the possibility that she will suffer abuse in her home or resort to selling herself in order to get a consistent education, can all be accomplished by supplying simple kits filled with washable cloth pads is astonishing. Astonishingly simple, achievable and doable by any one of us.
So many of us think, “Ugh Africa! They’re totally messed up! The thought of it all is overwhelming, so we give up before we even try. What would the world be like if we just didn’t give up? If we just did a little something. Not some huge life altering sacrifice, but just a little something on the side? I’ll leave you with that thought, and if you’re willing maybe you might like to think about that. How could you and your personal gifts make a difference?
The Centre for Spiritual Living Kenya has been approved for phase one center status with Centers for Spiritual Living! This is exciting as it means that we are now official! YAHOO!
I returned to Nairobi the beginning of November after a very busy six months in Canada. It was wonderful reconnecting with my husband, Patrick and all of my children and grandchildren, extended family and friends in Canada.
I had set an intention of visiting as many Centers as I could to bring awareness and support to the work here in Kenya and was invited to present at six Centers in Canada and the US, and one of them invited me back for a second visit! It was very exciting to share the incredible transformations that are being manifest by the students here and people expressed how inspired and touched they are. They loved the soap-stone curious, baskets and jewelry and I know that I will have to take back more next year. Supporting the Briton slum school continues to be a major hit and we raised more funds to continue the programs there.
We started classes a couple of weeks ago, much to the delight of the students. And, we will be starting a new series for the interested students in January.
One of my friends in Canada had approached a foundation that supplies sports equipment to needy children in Alberta and they generously sent enough soccer equipment for 4 teams! Many thanks go to the Comrie Foundation and to Verna Schmidt and her family for paying to send the 4 large hockey bags full of equipment.
On my recent visit to Kisii I took half of the equipment to deliver to the Harambee Boys Home. I was introduced to Andrew, the director, last year and we had a wonderful connection; he is the brother-in-law to Michael (see an earlier post about the Kisii orphanage) and he had won a scholarship to study at the University of Alberta in Calgary back in the 70's, he calls me his Canadian sister. Last year Andrew took us around Kisii one day and showed us the garbage dump where they find the street boys; the home can house up to 40 boys where they house, feed, clothe, educate and rehabilitate the boys back into society. The excitement of the boys was absolutely inspiring, as depicted in these short videos.
I have been in awe of the manifestations that the students studying at KSOM have demonstrated in the short time they have been studying the Science of Mind. In reflecting on why this is so I have identified what I believe are three significant contributing factors.
Firstly, this teaching is so new in Kenya that the students don’t have an already established ‘I know’ mindset. As a result, they are open to knowing and embracing the Truth that we teach. I am excited to think that the experience I am having may be similar to what Dr. Holmes had when he first started teaching in the early days! As this teaching has become more mainstream in the western world I have noticed that students often comment that they already ‘know’ the information; and that ‘knowing’ gets in the way of the Truth they need to know.
Secondly, this culture is one of extreme poverty and struggle with a race consciousness immersed in lack, limitation and victimization; therefore, the students that are attracted to the KSOM Centre are really, really open, receptive and seeking change. In our western culture many students desire things to be different but are not willing to change; for really things are pretty comfortable and as creatures of habit we often don’t make the changes until we are desperate. I remember hearing Dr. Arlene Bump say that we come into this teaching in one of two ways: inspiration or desperation… and most of the people she met came from desperation; and I must say that has been my experience as well.
The third factor is the educational system that has been, and in many areas continues to be, employed in Kenya. It is largely an auditory practice of repetition as there are limited resources in the classrooms; many don’t have text books, scribblers or blackboards. Ultimately, the students are taught what to think – not how to think. As a result, when they are given the formula for treatment, taught to meditate or write affirmations they do it and consequentially they get results.
I am humbled and have learned so much from having the experience of being here and I know that as a result I have grown… as a teacher and as a person.
The following is a student project written by Jessy Njau at the completion of only 16 weeks of class...
What I have learnt as a Divine Avatar:
I have learnt that, I am a soul in a body having a human experience.
I have learnt that my body is an instrument through which I express myself & experience the
world around me.
I have learnt that, love has no gender or age I am free to love whoever I want.
I have learnt that we are facets of one and we are all connected.
I have learnt that, I AM GOD and I create my experiences.
I have learnt that, my divine nature is love, light, peace, joy, power and beauty.
I have learnt that, no one can make me angry without my consent; it’s a choice I make.
I have learnt that, people have good intentions I just need to see that.
I have learnt that, playing the victim does not serve me; it only takes power away from me.
I have learnt that, I have a role in all my exchanges therefore I need to own up and take responsibility.
I have learnt that, we all have a little child inside awaiting to be loved, hugged, complemented,
encouraged, nurtured, protected, soothed etc
I have learnt that, the more I seek the truth my reality shifts.
I have learnt that, I no longer need to ask what’s in for me , only how can serve.
I have learnt that, people around me mirror me all the time.
I have learnt that, what I give I get back 100 fold (KARMA in Action)
I have learnt that, my beliefs determine my altitude.
I have learnt that, we all have internal resources we can tap into and no one needs a savior.
I have learnt that, logic will take me from A-B & my imagination will take me everywhere.
I have learnt we are all in a journey of life and in different stages/levels, so be compassionate.
I have learnt, the devil does not exist & therefore no Duality.
I have learnt, I am in control of the way I respond to behavior of others.
I have learnt that, I can choose for a better feeling no matter the circumstances.
I have learnt that happiness is an inside job and I am responsible for my own happiness.
I have learnt the way I do /perceive things is not always the best way and I choose to respect the
model of others.
I have learnt that, if it does not challenge me it does not change me.
I have learnt, it’s easy to judge the mistakes of others & difficult to recognize our own mistakes.
I have learnt that, I cannot change what I refuse to confront.
I have learnt that, my thoughts are magnetic that draw in matching energy.
I have learnt that, I am responsible for the energy I bring all the time & I have a choice to be a host
or a hostage.
I have learnt that, my struggles end where gratitude begins.
I have learnt that my life is unfolding in the right time, space and sequence.
I have learnt that, self worth comes from within and everything I ever wanted/wished for is right
outside my comfort zone.
I have learnt that, the universe is speaking to me all the time and conspiring in my favor.
I have learnt that, my intuition directs me to the truth and leads me to my passion I just need to
quiet my mind & listen with my heart.
I have learnt that, if I invite positive events/ experiences in my life, I have a whole universe inside me.
I have learnt my mind is everything, what I think I become, therefore I choose empowering thoughts.
I have learnt that, I AM enough and I AM giving the best of who I AM.
I have learnt that, as a butterfly.... I am still becoming and that is OK, we all are!
This video is another student presentation by Anthony Githu.
Natasha and Saskia Bromwell-Blessing, past teen group participants from Edmonton, came to witness the unfoldment of the Science of Mind in Kenya.
Christina Perkins was one of the teens from the first group I started in Calgary many years ago. She attended a presentation last year at the Joy of Life CSL in Calgary and decided at that time to come to Nairobi and live in the apartment while I return to Canada. As her interest is in community development in developing countries she will be offering her expertise at Briton slum school.
During the last couple of weeks, before Sherrel and then Helen left to return to Canada, we took the opportunity to explore the many wonderful sites around Nairobi.
Nairobi National Park is on the outskirts of the city, very near where we live and has several places to visit.
I have been blessed with 2 awesome Canadian guests!
Sherrel Richards, a SOM student for 20 years and retired nurse from Vancouver, fulfilled her life-long dream of visiting Africa by joining me here for 7 weeks. One of the highlights for her was visiting the children at the slum school. And, another was ‘adopting’ Lynn, Patrick’s niece that is living with me.
Helen Moffat, a SOM practitioner at the Joy of Life Centre for Spiritual Living in Calgary, was inspired to come and immerse herself in the culture for 3 weeks.
The highlight of their time here was a 5 day safari between Christmas and New Year’s. The safari also fell during the week-long Kwanzaa celebration observed from December 26 to January 1.
Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in the US in 1965 as the first specifically African-American holiday. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits of the harvest". It is the principle that says you reap what you sow.
It is a more than just a celebration it is a way of life. In practice the principles are about remembering, reassessing, recommitting, renewing, rewarding, and rejoicing. When we use them they can guide and serve us well to reach deep within and touch the Spirit within each of us.
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba - the seven principles of African Heritage, which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy," consisting of what he called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world."
The day before we started out we reflected on Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
On each of the days we lit a candle and reflected on one the seven principles. It was quite amazing to witness how each day something would happen that coincided with the principle of the day.
The day after we arrived home we celebrated Day 7: Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. Knowing that experiences of the safari will continue unfold themselves in our consciousness.