Fomenting A Rebellion

“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” ::Abigail Adams

I Like Waco … ? December 7, 2008

Filed under: africa,for fun,school,thought of the day — ldgafford @ 11:24 pm

I think this photo says it all.



Thinking of Africa October 15, 2008

Filed under: africa,social issues — ldgafford @ 5:59 am

I’ve been thinking about Africa the past couple of days, and how much I miss it. I’ve been to Kenya once and Rwanda twice, and both impacted me in very profound ways. However, my time spent in Kibera slum – one of the largest, if not the largest, slums in Africa – is what I remember most vividly.


Support Women in Kenya February 27, 2008

Filed under: africa,social issues,women's rights — ldgafford @ 8:01 am

I recently had one of my readers ask me what some good women’s organizations in Africa (specifically Kenya) were to donate money to. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Women Fighting Aids in Kenya (WOFAK): I have personally worked with this organization in the slums of Nairobi, and they may be one of the most stellar groups of women I’ve ever met. They’re passionate about their work and completely dedicated to the women of Kenya. An organization started by Kenyan women for Kenyan women. Fantastic.

Beacon of Hope: Another organization I have personally worked with in the slums outside of Nairobi. They primarily provide health care and testing for women with HIV/AIDS, though I’m pretty sure they don’t turn anyone away. They also assist women with starting their own businesses (products made by the women are sold on the website, and are wonderful!), run a school for children from the slums, and deliver much-needed foodstuffs to poverty-stricken families once a month. This organization does so many wonderful things, you can’t go wrong supporting them. And the woman who helps run it, Gayle, is a sassy older woman from New York that will tell you anything you want to know, no holds barred.

Amani Ya Juu
: Amani Ya Juu, or “a higher peace,” is a place where marginalized women in Kenya (and other various countries in Africa) are able to come a learn a trade and put it into practice to support their families. I’ve witnessed these women in action, and they are held to the absolute highest standards in their work – which means that what they produce is fantastic (I have a tapestry from Amani hanging in my bedroom, actually). The really cool thing is that once they’ve gone through training, they are given a small loan to buy the materials and tools they need to do their work so they can work from home and be with their families. All in all, an excellent organization to support, through donations or products.

I hope these websites and stories of amazing women encourage your support – they certainly would love it! So thanks to Nancy for the question – it was a good one!


The War Against Women February 16, 2008

Filed under: africa,social issues,women's rights — ldgafford @ 3:12 pm

60 minutes recently did a segment on the war against women in DR Congo, primarily looking at the aspect of rape being used as a weapon of war. I highly encourage all of my readers to watch this 13-minute video to understand what’s happening not just in Congo, but all over Africa and around the world. I think after you watch this video you’ll understand why I’m so passionate about ending violence against women, even though my research breaks my heart every day.

The War Against Women in the Congo


Turmoil in Kenya January 4, 2008

Filed under: africa,social issues — ldgafford @ 12:16 am

Friends, I am worried about the violence in Kenya right now. Worried isn’t even strong enough … terrified. Here is an email received from a pastor in Nairobi:

Dear Praying friend,

10:59am. I dropped Beatrice, my wife to work at 8.00 am this morning and she has just called to inform me that they have been asked to close the bank due to the looming showdown at Uhuru park (10.59am). She works in downtown Nairobi. I am on Valley office some 800 metres away from the planned opposition meeting and can hear gunshots and tear gas canisters intermittently. Traffic is flowing scantly and one hopes that the madness will stop so that Kenyans can go about their lives normally.

From, my direction, both ways will have to take me past Uhuru Park the rally venue in order to reach Beatrice. I asked her to find here way to the Central Police Station near the University of Nairobi where I can then pick her. A group of 6 youths who seem to have been repulsed from entering the park were walking back to Kibera and have said (Mzee,a name for a respected elderly man) told them if they are repulsed, they should go back and they shall be given vehicles to take them back to the park.

4.00pm. thankfully, we have made it home safely….

My contacts tell me that Kibera Laini Saba side is calm. I am aware though that Kibera 42; adjacent to Ngong Road is where skirmishes are going right now. I am concerned that more venting of anger may be experienced tonight with more houses being torched after the meeting aborts. I see us responding to a huge humanitarian crisis. We are in fact late for our people in Kibera and late for the over 250,000 displaced internally. No access to the slums due to tension. The Red Cross is overstretched. My thoughts go out to the churches outside Nairobi in the North Rift my home where people have taken refuge to escape ethnic cleansing without food and blankets. Road blocks have been erected along and vehicles are being stopped and people asked to produce IDs which of course betrays ethnicity. This is of course a repeat of Rwanda if we don’t stop it right now. Please pray for my beloved country.

Keep Kenya in your prayers. Especially pray that another Rwanda-type situation doesn’t occur again. Ever.

Peace to you, and to Kenya.


Disturbing Numbers October 13, 2007

Filed under: africa,women's rights — ldgafford @ 9:06 pm

Number of sexual assaults reported* in 2006 in one province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.N. says sexual violence in this war-ravaged country is the worst in the world.

Percentage of combatants in the Congo who are believed to be infected with HIV/AIDS.

This information was in the most recent issue of Time Magazine (October 22, 2007). There is no denying that sexual violence in conflict has reached a whole new level with the introduction of HIV/AIDS as a weapon of war.

*If this is the number reported, then the number actually taking place is surely much higher.