Friday, November 7, 2008

Another example of Women's Work Fulfilled

I wanted to jot down my feelings about this election, it's a momentous one.

As an American public, we had endured a long and grueling process, but a rather civil one considering...And with so many provocative twists and turns, the media certainly had plenty of fodder and as a result, plenty of airtime to fill full of junk.

I was a die hard Hilary campaigner in the beginning. Hell, can't have a shop named Women's Work and not be pro-woman! But when she lost the nomination, I grieved, but like many of her following, got behind Obama, resigned to win this election. How could we let the Republicans get in there for another four years? We couldn't.

And so, I threw myself into Barack Obama, who did not disappoint. After vocalizing all of the reasons why I was initially behind Hilary and not him - his inexperience, his preacherly way of delivering speeches, all fluff with no substance - he proved me wrong. As if he heard my complaints, shortly after being nominated for the Democratic ticket, he addressed my apprehensions and exceeded my expectations. Throughout the campaign, Obama would shine in my eyes compared to his Republican opponent. But for the very reason I wanted Hilary to win (the fact that she was a strong woman) is exactly the reason I was horrified that the Republican party would elect Sarah Palin as their VP.

It made me so angry to think that they really truly believed that this puppet, this airhead, this beauty queen-has-been, this hick, this seemingly religious fanatic ('coz it turns out she was just playing to the moral majority - anything to win!), this woman would appeal to American women! Indicative of the past 8 years of treating Americans as pawns, the Republicans truly thought she and this shell-of-a-maverick going by the name of McCain were their winning ticket. How absurd and that's exactly what the American public said on November 4th. I am once again proud to be an American.

As many of you well know, Peter and I actually met GW in Botswana. We hosted his visit to the game reserve when Peter was still park manager. He was a likable guy, not very presidential (good and bad), and definitely someone you'd love to have a beer with - but not run your country! And so, this election, our first since we returned to the USA was an important one for us. Toward the end, we took to saying, "Barack or Botswana." Markham, our son, asked me this morning (two days after the election), "So, does that mean we're not moving back to Botswana?" I happily told him Yes!

But I digress...back in Botswana, we made some great friends. We had children the same ages so our friendship came naturally, but also sharing the same values, we bonded. When this election started to take shape, as I stated earlier, I campaigned for Hilary. Our friend (who shall remain nameless since he still works for "the government") said he was taking his precious days off and going to frigid cold New Hampshire to go door to door for Obama. "Hilary's a screamer" he would tell me. Peter and I laughed his comment off. After all, he was critiquing a possible boss, not the same criteria we all would use to pick our President. But he did say something that made me consider his choice. He said he had been in the presence of greatness. Never in his life had he seen someone with so much charisma. It seems we all witnessed that same man toward the end of the campaign. The best person in my opinion had been chosen after all... .

..These are ramblings of a woman with her own platform (it's my blog, I can say what I want to)...and what does it have to do with Women's Work? I'll tell you.

Yesterday, while I was in the shop, I was closing up when a local gentleman walked in. He was starting to do his Christmas shopping and wanted to see what I had since he tried to buy as much as he could in town. (Good for him!) As he looked around, he giggled, "Got anything from His country?" I knew exactly what he was talking about. "As a matter of fact, I do." I said. He said, "You should put that in your window - something like, Yes you something from Kenya!" and so this sale started to take shape.

I had wanted to acknowledge the win and was toying with one idea and another...but this encounter was exactly the impetus I needed. I wrote some copy, made up some ads...1/2 Kenyan, sure! 50% off all things Kenyan. And it went on from there. As I wrote the copy I would formulate into a press release, I had the final connection. Women's Work would honor the woman whose efforts would one day produce a President...who was this woman? I was shocked to find out...

My new found inspiration (Barack) has led me to my newest and one of my greatest idol to-date (according to:,8599,1729524-1,00.html). Stanley Ann Soetoro was the working woman who would break molds, challenge convention, a practicing anthropologist, she not only studied cultures, but applied her practical altruism respectfully and effectively when setting up micro loans in Indonesia, exposed her children to the world, and gave them a positive outlook to see how they could make the world a better place.

As a mother of two racially mixed children, I wonder how my actions affect them. I often question whether Peter and my decision to leave America in 2003 was a good one or one that would scar my children irrevocably. I wonder what our self-afflicted although not entirely self-imposed vow of marginalized poverty will do to our children's values, and how they will understand our choices. In the end, like Obama and his sister, I hope Markham and Macallan remember our joys and pain, adventures and journeys as positive ones, actions/choices that shape their lives for the better. Who knows, maybe, from my work, my daughter or son will one day be president - or at least know that whatever they choose, their mother will be standing behind them, supporting them and loving them for who they are and have turned out to be...As I am known to say, that's women's work.

Women's Work salutes S.Ann Soetoro and thanks her for her many contributions to the the World...most especially, our new President.

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