Life as we know it in Africa, in East Africa, in Kenya is changing. The social structure is not what it used to be. The communal kind of living and communal belonging is unknown in the urban areas and in the rural areas is slowly fading away. We are losing one of the greatest buffers and anchors of days past when life deals a blow on anyone; we are losing the gift of being in a physical social village.
What we have now is ‘new communities’ formed around social media, religious affiliation, professional inclinations, social and economic class and even academic levels just to mention but a few. These ‘new communities’ have their place and fortunately some are more grounded than others. However more often than not, unlike in the traditional communities, there is alot of pretense and masking going on in the ‘new communities’. Most people are putting up a front, what they think the other members of their community want to see, hear from them. Many times everyone in the each community is trying to outdo the others on whatever measure of success is currently trending in the community.
Sadly, the masks can only hold on for so long.
“Things fall apart” is becoming far too often the narrative of individuals within the ‘new communities. And depression, clinical depression, suicide are just some of the end results that has society in general shaken.
Do you have a village?
But it ought not to be so.
Because despite the rat race that most of us are into, and the desire to be like everyone else deep down we desire a real connection. We desire to be part of an authentic community, a ‘village’ of people that will have your back come rain come sunshine.
Do you have such people? Do you have a village?
What I have experienced through life is that you have two tiers of ‘village’: ‘core village’ and ‘phase/season village’.
The ‘core village’ are always there. In my life, my ‘core village’ is my late grandma, my Mum and my Sisters. The kind of stuff we have been through and how they have upheld me is one of the main reasons I am still here today.
Through the different phases/seasons of life – undergraduate school, working life, marriage, child loss, child births, graduate school, writing/blogging – I have been privileged to have a solid ‘village’ around me. I thank God for each and everyone of them. I have learnt to let them go when the ‘phase/season’ is over. I have also learnt not to expect them to join the ‘core village’; this has not been an easy lesson. It is so easy to mix up expectations 😉😉😉
So, I ask you once again: Do you have such people? People in your ‘core village’, in your ‘phase/season village’?
A village in this case doesn’t have to be 100 people, nope! A village can be made up of two people or more; more often than not it is made up of quite a number of ‘villagers’. What is most important is that ‘the village’ fundamentals are in motion.
In my observation and from personal experience there are three fundamentals that are needed in any ‘village’. They are expected and need to be expressed by every member of a ‘village’
Nothing can take the place of ‘being there’ by every ‘villager’ in every ‘village’. If I am in your ‘village’ I have to be there, if you are in my ‘village’ you have to be there. Really, the place of presence has no substitute. No excuses of distance, weather, work etc etc. Your ‘village’ needs you, you shows up. In this age of technology it is very easy to become confused on exactly what showing up means. Let me make it easy for you. It is not:
- Sending an sms/meme/tweet/FB post
- Sending Mpesa
IT IS BEING THERE PHYSICALLY – SHOW UP! BE THERE
Yes. Yes. I know that sometimes, it is practically impossible to be there physically thanks to land and water that separates ‘villagers’. Thank God for technology, lots of ways to communicate and see each other; make use of those. However, as long as it is within your power, be there in person.
2. Be true
This is the foundation of every ‘village’ – be true. Be true to each other, be honest with each other. Give credit where it is due and also call each other out on errors. You do well, your ‘village’ praises you and celebrates you and with you. You mess up, your ‘village’ calls you out without bluffs. There is no space for grey matter in the ‘village’, we keep it black and white with a lot of love in between.
3. Be you
This is the beauty of every ‘village’ – everyone is unique. Be you. In your ‘village’ you are free and are expected to be you, nothing less. As compared to many of the ‘new communities’ where the end goal is become everyone else but you, in the ‘village’ being you is fundamental. When the identity of each ‘villager’ is recognized and cultivated then the ‘village’ can blossom; the beauty of the ‘village’ can be seen. Your ‘village’ know you and they know your potential so they push you to being the best version of yourself at every stage of life and you do the same for them.
Take Care of Your Village
Do you have a ‘village’?
- If you do, take care of it by keeping the fundamentals – Be there, Be true, Be you.
- If you don’t, get one by becoming a ‘villager’ – Be there, Be true, Be you
And when you get your ‘village’ take care of it by keeping the fundamentals – Be there, Be true, Be you
If you take care of your village and I take care of my village we will ensure that despite the changing times no one will fall through the cracks of whatever hardships life throws at us.
- Call your village
- Visit them
- Buy them gifts, just because
- Affirm them verbally
- Spend time with them
- Create memories to carry y’all through the times you are away from each other
- Defend them
- Add to this list 😀😀😀