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Monday, February 27, 2012

Champions


After a very awkward week, I was thrilled to rally a cheering squad to the Kenya Swimming Federation National Championships which was held over the weekend! Our agenda was to go give a standing ovation to our very own cousin who makes the rest of us look bad in any pool!!
Am sure you can imagine the magnitude of this event! These are the crème of all swimmers in the country from various age-groups who have been training for different courses. Seating with my squadron in the bleachers I couldn’t help but wonder how much time, effort, energy, costs and much more have been invested in each of these swimmers.

It may have been a lot of work pampering our dear water baby and ensuring he is well hydrated with orange water (apparently all these serious swimmers drink this stuff!)and is well fed and warm. However the hard-work was left solely on his shoulders. I know for a fact that he swims nearly every day for at least two hours, eats a very healthy diet and works out! This calls for a great deal of discipline, commitment and focus! The results as you can rightfully visualize are almost quite obvious! Now, when you think of GIGO (a computer acronym for Garbage in Garbage out) you understand that you are what you do often and what you do is pretty much what you get! That said it is still very startling that with this knowledge we still expect to be champions in our own right in whatever we fancy without working at it! It is very strange that on our wish list they are a zillion goals we have set but we have not taken any initiative to realize any one of these goals!
Thinking of all the swimmers over the weekend, regardless of their age or what course they were pursuing; they have all made sacrifices to make it to the nationals. They have had to sacrifice some leisure and rest to get adequate training. They may have had to let go of some friends who do not share in their visions. They have coaches who train them and family and friends who cheer them even when they would rather give up! Come the hour of reckoning, they have to stand on the board and go the mile alone. The rest of the spectators can now only watch and applaud them on.
Thinking about it, this is how life really is, a race which you decide to take at your own pace. You may have a great team rallying behind you and giving you all the support and encouragement you need along the way. Many a times, you will get boo-ers who will try to dampen you spirit and make you believe you are not worthy, or that you can’t succeed! However, you must have a goal and must train to achieve it.You must have the discipline, focus and zeal it entails. Like the swimmers you have to keep pushing yourself, not making an excuse because it would be easier too and keep working on bettering yourself. Like the coaches who rush to the swimmers side at the end of each race informing them of the time they accomplished and giving them a pat on the back, we all need to have mentors, coaches and role models who believe in our potential, share our values and beliefs and can help us along the way!
But most of all as a true champion, we must all accept that we are better at something’s and others are undeniably better at other things. We therefore need to display good sportsmanship and congratulate others for their accomplishments and be genuinely happy for them! Shake their hands and wish them well. This must be harder for some people more than others but we must always remember the words of ‘desiderata’: those who are green with envy over others success are vexatious to the spirit!
So our water baby did us very proud over the weekend, hopefully we might send him to the Olympics very soon. This weekend I re-learnt from him the importance of setting realistic goals and put my all into actually realizing them! So maybe I need to get up earlier, cut down on the sugar and get those books cracking!!!!!
I might want to ask what goals do you have on your to-do list? And what are you REALLY doing about them? It’s one thing to have it on paper and a whole different story when you put action to them!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Extraordinary Young Lady-Ms Wamaitha Mwangi...

Ms Wamaitha Mwangi is not only a very intelligent and beautiful young lass but also a phenomenal woman in her own right!She recently won the prestigious Pillar Awards Africa under the Humanitarian category in 2011.Find out in her own words what makes her a truly extra-ordinary young lady.
Wamaitha Mwangi- Humanitarian 2011 Pillar Awards Africa Winner.

 

My Heritage:
I am born and raised in Kenya and I am third born child in a family of four siblings. Two older sisters and a younger brother. By my parent’s estimates of all the kids, I was definitely the last one they would have imagined ever having.
My Passion:
But even in all my ups and downs, youthful madness, rebellion there was one thing that undeniably remained consistent within me, my love for kids. I was especially drawn to children with special needs. So in High School I became chairlady of the rangers club and I made sure that most of our trips were to children's homes and continued visiting different homes after high school to volunteer.
Further Studies in Ausi:
I went college in Australia. Initially I   wanted to study Special Education but I did not qualify for the course. However, to keep in line with my passion I opted to study Psychology at Notre Dame University with an emphasis on Child Psychology. While in Australia, I worked part time at a private home as a nanny to a boy with special needs for three years before I came back to Kenya in 2008.
Back Home:
When I came back home, I wanted to work with children so I went and enrolled for the Montessori training, but that didn't do it for me although I learned a lot from it. I always wanted to start a Home since I was about 21, so I decided that was the right time to do it.I started visiting Homes for research, some owners were harsh and others were very secretive. Not many people supported me especially at the very beginning. Family, close friends, relatives and even strangers felt that I was too young to do it.But thank God for the stubbornness my family feared…Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you my passion and my calling:
How it all began:
My initial dream was for the Centre to be for children with special needs but the startup costs were very high for me especially in terms of the therapists, equipment, medicine and all. But with the resources that I had I decided to focus on infants. We registered Angel Centre for abandoned children with the NGO board of Kenya and got inspected and given the green light to take in the babies.
Our Humble Beginnings:
We started in a 1 bedroom apartment in Limuru where we had to finish the renovations ourselves. I met a lady in Tigoni who does the same thing and she really encouraged me and even donated two baby cots from her home to us. That was huge for me and the Home at the time because we had nothing. We started with 2 babies and 2 nannies who were full time volunteers.
We’ve come a long way:
A year and a half later and we have 11 babies aged between 1.5 months to 2 years old. We have 10 nannies, a watchman and social worker who are all on payroll. We are currently renting a 4 bedroom
House in Rironi Limuru.
Our biggest success:
3 months ago we had our first adoption from the home through KKPI Adoption Agency. Baby David was a year and two months old.
Challenges:
Though it’s been a rewarding year and half with the babies we have faced some very tough challenges, the hardest being losing baby Harrison on 9th February 2011. He had hydrocephalus and spinal bifida. He succumbed to this illness at 7 months old. He had been with us for 6 months. Further to that we have faced other challenges namely: Salaries-We struggle with their salaries because we run solely on funding from well-wishers. Medical Cover-We are not able to pay for the children's medical cover. We rely on Government hospitals and free medical checkups. Lack of Donors-This has been our biggest challenge as I mentioned above we run solely on well-wishers and although the children have never lacked food or clothing, we have a limited resources.
But I won’t give up: