17August2017

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Sometimes, it is the uncomplicated wisdom of a teenager that saves you. I was squatting on the floor of the hospital bathroom, willing my three year old to go 'pee pee.' The chickenpox we were waiting for him to get from his sister was severe enough to land him in the hospital for five days where my life took on a pause. I left his sister with my mother and spent every minute wiping away tears and massaging small swollen feet. I wasn't tired but the magnitude of single motherhood suddenly seemed insurmountable. Leeben is only three and his sister Rekka is six years old. By my calculation, that's another fifteen years of responsibility, of my heart swelling open and shut with love but also worry. It is little sleep and a lot of prayer. It is not having the right to get sick or feeling guilty for a nap. It is a physical exhaustion I did not know I had in me.

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We were foetuses when they mapped out our lives

some of us would glide through birth canals

break open wombs

announce our arrival in bold wails

we were born protesting

then to be shushed at entry

and later made to believe our voices mattered little

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I wanted to make sure I blogged about this topic because, although scary, depressing and rather morbid, I think it is important that we reflect on death. Individually, we must think of it, as it is part of life, part of nature. And as a family, we must choose to discuss it in order to relieve the pain that will undeniably follow upon such its occurrence. But I mainly wanted to use this blogging opportunity to make peace with my recent experience and find solace in its truth. Sadly, my father-in-law passed away this April, Mr. Mitik Beyene. After a stroke 8 years ago, his health had slowly declined throughout the years and unfortunately claimed his life, too short. His family was around him and with him throughout the last days of his suffering and thus the death came as a sense of peace in his relief rather than a shock.

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Our dear readers will excuse me. I had to be reminded by my wonderful co-blogger that I had failed to post not only one, but two posts. My excuse is a simple one; I have been going through, and processing, one of the most difficult chapters of my life, and it has beenan-all consuming process.

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“I believe that a key to leadership, particularly on our continent today, is having a clear, persuasive and achievable vision.” ~ Akere T. Muna

Last week I had the great pleasure of moderating a lecture discussion at the 6th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, hosted in Bahir Dar. The lecture entitled, “Leadership in Africa: Reflections on the Legacy of the Late Dr. Wangari Maathai, was part of the annual Meles Zenawi Lecture Series at the Tana Forum, and this year delivered by Barrister Akere T. Muna, Chairperson of the International Anti-Corruption conference and Sanctions Commissioner of the African Development Bank Group.

I was particularly delighted to moderate this dialogue for two reasons: firstly, Dr. Wangari Maathai was the first female leader that the Tana Forum was paying homage to since the launch of the lecture series in 2014. Secondly, the life,work and leadership of Dr. Maathai has often fascinated me. Delivering his lecture on Dr. Maathai’s legacy, Barrister Muna rightly noted that she was a woman of many firsts – the first female to earn a doctorate degree in East and Central Africa; the first female to ever Chair the Department of Veterinary Medicine and become an associate professor at the University of Nairobi; and the first female to ever receive a Nobel prize.

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“The beautiful thing about fear is, when you run to it, it runs away.”

~ Robin Sharma

A client of mine asked me to help her with her fear of flying.   She said that she recently got educational opportunity to study abroad for her second degree but would not be able to consider that due to her incapacitating fear of flying.   

Fear is defined as an emotional and physical reaction to a present, known threat.  Fear has a strong controlling power.  It protects us from possible harms and alerts us from possible dangers.  However, the mind also has the capacity to create danger messages when not warranted and incapacitate the person from moving forward.  Fear may result from experiencing tangible attacks by something that has endangered our lives orbeing; or it may result from intangible thoughts created by the mind.  Hence, some fears are imaginary, and not real.  “What if I am not successful in life? What if I would not makeprofit this year in my business? What if I am dismissed from the university? What if I cannot get married? What if I do not give birth to children? What if my children are hooked into addictions? What if… What if… What if…..”

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