March 8th was a very special celebration day for all the women around the world.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where I am from, women have pride in raising families, building businesses, winning people’s trust. Women who dream big, walk the path of discovery, dare to put dreams into action, move forth in sharing knowledge, and work hard to achieve goals with a heart full of love, joy and peace – this is a woman of dignity that the world longs for.
On this day, African men expect to see their women dress up in “Capulana,” which is commonly called African attire, and expect women to do something special on that day, something like organizing conferences, debates, games, show, dances or any other type of ceremony as to commemorate their day. In return women also expect to receive surprise gifts from men.
But the tradition is different here in Mozambique, I was not surprised at all that there was nothing organized here and women did not even bother to do something. I felt this deep pain down in my heart that weakened me. In this Portuguese country we call it, “cultural shockado.” It made me wonder why women here do not stand and fight for their beliefs and respect like we do in the DRC.
There are great examples of strong women in the Bible that we need to consider when trying to stand up for ourselves. Among them I find five of them very inspiring:
- Jael, who drove the nail through Sisera’s temple, pegged his head to the ground, and killed him to save Israel.
- Hannah, who was barren but strongly wanted a son. She begged God to give her one and in return promised to dedicate the son to God’s service.
- Abigail, wife of a wicked man named Nabal, who called David lazy and presumptuous and got David angry to the point of wanting to destroy Nabal’s whole household, but because of Abigail’s offering to David, he spares her the family for her sake.
- Esther, a Jewish woman who was chosen to be wife of the king through a contest and became queen. She fought for the lives of her people by knowing the risks and gains trust of the king later on because of prayer.
- Lois, who was Timothy’s grandmother, whom Paul saw great character Timothy would become because .
Personally, I do not think gender equality is important but respect between genders is essential. I encourage us women to:
Infuse our life with action
Not wait for it to happen but make it happen
Make our own future
Make our own hope
Make our own love
Not let anybody misleads us
Whatever your beliefs are, just honor our Creator, not by passively waiting for Grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what we can to make Grace happen and to trust God to follow through.
Whatever your tradition, where ever you are from, let us unite all women and be proud. May God bless all the women of the world.
Otshi Rose Ombaku
The Hope Project, Mozambique
GMF-International, Class 2014