Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Beyond the Tears Goes to Africa

Imagine how astonished I was when I heard that Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story was being read in Africa! I received the following comment on my Facebook page from Moses Okoth in Nairobi, Kenya.

Jambo, Its great meeting a Phenomenal person like you. Read your book and loved it. Our regards from Kenya. Thanks for the great job you are doing. Lynn alot more people need to get inspired and to get to know that they are NOT alone. Someday, it's gonna make sense to you about how a class of 30 students from the University of Nairobi made sense out of your book. And YES your book has helped. In big ways, small ways; with girls.and women. Its those ltitle things that you do that make all the difference. So there you have it: It's BEYOND the USA! NOT just beyond tears!  Mo! Asante Sana! (Thanks in Swahili).

I was humbled by his message. I wondered how it was possible to reach women in Africa with my personal story. After all, the scene settings and society of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Arizona is far from Kenya. Then I realized that this connection is not about distant places and different cultures: This is about people and the human condition. 

Emotions are universal; readers explore their own emotions to open lines of communication, eliminate shame, and experience healing. I am honored that my story, which held decades of secrets, can be shared in a book club in Africa. By bringing my dark secrets to light, it is my hope that others anywhere who have suffered traumatic events will know that they are not alone.

As is often the case on the internet, one link led to another. Moses Okoth brought my attention to The Pixel Project. The site states: "The Pixel Project is an innovative virtual volunteer-led non profit organisation using social media and online strategies to turbo-charge global awareness about violence against women while raising funds and volunteer power for the cause."

Eastland & Siaya Girls Project

At The Pixel Project on Facebook I learned that "The Eastland and Siaya Girls Project is a really positive project done by girls who were involved in the post-election violence in Kenya. Some were raped, others were gang-beaten and got infected with HIV. Others lost both parents. The organizers say that they have started the project at the grassroots level."

The Pixel Project says: "More power to them!" because these women and girls have shown the courage and determination to pick themselves up and to transform their pain into something so beautiful and positive. They are not victims. They are empowered survivors." Moses Okoth says that women make and sell a dress and the money is used to keep a girl in school for six months. You can visit this link to see more beautiful dresses and accessories from phenomenal women! 

For more information on what community organizers achieve in reducing gender based violence in Kenya, read about the Walk-A-Mile project!

As one heals, so does another.

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