The Street Dweller

Introduction
Whoever we might be, we all desire respect & dignity. Here is a street dweller’s self appraisal that is food for thought:

They call me “Homeless”

but don’t care to ask my name.

I prefer “Street Dweller”

’cause the streets are my home.

They call me purposeless

but life on the streets spell

“Survival of the fittest” that

makes me far from useless.

They call me hopeless

but I have hope as I am

streetwise.

From place to place I trek,

I know bins full of food,

and outside which shop to beg.

Bus drivers know me,

turn a blind eye when I hop

on for free rides with my dog Fred.

They call me senseless

but I put to use the common

sense given by the Most High

when I look to the sky and

can tell if it shall rain or shine.

Then I know where to lay

my head; in someone’s shed, a

fold up box, open air?

anywhere as long as it

is miles away from a fox!

I am a street dweller.

Yes, among life’s fittest.

A survivor, that’s who I am.

©DEN-The Witness – 24/09/2016

Note: Upon request, I have given permission for this poem to be incorporated in a play with other poems at a College in Lansing, Michigan USA in November 2019 to coincide with Thanksgiving. The play is about the life of a group of homeless people and entitled “I have a name”.

Reflection & Encouragement:

One who lives in a home, has an address to go to can easily think “why would one want to live on the streets! Whatever name one chooses to be called “Homeless” or “Street Dweller” does not change the fact that they are in an undesirable status in life!”

Such a thought is not necessarily malicious, most people prefer a roof over their heads, a place to call home. However as we can see from this poem, the street dweller is expressing how they perceive their situation or circumstance which is contrary to how people, to his or her knowledge perceive it.

The street dweller has accepted their status as their reality. The circumstance or situation which resulted in them being as such is neither here nor there, they are proud to be living on the streets and making good of their life on the streets. They have learnt to survive and have dignity and self respect. Their descriptive prose is also saying loud and clear: this is who I am, take it or leave it! They actually compel one to respect them.

A number of reflections and lessons can be derived from this poem as well as words of counsel and encouragement or exhortation, here are some:

If people superficially put you in a box, assume things about you or stereotype you because of how society and others perceive or treat “people like you” i.e your economic, social status and race or cultural background, it is actually only you and you alone who can dismantle those superficial or stereotypical assumptions about who they think you are or how they expect you to behave.

Not that you have to make a conscious effort to change their minds or attitudes about you; Your manner of self-perception, self-relation, self-definition and self-respect in relation to who you are and your circumstance will greatly influence how people treat and perceive you.

Despite being born as a member of a family you are a unique being.Unique also within one human race and within diverse racial or ethnic groups, social and economic group of the human race. There is only one you!

However if you find that despite being unique and basically your true self within and still feel unaccepted by some because of your social and economic status, nationality, race or cultural background there is nothing you can do about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. However you have to make sure that you stay true to who you are as a person and not be driven to say things or act in ways that agree with any false labels about who you are or what people think you are supposed to be.

People may not understand your circumstances or even know all the background experiences and elements which have made you who you currently are, but learning to connect with your true self within, loving and respecting who you are without comparison to anyone else will constantly shatter any adverse effects that negative words and actions may otherwise have on you.
There is a scripture in the bible “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

Self love and respect results in expressions of love and respect towards others also because you inevitably empathise, have compassion for or appreciate other human beings more. As much as you cultivate positive self worth so too you see the bigger picture; the world is full of people who are worthy to be loved and respected as you are. It is therefore impossible for people who have a habit of putting people down or taunting and backbiting to befriend you or be among your close circle of friends.

In the context of the Street Dweller’s message, being a survivor is being an overcomer from having your worth defined by how others perceive you. Whatever your status or circumstance in life, ensure that you can say like the Street Dweller:
“Yes, among life’s fittest.
A survivor, that’s who I am.”

Note: This poem & discourse “Who I’m I? It’s a matter of Perception!
is in my book “Wielding the Sword of the Spirit” a book of interrelating inspirational teachings/devotions & poems chapter by chapter.

💡Spotlight On & 🗣 Shout-Out against Domestic Violence

Content:

-What is Domestic Violence?

-Poem “Domestic Death Trap”

-Lean the 8 Before it’s too late signs.

-Be a Change Agent and Raise Awareness

-Links to Discussion/Testimonial/Awareness Videos

-Web Links; Domestic Violence Charities & helpline telephone ☎️ numbers UK & USA

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence is the systematic pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control his partner.

The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. It can begin at any stage of the relationship. Domestic violence is rarely a one-off. Incidents generally become more frequent and severe over time.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Whilst domestic violence happens in all relationships (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), statistics show the vast majority of domestic violence incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.

Domestic violence is a crime. We all have a role to play in bringing domestic violence to an end.

(Above excerpt from: http://www.refuge.org.uk)

POEM: Domestic Death Trap

Slapped once, reassured of his love.

She stayed.

He broke her ribs twice. “I fell down the stairs” she said.

For him she always lied.

Pushed so hard against the door, the wood cracked. He begged for forgiveness.

She stayed.

Who told her of her worth, that she needed to leave to live?

Her true friends tried.

“His unfounded jealousy, blind rage were due to stress” she said.

Her excuses for him, dismayed.

The police found her dead body in a forest, battered and bruised. With no evidence nor history of violence, he was free.

So another victim he tried, while in a grave his wife laid.

©22-03-2018 DENyamekye

(for more poems /discourse about Domestic Violence browse related categories on this website: http://www.thewitnessinstitute.org)

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(Above “…the 8 before it is too late” from https://greatist.com/happiness/stop-domestic-violence-organizations)

BE A CHANGE AGENT – RAISE AWARENESS

Domestic violence is the worst thing that can happen to anyone in their home. If not anywhere else, a home is where people are supposed to feel the most secure and unafraid.

Domestic violence strips one of their basic human dignity and worth. Under a great magnitude of oppression, victims can only sink further into the abyss of depression with no way of escape. 

Be a voice among others to speak out and campaign against domestic violence!

Many victims live in denial, accept and make excuses while suffering so that they empower the abuser… 

If your voice could help the cause, campaign or even be heard by one or more victims, whether they are male or female and cause them to leave their demeaning and violent domestic environment you would have done a great service to humanity. 

VIDEO LINKS -DISCUSSIONS/TESTIMONIALS/RAISING AWARENESS

The Red Table Talk led by Jayden Pinkett Smith: Domestic Violence:

Women Breaking Free:
Stories of Strength from Survivors of Domestic Violence: https://www.thehotline.org/women-breaking-free/

WEB LINKS – INFORMATION FOR YOURSELF OR SOMEONE WHO MIGHT NEED IT

Domestic Violence charities:

UK: https://www.refuge.org.uk

https://www.womensaid.org.uk

Refuge Charity: 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline

0808 2000 247

USA:

https://www.thehotline.org

National Network to End Domestic Violence: https://nnedv.org/

End Violence Against Women Int. : http://www.evawintl.org/

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Our advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages. All calls are free and confidential.

 

©️2018The Witness Institute

Opioids Slave? Hell No!

Got me some bad back pain!
Can’t bend, at times I feel my life’s in vain.

Friends tell me “take some opioids to numb the pain” they are insane!
Doctor says “kill it with Fentanyl” is he for real?

Casualties overdose,
mistaken or for deliberate suicide, feeling forsaken.
Drug lords enrich coffers while Mr, Miss and Mrs in cheap coffins waste away.

Painkiller glitters, but is far from gold. It may hold up my back, a fast pain killer
but sure to finish me, a slow guardian killer to a point of no return.

It’s a known felon, unstoppable.
A marksman freely licensed to kill as it schemes to populate hell.

Opioids, away from me!
I’m as angry as hell!
I resist you,
with prayer?
natural remedies?
All the above,
backache and all!

©️Oct-2018 DENyamekye

I wrote this poem on 28th Oct 2018 inspired when I read this article
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45984843
about a woman Maddie who died of an overdose after years of addiction to an Opioid (a painkiller drug). My sincere condolences to her family.

My prayer and hope is that many will resist the urge to accept offers to take drugs of any kind to ease pain, depression or just to fit in with friends who take drugs.

If you need help contact us, we can listen, offer counsel and give you the right information/resources you may need. You are not alone.

Contact: thewitnessinstitute@gmail.com

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Wellness in Christ

67CBD993-3B41-45E0-B44C-F95C9FAAB217This poetic prayer-psalm reflects on God as a Father who  requires that his children care for the vulnerable, needy and afflicted in society. As they do so, it pleases Him…He enjoys “Sitting & Watching”.

Pleasing God through obedience in His requirement to inter-relate in love results in us being blessed with heavenly blessings that includes God’s presence as well as answered prayers.

21Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them… 23Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.(John 14:21,23 NLT)

 

For Your Rising Alone, I Care to Rejoice

Introduction:
This is a realistic message from someone to another … they say (the title) “For Your Rising Alone, I Care to Rejoice…” what do they mean? Read on:

I’ve been on a journey of liberation that you want not.
Yet come with confusion, pour it like libation upon my peace haven.

Think I care? No, I do not!

I’ve been moving forward, but you will not.
Yet you come with your words of regression, like a plank of obstruction upon my mansion.

Think I rejoice? No, I do not!

I fly on wings of hope to fulfil purpose, ignoring detractors and shaming haters, but you refuse to try.

Yet you complain as one in pain that I live not in your abyss of normality nor wear your cloak of mediocrity.

In secret you pray for my paralysis and work to bind me with hot chains of judgement.

I bleed not from your daggers in my heart, for I care not.

It’s for the loss of you that now I bleed tears, but for the hope of your rising that I care to rejoice.

©️20-Nov.DENyamekye

The AKASHINGA (“THE BRAVE ONES”), ALL FEMALE ANTI-POACHING UNIT.

Finding purpose in life builds one’s self esteem and sense of worth in the grand scheme of things. 

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The AKASHINGA (“THE BRAVE ONES”), ALL FEMALE ANTI-POACHING UNIT.

A UNIT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-POACHING FOUNDATION

This is the remarkable story of women trained to protect Zimbabwean wildlife.

“The fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity”

Many of these women according to the inspirational video (click here) come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect and find their purpose in being part of this unit to which they are fiercely dedicated. One woman said “hunt my animals and I’ll catch you”.

Finding one’s purpose in life gives assurance that one’s life matters in the grand scheme of things. This brings inner peace and inevitably builds one’s self-esteem, self-worth and therefore improves one’s mental health. This has a tremendous knock-on effect on people one interacts with at home and in society in general. 

These women are clearly  passionate about what they do and it is very inspiring. 

Below is an excerpt from the IAPF website which includes the mission/goals of the  AKASHINGA is as follows:

Anti-poaching rangers form the first and last line of defence for nature. Without the right training, equipment, management and support they cannot defend the World’s natural heritage for future generations.

The IAPF fulfills this niche responsibility within its areas of operations, whilst working alongside credible partners who specialise in the other vital components of conserving protected area biodiversity. The requirement for inspiring urgent political action towards the safekeeping of the planet cannot be overstated.

This responsibility should transcend all levels of industry, business and society as we strive for a generation of people that give, not take. Increasing pressure on the world’s natural assets is simply not sustainable.

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AKASHINGA IS A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CONSERVATION MODEL, EMPOWERING DISADVANTAGED WOMEN TO RESTORE AND MANAGE A NETWORK OF WILDERNESS AREAS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO TROPHY HUNTING.

Many current western-conceived solutions to conserve wilderness areas struggle to gain traction across the African continent. We decided to innovate, using an all female team to manage an entire nature reserve and have been astounded by the transformation and potential.

The program builds an alternative approach to the militarized paradigm of ‘fortress conservation’ which defends colonial boundaries between nature and humans. While still trained to deal with any situation they may face, the team has a community-driven interpersonal focus, working with rather than against the local population for the long-term benefits of their own communities and nature.

KEY POINTS

* A growing body of evidence suggests that empowering women is the single biggest force for positive change in the world today

* Trophy hunting areas across Africa take up one-sixth of all landmass across participating countries. An expanse greater than all of France

* The hunting industry is rapidly declining, leaving these wilderness areas and communities without sufficient income to incentivise conservation – Unless an alternative source of income is provided, these areas will be lost, along with their rich biodiversity

* Akashinga employs the most marginalized women from rural communities; educates and trains them to be rangers and biodiversity managers – protecting the large landscapes previously reserved for and financed by trophy hunting

* A woman with a salary in rural Africa invests up to 3 times more than a male into their family

* 72% of operational costs of the Akashinga model go directly back to the local community – turning biodiversity conservation into a community project

* These factors equal a better financial return for the local community than what trophy hunting provided

* This is an efficient, effective and scalable model which inspires and empowers women and gives them the opportunity to secure their own destiny, whilst safeguarding biodiversity

* It prepares women for the worst-case scenario in their roles, but fosters a harmonious relationship with local communities as the best defence against illegal wildlife crime.

VISION

The vision of Akashinga is to replace trophy hunting as an area management tool for conservation in Africa. This achieves landscape conservation at scale: A balance of ecology, economics, ethics and politics for the long-term preservation of large wilderness areas.

GOAL

As a stepping stone towards ending trophy hunting, Akashinga aims to recruit 2000 women, protecting a network spanning 30 million acres of African wilderness and biodiversity by 2030 – Wilderness reclaimed from trophy hunting and run by women.

STRATEGY

The strategy for success is to work with the local community, primarily through the empowerment of women who are less susceptible to corruption, work harder, don’t get drunk, exhibit higher rates of honesty and pride and value their roles and opportunity highly. The project is locally driven, retaining maximum available benefits and management responsibility to motivate conservation.

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BACKGROUND

“The fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity”

In early 2017 the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was approached to assist with conservation efforts in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi ecosystem. Due to poaching, elephant numbers in the region had declined by 40% since 2001.

Law enforcement and conflict resolution around the world has increasingly evolved to include women in key roles. In Africa and conservation however, men take most front line positions. Despite the fact women often do the majority of manual and household labor in Africa, Western conservation models have ignored their inclusion at scale.

Inspired by the progress of women and driven by the need for evolution in the conservation industry, the IAPF set out to deploy an all women team to restore and manage a reserve that was historically used for elephant hunting. This formed the Akashinga model.

Their mission would be to establish the first team of 26, then expand east and west to secure an area of almost a million acres, cutting off access for poachers into one of Africa’s largest remaining elephant populations.

Making their way towards the training grounds they were harassed by a group of drunken men yelling: “This job is not for you. It has never been. Go back home where you belong!”

Selection was opened exclusively to unemployed single mothers, abandoned wives, sex workers, victims of sexual and physical abuse, wives of poachers in prison, widows and orphans. By doing so, opportunity was created for the most vulnerable women in rural society. Having never received a secure form of income, they dealt with adversity and poverty within the marginalised areas of rural Zimbabwe every day of their life. Challenging ridicule and stereotype, they would seize the opportunity and return home as rangers.

Trained by experts in conservation and law enforcement, their future is now interwoven with the wilderness they protect – just as the fate of humanity is inseparable from our willingness to conserve biodiversity.

GET INVOLVED: There are many ways to get involved which includes fundraising, donating to the IAPF or volunteering for IAFP in Africa. Click: https://www.iapf.org/