What is Freedom?

With this week’s celebration of Independence Day in the United States, we asked some women at Amani Kenya to reflect on what freedom means to them. They shared with us from their different backgrounds. Some are Kenyan, and others are refugees working in Kenya.
Freedom as Peace
Freedom is being free from a certain problem. When I think of freedom I think of being at peace with my inner self. I feel I am the most free when I forgive someone who has done a bad thing to me. I just feel free.
— Martha Nekesa (Uganda)
Freedom as Independence
To me, freedom is the feeling that I can say or do something. It’s when I am able to do what is in my feeling. I feel the most free when I can do something on my own.
— Millicent Achieng (Kenya)
Freedom from Sin
Freedom is when you let go of your bad past, when you confess and repent of all your sins. It makes me feel joy and peace, and keeps me going forward and not moving backwards. I feel the most free in those moments when you know Jesus Christ is freeing you.
— Grace Samwel Sebishahu (Tanzania)
Freedom to Create & Work
For me freedom is the ability to make a decision and do what I want in peace. When I think of freedom I think of the feeling of being motivated to create new activities. I felt the most free when I came to Kenya; I discovered many things which gave me the freedom to start working hard as I was feeling safe.
— Diane Nzitonda (Burundi)
Freedom from Fear
Freedom is when you can talk about your burdens with people listening to and understanding you, it’s walking without fear, and it’s looking at your leaders without experiencing discrimination. The purest form of freedom is truly having peace in my heart. Those moments in which I have felt the most free are those when I am living at peace with my neighbours, and when I don’t have problems in my house or family.
— Janviere Mukamana (Rwanda)
Just as each of the responses above highlight a different aspect of freedom, the image above represents an important freedom for the women of Amani. It’s the center of the Unity Quilt displayed in the chapel at Amani Kenya. The quilt depicts peace-making traditions from several African cultures represented at Amani. At the center is a woman dancing with her eyes on the cross, a woman celebrating that she is reconciled and free.
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