Monday, October 1, 2012

Salem Lorot, Son of the Hills, Part II


Kids, this week we are doing an update interview with young Salem Lorot of Kenya, whose work can be found at Echoes of the Hills. We interviewed him some time back, as a student, [you can find that interview here], and heard his remarkable story. Salem grew up as a nomad in a Pokot village in Kenya, was  sponsored through school, and we met him in Nairobi ,  studying law at the university. Salem is an amazing poet who writes about social justice issues, and whose main goal in life is to make the world a better place.  I thought it would be interesting to check in on him again, and see what has happened in his life since we last spoke with him. Fasten your seat belts, kids.  We are flying back for another visit to one of my favorite places in the world: Mother Africa.




Poets United:  Salem, in your first interview, you were making the big push to completing your studies at the School of Law in Nairobi. Would you like to tell the folks  what has happened to you since ? 

Salem, in front of the Legislative Assembly 


Salem:  I am so happy. My Kenya School of Law Results  informed me that I  passed in all the 9 units I was doing! I was very humbled by this. That event  totally changed the course of my life. While so many of my friends failed, I managed to pass the Bar Exams (they were not easy). 

Then I finished my pupillage at Parliament at the end of July this year. Now I will petition the Chief Justice and hopefully await to be admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya sometime around December this year, by the will of Tororot.

Poets United: Salem, that is wonderful! What an accomplishment! Kids, what Salem was too humble to explain, is how he was chosen as one of only three students (out of 300 applicants), to fill that spot in the Legislative Assembly, where he worked at drafting new laws, which will impact the people of Kenya. A fantastic opportunity!

Salem: Thank you. The pupillage programme is a compulsory 6 months period  of apprenticeship, under an advocate of more than five years standing in the practice, so that they get to acquaint themselves to the rigors of the law practice. I did my pupillage with the Directorate of Legal Services in the Parliament of Kenya. I loved what I was doing. I was posted in both the Legislative Drafting and the Litigation and Corporate Affairs divisions.  The bottom line of what I  did there was a service to my country, Kenya,  which I feel indebted to.


At work in the Legislative offices

Poets United: And I understand the good news continues!

Salem: Yes. I just received word that I have been signed into an internship with the Law Society of Kenya. I will be an intern for four months. There is a very high chance that I will be admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya in the month of December. I must thank Tororot for this. I am very happy.

 Poets United: You have worked very hard, Salem, and you so deserve the way the path is opening for you. Would you like to share a few memories of your childhood,  for those members who missed your first interview?  When did you begin to dream your life might take you beyond your village?



The road to our homestead


Our homestead

Salem: It is amazing.  If somebody met me back then in the village, he/she would be surprised. With my brothers, we had to wake up early in the morning to fetch water from a river about two kilometres away. Then we would prepare breakfast,  then run to school. In the village, you live with what is available. Whatever you find, you eat. If you can’t, you brave on. I loved being at school. What I remember most is the ingenuity we had. We made our toys from clay, we had watched western movies and so we devised small guns from plants and used papers as “bullets”. We could collect any paper on the road and moisten them in our mouths! At night, we played a game called “sheki” where we drew boxes on the ground and tried to jump from one box to another. But we could only play when there was moonlight. There were and are no streetlights there.



Mum and one of our goats. That is our hut that doubles
as a kitchen and a sleeping place.
And you guessed right, our firewood, right there, too.

Poets United: This is so fascinating, Salem, to us in the West. I love the ingenuity of children, which is universal, to use whatever is at hand to entertain themselves. Your homestead looks beautiful.


The front of our hut

Salem: I grew like any other pastoralist boy. But there were some things I picked up along the way. I realized that those who went to school lived a comfortable life. I also learnt that women walked long distances (more than 5 kilometres most of the time) to access health facilities. Brilliant pastoralist boys were tied up to being herds-boys. We did not have role-models. Our role models were our teachers and the nurses. I dreamt of going to the University.

Back then, and even now, going to the university is akin to an astronaut making that maiden visit to the moon. And now that I have done so, I count myself very lucky. But my major challenge is to see how my education will be relevant to my people back at home.  



Kids, on Salem's recent visit home, 
he took books for his siblings.
Here he is, handing out the bounty!



"My favorite photo - little Cheptoo, beaming, here.
I did not bring you small toys, but a treasure which will guide you. 
Now read, sister, read. Some day you will be great."



"Open air library, village style."

"Mum, happy for her children"

Poets United: Salem, I always take note that  everything you accomplish is done, not just for yourself, but with the goal of helping others improve their lives, too. I love that about you.  I was fascinated from  the time I met you, by your incredible story . It is not every little nomad, sleeping under the stars in a small Pokot village, who makes it all the way to University (not to mention working in the actual halls of Parliament!) Would you like to talk a little bit about  what got you from there to here?

Salem: Oh, thanks a lot. As I have said, I have been very lucky to be here. There are many deserving people back in the village who, through no fault of their own, cannot talk of a University education. If it is about hard work, they have it. If it is patience, their lives tell it all.




"Mum on the right, and my aunts. 
They are removing beans from their pods."

I think Tororot has been kind to me. In 2002, I finished my Secondary education. In 2003, I taught a Primary school as a volunteer teacher. In 2005, I taught a newly established Seconday school. After all these, I was sponsored by a Comboni Missionary to pursue law. For four years I studied law in the University. Last year, I advanced with a Post-graduate diploma in law.

Poets United:  I know what a long hard push it has been, getting this far, kiddo. It takes determination.

Salem: I think what has helped me is patience. I had to wait for four years to go to the university. I try to avoid the pitfalls most youths fall into, which is alcoholism. I view my goals as a sacred duty to humanity. I am called to serve. That gives me a renewed sense of purpose.


"Mum, in our main house,
with our cousin's child"

I always give myself time to reflect on whether I am on course or not. I always feel like I am a bit late in achieving my mission, but in all these I try to put things into perspective, to marry ambition with contentment, and feats accomplished with humility. I try to live my mission quietly. I speak less. In the vast pool of human voices of reason, I try to pick what is right, and this involves more listening.



"Sister Lizzie Chemakal, cooking chapati"

"Lizzie, washing utensils"

Poets United: Salem, I am blown away by the beauty and spirit in all of these smiling faces, by the colors and warmth of your home. When did your heart begin to take fire about issues of social justice? What are your hopes for your life, in particular, in this regard?

Salem: While growing up in the village, I realized that there was something wrong with the world. Even at that basic level, I saw those with means living in iron-sheet-roofed houses while others lived in grass-thatched houses. What was more heart-breaking was to see brilliant minds wasting away because no one shone light on their paths. Mothers carried water on their heads and trekked for kilometres. Deserving students could be denied bursary (money given by the government to pay fees for needy students).



"Brother Fobian Masheti, mesmerizing everyone at home
with a laptop." (Fobian lives in Nairobi with Salem 
while he looks for work. Success is very much a family project,
each person helping the next.)

Studying law helped me open my mind to the realities of our world. I came to know about justice (a mirage, some would say), rule of law, democracy, representation, human rights and so many concepts. In this entire maze, my vision was sharpened. At first, I had taken law to fight for peoples’ rights. Then I realized that I could do more, to speak about them, but create some means in which they could realize some meaning in their lives. I have come to realize that social justice is  about speaking for them, but also seeking redress, and creating platforms in which they live well.



Salem and Cheptoo at the family's maize crop


Lizzie and Cheptoo

I have also realized that social progress cannot be meaningful if it is divorced from economic and political transformations. That is why, apart from denouncing social ills, I am seriously thinking of empowering people, especially at my village, so that they are economically sustained.



"How the women plait their hair
in the village."

Poets United:  I heard a quote recently from Benjamin Creme, I think it was, who said,  "There can be no peace without social justice." That's it in a nutshell, I believe.You have remarkable Big Picture vision, for one so young. I fully believe your life will directly impact those who live in your home village, and beyond. When did you first know you are a poet, Salem?



"Mum and my younger brother, Billy Porit. 
He is busy drying maize."

Salem: While I was in High School, I used to recite poems during the Annual Music Festivals. Then I think my poetry went on sleep mode till I went to the University. For the past few years, I have been growing a lot.

Poets United: Right now you are working hard at your apprenticeship, and likely have less time for writing than you might like. What are your hopes and goals for your poetry over the next few years? 

Salem: Less time, yes. But I will always create time for my writing. As I have said before, it is one way that helps me to keep sane. Poetry is growing rapidly, especially in Kenya. Nowadays, we have the Spoken Word Poetry in Nairobi. This is something I need to experiment on more often. I want to have my poetry in books, audiovisuals and on the tongues of men (and women).


Writing helps me to sift through my daily experiences. Every time I unwind and try to picture how much there is to learn in this world, I am humbled. My work environment is a position of service to the society. I always want to challenge myself to leave behind something that will help other people. Most times I act, but other times I write about these experiences. Writing gives me the perspective.

There are many times I feel hollow on a busy day, when I haven’t had the time to pen something. It is something you feel that settles at the pit of your stomach. I always feel that not writing poetry is a dereliction of duty. To say that I am busy to an extent of not penning poetry is escapist and defeatist. Yes. I will be committed to this cause.

Poets United: That is great, Salem, because your writing is a gift.  I know you travel back and forth to your home village at holiday times. Given your busy life in Nairobi, what does it mean to you to be home with your kinfolk? What do you see in your village that has a connection with the work you are doing? Or, conversely, how might the work you are doing directly impact the people of Kacheliba?

Salem: Education must stay relevant to the society. That is my take of it. I might not be in so much of a position to help my kinfolk directly, but I feel that Providence  placed me in the Legislature to be of more use to them. Quite ironical, isn’t it? But not really.  Kenya passed a new constitution in August 2010, and is in the transition phase. Most of the work I did daily in the Legislature was hinged on this. One of them was about the County Governments. The national resources will now be devolved to my village. 

Understanding these structures  offers me a good insight on how they will operate, and the best way I could be of use when the time comes. Also, the challenges that Nairobi offers helps me a great deal. As I hone these skills, I know that they will be needed at the right time.

Poets United: When you are at home, what are your thoughts about how far you have traveled, and the road ahead?


"Family photo: left to right: Lizzie Chemakal, Aunt Kamma Kenneth,
her daughter Chelain in front, my mother, her arm
resting on Jamila Cheptoo, and cousin Yeko"

Salem:  It is always a wonderful time, at family re-unions. Of course I am always thankful of how far I have come. Yet, I keep my eyes to the skies.

There is a small hill in Kacheliba called Shabaha, (translates to “target”), which I love climbing. Being on top of it last trip home was such an experience. I remember writing in my diary as I was watching the sun rise,   ‘I will grab one ray. With this I will light up my path. It will be a beautiful year’. And now, true to that, it is a beautiful year!

Poets United: So the next normal question would be: Salem, how do you stay so positive in the face of such hard struggles?

Salem: You remind me of something I loved doing when I was around 6 years old. Somebody said that if I stepped on an eagle’s shadow, then I would be lucky. I remember the way I used to run around trying to step on that shadow. Now, I laugh when I think about this. But I will liken our fears to the eagle’s shadow. Allowing fear and scepticism to run our lives is like to chase after an eagle’s shadow.




There is something about negative energy that wastes people. It is very unfortunate that one of the best gifts nature has endowed us with—the brain— should be the cause of our misery and fear. This is what I keep telling myself: I may not be able to change the weather. I may not change my surroundings much. But I will control how I perceive things—never to be scared of passing shadows.

Poets United: I love that! As always, you inspire me, kiddo. What does your mother think of how far you have traveled? I know that you assist her with putting your three younger siblings through school.  She has done a wonderful job of raising motivated and hard-working children.


"My mother."


"Mum, as beautiful as ever"


Salem: She must be proud about it. Every mother would. She has been through much pain and heartache, and I know that her time to sit in the shade and rest has come. I always thank God for giving me her. She doesn’t speak much. Yet, the little she speaks lingers in my ears for years. I pray for good health and energy, and I know that I will help her twice as much.

Poets United: You are a good son. I know you made your first flight recently, for work, to Mombasa. Would you like to tell us a little about it? Did you think you were dreaming, when you were up there above the clouds?



Salem: Of my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would board a flight as early as this year or even in my lifetime! But in 2009, I applied for a passport. My friend Tiyan Joseph and I did it as a joke saying, ‘You never know, you might be lucky to  be ‘told’ to fly out of the country for some Conference’. March this year, I was in a Jetlink Flight to Mombasa for some drafting assignment. The other passengers did not look as excited as I was— may be it was the 100th time they were doing that. But for me, I peered through the window to look at the ground below. Symbolically, my dreams had lifted off the ground and I felt humbled. As I pushed my trolley at the Mombasa Airport, it was hard to believe that that was me.

Poets United: You lost a schoolmate recently. What did his death make you think about your life, and life in general?

Salem: My friend, Owen Ndika,  through a tragic road accident. While at the Kenya School of Law, I was with him in the same firm where we handled assignments given in class together. For three days, he lay in coma at the Kenyatta National Hospital. I remember thinking about the poem of Auden ‘put out all the clocks’. In his death I learnt that we are all fragile pilgrims and that we need to do what we are supposed to do before we die. Another thing I learnt is that we need to stretch out to know people, so that in our deaths we leave behind bonds that death cannot sever.

Poets United: Beautifully said, Salem. What are your dreams for the years ahead?

Salem: I am due, soon,  to publish my maiden poetry book, ‘Echoes of the Hills’, a collection of my poetry. I seriously want to start a Foundation sometime in the future, but first I want to use all means possible in order to improve the lives of the people of Kacheliba.  On a more personal level, I want to be an accomplished advocate, poet, researcher and writer.

Poets United: You have mentioned to me your dream of donating the proceeds of your poetry book towards the building of a library for the people of your home village of Kacheliba, to expand and inspire the minds of the young people there. Would you like to tell us about that?



Salem:  Yes. On a recent visit home, an idea hit me. I will build a  recreational facility where all the youths of Kacheliba would be spending their free time in reading good books and acquiring knowledge. I prayed to Tororot that I publish that poetry book and when it sells, all proceeds will go to a Fund I will create for that recreational facility. When the hall is built I will meet prominent people and request them to assist with books. We would stack them with books and books and books. 

Now, this will change the minds of these youths completely. While at home, there is nothing much they do, apart from watching Foreign English Premier League. They know about Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and these other teams. But they don't know much about  the society and knowledge. All day and all night I thought about that recreational facility/ library. I could see those children and youths in that library flipping pages in an afternoon. I could see them grow in wisdom........Oh Tororot!! Please grant me this wish!!!

Poets United:  I know your library will be a reality one day, Salem. I can see it already!  
What advice would you give a beginning writer?

Salem: Hone your skills. Learn your craft. Never lose hope.

Poets United: Do you have a favorite contemporary poet? A favorite classical poet?

Salem: Contemporary poets are many. Many of them are in the blog world. They are Kerry O’Connor, The Unknowngnome (Steve), Rene of “Not the Rockfellers”, Fireblossom, and Sam Peralta.

My favorite Classical poets are W.H. Auden and W.B. Yeats.

Poets United: Some of my favorites, too! Do you have a poem written by you that you feel represents you especially well?

Salem: Yes, my "I Have a Dream" poem.




I Have a Dream: Lorot's Version

I, Lorot Son of the Hills, have a dream
I have a dream...I have a dream
I have a dream that one day
The long night of buried dreams
Would usher in a new dawn of revived dreams

I have a dream that one day
Intellectual fraud would end
And society would be made simpler
By Truth and love for humanity


I have a dream that one day
On the plains of Kacheliba, on the rocky terrains of
Kiwawa and Kasei and the treacherous gullies of Mtembur
On the lakeshores of Lake Victoria to the Tana Wetlands
To the dry patches of Marsabit and Wajir and El-wak
I have a dream that one day
Like the rain, all the people of Kenya
Would be drizzled by the cooling drops of National Cake*

I have a dream that one day
When I go to Government offices
I would not be judged by the tatters of my cloth
But by the even fabric of my heart

I have a dream that one day
Leaders would be chosen
Not by the fatness of their bank accounts
Nor by the bellicose they spew forth
Nor by the imaginary enemies they fight
But by their Idea-o-meter
And the pulse of their dreams

I have a dream
I have a dream that one day
Gaza Strip, West Bank, Lebanon
Would be mentioned for right reasons
Like the buzz site of bees
Or some cultural heritage sites
Or some serious exporters of peace

I have a dream
That one day I won’t see smoke
Clogging my nostrils
That I can smell again of nectar

And of earth
I have a dream that these words
Would have a life of their own
Ringing true from the unwashed face
Of a sleepless woman in Alale
To the creased face of a teen
In New York
To the turbaned head of an Afghan boy
To the weary brows of an oil rig worker
To the uncertain eyes of a child in Africa
To the abandoned brides on aisles
To the sunken ships, to the mangled buses,
To the crashed planes, to failed rockets
To the unknown soul
Speaking of his misery
Giving him hope
Re-telling his life

I have a dream
I have a dream that this dream
Would be part of the bigger dream
Of each one of us
In this wonderful world

Poets United: Sigh. So beautiful. (Didn't I tell you, kids, that Salem would knock your socks off?) Like Martin Luther King Jr's dream, only for Africa. I love it so much.  

Salem: While in church today, I envisioned the library and some small wooden tents surrounding it and the pastoralist boys and girls of Kacheliba reading from them. There is something I have been thinking about too, lately.


Jamila Cheptoo - her trademark style

I see myself  establishing my own Foundation by name of Lorot Foundation. I see myself helping orphans and the less fortunate in paying their fees. I see myself living like Gandhi. No big mansion. No excessive want of accumulating wealth for self aggrandizement.


"My siblings"

When Lorot Foundation takes root, I want it to touch the lives of Kenyans who through its help will develop a good breed of young leaders with vision. I want Lorot Foundation to be a mentorship centre, where its beneficiaries will help turn around their situations and further touch other people's lives. I want to empower all young people, so that through them we will have a new Kenya led by people whose "why" in life is not to amass wealth but to live simply, yet so extra-ordinarily rich in ideas and service to all.

Koko, I want to empower women. I want them to make gourds, beads. I want them to make Pokot products which would be sold outside. I want something sustainable that would survive after some funding. I want to help those great women in Kacheliba who need a small capital to start something that will increase their lifespan.



"Mum and children"

In short, Koko, I want to help the youth and women. I will start with the youths, through the library and sports. Then because God has given me the talent to write, I will use those benefits to pay fees for smart, brilliant and needy students. Over time, these students will form an alumni association where they will continue what has been started. They will create their own Fund through their initiative. In whatever field they will be in, they will have a spirit of "giving back" small contributions to a common pool.

This is what Tororot has planted in my heart. This is what my life will be all about. I am not very excited about having so much when other people have so little. What gets my heart beating and makes me all sweaty is the capacity of turning around the lives of so many people. 



The adorable Cheptoo

I don't see myself living in Nairobi. I see myself in the village with my laptop and a modem and stacks of books improving my mind, but at the same time creating links with people of First Nations to help. I see myself writing a lot and channelling these funds to the causes I find urgent in the village. I see Tororot assuring me that He will transform me beyond "what about me?" to "what about them?" and this is the trajectory I want my life to take. O, how beautiful it would be in my heart to finally turn my education to something more meaningful to society.



"Not 'what about me', but 'what about them?'"

Poets United: Since I read your poetry the very first time, I have known you are going to do great things, Salem. 

Salem: I will live by my own words. Tororot found favour in me. I will accomplish these things. I am here for a reason, and that the reason why Tororot has saved my life up to now is because that is the purpose He wants me to achieve. And, Tororot forbid, if I don't, my conscience will  bear upon me to my grave and beyond.

Poets United: I believe, Salem!! Your vision catches fire in my heart! I want to send you books!!!!! So, aside from writing, and dreaming of how to make your world better, what do you most love to do?

Salem: I swim, watch movies and read inspirational books and novels.


Salem performing at Wamathai September, 
the "literary hub" in Kenya


Poets United: Describe your perfect day off.

Salem: Waking up, drawing up curtains and seeing wildlife in the morning, walking in the wild with no phone, no computer, just the breeze of the winds. In the evening, sitting beside the fire.

Poets United: Any last words for Poets United?

Salem: Please watch for "Echoes of the Hills", which will be published soon. 

Poets United: We will, Salem, and we'll watch for your library, too! Thank you for sharing your dreams, and your last visit home. I just have to tell you, that little Cheptoo has completely stolen my heart!

See, kids? I told you this young poet is special. I have been marveling at him since we first met. Isn't it true that the people behind the pens are some of the most interesting folks around? Come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

16 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview, Sherry. It is nice to have an update on Salem, a truly exceptional young man.

    Salem, I am sure you will accomplish all that you dream. You are a very selfless person, and your goals will be realized through your motivation and perseverance.

    I am also glad to see you back sharing with Poetry Pantry again, Salem. Wishing you a lot of success in your life and with the publication of your book.

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  2. Absolutely fabulous! Salem you're a man of vision and humility and that in itself blesses us. We are most fortunate to be walking with you, with your "pulse of dreams" and your poetry.

    I, like Sherry, am taken by your wisdom:
    "I try to put things into perspective, to marry ambition with contentment, and feats accomplished with humility. I try to live my mission quietly. I speak less. In the vast pool of human voices of reason, I try to pick what is right, and this involves more listening." - Gandhi couldn't have said it better.

    When the Lorot Foundation is established I too would like to send books and help when possible. We'll be watching (listening) for your "Echoes of the Hills".

    Your family and friends have much to smile about with you as their advocate. We out here smile too knowing you.

    Peace be with you always Salem.

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  3. LOVE hearing more about Salem. Open-heartedness and generosity of spirit fly from his work. Thank you, Sherry!

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  4. Inspiring and encouraging. I enjoyed reading this interview

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  5. What a lovely interview and what a charming, inspired young man. Instead of sitting and waiting for things to fall into your lap you are making dreams come true Salem. I admire your work ethic, your ambition to succeed but mostly your will to do this not just for yourself but for others, to enrich and improve their lives. It is lovely to see that you are also humble and thankful for the gifts you have been given. Your poetry is beautiful.
    It was a pleasure to see the photographs of your home and family and this was all such a pleasure to read. Good luck with everything Salem.

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  6. Salem, I am so happy to know you! Your words inspired me :D
    You have a beautiful gift and I fell honored to know you~ Your gift of being selfless is extraordinary! I so hope your dream comes true~ :D I look forward to watching your journey, you make me see mine differently. I will remember your eagle feather story~ Fear can block us-Thank you Salem for sharing your soul with us and your beautiful family! I see the sun shine in your eyes and know you will share your brilliance, in whatever you do~
    All The Best to YOU! Wonderful interview Sherry n' Salem~

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  7. I thank Sherry Blue Sky and Poets United for the conscientious effort involved and in a big way being the echoes of the hills.

    I am humbled to Sherry Blue Sky and the entire Poets United Family for allowing me to share my story.

    My people say “Soro nyo wow” which means “thank you so much”.

    I thank Sherry Blue Sky and Poets United for the conscientious effort involved and in a big way being the echoes of the hills.

    When all is said and done, this blog has been the fruit of your constant encouragement and motivation. And it has not been a blog but my pilgrimage whence I have retreated to condense my thoughts and converse with the universe. To find meaning in them, I have listened to you, my readers. It is a process and you give me the impetus.

    Your kind comments resonate well within me and I am deeply touched.

    Most Sincerely,
    echoes of the hills.

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  8. It was truly my privilege, especially this week, to tell such a humbling and inspiring story of one pilgrim's journey. Salem, when your library is ready, I KNOW the books will come! Koko

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  9. I read this yesterday on my phone. Didn't get to comment 'til now.

    I am impressed to tears. How wonderful to know there is someone like Salem inhabiting this earth. I am certain everyone who reads this will be inspired to support him, if only with positive energy to give more power to his dream.

    Blessings to him and to you Sherry. Thank you for expanding my universe.

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  10. Salem, your mission is worthy of support. I hope Poets United will provide a link so poets may contribute once you are up and running. God blesses us richly with people like you, Salem, whose higher consciousness is wide awake, who is aware of the plight of women in places tourists don't visit. As an Anglo American woman whose own rights are being threatened, you have gracefully reminded me to thank God FIRST for the things I have... things I take for granted.

    You are an elevated mind. Sherry, thank you for bringing Salem's reality out for all of us to witness, in its fullest. Bless you both, and peace. And yes, may the West Bank and other places be transformed into locations not spoken about in dread or revulsion.
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/10/02/slp-is-back-creative-juices/

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  11. What a wonderful interview Sherry. Salem you are an amazing, gifted man with a heart for justice. May all you do be blessed and your dreams for your country be realized.

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  12. Oh, Sherry, this is wonderful.
    I had to put off reading this for a few days, but I'm glad I finally read it. Delightful to see Kerry's name, and Fireblossom's, and Sam Peralta's, listed as favorite contemporary poets.
    Salem, I love what you are doing and what you hope to do. You are a good man, and the world needs more like you.
    —Kay

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  13. Sherry! I am so inspired by Salem. As you know, books are my passion too, let me know what I can do, I believe this is possible. Thank you for bringing Salem's story and dream to us.

    Salem, it is amazing what you have accomplished so far! Your poetry is wonderful and you described perfectly how it feels to miss writing, that pit in your belly, an emptiness that needs to be filled. With your focus and vision anything is possible!!

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  14. Wow, I see that library too...and so much more. What an inspiring story...just what I needed to read today. So nice to be introduced to such a hardworking and selfless young man...much success and happiness to you Salem. I see you creating all that you can imagine!

    Gayle ~

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  15. Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your website is very cool. This website has got really useful info on it!

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  16. Thanks for your story Salem. You have really inspired me- you are so true to your roots. I'm glad that someone still remembers Owen- he was a distant cousin and we were at Moi together. We were also neighbors. I was a year a head of him so I was at the Kenya School of Law before him. I just remembered that it is supposed to be his anniversary at this time round. I was not able to attend his funeral because I was away in Rwanda on official duty. I just googled Owen and saw your poem. Thanks for remembering a wonderful person. You will soar higher for sure. Thanks. Michelle

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