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The First Woman: Winner of the Jhalak Prize, 2021

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we are our circumstances. And until we have experienced all the circumstances the world can throw at us, seen all the versions we can be, we cannot claim to know ourselves. How, then, do we start to know someone else?” Kirabo’s family cannot understand why is not able to move pass being abandoned by her mother. In their mind, she is greatly provided for and taken care of, why does she need to know more about the woman who did not stay around? Kirabo is at that stage where she feels a dual force inside of her, one that is obedient and the other that wants to wreak havoc. Kirabo is growing up, and fast, her world keeps changing, secrets are being revealed that forces Kirabo to question her reality. The reader encounters protagonist, Kirabo, when she is 12, and follows her through her adolescence and youth: menstruation as “Armageddon” between her legs (when she becomes “unclean”), first love, studying at an elite private school for girls, discovering her sexuality, experiencing war, loss and betrayal, all while constantly thinking about the woman she has never met – her mother. Everywhere was a lightness in the air, one that came only when grown-ups were away. All that loving, that making sure you are okay and behaving, got heavy sometimes.” I wanted to explore two things. One was the idea that feminism comes from the West, and therefore, feminism is destroying our culture. So I needed to locate feminism in my culture. For me, I had to start from the beginning. When did women start to get oppressed? I needed to look at my people, my culture, from the moment it happened: Why did it happen, and how did it happen?

Upon arriving in Kampala, Tom told his wife, "That is Kirabo. This is her home". Turbulent, confusing times for Kirabo...soon off to an elite private school. If Kirabo were home, the entire village would have given her a send-off. "Let your ancestors' blessings walk with you...". Kirabo just put her suitcase in the boot of Tom's car. With Jennifer Makumbi's storytelling, she has all the elements - great, unforgettable characters, a 'moving at pace' plot, a little bit of mystery, a whole lot of feminism and controversy and multiple perspectives and mini dramas and wise counsel and women who've had enough of the injustices of the past.Yet at the core of the book is Kirabo, a girl who is journeying into womanhood in the 1970s, in Uganda whose mother left her when she was still an infant. Although well-loved by her grandparents, Kirabo feels as if there is two of her and one flies out of her body. Early on her grandfather’s lover, Nsuuta, a local witch, tells her that the reason is because “our original state is in you.” In 2015 I started a project of reading biographies and memoirs about first ladies. I have managed to read most of the biographies except a few hard to find ones. I also learned that the rule book says first ladies is not to be capitalized. This book about the first ladies covers the first ladies from Kennedy to Obama and was published in 2017. Brought up by loving grandparents with sporadic visits from her father, Tom, who has made a corporate executive life for himself in the bright lights of the capital city, Kampala, Kirabo discovers an inner rebellious self that flies out of her body in a bid to locate her mother. Set in Uganda in 1975 - 1983, this book starts with twelve-year-old strong-willed protagonist Kirabo living in a village with her grandparents. She has never known her mother, and her father only visits occasionally. Kirabo is a natural storyteller. She secretly visits local blind woman, Nsuuta, to find out about her mother, but the advice she receives only fuels her obsession. She meets Sio in her youth, and they develop a friendship that could develop into more, but Kirabo wants to continue her education, despite pressure to get married and have children. We follow Kirabo’s life as she moves to Kampala to live with her father and attends a Catholic boarding school for girls. this is something a bit special. Part family saga, part coming-of-age story, covering topics as wide-ranging as class, ethnicity, wealth, identity, feminism/ mwenkanonkano, culture, love, property, politics and origin, Makumbi's book was an entertaining and enlightening fictional introduction to modern Uganda.

RoboTools Engineering Design Challenge– Have questions about the RoboTools engineering design challenge? NASA Education Coordinator Michele Hooks answers some of the more common questions teachers may have before leading their students through this STEM activity. I had a hard time with this book at first. It seemed really chaotic and unstructured. I still can't figure out the organizing principle from one chapter to the next and the abrupt transitions didn't help either. I think that might largely be because I listened to this book. And as I've learned, I'm a visual person, so if I read it with my eyes, I likely would have had more success understanding what the theme was from one chapter to the next. (Plus, I likely would have loved the no doubt, awesome pictures included in this book!) Maybe we will learn a lesson and never promote or elect turds for elected office? Maybe we should investigate and have future candidates properly scrutinized and tested? If we learn one thing it is that it is far easier to elect an idiot than a saint in this land. I somehow regret that I don’t speak the dialect in the story. I think prior knowledge in things like that make the story more relatable. In the end I found the data phenomenal. I found the connections and parallels between their lives and beyond party lines both heartwarming and fascinating. Though I found the commonly accepted infidelity by their husband's abborant I found their unwavering love for their dear husband's life affirming & well basically.... everything.Her writing career began at the age of 15 when she wrote, directed and produced a play for a school competition, for which she was awarded third prize. Third prizes for writing became the story of her teens but that would certainly change in the future! There were so many interesting and relevant themes that the author treated in details. I was very impressed. The feminist themes in this book and the strong women were wonderful. I loved how the book examined things like privilege, colorism, relationships, and marriage, and I liked that it did all that while providing a fascinating insight into Ugandan culture and history. I don't actually know that much about Uganda, so it was really fascinating to read about how it was negatively impacted by colonialism, their war with Tanzania, and how the traditional beliefs mixed with and/or superseded the christian ones that were imposed on them from England. Even though the patriarchal rules and expectations are harsh, it was surprisingly refreshing to see how the women still found ways to seize power from within, and how Kirabo, as part of a newer generation, was able to push the boundaries still further because of the efforts of the strong women preceding her.

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