Thursday, January 24, 2008

What can one woman do to help the women of Kenya?

In December 2006, I was blessed to be one of thirty- six U.S. women who had the remarkable experience of attending the first Grassroots African Women's Conference in Bondo, Kenya. This gathering brought together 513 rural African women leaders to share information, idea and resources. During our two weeks in Africa, we were able to witness firsthand the courage, commitment and competence of the women of Kenya.

As all of you know, Kenya is caught in the grip of conflict and violence at this moment. In the words of my friend Joyce Oneko who anchored that women's conference "We have taken our 40+ years of peace for granted...we realize that the election violence was just a symptom of something that has gone terribly wrong." Joyce has been doing what Kenyan women do every day: she has been showing up to do whatever needs to be done in the slums of Nairobi and the the Mathare Camp where many displaced people have settled.
This is a remarkable moment in time... and a perfect opportunity for women everywhere to communicate their support for the women of Kenya as they face the challenge of restoring peace and sustainability to their communities and to their beloved country.

You are invited to step into this opportunity for global sisterhood in any of the following ways:

FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO RESTORE KENYA

You can contribute directly to the Kenya Restoration Fund, a special fund that has been established by Global Partners for Development. This fund will allow money to flow through Kenyan partners of GPFD directly to women's projects for the purpose of restoring their communities.

http://www.gpfd.org/global_pages/global_conference.html

ENABLE THE VOICES OF KENYA WOMEN TO BE HEARD ON A GLOBAL STAGE

Joyce Oneko has been invited to participate in a global women's summit being convened in Jaipur, India in March 2008. This event, 'Making Way for the Feminine For the Benefit if the World Community", is being anchored by Global Peace Initiative of Women (http://www.gpiw.org/) and will bring together 400 world leaders from religion, government and civil society.

A special fund has been created to allow Joyce and two rural Kenya women leaders to travel to Jaipur so that their leadership may be acknowledged and their voices be heard in this global forum. This opportunity to go to India is not a frivolous thing in this time of crisis in Kenya; it is a powerful way to gain visibility and generate the global support that African women need to continue toward self-sufficiency and caring for their extended families.

You can send a check made out to Gather the Women
(with the notation JOYCE in the memo line)

Gather the Women
P.O. Box 80026
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

SEND A 'LOVE NOTE'

At the Grassroots African Women's Conference in Kenya, we were able to give each African woman a personal handwritten 'love note' from an American women ... and to experience how treasured these personal messages were to women who received them. It was a deeply personal and uniquely feminine connection which was received with tears of gratitude by many of the African women that evening.

We will again be collecting hand-written notes of support and encouragement to be delivered directly to the women of Kenya.

You can send your note to:

Gather the Women
P.O. Box 80026
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

ANCHOR A PRAYER CIRCLE

In one of Joyce's e-mails sent from the midst of the conflict, she asked "Please pray for our beloved country Kenya." One way you can support the women of Kenya is to anchor a prayer circle on their behalf.

We are so blessed to be living at this time
when we can act locally and connect globally.
I trust the women of Kenya to show up and do what needs to be done in this moment,
and I trust each of you to do the same.

Love,
Kathe

P.S You can read a collection of recent letters from our Kenya friends at a special Gather the Women Africa website

Friday, January 11, 2008

Invitation to a remarkable dialogue

On Saturday January 26 from 1-5 pm,
women of southern California will have the opportunity to participate in
Women, Politics and Leadership:
A Trans-Partisan Dialogue for the Women of Southern California.
Women from all perspectives are invited to join in a unique dialogue to explore the common ground beyond our political differences.
The event will be held at the UC-Irvine Student Center.

This is not a typical 'political' event to promote any candidate or issue. It is a rare opportunity to be part of a conversation about the many facets of the relationship between women and politics.

We need great women like you who can contribute valuable insight and unique life learning to this important conversation.
Students from area colleges and universities may register at no cost by contacting harrietadams@cox.net.

You are encouraged to register early.
The $30 registration fee can be paid online or by check.

You can register online with a credit card at:
http://www.gtwsocal.org/

or by sending your e-mail address and a check to:

Gather the Women So Cal
P.O. Box 80026
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688.

Women, Politics and Leadership is co-sponsored by:
UCI - School of Social Studies
UCI - Center for Citizen Peace Building
UCI - Department of Women's Studies
UCI - International Studies Program
and hosted by Gather the Women- Southern California.

We sincerely hope that you will join us on January 26 and help spread the word to your network of women.

The Trans-Partisan Planning Team
Joy Adams
Deborah Avant
Lynn Daucher
Lina Kriedie
Joan Lars
Rima Nashashibi
Kathe Schaaf
Suzie Swartz

Monday, January 7, 2008

On the occassion of the first new moon of the new year

New moons are the perfect time for new beginnings, for launching new creations into the world. And so it seems perfect to launch my blog in the energy of this first new moon of 2008.

My first post is not going to be a long one. I just want to say thanks for signing on to be on this wild ride with me. Things are falling apart faster than I had expected ... and things are also falling together faster than I had expected. Sometimes I have to listen carefully and look closely to see the 'falling together' part ... but when I do, I see grace and miracles manifesting in surprising ways all over the place.

This lovely message came to my inbox in the first week of 2008 and it seems to say what needs to be said~

From the Hopi Elders:

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that THIS IS THE HOUR.

And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.

It is the time to speak your Truth,
Create your community,
Be good to each other,
AND DO NO LOOK OUTSIDE YOURSELF FOR THE LEADER.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart,
And they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say:
We must let go of the shore,
Push off into the middle of the river,
Keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.

SEE WHO IS IN THERE WITH YOU AND CELEBRATE!

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!

Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.

The Elders of the Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona