We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same.
– C. JoyBell C.
On the weekend of the 27th of June 2015, AJANI Handmade was honoured to be a part of the Curlfriends and Conversations all white Nairobi natural hair meet up event. As one of the many amazing beauty vendors ( a major shout out to all the brave sole proprietors selling amazing products) , we got to meet, speak to and interact with a variety of beautiful personalities throughout the day. There were an array of activities, a “get to know your neighbour game”, a panel discussion on a variety of topics regarding natural hair and its influences on professional and social spaces n Nairobi, advice on health, beauty and business and what we hear was an epic afterparty. We were also graced to be joined by two ladies that contribute to our growing team, one of whom is a young, bright writer, Ms, Valery Atieno.
We would like to use this post to better introduce AJANI Handmade’s first blog contributor, Valery Atieno. Below is a piece that she created, titled “The Power of the S word” inspired by the event and the sisterhood that she witnessed:
The Power of the S word
“Here is to the women who are more loyal than husbands but never get to share a last name with us.
Here is to those who know us better than we know ourselves. They have been with us in our journey to womanhood. They have cried with us, fell in and out of love with us, shopped, giggled and just about every other thing.
Some come in the form of blood links, we call these ones sisters, others we meet through our journey of life, and these we call friends. These women mean the world to us. We have them all around us and today, we want to give them a shout out for the love they have showered upon us, never ceasing in loyalty.
In the sisterhood, that is the s-word, it is these characters of women that make us strong and vivacious. We are ready to take on the world because we know that if we fall, they are there to catch us. We are all different and what makes it beautiful is the fact that we do not try to change each other. Instead, we embrace our differences and try to pick off each other’s strengths to improve on ourselves. These theme of sisterhood goes a long way back with films such as Sex and the City, Girlfriends and our continent’s, African city, to prove the fact that these groups are fundamental.
Often, and trust me when I say I am the worst at this, we take for granted the beautiful joy that comes with having friends who go through the same things that we are going through. It is said that women are their own greatest enemies but it is high time we prove this notion wrong. We are our greatest supporters. We are our greatest friends.
I look up to the women in my life who stood in the gap for me when I failed to see my worth. The shoulders I cried on, the constants in a world full of variables. To echo the words of my former school song, “Friends are precious, they are the best of all gifts that one can ever have. Nothing material can take the place of the comradeship between you and me.” How many times have I really taken these words to heart? How many times have I failed to practise this?
A challenge for all of us is to try and see how we can make these friendships more meaningful. How can we support each other not only in our social lives but also our professional lives? So your friend wants to start a business, how can you help? Another friend is looking for a job, who can you connect her with? How about you invest in something together as a group? Remember, alone we go faster but together we go furthest. Being a lone ranger is not an option.
So from here on, I choose to acknowledge the fact that I am a girl’s girl. I am a lover of women and all that comes with them. Tell me your secret and I shall honour your trust, cry on my shoulders and I shall silently be your armour, laugh in my presence and I shall laugh along. I am blessed to have my inner ring of girls and never shall I think otherwise.
Here is to a week of celebrating sisterhood. Are there people you want acknowledge? Start here at AJANI Handmade, where it is not just about products, but the bonds we create, the messages of beauty and worth that we send across to our fellow women.”
– Valery Atieno
Valery Otieno is a writing contributor at AJANI Handmade and is a student at the Africa Leadership Academy, South Africa. She is passionate about business design, youth driven projects and campaigns. Valery also manages a Facebook group: “CONNECTING YOUTH, CONNECTING AFRICA” (CYCA) that aims to share articles on different African stories to promote a balanced image of African youth.