Umukenyezi: But What if?

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What if, I do not cry when they take my baby saying I am a bad mom?

Will you let them do without caring about how I feel?

What if, tears do not flow on my cheeks when he rapes me?

Will you tell me I was agreeing with him?

What if, I do not hide in the closet to cry when I realize my paycheck isn’t as big as his when we do the same job?

Will you then think I am okay with it?

What if I do not cry when I receive the call from the army saying you would not be coming back home?

Will it mean I did not love you?

What if, not a single drop of tear was shed when they made it hard for me to get the job I want and should I say the one I am qualified for?

Will you think I agree with the fact of just settling for any job I get?

What if, you do not see me drying a mix of sweat and tears when I am carrying:all that wood on my head, your baby on my back and jerry can of water in my hand?

Will you consider me as a person who does not accept help?

What if I choose not to listen to you when you tell me raise my skirt just a little bit and unbutton my shirt to get those grades?

Will I just be too stubborn for not listening to your advices?

What if I do not agree with the fact that we both were in that bed but I am the only one living with the consequences?

Will I then fit in that “crybaby box” you try to put me in?

 

See I am complex and I do not express every emotion with my tears.

The thought of not being able to raise my baby kills me but I will keep it together so I do not scare her.

Tears won’t come when he rapes me because they have become thorns around my heart

I won’t cry over my paycheck because regardless of how many buckets I fill with tears, nothing will change.

I won’t cry when the army calls because to be honest I am still hoping that they called the wrong number and that you will be back in time to help me deliver our baby, you always keep your promises anyways.

I won’t get in that teacher’s bed even if it leads to failing his class, because dignity is still a word in my vocabulary.

I won’t expect any help from you. I won’t feel betrayed if you act according to the little you think you know about me.

NO!

See ndi Umwigeme I still have a lot to learn and I believe the best place would be in school not in his room.

See ndi Umukenyezi, and nobody ever said life would be easy for me.

See ndi Umurundikazi, and culture often means I have to sacrifice. But you know what? I think that I have sacrificed  enough now.  I am my sister’s keeper and I will not remain calm. I will keep moving for her, for my daughter and for all the other generations to come.

For now, I will gather those wood pieces singing “Hora hora nkwinginge” to put my baby to sleep. I will make sure I do not forget to fill the jerrycan with water for tonight. And if you see me go by and do not offer help, I won’t be mad because deep down I know that I am the Hero I always needed.

Cheers to Us, the silent but moving Force!

Mlle Gapfasoni

Images ©: Population connection

Umukenyezi: She is called woman

She was raped, tortured and abused

She was told that she is nothing, and would probably be always used for pleasure;  She will live with her pain forever. But, she is still called woman.

She is called woman, because she sometimes swims the deepest oceans, climbs the highest mountains, hides her pain.

She is called woman, because even if they pull her down, make her cry, turn her life to hell, and force her to die, she still walks fearlessly and stays confident.

She is called woman , because she can do anything she puts her mind to;IMG-20170308-WA0005

She is called woman because, She gives life, She is a wife, She is a mother and a friend, she is a sister, always survives until the end.

She is called woman because she never sleeps, always around when needed, goes to work, struggles with life but never gives up.

She is called woman because she is strong, beautiful, compassionate, sensual, caring, surviving, tolerant, full of hope and always optimistic. She learns how to cope and makes her way out.

She is called woman because she deserves to be loved and cherished. She is called woman because she is powerful!

Today is her day, her Valentine’s Day, acknowledge great things she does for you and all people around you, and don’t forget to tell her how much she means to you.

 

With love,

Edna Thecla Akimana

Mama

Umukenyezi : Mama

Cheers to the mothers out there and Maman Chris in particular ❤

Chronicles of a Third World Elite

She was a smart student, and not because all parents say they were. I actually stumbled upon some of her high school transcripts one day, and they were spotless. I was pleasantly surprised (not to say that I expected her to be dumb or anything). She could have become a scientist, an engineer, a doctor or something… if her mother hadn’t asked her to go to nursing school instead. She was the second (and most responsible, dare I say) child in a family of nine. Her single mum needed help – read, an extra income – to take care of the little ones. Therefore, she couldn’t afford an education that lasts “forever”, asking for money, instead of making it… so she “had” to get into the workforce as soon as possible. Besides, if she had been “too educated”, she probably would have “scared” potential husbands away: if people say that…

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What if we had a specific type of people we were drawn to?

benefits-of-friendship-floweradvisorHave you ever wondered why a friend talking to you sounds so much like a complete other friend of yours?

Have you ever just sat and thought of how well your friends would get along if they were to meet (in case they are not friends yet)? Well I have, and it has been on my mind for a while now.

Although one person can have more than one friend and give equal attention and time to each one of them, it is obvious that no friendship is equal. But the simple fact that two or three of one’s friends can be “similar” or have the same visions in life, makes me ask this question : Do we attract, or to say it better, are we supposed to have a specific type of people around us?

Before we go too deep, and try to find supporting evidences, let me just explain where this whole topic is coming from.

First of all,  I am the kind of person who regardless of how friendly I can be to anybody and everybody, I only open up to a limited number of people. I do not have any specific criteria but bonds seem to form themselves. And now when I look at my life, I realize there is just a limited number of people I call friends, real friends.

Growing up, I had (still have to some extent) almost too much social life: been with the girl scouts, practice traditional dancing since I was 5, part of student clubs at school back in Burundi, and did a lot of volunteering in Canada where I know live, to that add,  2-3 different associations,Church, work, school … and this is just a sample of what really goes on *insert tired and rolling eyes emoji*. In case you were wondering if I am cool with that, the answer is yes. I mean, I do not know how I manage it but it works for me somehow.

With that in mind, I can put my friends in 4 different categories:

  1. Childhood friends : includes the family members that were close to me since we                                              were young
  2. High-school friends : they say that the friendship that you make in this period of your life are meant to stay, Shout out to those that showed me this saying is right
  3. Church friends: some of them are sisters and brothers our parents did not know they had 😏
  4. Sort-of-new friends: I say sort-of because they are not new, but it just that I met them or got to get close to them when I moved here in Canada.

Some of them can be found in more than one category. As I sit and talk to any of my friends I can’t help but have thoughts such as: maan, — would have fun hanging with us… OMG you so much like—   or even this one:  Jeez my friend — could say the exact same thing you just said.

All this thinking and comparing every single one of my friends (remember they have to deserve the title loolz) made me question if we actually were attracted to a specific type of people.

A study I read somewhere said that when looking for a soulmate we were attracted to the “us” that we see in the person, this would explain why some couples really look alike. But that was not enough for me. I wanted to know more about the other friends, not just the “best friend/lover/soulmate/bae/boo/ however you call them”.

Plato, the Greek philosopher said, Similarity begets friendship in other words we choose our friends according to what we find in them that is similar to us. So because the model we are basing that “friendship quest” if I may say, is the same a.k.a “Ourselves”, it is understandable that some of our friends have similar psychological traits. Or using simple maths:

If B   &   C   then   C

Part 1 solved.

Now, I cannot tell you that all of my friends are similar or agree on the same things (for all I know, I do not even agree with myself on everything 😒 ). But I believe that the thing that most people put first when making new friends is the sense of humor. Because of that, it is safe to say that all of your friends are most likely going to have the same sense of humor, ergo get along easily ( well,for the most part). Part 2 solved.

Now with roughly the same sense of humor, personality traits that are complementary, dreams and aspirations in life that do not necessarily have to be the same, you get an energy that is unique to your group. I call myself lucky because although not all of my friends know each other personally I know for sure that they would get along easily, I mean if they each can handle me, nothing else is impossible lol.

Again, not 2 of my friends are alike. But they all have more than one part of me in them which is why, consciously or not, we chose each other as friends.

Saying that an individual is attracted to a specific type of person is still to be figured out. In the meantime, hug your closest friends (in space) and blow kisses to those that are far for they make life precious for us.

Love,

Mlle Gapfasoni

Image source: here

On 2016

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2016 has been good, regardless of what people say about it. It has been the year I discovered more about myself, the people around me and the world in general. The Following post will talk about some of the things I learned this past year. Let’s get started.

1. God oh God!

Man, He has shown himself to be the most amazing friend throughout the highs and the lows. Every time anything would crush me down, he showed me that unless he says that it is the end, it will never be the end.

2. There will always be chaos 

Yes, I said it. Whether it is about political conflicts, health issues, or even family problems, something has to go wrong. And if everything seems right at this moment, believe me, it is just a matter of time. Now do not get me wrong I am not a negative person. What makes it different is the way you react in times of chaos or as i like to say it in “911 situations”.

3. Culture can sometimes be something that stands in your way from greatness

I am going to explain myself on this one. Talking specifically to my Burundian & Rwandan readers. We’ve always been told to be calm down, to not do too much. Maybe it is not explicitly said but it is somehow implied. Speaking about your accomplishment, about what you can do, is seen as a sign of arrogance. At the same time, reaching out for help is a sign of weakness. For a person who has been living outside of the motherland for quite some time, I’ve come to realize that if you do not speak for yourself, no one else will. If you do not tell them what you can do and what makes you unique, my friend, they won’t give you that job. If you do not ask for help you, will not get it. It is as simple as that. We have to break from that mentality of expecting things. Speaking of that…

4. Never think people will act according to your expectations

People are just people. It is not because we’re friends that I have to act the way you want me to. When you set high expectations on people you will simply be disappointed. In the same way, it is not because we do not get along or that I did something that did not please you that all I do is negative. When you qualify people as just capable of mediocre things, you limit their greatness and it affects your mood more than it affects theirs. Learn to accept things the way they come, and to see people as artist who have a new canvas every day. That way, you will always be surprised by the result of their actions, the art on their canvas.

5. #Privacy 

In a world of tweets, shares, and 👍, every one feels the need to post something. And it gets very personal at times. But I have learned this past year that not everything happening in your life is meant to be shared. Some things are meant to be kept personal at least for a certain period of time. There is a social pressure that comes with you exposing your whole life. But again everyone have their own ways of seeing things, and I am not here to force you to think the way I think. If you feel like you need to make us all part of your life, public and private, by all means. Do you boo 👊!

6. Determination is really key to success

Need I say more? I guess I will anyhow. Looking back at this year made me realize that the only thing that stands between you and the “You” you wish to become is your state of mind. Yes, finances may be a valid point to excuse why you are not there yet, but my question is “How far are you willing to go?” Get me right, do you realize that sometimes you will have to sacrifice nights of sleep, and even meals for that degree, that dream job, that business you want to start, that book you want to write, that house/ car you wish to buy.. or even things as simple as that restaurant meal you want to afford? It is only a matter of setting your mind to your goal and making a few sacrifices until you make it.

7. Comparison is the worst game out there

This will take a whole blog for me to explain And I plan on coming back to it. In the meantime, keep this in mind: You are not the next person, you have not been them and you will never be, stop comparing yourself to them at the risk of passing by your life.

 

This was long, I am glad you made it to the last part LOL. Of all the things I learned this year, the most important one was surely to enjoy the little things in life and to be grateful at every step of this journey.

I would love to know about some of the lessons you got from this past year. In the meantime I wish you all a wonderful, blessed and productive year

♥♥♥

Mlle Gapfasoni

Photo: google image©

 

From my heart to yours

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©gwaga photography

Petit beau pays

I know this is going to sound a little cliché since everyone is trying to be more of a patriot than others by changing their profiles, uploading pictures of your flag, talking about sagamba Burundi (without even knowing what it means), but I will be speaking from the heart and tell you how I really feel.

Petit beau pays since I left you, I have never been the same. I look at your pictures and remember the good times I had when we were still together. I miss you I really do. I remember the sunsets at the beach, the chilly evenings ruguru, the hills and trees, lakes reflecting the deep blue sky, hippos and crocodiles that were so scary but at the same time reminding us that we were home. I remember your sons playing umupira mwibarabara right beside your daughters who were jumping ropes.

I remember 6pm running in someone’s house kuraba dessin annimé and with this I remember the face of the parents that got home around that time to find 30 kids seating quietly in the living room but as soon as the cartoon was over it took them 10 sec to leave the place. I remember the Sundays after church, when the whole family gathered home to share a delicious meal but that was only when tutagiye kuri beach.

Petit beau pays nukuri I miss you. But one thing is for sure you hold a big place in my heart. I hear a lot of things concerning you and it saddens me, but I know petit beau pays that you are strong and forgive easily. I’ll do you a favor today and tell you stories of your children.

Your children are so beautiful and handsome that other people can’t help but appreciate us internationally (ibaze some are even modelling for big companies around the globe). We still have that value of gushigikiranira in rough times. We love gathering to share a drink or 2, iyo hari brochette hoho it’s something else. But petit beau pays, something is bothering me but promise me you won’t be mad when I tell you about it.

See Ubuntu and Ubumwe are not that present anymore. I thought that by know matters of Hutus Tutsis and Twas would not mean much. But apparently parents are still identifying other families as “barya batutsi, barya bahutu…” and us children can’t really identify ourselves as Burundians without considering our ethnicity.

See we want to be recognized for the good that we do even before we do it. Kandi rero we seem not to be happy when others succeed or get credit for something they did right. There are plenty of other things I choose not to tell you, kuko you would be disappointed in us. Muga don’t you worry it’s going to be alright, tuzokwisubirako.

Petit beau pays, 

This year is the 54th since you became independent. But really we all know you were fighting silent battles. I come to tell you that “Ejo ni heza” even if we’ve spent a year saying that. I can tell you that in the next few years your children are going to make you proud. We only have to remember that it all starts with unity. Petit beau pays, this was just a letter from my heart to yours.

I promise to make you proud and to always represent your colors with pride. I love you now and forever.

Your Gapfasoni

Komezamahoro

light at the end of the tunnelKomezamahoro!! Yes that was your name. Young, Innocent, killed.
Ntungane! That’s another one of your names. Young , Innocent, killed.
Claudia! Young, innocent, orphaned.
Prince,  Eva, Chris, young innocent and exiled.
Laurie, Stephan, Carole,  young innocent scared even more, terrified.
Muco doesn’t trust anyone,
Gatore doesn’t want to grow up
Jake was left alone with his sister Kate who is still waiting for the policeman to bring back their father.
Ntwari oh Ntwari he wants to go out in the streets and fight
Ncuti just doesn’t believe how people can be that cruel.
Kwizera thinks this will end soon but his friend Karire has lost all hope.
Marco dreams about a better Burundi where he’s gonna have a roof on top oh his head.
Ntore learned how to be a parent at the age of 12.
Little Mary got pregnant while living in the refugee camp now  she’s 14 and a mum
Baby Joseph was born in a prison he is now 5 and has no idea of what the outside looks like.
All of them are familiar to guns, and some don’t know what a quiet night sounds like.
They don’t know the meaning of safety, they have never actually seen how beautiful were their country. They are scared, they have hatred growing in them.

Then there’s Gapfasoni who wonders why.
Why all these things are happening,
Why her little brothers and sisters are experiencing this
Why her big brothers and sisters are not doing a thing. Or maybe is it because they are scared as well.
Gapfasoni wonders why people don’t react,
Why they are waiting on somebody else to act
Why people want to get to progress before they spend time with unity and work
Why everybody is just thinking about themselves.

She wonders how long it is gonna last
How long it is gonna be until our baby brothers and sisters finally get to know that we the big bros and big sis have them in mind
That we are gonna do what we can to make them meet a new friend Freedom, his brothers Safety and work , his sisters Unity and Love.

All that so we can be Intungane and dukomeze amahoro in our country.

-Thiena Corlie Gapfasoni