Let me tell you a short story about me. If you have been following me, either through my blog or the social media forum, you know I am very passionate about children, helping them read, write and also letting them be children. You also know that I run a Kids Book Club and library, where we let children express themselves. A place where they get to understand that reading can be fun. That, you know about me for sure.
Now something you might not know is that, when I decided to follow my passion, I really did not know where I was headed. I just knew that my soul was pulled towards my passion, and I would not sleep another day, without making my dream of helping children come true. And I did. It has been a journey. A learning journey that I would not trade for the world. I spend my days working with and for children and there’s nothing more fulfilling for me.
Speaking of learning journeys, I have this very good friend of mine thedorc who has always encouraged me to follow my passion. In fact, she hounds me and beats at me when I feel like I am not on the right track. She is not the only one, but the reason why I mentioned her here is because she came across the Spark* Changemaker Program, and she sent me the link and hounded me (she does this a lot) no end. She believed that I should join the Program, as it would help me focus on what I needed to do to make this passion of mine even bigger! Long story short, I joined the 2013 Spark* Changemaker Accelerator Program.
Not only did I meet a group of the most humble Changemakers, working to make their dreams of improving their community a reality, I was introduced to the best way to follow my passion, in a systematic, more productive way, so that I can help many more children! I met Aaron and Kaitlin Tait, who, like many Changemakers, have dedicated their lives to helping people like me, who believe that change in the community can only come through the people in that community. They taught me to believe in YOU and ME. To support others who are working to make a difference, and best of all, they brought me into contact with the 2013 Changemakers(http://on.fb.me/1b5HesK), a bunch of your regular ladies and gentlemen, who are fun loving, humble, helpful and very passionate about making a difference!
That’s it about me! It’s your turn now. I know you are out there. Quietly making a difference. You deserve the chance that I got, and continue to get, due to this wonderful program. Apply to be the next Spark* Changemaker! You want my help? I’d love to hear your idea, and guide you along! After all, I got the opportunity and it’s my turn to help someone else. Contact Me.
Chat the Changemakers Here and see what all the wonderful people are up to! This lot knows a lot and they can help. They will open your eyes to ways you can make your passion a reality.
Mr. Geoffrey Kimani Gathigi, or Kim to his friends, is not your ordinary dad. This father of 3 lovely children is passionate, soft-spoken, gentle and kind. His kindness has steered him towards starting a business that requires all these qualities, and then some. A hair salon for children. Mr. Kimani, is the owner of Beauty Creations Family Salon.
At Kenyan Mom, we have always emphasised through our Soul Living series, that the best way to live your life is by following your passion. Your true calling. You will always know what your true calling is by focusing on what you loved doing as a child. Mr. Kimani is a great example of how far following your true passion can take you.
When I first heard that Mr. Kimani runs a Salon dedicated for children, my curiosity was piqued. For obvious (being a mom) and not so obvious (love for unique family based businesses) reasons. I wanted to see what the salon was all about, and to know how, as a brilliant businessman, instead of choosing your usual line of business, he decided to concentrate on a kids and family salon. This is the story he told me:
“I have always loved cutting hair. As a young man, even in high school, I knew that I would always need extra pocket money, over and above what my parents provided me. The only way I could afford to buy bread, which to a teenager can never be enough, is to find a way to earn money. Legally of course! And that is how I decided to put my love for cutting hair into good use. On Saturdays, when we had so much time on our hands without classes, I would cut my friends’ hair and they would pay me. Sometimes, since it’s what I loved, I would even do it for free, for the kids who could not afford to pay for my services.
After completing high school, I did not stay idle, as most of my friends did. I decided to rent a small room, where I could continue cutting hair, if for anything else, to feed myself. Little by little, with the ups and downs of running a business, I was able to extend my business to a salon. The idea to open up a kids and family salon came to me when I decided to relocate my business and as luck would have it, my next place of business was near a couple of schools. By then I was a parent, and I loved children, with their innocence. The uptake was so great that I decided that this was what I was going to dedicate my life, time and business to.”
Mr. Kimani is the true epitome of resilience. He has been in the hair business for 18 years. Yes, passion. He has a staff of around 15 strong, and his salon ensures that it’s clientelle, the little ones, are fully catered for. The compound is serene, with swings and a place that the children can play as they wait their turn to have their hair done. Children are allowed to carry their outdoor toys like balls and sometimes Mr. Kimani and his staff go as far as holding birthday parties for the little ones. There is a full time lady guard, whose sole purpose is to ensure that the children do not run off, which means parents drop their children off before going about their business, with full confidence that their little ones are safe. Mr. Kimani also runs a canteen that provides the little ones with snacks, so children never go hungry!
As soft spoken as Mr. Kimani is, he has a sense of humor. He was quick to mention that he is lucky to have 3 children, 2 girls and one boy, who often times serve as the ‘guinea pigs’ for his hair experiments when creativity strikes. Only that his kids love being ‘guinea pigs’ so much because they get attention and admiration from other kids, who want such hair styles, and that is how Beauty Creations Family Salon gets most of it’s children clientelle. Through referrals.
This is Mr. Kimani’s motto: Beauty Creations Family Salon excels in safety, hygiene and creativity. Kiddie movies are shown to children as well, as they are being styled, to get their fleeting attention off the otherwise ‘boring’ task of sitting as they get their hair done.
As I mused over how this gentle man (in every sense of the phrase) has fallen so rightly into his business, this is what he told me: “Let kids enjoy the styles while they still have hair. I can’t do a Mohawk, or whatever other style they want to try out these days with my balding head!”
Some of these styles were done as I watched, and one of the children who got their cool hair cut is my son, in readiness for the holiday ahead!
So where is the salon? Beauty Creations Family Salon is off Gitanga Road, Gitanga Close, a few metres from the road, so you can walk if you’ll be taking a matatu and very convenient if you are driving. There is ample parking space, far from the children’s playing area, so pay them a visit!
Explore more kiddie hair styles here.
…. and other lies mum tell.
By Bilha Maina
If you are looking for the humorous side of life, then this is a book that would be a must read. So motherhood is a joy and a blessing. It is an experience like no other, right from testing positive for a pregnancy test to discussing dowry for your all grown up loved one. It is serious business and every mum has a story to tell that is completely unique to another.
But all mums have one thing in common. There is the other side of mother hood that only another mum can relate to. Like a secret language, that you can only speak and understand once you are a mother. There are lows that come with mother hood, the moments that drive one crazy. Robin O’ Braynt relates these moments in her book, “Ketchup is a vegetable, and other lies mum tell.” This mother of four surely has a lot to say in her series of essays about the changes of her pregnancies, funny experiences in the labor room, and hilarious mother incidents. It’s a good break.
Mums, try this good read during your tea break and have a good laugh about life. For those who love wit and cynic humor this is a classic. With an open mind this open book mum will show you the bright side of life.
Last Saturday the 24th August 2013, I hosted the first ever workshop and a frist for the now 1 year old Kenyan Mom forum. From the onset, I knew what I wanted from the workshop. Numbers and money, believe me, did not matter to me. This is a forum I had thought about for a very long time. My idea had been, and always has been, in line with the Kenyan Mom, to get people together to share and help each other. I knew, no matter what else happened, I would consider it a success if at least people were able to express themselves, help each other through issues that moms go through and to feel that they had been heard.
Without getting into the details of what happened, since it has been summarised by Mummy Tales, my heart to date sings with joy. The amount of openness and sharing that was in that room left me humbled. As one of the moms who requires advise now and then, and to have moms and our panelists working in such unity you would think that we already know each other for years was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
The biggest lesson I learnt was that, when you approach any project with a heart of giving back, you come across the most amazing group of people and you get to learn much more than you can imagine. The moms who attended the event wanted to hold the event every month. I am still grapplin with the whole idea of holding a forum for moms every month. I don’t know how I will go about it or how the whole experience will evolve. I however know that just as this one came together and as God gave me divine guidance and putting the right people in my life to help arrange this one, he will guide me for the next one and any other ones that are to come.
Humble yourself. Appreciate that everyone needs a helping hand every now and then. Be grateful for every situation you find yourself with, and never ever look to be like any other person. You are unique and have unique talents to bring forth and so long as you believe it, your dream, especially if humble, will come true.
At some point in our lives, we have to move out of home. With this move, comes the need for essentials. Like a sufuria, a mwiko, ugali floor, and most importantly, furniture. Yes. A bed, a comfortable sofa a coffee table… you know, the standard ones. Fast forward to the day you will marry or get married. You have a bigger house, you need your family to sit comfortable and feel that when they come home, they have actually come to their favorite haven.
If you are like me, you have experience the frustration and disappointment that carpentry can be! You go order that awesome seat you found at the carpenter’s shop. The carpenter tells you ‘hiyo ni ya display’ (that one is for display purpose only). And the truth is, it is put there on purpose. To attract the unsuspecting you. So you go ahead and order an exact replica of the ‘display’ furniture. It is a replica alright, but only the top cover! Because a week into your family enjoying (and if you have hyper-active kids like my Junior, jumping up and down), the frame on ‘wonderful’ seat falls apart! And your heart breaks. You decide to go to the fundi and suddenly, he is not as polite or cordial as he was when you were a potential customer!
Enter Antarc Furniture. Specializing in all sorts of furniture! Me? I am more interested in their awesome home furniture. Even better, the fact the said furniture is affordable and if you point at a seat or a bed, you walk away with that exact piece. Goodbye headache and hello a beautifully furnished home and good quality furniture!
Life is a hustle as it is. Money doesn’t grow on trees. If I am going to spend money on furniture, then I want to know that it will outlast Junior till he moves away from home! Truth is, instead of using money to replace or repair furniture, it is best to use this money to grab other pieces of furniture for either your house or for gifting your friends or family (which you can still get from Antarc)! It is time consuming and mentally exhausting to find a good piece of furniture that suits your needs! You should visit these guys. They have stuff that will blow your mind. And with their guaranteed quality, you will never be disappointed! I mean, these guys have been in the furniture business for the last 19 years! Still not impressed? How about they have furniture that caters for people with back issues! Awesome, right?
So what are you waiting for? Kuona ni bure. Go check them out.
Being a mom is hard work. Literally! Picture the cleaning, the cooking and running after children to make sure their noses are clean! This hard work can leave even the most organised, composed mom drained and worse for wear. Your skin can get all kinds of tattered and the state of your hands…? I will not go there. We mamas try. Really, we do. We want to look our best at the end of it all, hopefully look like we did all this without breaking a sweat, or a nail. This means using the best, most affordable skin care products.
Normally, you would need to hop from one beauty shop to another looking for said products and this time does not include your grocery shopping! Enter Nakumatt and Revlon…
Thanks to a Franchise deal, Nakumatt Holdings will now act as Revlon’s local authorised stockists! This means that whatever new products Revlon unveils, Nakumatt unveils as well! Yes ladies, we shall be able to look like Halle Berry (at least as best as we can) thanks to this deal. You are wondering why I’m all open mouthed and happy about it? Well! Picture your usual shopping trip.
It is never easy, yes? Now imagine, you do not have to leave the store in order to get your favorite lip gloss, hand lotion, nail enamel or even foundation! Shop till you are nearly dropping and just before you hit the counter, go pick your skin care product of choice! Clearly, Nakumatt will soon be a fully fledged departmental store.
They have already opened a cosmetic division in Westgate, and next week they will be opening one at their Junction outlet and more to come. We mamas need all possible breaks we can get and having to get our skin care products in the same store where we get our groceries? Bonus! Well in Nakumatt!
Registered in October 2011, the Foundation’s vision is to use strategic means to empower women by providing a forum where Chase Group employees, clients and other stakeholders can play a part in improving the lives of the community at large.
Chase Group Foundation has been involved in amazing projects including Donating to various Children’s Homes in Nairobi and other Branch areas as well as rehabilitation of the Kikuyu Hospital Maternity Ward. Amazing, right? So, back to the current campaign.
We at Kenyan Mom have always believed that safe motherhood not only positively impacts the community but also plays a part in encouraging mothers-to-be and providing assistance and advice where necessary. That is why this campaign touches us very deeply. The Stand Up for African Mothers campaign in partnership with AMREF aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 with an aim to contribute towards reduction of maternal deaths by 25%.
Statistically 200,000 mothers die every year due to a lack of simple medical care. 1.5 million African children are left motherless each year and 40% of African women do not receive prenatal care. That plus more than half of all deliveries take place at home without medical assistance! This is unacceptable! Not when most of these lives can be changed, through simple acts like proper pre-natal and post-natal care! And that is why The Kenyan Mom and all our friends are going to support this cause because it touches us deeply.
On 9th of February 2013, the Foundation will host a fundraising walk and fun day at the Ngong Road Forest. This will be a family event allowing for all that participate in the walk to enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful Ngong Forest. Entertainment and children’s games will be on site throughout the day. Food and soft drinks will be available at a small fee. See! This cannot even be called exercise! It’s more of fun for a really awesome cause my friends.
The Foundation also has merchandise on sale, with all the proceeds going to Foundation! Every day, we will highlight various merchandise on Twitter as well as Facebook. The best part about these neatly branded merchandise is you can buy online. Even better, you can pledge as little as Kshs.50, becaused we believe every penny counts! So go on, tell your friends about this wonderful cause and I will see you all on the 9th of February at 8:00am for some fun!
Register for the Kids Book Club. What better way to promote reading for our children than getting them together in a tent and exchanging books while they sit and read for each other or alone? Apart from borrowing books from our Library members get to benefit from children events including camping, swimming galas, writing competitions and discounts availed to the club members.
We will also deliver books to our children members.
Today’s Feature is dedicated to the moms of Pumwani Maternity Hospital. Where I spent my Jamuhuri Holiday. I did tell you, in detail, that I planned to visit the moms. I even told you I needed company and I needed help in making the visit possible. I am now here to tell you that my pleas were heard. With the short notice, I did get support. Both in terms of overwhelming words of encouragement, constant calls to find out how it was going as well as material support. I even had a few people, who missed the post and updates requesting not to be left out in the next visit. I was humbled.
It should therefore not come as a surprise that up till the morning of the visit, we were still running around receiving contributions, collecting more items to deliver to the moms, and the visit that was supposed to have happened at around 10:00am ended up happening at 12:00pm.
We arrived at the hospital and as usual, were received by an amazing Sister-In-Charge. This time, she was not her usual bubbly self. On getting into her office, I found an elderly lady and a young gentleman in her office. The mood in the office told me that they were not in the happy mood I was in. She told me to wait outside, as she finished with the now uncontrollably weeping lady. I felt sudden sadness even before I knew what the story was. I later learnt that her daughter had passed away while giving birth. High Blood Pressure related complication. Unfortunately, her baby did not survive either. I felt my heart torn out of my chest and I broke down. Good thing that I had my company outside and I had time to compose myself, as I went to inform them of what had happened and that we would need to wait while the Sister-In-Charge handled the case. That gave us time to organise ourselves and the items we had carried.
Half an hour later, we were ready to see the moms. The entourage, which included Evans Muriu of Kuna Vijana was very helpful. Two other organisations came through with such amazing speed and I would like to sincerely thank them. Path To Womanhood and Maridadi. These organisations have taken it upon themselves to help the less fortunate in the society and they are doing such great work.
We were ushered to the new moms ward, and together with the helpful nurses, we delivered our gifts to very excited moms! As moms know, when you have your bundle of joy, you are on happiness overdrive and we sat chatting with the moms about their babies, expectations, fears and they were very glad we visited. So were we.
We could all have been elsewhere, having fun or taking well deserved breaks, but we chose to bring a smile to the moms of Pumwani Maternity Hospital. Days later, we were still talking about the experience, which was made entirely possible by the support we received from you. We thank you. From the bottom of our hearts.
You can view more of the captured moments here. The smiles that tell it all.
I am a mother. I know the joys, thrills, triumphs and even the tears of a mother. If you think you have seen it all, talk to a mother. Her journey is never complete, and is never the same for different children. I love spending time interacting with other moms because the stories I get to gather makes me realise that we all seem to take an almost similar journey, variations being near impossible to point out.
A few weeks ago, my journey in search of new stories and experiences led me to Pumwani Maternity Hospital. Circumstances that played out leading me here are quite interesting, but that is a story for another day. I don’t know what I expected, especially considering the tales I had heard from the rumor mills. All I can say is I was pleasantly surprised. Right from the gate, I was greeted by very cheerful guards. I didn’t know where I was going or why I was there. I just knew I was meant to be there at that particular time.
My first stop was at the Assistant Matron’s Office. Very pleasant woman, who took time to talk to me even though I did not have an appointment. I did talk to various other officials, including the Hospital Superintendent’s Assistant and The Hospital Secretary. All of whom were very helpful. The common theme that seemed to keep occurring to me is that moms in this hospital require our help. Most moms coming here are destitute. This means that sometimes they will not be able to pay their bills, and the hospital will have no choice but to waive these costs. Others do not have the necessary items required by new moms and it becomes very difficult for them as they start their journey to motherhood.
You can imagine how heart broken I was by the stories I got to gather. I left the hospital, promising to do something, no matter how small, as an attempt to alleviate the suffering of these moms. I spoke to a few of my mom friends, and they too were touched by the story, and we decided we should pay a visit to these moms, and perhaps bring along some items that they may need, including Pampers, Nappies, Sanitary Towels and Baby Clothes.
The Kenyan Mom and friends will therefore be officially visiting moms at Pumwani Maternity Hospital on 12th December 2012 from 10:00am. We will take a few items to them and also see if we can get friends to help us clear hospital bills, for destitute moms.
I am still looking for company, together with donations where possible. I would love to hear from you. If you would like to contribute in any way or be part of the visiting group, please let me know on the comments section or at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate through the MPesa Buy Goods Menu, Till Number 89846
What would the world be if we do not take time to help one another?
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Handy Cleaning Tips
Coffee Stains In Mugs
I love my coffee mugs. I like them stain free. To remove that nasty brown ring inside, I use Wet a cloth. Put some baking soda and then rub the insidewith it. If the marks are stubborn, soaking overnight in hot water and baking soda helps.