Relationships in the face of culture and traditions by Better Uhiriwe

After recognizing how torn apart this world is because of its difference that divides us instead of uniting us, Better and a group of her friends started “the Partakers” with a mission to create a Platform for Variety. They all share a burden to help the youth, mostly in the area of psychological help. Today, she shares with olivegirls.org on embracing relationships as a girl in the face of cultures and traditions.

I grew up in an environment where relationships weren’t supported, as most African families’ relationships aren’t that important like success and education. So growing up, I didn’t give much value to friendship, family or any ties at all.

I discovered at a young age that I loved reading and soon it became an obsession and an escape. My imagination was my world and I was a very social person. I laughed, joked, teased, and cursed if need be! I was a teenager lost in the face of culture and traditions.

My siblings and I learned at a young age that the only place we were allowed to be and live was home, so no family visits or even friends visit. My days were spent between home and school for 18 years of my life. I don’t blame my parents for what they decided my life to be. I made my peace with it.

But when I began college I was out of place, I didn’t know how to interact or make friends. I was used to my world of books and fiction characters. That was good because earlier in high school I could read many books at once. 

According to who I was talking to, I could think like a crazy teenager to a calm an elderly woman. But the shock of what I had missed came to me one day when I realized there are some cultural behaviors as a young Rwandan woman I didn’t possess. I was conflicted between who I was supposed to be and who I grew up to be. This affected the establishment of relationships in my life, and it was hard for me to come to terms with certain realities of my life.

I learned that relationships are the basic gateway to your growth and development, networking as an example. Different people in different areas of life to teach and challenge you.

There is a quote I read once that: “no man is an island.” It hit me hard that I need people and that there is a point in life where I shall be needed.  

A human being is a world of his/her own. A world can be explored and can be lost into if one isn’t careful. A person is a world of opinions, traditions, and culturesBefore one steps into this unknown world, one must be ready to know when to stop and turn away or give a chance to this person to be told of the beauty he/she beholds.

A relationship needs time and communication to flourish; if you are ready to invest in it, then give it a chance. Relationships grow deeper and farther with time.  Time is an essential ingredient for a relationship and we must give ourselves the time to grow individually and together, and communicate as the world collides.

The world expects a lot from women and this has created an image of who we should be and it comes in conflict with who we are or want to be.

We feel a pressure to become and forget the zeal to grow. As a young woman I built defense mechanisms to help navigate through these traditions and cultures, but I learnt that I wasn’t being any different from who I didn’t want to be.

I wasn’t exposing myself, I wasn’t allowing myself to be conflicted for all to be clear. As girls, we have the right to be humans and be proud of it.

Our society needs children-parents trust environment to give a safe haven for children to be given the chance to make mistakes and know that they are still welcomed, to be given the trust to walk all the way and make it through.

I learnt that valleys and mountains make a path just as highs and lows make a journey. Falling is part of growth. Bad or good friends, they all make the world.

We just have to give ourselves the chance to step ahead and say “nice to meet you.” Even if it’s for a day.”

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