Thank You, May ’17

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • A Trip– After a super busy April, I was delighted to have the opportunity to travel to Geneva for work. I’ve been wanting to go to Geneva for the longest time and feel so blessed to have had the chance to visit this early in my career. God continues to be so good to me!

 

  • A Lagos Babe– I met Yagazie Emezi! If you read my #faves: African YouTuber‘s post, you’ll remember me mentioning my love and admiration for her. She was in Nairobi for a series of event’s with Everyday Africa and I got the chance to meet her after a panel discussion she was part of. Yagazie is so lovely and sweet! And yes, her hair is just as wonderful in person.

 

  • An InterviewI was invited to Citizen TV’s Power Breakfast where I shared The Arena story, how I got in to student politics and why I’m so enthusiastic about our generation. Watch the interview here.

 

  • A Big Conservation Lie– Everything I knew and understood about conservation was picked apart and turned upside down after I attended a lecture by Mbaria wa Mbaria and Mordecai Ogada based on their book ‘The Big Conservation Lie‘. They questioned the hegemony of a conservation model that undermines the rights of local communities and cultures. They asked, “Have you ever seen a black man on Animal Planet?“, demonstrating that black people are largely absent from conservation discourse. I’d encourage you to get the book but you can start with this for context.

 

  • Free Mind Sessions– Thank you to Free Mind Sessions for inviting me to be a panelist at their ‘Biashara edition’. I got to share alongside some really cool people who I learnt so much from. I’ll do a feature post soon on some key takeaways from the event.

 

The main thing is the you beneath the clothes and skin- the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world. Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul” (Web du Bois in a letter to his daughter) | Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you May, you’ve been good to me! 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, October

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • My Nyamz– Count yourself lucky if you enjoy enriching friendships. Friends who sit down with you when you are down. Friends who rise to the heavens with you when it’s time to celebrate. Angel friends. I’m thankful for my girl Nyambura who continues to support, love and lift me up in my time of need. I’m lucky to have you.
  • Sitting at The Table– Solange released her gorgeous body of work, A Seat at The Table, at the end of September and I’ve spent almost every day of October meditating on it. I’m so in awe of her artistry, her vision, her execution. Album favourites: They keep changing but currently loving ‘Don’t You Wait’, ‘Borderline’ and ‘Don’t Wish Me Well‘. Inspiring and beautiful.
  • Bible Study– I’ve been fortunate to attend a bible study this month hosted by my lovely sister. This has been the first time I’ve been part of a bible study fellowship and it’s truly the most incredible experience. We share, connect and pray for each other. I’m going to try and make this a habit.
  • Social Media Cleanse– I returned to social media in October after a month long break. I noticed I had inadvertently been spending a lot of time on social media, just scrolling and scrolling until the ends of the earth. Social media can be important and constructive. But I realised I needed to spend some time away to a) see what else I could do with my time b) get away from virtual energies c) cultivate more mindful practices like intention-setting and prayer in the morning d) rearrange my life so that social media serves my life, and not the other way around. I’ve since re-established my social media practices and it’s working well so far. Will keep you updated.
  • Victory– October ends on an incredibly positive note for me. It’s important to work hard and keep your head down, but once in a while you’ll get a reminder that keeps you going despite how difficult and exhausting it gets. October reminded me that I don’t have to be the most talented or the most able person. If I am committed to learning and growing and expanding myself, I can achieve anything I set out to. If not today, tomorrow. Failure will always inform a later part of your life- it never ends there. Everything adds up. There will be a meeting point for the failures of your life. You will realise each experience was important and instrumental in shaping the victory you experience. So be encouraged- push yourself, stay inspired and focus. Cover yourself in prayer. Commit your journey to the most high. It will always be worth it.

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Walk in your ways so you will wake up and rise” – Solange in ‘Rise’ | Sheffield, England

Thank you, October.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, Summer Sixteen

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m so sad that I haven’t had the chance to reflect monthly in the way I intend to on this blog since February! In light of this, I’ll group the entire summer and reflect on the past few months in one post. I’m grateful for:

  • Completing my Dissertation– This has been a very difficult few months for me. I went to Kenya at the start of the summer to carry out fieldwork for my dissertation but things didn’t really unfold in the way that I had hoped. So when I got back to Edinburgh to start putting the research in order, I was very confused. I had to refocus, add new concepts, remove other things. I really couldn’t see how I’d make it through the summer. Everything seemed so large and impossible. I had guidance from my supervisor which was incredibly helpful. But the real battle for me was convincing myself that I could do it. In prayer I would say, if I can only make it to the end of today- just today. And if I could do that, I knew tomorrow would take care of itself. I broke down the months to weeks, and the weeks to days, because that was as far as I could see myself. Slowly, the days built on each other and I found myself at the end of a week. Progress. Another week. And then another. One month, finally. As the months passed, one piece of my work connected to the next and it just fell in place slowly. I feel so stretched by the experience and I’m truly a bigger person for it. To be at the end of that journey gave me peace and an incredible gratitude to God for carrying me through. My help comes from You.
  • Intentional Self-Care– One of my resolutions this year was to religiously replenish myself, so this summer was held together by daily doses of very intentional self-care. I read poetry. Did a lot of colouring. Cried when I needed to (which if you know me was often, lol). Took some days off. Talked to God. Necessary.
  • Friends– I am so so grateful to have shared these past few months with my friends. It was so great to lean on each other and find solace in a mutual struggle. Love you’zzzzz.
  • Views– Every season of life has a soundtrack and this summer I found myself listening to Views. I’m not even that big of a Drake fan but somehow found myself drawn to his music. My favourite tracks are: RedemptionFaithful, Fire & Desire and my absolute favourite, U With Me? (which is actually a sample of DMX’s ‘How’s It Going Down‘). For what a difficult summer it’s been, Views has been a great companion.
  • Pitch It/My Nairobi– This summer, The Arena also had it’s first edition of Pitch It! As a team, it was incredible to see what we worked on finally come to life. But as always, there’s room for us to make improvements. A few years ago a friend told me, “Errors accumulate in the sketch and compound in the model. But better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds“. I’m guided by this and look forward to working with the team to building a better dome! You can check out this and this for a glimpse of what went down on the day.
  • Watching Friends & Family’ Win– This summer was also very special for a few of my friends and family who achieved milestones in different areas of their lives. Although I wasn’t able to celebrate with all of them, I made a toast for each of their achievements from my desk at the library. Very celebratory, I know.
  • Dakar in Edinburgh– Last week I went to witness the magic that is Senegalese music legend, Youssou N’Dour! It was such a great gig, I was so moved and inspired. The crowd was also amazing and made the experience even more meaningful.

Despite it seeming like a long, never-ending low season, this summer will be special and memorable for me. I’m carrying forward so many lessons and I’m at peace with where I am now.

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Summer glow captured by my friend, Anne | Manchester, England

Love You and Thank You, Summer Sixteen!

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, February

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • Small small travels– I’m a wannabe traveller. My friend Benja always makes fun of me for it because I never seem to follow through with travel plans. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t bother me much- I think we’re allowed to be lazy at one thing, right? This notwithstanding, I was excited to make two day trips to Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands! Earlier in the month, I went to Glasgow with a friend to see an exhibition by Paul Smith at the Lighthouse. I had the best time. Last week, I got to take in the serenity of the Scottish Highlands with a couple of friends. It was absolutely stunning. And cold. Travel feels so good for the soul!
  • (Kenyan) YouTube channels– There’s a wave of new Youtube channels this year and I’m loving it! I’ve been watching quite a few from Kenyan content creators and my favourite so far are Mandi Sarro’s and Muthoni Njoba’s. Mandi’s channel is all about her delicious throwdowns. I love the sultry vibe of her videos! Muthoni’s channel chronicles her journey to becoming a make-up artist where she shares some important lessons about business and life. Her make-up skills are incredible, but it’s her authenticity and openness that I am drawn to. Check them both out!
  • Pablo– I waited about two weeks to listen to Kanye’s new album because I needed to be in the right mood. I’m glad I got in the right headspace because it’s nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s the most robust and cohesive album I’ve listened to in a while! So deliberately and meticulously put together, in true Kanye fashion. Can we forgive him for the meltdown(s) please? I think he redeems himself with the album. Kanye’s best, no doubt.
  • Wisdom from friends– My friend gave me some advice two weeks ago that I’d like to share. This month has been particularly difficult because I’ve been having a tough time adjusting to something new. After ranting and ranting over Facetime for a few minutes she said to me, “Listen, it’s not easy. Nothing is. But if you really want to do this, figure out what you can do to make room for it in your life. It’s a sacrifice.” I’ve been so comfortable, that when a new commitment came along, I was trying to squeeze it into a small space of my life. It didn’t occur to me that I needed to completely re-arrange things to accommodate it. If you pray for something and you get it, it doesn’t mean it will seamlessly fit into your current way of living. You actually have to make space for it. Re-arrange rooms. Move house. Do what you need to do.

 

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“…whether or not it’s clear to you, no doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata | The Lighthouse, Glasgow

Thank you, February.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, January

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • New Beginnings– Sometimes you need the convenience of a New Year to push you to reset the areas in your life that need a little watering and tender care. That was the start of 2016 for me. I shared more in this post.
  • Colouring In Between The Lines–  Literally. I bought a colouring book and it’s brought me so much joy. For anyone who enjoys creative meticulousness with the same enthusiasm as I do, I’d encourage you to purchase a colouring book. It’s not only so fun but excellent for your mental health. Indulge! Here’s the link to the one I have.
  • A-Team of Life– We finally unveiled our new A-Team! If you’ve been keeping up with The Arena, you know we’ve been going through recruitment for our new A-Team. The process has been so exciting and I can’t express how hopeful I am for the future. The Arena is a labour of love but I’ve learnt some difficult lessons along the way. Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people. Quality over quantity. Make no mistake- business is business.
  • #Goals– One of my new year’s resolutions came into fruition and it was not as great as I hoped it would be. I’m planning on riding it out as much as I (mentally and emotionally) can and then I’ll see what to do. Goals aren’t always as magical as you imagine them to be. And that’s okay. Not everything needs to feel magical, right? Fairytales are for books.

 

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“Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success” – Henry Ford | Nairobi, Kenya

 

Thank you, January.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, September

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • Things flowing as they do – A month ago, there were a lot of things that were in the air. I won’t get into the details but I am so happy to be here. My God is awesome. I can’t emphasise this enough.
  • My Benjamina – I have a friend. Her name is Benjamina. We met just a year ago but it feels like it’s been several years. Benja is the kind of girl who makes you worry when she speaks. Why? Because she says what you think but could never dare to say. She is fearless. She’s the real girl on fire! This month, she’s taken good care of me. I’ve watched her work hard. I’ve listened to her wisdom. I’ve relished in her warm, warm friendship. They say friends come into your life for a reason and for a season. I just hope this season lasts forever. I love you Benja, thank you for everything you are!
  • Milestonez – I started making videos spontaneously in April this year. I had been planning to do this vlog thing for a while but never really knew what I wanted to speak about and how I would differentiate it from the written content on my blog. But somehow things just fell in place. What was a random snapchat story became my debut into the vlogosphere. It’s been fun! I enjoy making them and love to hear the feedback. Sometimes I worry about putting my opinions out there but I am guided by one principle- Do I genuinely believe this? My answer is always yes. I have the backbone to stand behind my content because I mean what I say. This week, I celebrated 15,000+ views and crossed the 1000 mark on my Facebook page! I am so grateful to everyone who engages with my content. Here’s to many more milestones!
  • Struggle – Two weeks ago, I wrote this– “If I ever doubted my academic capability- this is all the evidence I needed! I have made it this far. When you reflect on life, you sometimes wonder how you made it from point A to B- how?! You see this mountain and it seems so large and so impossible.” School has began and I am clinging on to these words like you won’t believe. Who knew it would it be this difficult? When I shared my feelings with an academic this week, he repeated to me what my Dad told me two years ago- “You didn’t come here because it would be easy, did you?” I know. I’m trying to swim, but can barely keep my head above the water. I’m looking around and wondering- is anyone else drowning like me? It’s week one. But I can already feel the walls of my mental capacity cave in. I’m going to do this struggling. But I will do it and hope that at the end I will look back and know that I did my best. You will make it through. You will make it through.

 

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mood | photo by Anna Frohn

Thank you, September

T

© Tessy Maritim

 

Thank You, August

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • Children after my own heart – I’ve spent the last few days chasing after 6 of my lovely kid cousins. They couldn’t stop making fun of my ripped jeans- fashion ni wewe! We played outside, did algebra for hours on end and sung ‘Paulo na Sila’ to the heavens. Children are chaotic and the most beautiful remedy to any low spirit. I had a wonderful time. On my trip back home I closed my eyes and remembered that these are the moments I treasure most when I’m away- Michelle swinging off my body, Imma’s witty questions, Kim’s beautiful smile, Rono’s gentle demeanour, Kimu’s unending playfulness and Chesanga’s sass. My family means everything to me. Every moment of impending loneliness abroad is cured by the fact that I carry the love and fullness of each and every one of those children.
  • A lounge by Victoria– I’m so excited to be featuring on a show this week hosted by the gracious Victoria Rubadiri. How I got involved is a story for another day! Lol. Check out the preview below and tune in to NTV at 7.30pm on Thursday 3rd September to watch the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHQTi8iZfw0

 

  • Late Identification– Can you imagine I only just got my ID? I had never applied for one. Unfortunately the joy of this identification is overshadowed by the fact that someone decided to use my middle name as my surname. Eish! I’m not queuing up again!
  • Elusive closure– Here’s the thing about closure- it doesn’t come looking for you. You go searching for it. If you’re lucky, you will find it and it will give you peace. But if it becomes elusive, I’m afraid that in itself might have to be your closure- what seems like an unfinished story will just have to end on that note. Don’t try to cap the pen that was left lying on the floor. Don’t bother that the ink hasn’t dried. Don’t worry that you didn’t close the book. Just leave things as they are and find comfort in the fact that anything meant for you will never miss you.

 

Thank you, August.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, July

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

A few meetings – In light of my reflective holiday period, I’ve been reaching out to people to bounce ideas off and gain some clarity. Some of whom I thought I’d never get the chance to speak to in person, but to my surprise so graciously offered their time to me. So far I’ve met 3 people; one is the CEO of a leading incubation centre, the other runs an agri-tech company in West Africa and the final one leads an organisation that outsources services to start-ups. I’ve realized this- no one’s got everything figured out! Surprise. You just keep moving until it becomes clearer. You can’t stay out of the game to figure things out- you’ve got to be on the ground trying and failing. This reminded me of something I’ve heard Oprah say– when you’re stuck and wondering where your life is going, just ask yourself ‘What’s the next best step?’ Don’t always burden yourself with what happens 5-10 years down the line. Things will figure themselves out!

A reconnection– I work with a great team. And it felt good to reconnect! We have a long distance relationship- half of us are in the UK and the other half in Kenya. It’s difficult to get things moving consistently but we are doing our best! Reconnecting and remembering why we’re doing all this has really left me hopeful. We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars (said by someone else- google it, if interested).

Endless matatu ride(s)– The one thing I miss when I’m abroad is matatu’s! For me, matatu’s are more than just a means of transport. They represent Nairobi culture. I love being fought over by the makanga’s as they make their best efforts to convince me to go into their ride; I love the fact that sometimes a mat will be playing my ideal playlist through speakers with deafening volume and I love the stories I hear being shared. Matatu’s represent the vibrancy and ambition of this city.

A feature(s)– I’m grateful to have been featured in two fantastic blogs this month! Alisha gave me the opportunity to share a bit about being African, living abroad and navigating independence on a feature on her blog called ‘People On The Way‘. I also wrote a letter to myself on Hellen’s blog, Youth of Our Time. Check it out here.

Several event(s)– This holiday is also about feeling the pulse of Nairobi. I’ve been to some really cool events this past month! I attended- a welcome event for MyAfricaIs, a documentary that’s showing positive stories from the continent; the Global Entrepreneurship Summit pre-innovation fair; a fireside chat with the Airbnb CEO, and a fashion and tech panel hosted by Nest Nairobi. I always thought it was difficult to meet like-minded people in this city. Turns out I was going to the wrong places! There are so many amazing people and activities in Nairobi. I’ve been looking forward to this.

 

Thank you, July.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, June

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

A visit – There’s something so fulfilling about being in the company of people who reflect you and where you aspire to be. I make no apologies for the fact that I have a carefully curated circle of friends. They create an environment in which I can be myself and share openly. So I was so happy to have friend(s) visiting at both the start and end of the month. One is a new friend while the other is an old friend. My new friend, in actions and without saying, reminded me what it means to be in touch with yourself. Introspection and authenticity is so rare in people so if you find it, hold on to it- well, as much as you can anyway. My old friend and I asked ourselves what we would do if we weren’t afraid- and then proceeded to make objectives for the summer based on them. I’ll feedback on them here in September!

 

A throwback– A few months ago I mentioned that I was planning on deleting my old blog. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it is reading things I’ve written in the past. There’s so much I disagree with and so much I feel I could have expressed better. But it’s also so refreshing to re-visit certain times in my life and empathise with myself. Just from going through my old blog, I’ve resolved to try and be a bit more open on this blog. I want my emotion to be felt. You can check out my old blog here, as long as you promise not to laugh. Shout out to my girl Benja for ensuring I didn’t delete it! Love you.

 

A goodbye– My term as Diversity Officer of the University of Manchester Students’ Union, and by default, my time living in Manchester, have ended. I’m sad to leave what have been four of the most thrilling years of my life but also know and feel that it is truly time to move on. You can check out more reflections here.

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An opportunity– I attended the Aspire Trailblazing Women’s conference in London towards the end of the month. Aside from the wonderful opportunity to speak on a panel at the event, I also volunteered for the conference and experienced the immense effort and planning it takes to put together such a valuable forum. After the conference, I spent a day in London just enjoying the city vibes – there’s something so inspiring about being in London. I love it!

 

Thank you, June.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, May

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

A scholarship – In 3 months, I will be embarking on a new chapter of my life! I’m saying goodbye to Manchester and heading up north to the beautiful Edinburgh, for a Masters programme I am ecstatic about- Africa and International Development. Most excitingly, I got a (partial) scholarship to study my programme! Looking back, I didn’t think I had a chance of securing the scholarship. But I’ve learnt over time, fortune favours the bold. Always try.

 

A trip away– In early May, my colleagues and I went away to a friends’ farm for some much needed R&R. It was a magical three days- we played with pigs, ate by the beach and danced in the kitchen until 3am. I work with the best people. To think that in less than a month, we will all be separating and heading on our own journeys, weighs heavy on my heart. They have all, in their own ways, taught me, shared with me and supported me. I’m eternally grateful for the experience I’ve had. P.s. Every time I visit a farm, I’m reminded how much I want one of my own.

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(this picture is missing two of my colleagues)

A competition– The Arena won second place in a competition called Venture Further at my University! We received a £2500 cash prize towards our idea, ‘My Nairobi’. You can watch the video below for details on what it entails. Also check out a previous post about how I ended up entering the competition.

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A conference– My month wrapped up in glorious fashion at the Oxford Africa Conference! A few friends and myself went down for the conference put together by the Africa Society and Africa Business Network at Oxford University on ‘A Continent on the Move’. I learnt about how migration is impacting Africa, changing trends in the education sector, the growing role of civil society, rule of law in Africa and energy across Africa. I couldn’t have spent my weekend in a more productive and inspiring space.

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I’m grateful. Thank you, May.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim