Welcome to Za Gualay!
Welcome to Za Gualay!

Welcome to Za Gualay Consulting!

My name is Micknai Arefaine (she/they). I am the founder and lead cultural organizer.

Za Gualay Consulting combines story and arts-based design and facilitation with the multi-modal ingredients of Black, femme, Queer, Indigenous, African, speculative, and magical origins to co-create experiences that explore themes of healing, transformation, interdependence, and collaborative leadership while replenishing ourselves and in turn those who we feel accountable to.

I bring my diverse gifts and lived experience to my consulting. I am an educator, chef, doula, anthropologist, healer, herbalist, artistivist, and dreamer, among other things. I work with organizations that are looking for deeply transformative and holistic experiences that center justice, equity, belonging, healing, and dismantling the systems of oppression. I guide and walk alongside collaborators as we dream up and co-create alternative ways of living, laboring, loving, shaping spaces and time, and inhabiting the land together. My work is deeply rooted in my relationships with Ethiopian women, past, present, and future.

The Tigrinya term, Za Gualay, translates directly to “my daughter” and is a term of endearment. It is difficult to put into words the feelings of pride, warmth, and abiding love that wash over me when I am called this, especially by women elders in my communities. Za Gualay encompasses many of the reasons I chose to work as a cultural organizer. These women model, express, and reflect values of love, relationality, trust, care, stability, self-determination, spirituality, and futurity.

I hope to share these ways of knowing and being in relation to self, each other, and our earth with you all so that we can transform our collective worlds.