TANZANIA: Tribe Of Tanzanian Women Marry Each Other To Keep Land

TANZANIA: Tribe Of Tanzanian Women Marry Each Other To Keep Land

Many cultures have always thought of marriage as one of partnership but a tribe in Tanzania has taken it one step further.

In the village of Nyamongo of northern Tanzania, some women who reside in the Kurya tribe are redefining the roles of marriage. For married couple Mugosi Maningo & Anastasia Juma, their union is based solely on economics. When the two women met, Maningo’s husband had left her ten years prior because she couldn’t have children. Juma’s marital situation changed when she left her abusive husband after her firstborn, then was left to care for two other children after being left by two other men. Left on their own,  these women decided to change their circumstances for their families.

Land ownership is traditionally held by men and most don’t question the validity of it, but in this situation, women are fighting against age-old traditions in order secure their families’ futures. Maningo and Juma are challenging these roles by practicing “nyumba ntobhu”, which means “woman marrying woman”.

Established years ago by Kurya elders, this was done in order to protect women from losing land ownership if their husband died or abandoned them. This practice is allowed by the Kurya tribe’s elders since it benefits the community, but more importantly, it validates the power of women in this village. While there is a Kuryan law which stipulates that only men can inherit land, women get around it by marrying a younger woman who has children or can have sex with a male partner to produce male heirs.

For Maningo, this arrangement has not only ensured her land ownership, but the freedom to choose a partner, and not necessarily a man. While same-sex marriages in the West include a sexual component, this is not seen as an important factor in the Kurya tribe. Maningo and Juma who are both heterosexual, see having male sex partners as a way of bearing children, and a choice they get to make not imposed on them. Having the right to decide whether to take on a male partner reduces the likelihood of abuse, child marriage and genital mutilation on women.

It should be noted that “nyumba ntobhu” marriages are only recognized in tribal law, not Tanzanian law. Not all Tanzanian women practice same-sex marriages, but the incentive of controlling property and having the choice to have a male partner or not, has made this practice an attractive, and often, a safer option. In addition, male partners who help women bear children must honor this tradition and give up their paternal rights.

As someone who was raised in a country where women continue to fight for equality, I can understand the attraction of this practice.

In Tanzania where patriarchy and gender inequality are dominating forces in their culture, same-sex marriages like Maningo and Juma’s are uncommon but necessary for communities to survive. While I know that marriages are not perfect, the concept of “nyumba ntobhu” works for the women of the Kurya tribe. Who knows, maybe one day, “nyumba ntobhu” will not just be a practice but a way of life for Tanzanian women.

Do you know of any similar types of arrangements in your country?

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Tes Silverman.

To read the article regarding this post, click below:

https://mic.com/articles/150925/straight-women-in-tanzania-are-marrying-each-other-and-it-s-happening-a-lot#.JiTrb3EZs

Photo Attribution: Rasheedhrasheed

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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WORLD VOICE: “Leftover Women” in China Fight Back

Photo Credit Wikipedia commons: kanegen kto288 (talk)

Are you a single woman currently enmeshed in the dating scene? Do you find it easy or difficult to find someone to date because of your success or independence? Being a single, independent woman should not be seen as a disadvantage, but in China, women are being targeted for not conforming to what’s seen as part of their tradition.

A recent advertisement has been circulating in China where a woman who may still be single after the age of 25 is labeled as a “Sheng-nu” or “leftover woman”. It is believed that women who have not secured a marriage before a certain age are not as favored by prospective suitors. Those who have been “lucky” enough to be matched are considered to have their future secured, unlike these women.

In this day and age, dating in any culture can be challenging. Finding the right person to connect with takes time and commitment, and should not be forced. The video in question shows how these women are pressured by their parents, going so far as listing profiles of their daughters at a Marriage Market in Shanghai. Shanghai’s Marriage Market at People’s Park has been around since 2004 and has been widely used by parents to find matches for their daughters whom they believe are past their prime. While the Market also lists profiles of men, it is those of women that have raised the alarm to fight back.

The advertisement is meant to bring awareness to the issue of women being discriminated against for not wanting to be part of what has been a tradition in China for many years. Part of the hold on this tradition is the thought that marriage is seen as the ultimate success of increasing one’s familial line. Any delineation from it is seen as turning away from one’s culture. Another reason is that women are seen as unable to fend for themselves, and need a man to support not just her, but her family as well. One heartbreaking segment is of a woman who sits by silently while her mother speaks about the difficulty of finding a mate for her average-looking daughter. Or a father saying that it would bring him heart disease if his daughter couldn’t find “the one” because she’s too picky.

While the idea of finding a mate in any culture is part of the norm, finding one because of a society’s view on unmarried women is subject for concern. The objective of being married off becomes the focus, instead of what they really want for themselves. This is happening even in this modern culture in China, where women work and are able to provide for their families

Shouldn’t women be acknowledged and supported for having the courage to say “no” to a tradition that’s forced upon them by their family and society?

Instead, so many women are caught between a rock and a hard place. To refuse to be matched by their parents would be the ultimate disrespect, but to acquiesce to an age-old tradition may only bring unhappiness.

The women in this advertisement do fight back by letting their parents know via video that they, too, want marriage, but on their own terms. They ask for support instead of disapproval for their success and independence.

As someone who grew up with strict parents, dating was nonexistent for me until I was in college. While I didn’t agree with my parents’ rules about dating then, I appreciate them now. Dating in my twenties gave me the opportunity not just to find the right person right for me, but know what I wanted in life.

The women in this advertisement may initially be seen as victims, but their desire to speak out against being labeled and let others know they deserve to be happy, make them worth remembering.

To see the video regarding this article, clock below:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/leftover-women-in-china-emotional-advert-challenges-the-pressure-on-single-women-to-get-married-a6980291.html

This is an original post written by Tes Silverman for World Moms Network.

What do women in your culture think about marriage by a certain age?

Photo Credit Wikipedia commons: Traditional Chinese Wedding Ceremony by kanegen kto288 (talk)

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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World Voice: The Burquini Controversy

World Voice: The Burquini Controversy

As summer winds down in the United States, wardrobe choices become less of an issue. In other parts of the world, warm weather attracts beach goers and most women don’t have to worry about what bathing suits they wear – that is, until recently.

In Cannes, a new law was proposed by Mayor David Lisnard whereby women are banned from wearing burquinis or full-body swimsuits. The reason behind it? It is seen by the mayor as a symbol of extremism and the women wearing them, are perceived as flaunting their beliefs to a country that’s been through a rash of terrorist attacks in the past few years. According to the proposed ruling by Mayor Lisnard, “Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order (crowds, scuffles etc) which it is necessary to prevent”.

France has had more than its share of terrorist attacks, including the ones brought upon them on July 14 in Nice during Bastille Day, and on July 26 in which a priest was senselessly killed. It is understandable that people in France would feel it critical to tighten their security measures, but how is banning what Muslim women wear to the beach a threat to national security? How is that any different from discrimination? What’s worse is the notion that what mainstream society sees as typical beachwear should be the only form allowed. Just because Muslim women prefer to wear swimwear that may not be considered mainstream, is that a reason to ban them from wearing what they feel is appropriate for them or worn out of respect for their religious beliefs?

Wearing a burquini gives Muslim women the same opportunity to enjoy the beach like so many others do. Even more compelling is that a burquini is worn not to foist any religious beliefs on us, but a way of enjoying the beach without compromising their beliefs. Their choice of what type of swimwear to use should not be seen as a plot to invite extremists, but should be seen as exercising their freedom of expression.

Since then, the ban has been overturned in thirty French cities by a French court as it’s been deemed as a violation of their human rights. While I am glad that the court decided to overturn this ban, why should any woman, Muslim or not have to fight for her right to dress the way she sees fit? I believe that no one should have to right to dictate how one should dress because they don’t “fit in” to what others consider as the norm. The burquini controversy may have been resolved, but there’s more work to be done if we, as a society want to change how different cultures are to be accepted just as they are.

Do you think the ban on the burquini is a human rights violation or does wearing one symbolize religious affiliation to extremism?

Read the original article here.

This is an original post by #WorldMom, Tes Silverman of The Pinay Perspective from New York  for World Moms Network.

Picture Credit: Flickr

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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WORLD VOICE: Indian Woman Creates Rehab Center for Acid Attack Victims

WORLD VOICE: Indian Woman Creates Rehab Center for Acid Attack Victims

 

Acid Rehab Center

What happens when obsession over a woman’s appearance becomes a reason to incite a violent act against her? Violence against women is a constant in many countries, especially in India. Women in India are discriminated on and so many of them have been physically attacked or lost their lives over patriarchal ideologies stemming from their beliefs. One of the most horrific ways women have been targeted in India is by acid attacks. Acid attacks are perpetrated on women who have either spurned a man’s attentions or a result of the perception that they have dishonored their family in some way.

One woman who is making a difference in the lives of acid attack survivors is Ria Sharma, a former fashion student who is the founder of Make Love Not Scars. Sharma had heard of these attacks but was unprepared for what she saw at a government hospital treating acid attack survivors. She had initially thought of doing a documentary to tell the stories of these women, but decided that she needed to do more.

Her confrontation with victims of acid attacks inspired her to launch India’s first rehabilitation center in March 2014 called Make Love Not Scars. This organization makes it possible for survivors to have access to medical, psychological, legal, and financial help even when they aren’t certain they need it. In addition, sleeping quarters are provided for women who come to the center from out of town. A law in 2013 by the Indian Supreme Court regulated that shopkeepers have a license to sell acid and for customers to show ID for it. Yet it is unbelievable that customers can still purchase it for less than a dollar.

Launching Make Love Not Scars was far from easy because Sharma encountered roadblocks due to her young age and her gender. Her efforts were not taken seriously, but she persevered and founded her organization. It is her commitment to make sure victims of acid attacks are cared for, not ostracized.

Most of western society is obsessed with women’s physical appearance. From billboards to magazines, a woman’s external appearance becomes a measure of how much attention, unwanted or not, she receives from men. For Indian women, unwanted attention is half the battle; it is the repercussions of a violent act toward them that leave indelible marks.

Sharma’s dedication to help these women is inspiring. As a woman, I have encountered my share of unwanted attention. As a Mom of an almost adult woman, I think about my daughter who may face the same attention one day and how it will be received if it isn’t mutual. I can’t imagine the trauma and lasting psychological impact of a violent attack such as what these women have endured. It is my hope that Sharma’s organization is only the beginning of raising awareness and decreasing, if not eliminating any means of obtaining acid to attack women.

 

To read the original article, click below:

http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-03-16/23-year-old-woman-just-opened-indias-first-rehab-clinic-acid-attack-survivors

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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WORLD VOICE: How Far Would You Go For an Olympic Medal?

2014 Lake Macquarie International Children’s Games in December 2014.

2014 Lake Macquarie International Children’s Games in December 2014.

How far would you go for your child to help him/her win a competition? Competitions are meant to establish sportsmanship, confidence and winning spirit, but in China, the idea of competition is taken to another level. With the 2016 Olympics in Rio underway, the idea of how much training is too much, when it involves a chance at qualifying for the Olympics, may give one pause for thought.

A video has been attracting attention that has stirred some controversy of how children are being trained for the Olympics in China. The video depicts children as young as 5 being subjected to harsh exercises which could be seen as being over the top. The children are screamed at, told to hang on pull-up bars for what seems like an interminable amount of time, only to be chastised if they resist or cry. My initial reaction to this video was one of horror. How was this allowed? Why was this considered “training” when to me it seemed like punishment?

The video is below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEvW2ZzcEUs

My husband and I are familiar with training for a sport since my daughter was a competitive figure skater from ages 5 to 13. We were all new to the sport, but one thing we did know, we were supporting our daughter because she wanted to do this, not us. Her initiation with skating stemmed from seeing Michelle Kwan on a segment of the PBS cartoon show, “Arthur”. She was mesmerized by how beautifully she skated and told us that she wanted to be just like her. She even went so far as to buy a book about Michelle Kwan to read about her life and how she got started with figure skating.

While we wanted to support her wish, we also told her that it involved a lot of hard work. We weren’t trying to discourage her, but we also wanted to make sure that she knew what she needed to do to accomplish her goal. I can say that part of the attraction was being able to wear beautiful outfits for competition, but Shaina would realize how much work was involved in trying to be a competitive figure skater. It wasn’t just the sport that drew her in, it was the beauty of how one’s dream to succeed was a product of hard work and commitment.

Training for figure skating consisted of waking up at 5 AM twice a week to get to the rink at 6 AM and practice with her coach from 6-7:30 AM before school, as well as Saturdays & Sundays from  12:30 PM – 3 PM. Getting up at 5 AM was not always that easy, but my husband and I committed to making it a family affair. That meant waking up with her at 5 AM, being with our daughter during every practice, every competition, massaging every aching back and leg cramps that she experienced for eight years. At the age of 12, her Coach sat us down to discuss her future in this sport; either to go on the Olympic track or continue to compete regionally. While Shaina loved the sport, she knew that being on the Olympic track was not for her.

For the children depicted in this video, the training regimen can be viewed as harsh, if not tortuous by outsiders. Scenes depicted on the video show a child being pulled off the bar or bending one’s back so far over that it could be seen as torture. These children seem to be at a great disadvantage since they can’t fight back, and knowing the sacrifices their parents have made for them, they wouldn’t. The parents of these children place them with these trainers with the hope that their child would be the one of the lucky ones to qualify for the Olympics. It should be noted that this level of training seen on the video may not be the norm in China, but it should give one pause for thought.

The Olympics is a universal symbol of excellence and any child who dreams of achieving a medal resulting from hard work and commitment deserves that chance. Every parent, regardless of race and culture, wants the best for their child and I am not any different. I understand that given the chance, I would do everything I could to help my child achieve her dream, not mine. My hope is that this video will be a reminder that the road to the Olympics is not be about the medals, but the child’s dream of being the best they can be for himself/herself.

This article here has ignited some thought.

This is an original post to World Moms Network by World Mom, Tes Silverman in New York, USA.

Photo Credit: Moetaz Attalla via Wikimedia Commons

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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World Voice: RESULTS International Conference Tackles Poverty

World Voice: RESULTS International Conference Tackles Poverty

#WorldMom Tes Solomon Silverman with Loyce Maturu (Advocacy Officer, Africaid Zvandiri) from Zimbabwe

#WorldMom Tes Solomon Silverman with Loyce Maturu (Advocacy Officer, Africaid Zvandiri) from Zimbabwe

Two weeks ago, I was chosen to represent World Moms Network at the RESULTS International Conference’s Social Media Corps. World Moms Elizabeth Atalay and Cynthia Changyit Levin were also there to guide me through this conference. RESULTS International Conference is held at Washington DC every year, bringing together experts to speak about ways to eradicate poverty in the US and other parts of the world.

I have always thought of myself as being aware of what’s happening in the world, but I was wrong. During the four day conference I was blown away by the speakers and their stories and how naive I have been with regards to poverty.

I listened to speakers like Tianna Gaines-Turner (RESULTS Advocate & Expert on Poverty) & Angela Sutton (RESULTS Advocate & Expert on Poverty) who spoke about their struggle to feed their families with the help of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). I heard about how crucial it is to keep this program going.

In Sutton’s words, “it affects anyone and everyone, so we must bridge the gap to understand that poverty doesn’t discriminate”.

In addition to addressing poverty, issues that affect women and children both in the US and in other countries were discussed. Of the speakers that I heard, the one that made an impact on me was Loyce Maturu (Advocacy Officer, Africaid Zvandiri) from Zimbabwe. Maturu lost her mother and brother to AIDS in 2000. As devastated as she was about their deaths, she was unprepared for how her life would further change when she was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 12 with HIV and tuberculosis. Living in a country where fear of the unknown and the stigma surrounding HIV and tuberculosis made it difficult for Maturu to remain where she lived so she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle.

For most people, being sent to live with family could be seen as a blessing, but for Maturu, it was a nightmare that added to her feeling of isolation. She was physically and emotionally abused by her relatives, and even had thoughts of taking her own life in 2010 because she felt alone.

Her life changed when she able to receive treatment as a result of programs funded by the Global Fund. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a financing institution designed to establish partnerships between governments, communities and the private sector, with the goal of ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Since its inception, programs supported by the Global Fund have saved 17 million lives and are on target to reach 22 million lives by the end of 2016.

While treatment for Maturu was available, access to medication was difficult because of drug shortages. In addition, one had to travel long distances to get access to medication and families couldn’t afford to pay the transport necessary to get to a facility.

For Maturu, now 24, the Global Fund has made it possible for her to get the treatment she needs to be able to tell her story. Since 2009, she has been a volunteer peer counsellor, going to schools and sharing her story by about living with HIV, especially to adolescents and young people who are affected by the stigma associated around AIDS. She believes it is important to educate people that adolescent and young people can lead healthy lives even if affected by HIV and tuberculosis.

Maturu believes that continued financial support of the Global Fund is crucial in fighting diseases of poverty. This September, funding for it is up for replenishment. Every three years, the Global Fund holds a pledging meeting where donors make specific financial commitments to support the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. This year, the United States is being asked to continue its pledge of ⅓ of the Global Fund’s requested $13 billion, as it has three years ago.

According to Maturu, “the Global Fund transforms lives and gives us hope to continue to fight and end these epidemics”.

As someone who has never been afflicted by HIV or tuberculosis, I can’t imagine the heartache and desperation Maturu felt after being diagnosed. Her determination and courage to fight every obstacle she came across with, to receive treatment and live through them is inspiring. As a parent, all I want is for my family to stay healthy and be able to provide a future for my child, but I also know that a health crisis or job loss can alter it in an instant.

As a journalist whose job is to inform others about what I learned from the RESULTS conference, I do so by relaying the stories of Tianna Gaines-Turner, Angela Sutton and Loyce Maturu. By telling their stories, I hope to bring awareness to issues of poverty here and other parts of the world. No one is immune to sickness or crises, but with education and awareness, a lot can be done to fight these issues.

In Maturu’s words, “If I’m going to live in this world, I want to share my story and let people know that they can have healthy, happy lives”.

 At the end of the day, don’t we all want the same thing?

To find out about more about RESULTS, click below:

http://results.org/

[ABTM id=123]

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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