Umoja, a Woman’s Village that Might Just Save the World

Women can’t live together, “they” tell us. But, they’re wrong: Without separate monetary identities they can! Consider the Umoja village in Kenya, a village founded by women who have been victimized by childhood marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, and rape—all of which are cultural norms among Kenya’s Samburu culture. Umoja is a safe haven where each woman’s earnings go to the community to support them all, and men come and go, but do not dwell. When women have emotionally healed enough to leave the village, many of them do so in groups, to start similar villages elsewhere, where the core of life is the sisterhood, not pairbonded male-female partnerships. Regarding the notion that women cannot live together: Many of the women told a reporter that they cannot imagine living with a man again. Mary, a 34-year-old woman who was sold to a man of 80 for a herd of cows when she was 16 said, “I don’t want to ever leave this supportive community of women.”

I see the existence of the Umoja village as a development of great significance, because Umoja, and the villages that have grown out of it, could be the catalysts needed to kindle a rebirth of spiritual freedom across the face of the planet. If that happens, the key element responsible for the rebirth will not be some grand philosophical design for a better way of life for mankind, but the simple recognition by the world’s women that they are solely responsible for protecting themselves and their children from men. A woman alone is vulnerable, and the institutions that are the hallmarks of modern societies have proven woefully inadequate to the task of protecting either women or children. But institutions exist within the context of societies defined and dominated by the overarching male impulse to artificially control life. Notwithstanding this dominance,  the Umoja village demonstrates that, when women come together as sisterhoods, bonded by shared needs, their natural spiritual authority reasserts its powerful and ancient influence—in the women, themselves, and in the hearts of men. This changes everything. This is the protection that Nature provided and evolution embedded in the souls of females, to prevent women and their children from being violated, enslaved, and disrespected by men.

What I describe here is but one aspect of the emotional makeup that humanity started out with and instinctively obeyed, until the time came when men—not knowing that emotions exist to create and sustain the order required for the species to flourish—innocently sought order in the right to own things, including the right to own women. It was a simple mistake to presume such a right, a right that Nature cannot allow. Since making that mistake, men have behaved as though existence, itself, were about each man’s unalienable right to pursue his personal happiness, by owning things. Inescapably, since the moment it was first authorized, this right has virtually blinded men to their own real needs and the needs of every other living thing on this planet, including the women. This state of affairs reduces each woman to satisfying her needs exclusively by devoting her life to serving the man who owns her. Men’s blindness—so tragically imposed by a simple mistake—underlies not only their longstanding mistreatment of women and children, but also of the habitat that sustains life, itself. Though the mistake began occurring long before the advent of recorded history, it became and remains the mistake upon which all modern states stand. Notwithstanding the historical record of societal catastrophes, and the clear signs that modern society is at the threshold of crumbling at the seams, both the mistake and its consequences remain unrecognized.

Wouldn’t it be remarkable if—despite all our institutions of higher learning, our massive research on the human brain and human behavior, and our sincere belief that mankind’s possibilities are limited only by our imaginations—life on earth were to be saved by the simple act of women across the face of this planet, bonding in relationships of spiritual trust, to avoid being violated, enslaved, and disrespected by men?

In effect, the women of Umoja are exposing humanity to its ancient mistake, by demonstrating the essential female need to coalesce as sisterhoods, in order to assert their natural spiritual authority over men. Their insistence on remaining independent, and maintaining control over their interactions with males, sends a message that something is wrong with the prevailing social system. It sends a signal that the authority of women has too long been repressed, and that humanity can no longer afford for it to go unrecognized. It shows that this authority is a spiritual authority that does not come to the fore when women are isolated, each one subject to serving the needs of a man. It is clear evidence that this spiritual authority comes only among groups of women when they form bonds of mutual trust. Many people, today, recognize that female sensibilities need to be injected into human affairs. But institutionalized society can’t get past the notion that they must do so, while serving a man’s needs. The success of the Umoja women in healing themselves from the sundry negative effects of subjugation puts on display the difference it makes when women together are able to assert their natural moderating influence on men. Only when women rediscover their need to bond with each other will their innate influence over men reassert itself, which is essential, not only for the wellbeing of life on this planet, but if men are ever to be saved from themselves. 

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