Saturday, December 27, 2008

POEM


Knead me with a disciplining touch,
Let purity and clean personality engulf me,
Forgive me,
Fumigate my wretched soul,
Compassionate me, please.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Media Freedom- How free?

(copied and pasted from the DailyNation,Kenya)

Police have arrested journalists and activists in Nairobi as they protested over a bill that seeks to curtail media freedom.


The protesters were arrested at Nyayo Stadium, the venue of Friday’s Jamhuri Day celebrations.

Police rounded up Kiss FM presenter Caroline Mutoko, activist Mwalimu Mati and his wife and other journalists as they arrived at the stadium.

They were arrested on the strength of wearing t-shirts with inscriptions critical of MPs refusal to pay tax on their allowances.

The group was taken to various police stations in Nairobi.

The ICT Bill contains contentious clauses that will severely limit media operations.

For instance, it gives the Internal Security minister the powers to seize broadcast equipment once he has declared an emergency.

The minister of Information has powers, under the Bill, to control what can be broadcast, when and in what form.

He will do so by giving guidelines to a Communications Commission of Kenya made up of people hand-picked by him.

It also restricts cross ownership.

The Bill was passed in Parliament on Wednesday and now awaits presidential assent.

On Thursday, media owners petitioned the President not to sign the bill into law. And on Friday, most of Kenya newspapers editorialized on the issue.

{I wonder what stories I'll be writing if I get back-the weather?Safari?}

Monday, December 8, 2008

Growing Up



To this day, whenever I meet a primary school teacher, I give them a thumbs up in my mind. In primary school, I remember the kinds of cases they had to solve : ‘He called me a dog’, ‘she stuck out her tongue to me’ and my favourite- ‘she called me a boy’. Well, there is nothing wrong with calling a boy a boy, but when you call the same boy, boy in my mother tongue, it becomes a very big insult. I mention this because I was amused by this term and would use it liberally whenever I had the chance. So you’d over hear a boy almost in tears telling the teacher- I kicked her because she called me a boy in Kikuyu- A boy in Kikuyu is ‘Kihii’, an un-circumcised man. To better explain to the teacher the intensity of the insult, one boy Swahilinized the term Kihii and made it kipii, which was acceptable and the teacher understood how hurt the boy was.
One time I screamed the insult at a boy for throwing my keys out of the window and ruining my key holder.I never said I was sorry but he looked at me and thought of the meanest thing to say to me,, he said- you were born as a mistake.
Insults aside, in standard 6, my desk mate and I got very bored . I asked him if he could draw me something. He drew very well{ I wonder how he ended up. Maybe he does posters or is a graffiti artist now but back then he drew like a pro}
He took out his pencil and I pushed my Maths exercise book to him.
‘ How about Daniel’s foot,’ I suggested.
Now Daniel was a boy that walked 25 km every morning to come to school. He wore no shoes{ shoes were not compulsory then} and so his feet had adapted . The bottom was very tough and along the sides, the separation between the top and the bottom was so distinct it , both feet looked like a nicely baked block bread. In this case, the common bread was broadwayss.
So my desk mate J, drew a loaf of bread, and when I burst out laughing, the girl sitting behind looked over to see just as J was putting the final touches, 5 fingers.
‘ Is that Dan’s foot?’
We all laughed, and Dan, having heard his name came huffing to see what was going on.
He grabbed the book and we all looked at him smiling. You guessed, he didn’t see the joke. He did 7 steps to the staffroom. We got a nice beating.
The teacher on duty had asked in desperation, ‘ nyinyi watoto kwani akili yenyu imeoza?’
‘Kids, are your brains rotten?’

Friday, December 5, 2008

poem




I’m gonna re-write my story
Write it in bold letters on iron tablets
See, the past has been reeling me in too many times
Spiraling me inside it’s vortex like a helpless leaf in a storm.

Nights of tearful contemplations, breathless internal fights
Disclosing and admitting fears embedded within me,
Tonight I’m re-writing my story.

See, I may not have started out clean cut and definite, pre-meditated.
I may not have been of good stock
But I look upon the stereotypes with aghast.
For now the small bits and pieces have been stitched together-
And reinforced with strong seams.

Yeah, I may not spell and say words correctly.
I may not put together colors alright,
But inside; The colors match, the words make sense
Tonight, I loosen this rope

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

safety man












You hands,
The nails that you bite
Your arms,
Your hands that hold me so.

Your voice,
When you talk to me
Your laughter,
When we think of funny things.

Your kindness,
When I’m in trouble
Your concern,
Over the little things that nag me.

Your smell,
Resides in my mind
Your smile ,
Breaks my heart into two.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

29.


9a.m


Rise me up
and let me breath the sweet scent of morning.
Wake me up
when the sun begins to shine at nine
let me see day
Give me hope
like tabs give relief for pain,a chance to see light
Let me open my eyes
to give thanks to my maker
at 9a.m.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He Was a Friend of Mine

So we each sat in the dimmed room
Each lost in his own sorrow
Each searching his brain for a reason-
To blame, to excuse, to seek the truth.

In a crowd yet alone
Tears filling our eyes, heads paining
So lonely, so worried, far far
Away from close confidants
Unsure, insecure, mourning.

And so we sat, palms on chins,
Afraid to look anywhere but in front
Afraid of the slightest movement
If only there could be an explanation.


Empathetic, of what must have gone though his mind
Did he suffer?
Did he anticipate it?
Was he scared.

We were, afraid, in shock, sad
We would miss his laughter
and Chris Daughtry playing in his laptop
and his trademark shorts
'I'm Allan, 'he'd say, 'not Allen'



( Our classmate had a bad accident, died last week. This has been a very sad week. There's nothing to say really.One can never get used to death, especially of someone you know. I feel it for his parents. If I feel this much sorrow after knowing him for two months,,,how about his mother who's known him 20 years ? He pronounced his name as Allen, but corrected us when we called him that. He was always smiling and nice, asking- so Sis-li-a, how's Cyberia?- {my condo},Miss X, Did you tick my name?- He carried his laptop everywhere. In our Human communication group, he wanted us to review- Baby's Day Out, his favorite movie. I thought he was jocking, he wasn't. We'll surely miss him. I keep thinking- poor Allen, he was so happy )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

poem



I search for you in every face I meet
I look keenly, deeply, for a hint, a single hint
I try to observe, the look, the look that will determine.

Within me emotions roll, collide and flow, surging
Emotions, that prove to me there’s potential-see
I never had the chance to express these
In my mind a notion grows
That you will open up the things I feel
These forces within me I can’t interpret.

Then perhaps I’ll open up within me
The warm crystals will melt, the tight gates
Open up, the tight fists relax.

I search for you in every face that passes
I look keenly, deeply
But see playfulness, youth and brevity
I try to be thorough and discerning.

The look, to make me know -I’m home
The signal to put my defenses down
The reflection of what I feel, inside me.



{can't get a proper picture after an hour so, this will have to do for now, maybe I'll ask my friends to pose for one}

{my friend read the poem and e-mailed me the comment posted,check it out.I was over the moon :) }

Sunday, November 2, 2008

poem



The Winding paths have reached their end ,
Now am stuck on a one path destination
Perhaps I can be one of them
I am one of them, yet , by the sidelines I stand and spy .

Sometimes peace emanates from behind me
As though packaged in surprise boxes
And from a bird’s view I watch the norms
The common existence

Sometimes I have to look for silence and calm
Despite peace and calm being availed in every market
Perhaps needing to find my own, create my own.

The direct road is too open, I fear exposure
To things unwilled and things inevitable
And water being the core of every being
I find serenity along the river banks
Among the blue green weeds and tadpoles
Interpreting the phonetics of the birds in my mind.

Perhaps this is no imitation
Perhaps this is what has kept out of grasp.
Every time I reached to it, it pulled further
Perhaps I’ve found my home
My place . My burial ground


{Pics by Ciss, Melaka }

Friday, October 31, 2008

LOOKING



I wonder
When I look at you like that
When I hold your face in my hands
When I purse my lips and smile.
Do you see me?
Do you see any value
In the way I love you?

I wonder.
When you look at me like that
When you put my hands around me
When you shake your head
Do you see me?
Me?
Is it love you feel?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Poem

Mr. Lee


He said come let’s go follow me
He pulled my hand said I’m Tom Lee
He watched me blush
He gave a phone flash

He pulled a dollar, waved a five
Will buy a cow maybe a hive
Just talk slow, let I your heart know

The wind stopped
The drinks were popped as,
He upon my nape blew and
Gave a kiss not few

He caught me by the shoulder bit
He said this is how we do it
And Said-sticker than Siamese we now were
Love he said would bloom with time
And though attractive his dimes were
His voice stole the show
As off we set sail in a dhow

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Buffalo beef

17th September 2008

Today was a public Holiday . I decided to do a bit of shopping , important things like bread and potatoes . I now have guts to go all the way to ioi shopping mall alone , that’s about 30 km’s from where I stay . I take two buses .
The minute I got out of the bus- Vam! Mcdonalds . Since I came to Malaysia , everytime the M sign board appears, I Just have to get me something . My favorite is the cheezburger {www.icanhascheezburger.com} . I like the big Mac too . I tasted few burgers in Kenya but nothing like Mcd’s , which is fairly prized. So after the burger I walked around the mall , quite big . I went to this big shop –Hot Market- It has everything . You know those tiny flowered notebooks that cost too much at bookshops or those you’ll never find when you want to give a gift to your friend who writes poetry or your little sister who suddenly needs to keep a journal?
When I was little I really wanted those notebooks. My gran bought me one , it was not fancy but I treasured it until some girls stole it and scribbled tomfoolery all over the pages. I still have it, in my old trunk of treasure .Well, that’s just the book section since for me my first stop anywhere is where the books and pens are, I love pens . My mother gave me one as a parting gift , felt nice to see she has finally accepted-yeah, she’s never gonna be a doctor so what the heck –
The hot market, if you let a girl loose in it , she’d go crazy . The beauty section is another that amazed me . I thought they’d just have the silver I see everywhere but there was bead necklaces and headbands and cute hair clips and earings…my ears aren’t pierced ,maybe I’ll just pierce my fore head Botswana style , and get me a face ring.
This is my 3rd week and I can’t still find washing soap . But excuse me , I’m used to brands like Persil , Omo with powerform, Toss the gentle detergent. When I walk past tings like Trojan, ondrex , zerox …I’m not so sure if that’s something flammable or a video game title . Ha, then I went looking for meat . I have bought beef twice . The first time I threw it all out , I learn how to cook it and tried a second time . Today , looking at the row of beef ,I had a big smile seeing –buffalo beef- No doubt that’s what I bought first time. I couldn’t pass my teeth through it . I had some fun at the fruit section seeing a single avocado going for more than 2 USD. That’s about the cheapest fruit I could buy in Kenya .
I also saw some maize meal at a stand called African Stuffs . The seller looked at me, said a greeting in Botswana when I looked at him funny he asked where I’m from , where I stay how long I’ve been in Malaysia and do I live with my boy-friend I walked away . He was calling to me- come back miss come back . I went to a stand on the opposite stand selling watches ,I bought one , I guess, just because the girl was polite enough not to assume I’m Jamaican or Botswanan but ask me where I’m from .
The other day a man walking towards me was smiling a lot, he said hi then dumela? And I felt like running after him- sir, I’m Kenyan Lah!Or like one day at the bus station a group of Botswana guys kept talking to me in Tshona and I wasn’t amused at all . I told them I was Kenyan – but you understand what we say right-?

After looking for things for about an hour I was tired and the cheezburger was long gone . I saw a waffles stand . Another thing about this place , if you eat something real good , it’s really good and you won’t stop thinking about it . Like the waffles . I ate some at school , with strawberry and chocolate . Today I had some with ice cream and the only way to describe the feeling is{you know those bollywood movies where a group of dancers come out of no where and start to dance? yeah} . I haven’t eaten ice cream in years {it’s too cold} but here it feels like a glass of water at room temperature .I then had lemon tea and I was thinking of how soon I will be readily accepting those exercise equipment fliers and how every conversation will be punctuated with phrases about weight loss , and soon I’ll be looking at the milk packet to check whether it’s low fat , and if my frying oil is cholesterol free or not .
I saw a sweet potato stand and thought- great! -Home snack-Graciously ordered two of them .Quite thin and shriveled but I thought what the heck let me have a taste . I paid 5.50RM and the seller gave me a taste of Chestnuts he was roasting . When I was in the bus looking at my receipts , I saw the sweet potato one and..wait a minute OMG! What a rip off . If you multiply that by 20 you’ll know how many Kenyan Shillings,and divide it by 3.4 to see how many USD . That happens a lot. I look at something and think aa, just a 10, fine. In my mind I’m thinking ashu tu[ten bob], when I realize what I just did I feel so silly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

poems from the East





WHEN I ALLOWED MYSELF TO FEEL

That was when I was able to feel

The love I felt inside

The emotions embedded upon my heart’s walls

The reasoning of my mind.

I recalled

How I once felt

When my hands trembled with adrenaline - or was it love?

When my pulse increased with anticipation, for his voice

How I felt

When his eyes caught mine.

I wished upon an eagle’s wings fly

And with darkness as cover

I’d climb to my love’s space, whisper how I felt

How I always felt.

It took a thousand miles

For the heart to convince the mind

Where it wanted to be , with whom .

I ached for him

As the Eastern sunset lighted my walls at 7

As I waited to spot a star

A plane passed with lights flashing

I wondered-

What stirs emotion?

Distance ? Lack ? A calm mind ?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Poem 7

Her face was always a tight sneer,
Sometimes a painful scrawl
He took her home, and waited for the promised smile
That never came despite, the shape her mouth took
A suggestion that if she smiled.
It would be sunrise. She never smiled

But she laughed, one time when, the child jumped and fell in a heap
Across the fence
A loud,
Crazed noise that echoed to the valley
Where he was bent cutting grass for the child’s rabbit hatch

And when she died,
She took long
Dry, wordlessly, she laid
Finally ,at the public hospital downtown she lay rigid
And when he looked at her face,
The smile,
The overdue smile
‘Let me take her home’, he said
He laid her body on their couch, and called the camera man.

He’d have tried to save then
Wake her
Presence the new beauty resurrect

Beautiful in death she was,
Still
Serene eyes shut
.Still,with a smile
A smile of she that would eventually smile
He framed the picture

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Art



My friend sells things at the maasai market,and last week she asked me to help her take pictures for her catalogue.So as I was touring the market after,I met this artist who according to me should not be selling his work at the nomad market,but rather should have his work exhibited at Ramoma,Gallery Watatu and FCC.Not that it wil change who he is but his work impressed me to such an extent I
asked if I could take a picture to post on my site.I was hovering at his stand for about half an hour studying his pieces.
Like the typical artist,he really doesn’t care about publicity he told me-kaa hii sinimeuza ngiri mbili-I’ve sold about 2 thousand pieces of this one,he said pointing to a back and white painting of some herd’s men walking towards a sunset.His name is Eli Mumira,his work is that of a mature artist.

{can't post any pictures.I'm in the slowest cyber in Nairobi}

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kwani?Open Mic


I enjoyed this month’s kwani pen mic.The featured poet;Karinga, has always managed to

bring back any minds that were beginning to wander back to the stage.I am yet to figure out how one can store 15 poems in the head.The one time I tried to recite a poem,in standard 5,I started with the last verse.It went something like-oh rainbow,rainbow,rainbow,you who sits on high…
I remember adding my own words,not really my own,actually,they were lines from the famous poem-An African storm
-the wind blows,the trees sway,
the open window shuts with a bang.

After not getting further than interschool competitions,I never attempted to do a solo verse again.

When I was called out to read my poem,I opened the book and the DJ started to play a song,so I was sitting there wondering-huh? And the audience was smiling and I was repeating in my head-oh no oh no.

Then the Cindy Ogana-runs back on stage and starts to dance,the DJ was playing the Cecilia you’re breaking my heart song and now I had to dance! I tried to look a bit confused hoping they’d let me-just read my poem-wapi!I had to dance despite it being a public secret that I donno how to dance.Believe me,even traditional dancing iliniweza.

It’s not the first time,many times I meet people and when they learn my name they start to sing -Cecilia you’re breaking my heart,you’re shaking my confidence-
I could revert to my other name but that wont help,when I was young,there was a hit song that Mama and his friends would sing to me,went like-
Gathoni Gathoni Gathoni ii,
Gathoni ,Gathoni,Gathoni,

Gathoni blaki beauty!


The opening artist was Munyi,that young boy who plays the guitar on his back but has a rotten mouth.He played Hotel California and Spanish guitar, then Nuru Bahati{Light Lucky} recited a poem.He is a pen artist and can do voices,made me laugh most of the night,and that little girl kweli who didn’t forget her words this time reminding me of when I was 18 and trying to look serious,hehe.
Cindy makes a great MC,and among the things I’m going to miss,Kwani?Open mic is number one on the list.
{Pictures on my album on facebook}

Monday, June 23, 2008

T 9

When I was small,there were three things I feared.An ogre,a T-9 and a Kanyutu.
In my mother tongue,a big person is called a kimundu,following the ngeli ya m-ki.A normal person is a mundu.A big p erson is also called impolitely, irimu.Irimu is an ogre. One day I watched as a child ran back to it’s mother saying-mami mami!Irimu!" In front of them a very tall man stood.
Mama told me that there were three times of marimu,those that carry baskets{irimu cia nyakondo},those that have three eyes, and Cain. I feared the first time most because if they came across you,they put you in their basket and took you to their very old grandmother who would boil you in a large pot as the ogres played a game of fire jump.Cain I was told could only be seen by children. I was not very afraid of him because he was only one and I believed if he was still making his round mwenda,he’d be somewhere as far as America,and before he returned I’d have grown up and wouldn’t see him.
When mama narrates a story he’s very dramatic, if he wasn’t so attached to his potato and cabbage plants, and his three cows,burugei, bahati and nyakairu, he would have made a career from telling stories,then his age mates would think he’s gone soft in the head,and kids would make fun of his sons at school.Though I doubt he’d get paid anything close to what he earns from one gunia of wheat for two or even 3 narrations.
So kanyutu he told me,was an animal that walked on it’s two legs, it was beige in color and could move faster than my dog chui running away from cucu if she found it in the kitchen watching me peel potatoes.
He said Kanyutu’s favourite food was cow’s udders. It would snatch the udder right out from under the unsuspecting cow and before the cow realized it was missing an important bargaining part ,fainted,then got up to moo, kanyutu would be in charity{charity was a village about 25 km from our village,up up the hills},disgorging another udder,and when the alarm was raised there,kanyutu would be in Baringo, another hilly 25 kms. Carrying the two udders like money bags from both hands, you can imagine, like a man running away and looking behind once in a while. The way he put it, kanyutu would know in advance where to go, and his route back so there was no way to keep watch to catch him.
I lived in terror of kanyutu.He said no one ever saw a kanyutu.
Last weekend,my neighbor was listening to Coro fm at his kiosk and when I went to buy a bamba twenty . I heard them mention kanyutu . I asked him what it was and he pointed to his calendar.I laughed.In my mind all this time,I had assumed mama had made up the story .Kumbe, a kanyutu is cheetah, and this time, the name was not even coined by mama.
The other cause of fear was a T9.These,everyone said were some very tiny rubies ridden dogs released from Uganda by Idd Amin.I don’t know how true that is .I never saw one but I saw it’s effects .When T9 caught up with your dog,the dog went mad immediately and started biting everything in sight.
One of cucu’s friend had only two cows, one they fondly called gathambu,and another silky one which gave them more milk. Gathambu gave about a cup and a half. When the T9 Paid their shed a visit, it bit the silky one. Now , the rule was that I such a case, one had to report immediately to the chief. Then the chief would send some askari to shoot down the animal. I remember that day, many men gathered in the field and dug a hole, like a grave then tied the cow with ropes and bang! It fell into the hole. We, the women folk were a bit far off , it felt like a funeral.
When two of my cucu’s cows were bitten, cucu was very sad. One died the following day, the other had to be killed. Now that I think about it, it must have been a very big loss. The neighbours came to comfort us.
Had it been a calf or a bull, the loss would have been minimal.
With dairy cows, there is always a connection. Which comes naturally from all those days you lean your head into their stomachs as you milk them twice even three times in a day and when you stay up with them to help them calve at 3a.m.No wonder the naming. Daisy , Rosy, Gathambu.
I have never understood how a small dog will just bite one animal and go the next, why just wound while it could bite, even eat the animal, maybe a calf and die happy instead of all the mad running around.
Ogres don’t scare me anymore, although when I meet a very huge person, I look again, just to make sure .
These fears are no longer prominent, but when I go to visit cucu and it gets dark and from the forest comes all sorts of sounds, I think-there is a kanyutu nearby,and that’s a fact.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Standard Five

Adolescence

Still in standard five,when we began to study homescience,some girls suddenly realized that indeed,their chests were undergoing a transformation.Some were happy,some started to walk with their eyes cast upon the ground,shoulder’s hunched. I still had some years to go before I faced the problem,but I was curious,me and another late bloomer. We managed to talk one of the girls whose chest was no longer like a boy’s to giving us a peek.
We could have gone behind the latrines or even in a bush on a way home but nine year olds thinks just like nine year olds.When one day we had our evening prep and no teacher was going round, crouching below the desk she gave us the peek, the mystery was dissolved, and we went on with the prep.
The following day during the morning parade,the teacher on duty had an important announcement.
-Can the following ngaos lemain mbihind-
Our three names were called out.We received a beating,and a warning,and we were told to keep away from boys.
That reminds me of the kind of mischief one will get into in school.In high school,our class prefect was very funny.
One night during prep,the class was quiet and everyone was busy reading something, even though for some it was those very popular sweet valley high teenage romance novels{SVH}.The teacher on duty came in and called out the prefect’s name,
-what do you think you are doing during prep?-
The following day,the entire school knew that Form 2 Pluto’s Cop had been caught mending her brassire in class during prep,by a male teacher.It was a big joke,to the prefect,but she was punished for it even though it left most of us who had humour genes in stitches.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Other Side

How come, we hear the drum?
How come our hips are full of rhythm?
How come, the king of the jungle lives right here.

How come the trees blossom,
The flowers bloom,
The fruits ripen,
And the roots thicken?

How come there’s laughter,
And our stomachs don’t always rumble?

We cry at weddings,
Weep at funerals-

How come we see beautiful sunsets?
And have Nyahururu falls, The Nile,
Kilimanjaro, right here?

We dig the ground and gather gold,
We set our nets and fish come in.
Cocoa farms, coffee fields, tea estates,
Plantain, rice, sukuma-wiki, arrowroots,
Herbs, carrots, mangoes,
How come they grow?

Athletes, artists, swimmers.
Honey ,milk, muratina, the sea,
The ostrich, the weaver bird,
The bee, water, air, moon and stars?

Language, love and feelings?
Rich chocolate skins, black shiny foreheads,
Locks, white teeth, strong build.
Actually, it also rains on the other side.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Music

Now,if there was a subject I didn’t begin to understand until my last year of studying it,it was Music.I remember once.Mr.Jakubu,he was our music teacher and very practical at it.
The first lesson in class 6,he beat out a tune on his desk with a ruler and told us to write down the note.We!Life had never been harder.Even my two deskmates,Elijah and Amos could not help.We were all looking at him open mouthed,tutururiirwo.Elijah was the the funny one,but Amos was the funnier one because at such an instance,he’d have started to speak in his mother tongue despite knowing very well that would put him into further trouble.I remember after much struggle,I scribbled something like-tuu…kakaka….tttt. and then drew a crotchet along the line.Mr.Jakubu looked at me once,looked at my book,back at me again,,then hurled his famous string of insults,asking me whether I had ever gone mad,and announced how he was going to land 7 canes across all our armpits.He was fond of saying-wee kihii giki ngugwikira thanju mugwanja cia njegeke ungurane,I’ll cane you 7 strokes across in your armpits until you recognize me.He spoke in kikuyu,always,at the parade,in class…When he explained how to draw a semiquiver,it was,D nini njeke,ina matu meri.A small letter D with two ears.
After two lessons in class,he decided to make us real musicians.He asked us to bring bottles,flutes,tins,plastics,,and when we had the fortnightly music lesson,we’d perform for the teachers, or for the villagers in their shambas around the school.
During assembly, if he realized someone was not paying attention,he would wait until he was finished and he’d call out the person’s name and ask them to translate his speech, first into Kiswahili,then English,and leave out not a single word.
Mr Jakubu held a wedding,and we attended,just to see the bride.She was pregnant,people said that was bad,I was puzzled because,it was widely known they were living together and raising other children for more than a decade.
I later caught up on music,not the singing,but recognizing the notes,the latin words,and the musical instruments in Kenya which had a whole text book dedicated to them.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Salesman No.1

customers having their pick.above,Maskanyore holding an evening wear{ya kwenda ndina},below
This is maskanyore.I posted his story a few months ago{Mic Troubles}.
Everyday he's at his stall calling out to his customers to come and please buy his wares,his wears,rather.Every day,morning to evening,he's shouting,singing and
laughing-maskanyore,ma andawater,mkono moja,ya kajunior,ya kusimamia arusi,ya best maid,yote,,fefte!His table pilled high with a mix of blouses,sweaters,three quarter pants,
spaghetti tops,his customers swarm in and they have their pick.Then he'll say-leo tunasema,funga inne inne kama orbit{that's what I'm talking about,wrap them in four pieces like orbit}
He can be heard from one end of the market to the other.When school children passby,they call out-maskanyooore.
He says: hakuna haja ya kufua nguo usiku,ama kutembe na viraka,ngua ni fefte,maskanyore anawashughulika wote leo
{no need for you to wash your clothes at night,or walk around in tattered clothes,cheap clothes for everyone,maskanyore knows and caters for your problems!
I will make you shine until your neighbours start wondering,did you get a job with Kenya Airways?}
Utang'ara mpaka jirani ang'ethie,watu kwa plot watakua wakiuliza,kwani nani,,,anafanya kas na kampuni gani,ama aliandikwa na Kenya Airways?
eeee,ndiyo maana nasema,bei ni fefte!
His real name is Kiarie.He makes my day I must say.
If we all worked with half the spirit this man applies to his job,we'd all be very happy people.No longer people arriving home with more wrinkles on their faces than
when they left the house.I am sure Maskanyore must be a very happy fellow.It's like spending your day at the karaoke singing songs you like.That would
lift anyone's mood anyday.
I am sure he earns more in a day than a Mr.Ngash or Mr.Patel selling Garissa lodge skirts in River Road will earn in 3.All the best Maskanyore.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

poem




Serenity

A breeze in a park bench

Birds singing,

Columns of sun rays sprinkled with tiny insects trying to climb.

Fallen leaves

Grass stains, damp grass and falling leaves

You can’t eat, you can’t cough

In case you miss a second of;

The sound of wind in leaves.

Sunset through a gap between trees

This is home

This is my home

A bench in a park



{Picture by Ciss,RiverSide}

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tunes in 5 East

When I was I primary school,I reached the height of mischief,I look back now and I wonder how I got out trouble.If you found people being beaten, I’d be among them.If some people were kneeling outside,the staff rooms,I was in among them.If someone was caught reading a novel during the maths lesson,it’d have to be Gathoni wa kina Gitonga.Gitonga was my neighbor.He was two classes ahead of me,tall and burly, he played in the volleyball team,it didn’t matter we were not related,to everyone,he was my big bro and scared off everyone that tried anything on me or his twin sister,a class ahead of me.In the morning,he whistled twice,to alert me to get ready,then once more if I hadn’t appeared,to tell me,ukaga{we are going on ahead}.

One time,in class five,I had been singing very loudly,my cousin had visited us during the holidays and had taught me some songs in the Luo language and I had been entertaining my classmates during the lunch hour.After the bell rang for classes to begin,I continued to sing for about 5 minutes,we had a music lesson but our music teacher, Mr.Jakubu, who was also the headmaster, showed up once in two weeks, when we had a morning lesson.

The prefect had gone for some shairi competition and the assistant was my deskmate; we were good buddies,he liked to draw,I liked to praise his drawings.I always wonder where he ended up.So anyhow,he wasn’t the least bothered by my singing.Suddenly everyone was turning to their seats,and pretending to read their homescience books.

-Can the musician please come to the office.-

The discipline master’s voice barked.I got a tongue lashing from all the teachers who:

-knew my gran and thought she was a respectable woman who shouldn’t be wasting her time coming to hear about my bad behavior and can I start to behave or else they might have to summon her.-

Wo! Apart from being sent out to get the wash basin at night,my number 2 fear was gran. Her stern look was enough to have me confessing even my friends’ sins.

So I was ordered to kneel outside the headmaster’s office and wait for him.I knelt,the entire 40 minutes,until the lesson was over,but as I said before, Mr.Jakubu was a no show man when the clock hit midday .

Our Kiswahili teacher rescued me, he was going in for his lesson and had the notion I was his best student, even though I couldn’t string three words before dropping a shrub so prominent no one would laugh, they just looked on with pity. ..but my written work was perfect.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

short story

Chocolate and Honey

BY CECILIA GATHONI

‘Hajal marries choc.’

The wall at the conference hall had been spray painted. Obviously, the artist who had chosen this particular wall as his canvas had not done it in daylight, for when Hajal’s brother, Mo had checked last night everything had been alright .The fresh flowers would be brought in the morning, but the sitting arrangement, the microphone and music system were all in place. A night walker. Some one who knew us very well.

As Mo stood there trying to calm his brother. I cringed. I was peeping from the next room. Hajal had dropped in to check if I was okay and still willing to marry him.

I had held his face in my palms, looking into the slits of his Asian eyes and assured him I loved him and would continue to when I became his wife.

Despite the looks my girlfriends and sister were giving us, we sat for close to and hour, talking, but not about anything in particular. Just enjoying each other’s company like we always did.

Then my sister pulled me away and told Hajal to clear off.

‘You shouldn’t be here when we dress her,’ she had said and pulled me to the next room.

Hajal still hang about.

While Kala was trimming my eye brows, Mo Had come in and announced the news.

He has a loud voice, Mo, and he doesn’t realize it. He is like one of those very short people who try to walk in such a way that they may look taller, but only to themselves.

When Mo talks, even what was meant for a particular pair of ears ends up in a couple of others.

Rispa, my sister, was fussing with a clip on my white dress, the other three girls were shuffling around getting ready the stockings, the flowers, the lip balm-I had told them under no circumstances was I going to have lipstick on me .

I don’t know, they probably heard Mo’s news, they probably didn’t. They went on with their self assigned duties. I stood to peep from the door.

‘Hey, where do you think you are going?’Kala asked

‘You are going to be with that man every day after today, relax.’ Joyce was saying, slipping a black kamisi over my head

‘Shouldn’t this be white?’I asked still peeping into the other room.

‘No, white will make you knickers visible to all .’

‘Shouldn’t all eyes be on the bride?’I asked off the head.They thought it was funny.

Hajal was pacing around the room. I was almost sure what he was thinking, worrying that I don’t get to hear about it, that I’d not freak out.

I looked back and Karla and Joyce were arguing over what they should dress me underneath all else. They had black, laced black, cotton red and white silk, laid out on Jigna’s Bed. This was her bedroom.

‘I say red,’ Rispa said

‘These? They are so plain,’ Joyce said

‘They are comfortable. She’s going to be nervous all day, why add discomfort on top?’

Jigna had been very quiet, packing me a light bag.

‘Nyambura, she spoke up now. You know whatever some insane racist thinks doesn’t matter, yeah?’

‘Yes, I just wish whoever they are, they would spare me this one time.’

‘Look around, Nyambura.’

I did and got her point. The only other dark skinned person in the room was my sister and even her, she lived in another country, and spoke a different mother tongue. Jigna was Pakistani, Joyce was from Australia and Karla was Chinese.All this time I never stopped to think how diverse we were.

‘Thanks Jigna,’ I hugged her ,my eyes wet, ruining the eye shadow Kala had been trying to apply. I stood to peep at the door but the two men had left.

‘Whatever it is, they’ll take care of it. They are the men.’ Rispa said.

The girls fussed over me.My usual routine is simply, a bit of lotion, hair gel, and a tube of lip balm. Then I throw over some jeans and a top. I wasn’t very certain the eye shadow and eyeliner and mascara would stay in place, unless, which was highly unlikely, I didn’t get emotional and had to brush off a quick tear.

Jigna and her husband would be the best couple, she was the only one married in my circle of friends, and Aneel, her husband got along well with Hajal, they were both into computers, programming, and were even thinking of doing something together.

I remembered my first day at the university. In my timetable ,It had read-H2 1 F5,History of Photography. When I got to the fifth floor, there were several doors labeled 2 1,I’d later come to learn it was 2 and 1 not twenty one. Meaning, Ist and 2nd units. The first door I entered, the students were as quiet as in a library. I’d have said hallo guys but all eyes turned towards me and I lost my tongue. About 50 faces. I talked to a girl in the first desk. She simply looked at me, then turned to her fellow student, said something in the language of the Island,and they all laughed out loud. I thought perhaps it would be the obvious reasoning-stupid black skin can’t even find her class, and I at that point physically ached for inchi yetu. I couldn’t help noticing I was the most chocolate .She then pointed to the door opposite, H 2 1.

‘Unit 1,’ She said.

The laughter would have been the kind of laughter a form two will give when a form one says something which is obvious or silly according to the former. That must have been one of the Unit 2 halls, and I a first year, a bomu, a mono.

In my class there were three other dark skins; three from Sudan, one from Angola and his mother white, one from the Solomon Islands, and a South African. We automatically formed a gang minus the guy from Angola, whose place was taken by a girl named Joyce from Australia. She was white to look at but said her father was as black as a Dinka.

To supplement my pocket money, I did freelance editing and a bit of research. I had major commissions from a small private company that dealt with computers. I mainly did research for this one, and business letters. They were about three guys, the one that dealt with research was called Hajal and he’d thank me after each job. He’d e-mail me and tell me they appreciated my job, I was irreplaceable. He wondered if I’d consider working for them in future.

‘Two things I can’t keep in my life, I said,’ a full time job and a potted plant.’ He had laughed and it’s funny that I kept remembering he had a chipped canine tooth, which was really cute.

When we were courting, it always made us laugh to see the horror in people’s faces when we stood too close, as any one dating would. One, it was Muslim country, two, mixed race couple were very rare.

Many times we met at the pizza inn with our friends. Hajal’s parents were not so pleased. Well, his mother, but I could swear I saw his father wink at him one time we paid him a visit and I wore a nice kitenge, and Hajal’s shirt had a slight trimming on the collar, with the same material. His father also would as a lot of questions about my country, not offensively but with interest.

Hajal is soft spoken, funny and very hardworking. He’s also very calm and never gets too excited over anything-good or bad. Me, I like to laugh, and since I am a worrier, his calmness dissolves any anxieties. When he asked if I’d be his wife, I had no doubt. In any case, nothing would stop him from his chocolate bride. Not even an insane nightwalker with a spray paint can.

At the reception, the DJ played the song-Spray Paint, by Gorillaz as a first request and everyone had a good laugh, after which, an African and Indian drumming group started their drumming.

We danced, we laughed, me, Hajal, Choc'late and Honey.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Self conscious

Write me letters,

To remind me I was pretty,when I’m gray and wrinkled

Write me letters

To remind me I once smiled nice,when the old

Woman smell checks in.

Write me letters

To keep me company when sleep don’t come easy

Write me letters

To remind me of your humour when you no longer smile

Write me letters

To read to our children and praise you to them

Write me letters

To keep in my memory box, to read at dusk,

When the candle flickers in the wind

Write me a letter, now,

And tell me again why you stay with me

A letter,

To fill in the silence that builds up over the years

When we share, spoons, taps and perfumes

Write a letter.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Name calling

My uncle,he always forgot our names.He’d never admit that but I know that’s the reason he never calls any of us by name.

When we were young,me and my three cousins had names specially designed.I was machang’i,because of my hair that stood out from my head like branches.My cousin was kabuyu,because he was shaped like a jerry can, and the youngest was mbuku,because she liked to hide behind the house and you’d find her crouching like a rabbit.

Personally I didn’t like the nickname,I’d have preferred if he’d called me by name.The title kabuyu always caused fights if anyone but mama used it,and mbuku,it stuck.Nothing would stop mama from using the names, infact the more we resisted the more he used them and the more it caused laughter from the neighbours. There were of course,other temporary ones as the need arose.

As I grew older and learnt to hold down my hair,and grew tall,I became muraihu{the tall one}which was used inter-changeably with the other one,giraffe.Kabuyu became kibuyu{a big jerrycan} and mbuku became ka J{ka Jobless}This,we don’t explain to anyone coz mama coined it from J’S habit of hiding so that she wouldn’t be assigned any duties.Now we simply call her J and tell everyone it means junior co she was the small one though now she has bigger hips than me and isn’t afraid of work.

We finally grew up and left the nest.Mama is now raising his own kids,two boys,10 years apart.The older one is titled Kihii,just kihii{meaning just,a boy}the younger one they call ndungu{fat}.Mama is comical,it’s nice to know that not even the dropping prices for farm produce can suppress his humour.

Bugs Bunny

When I was a young happy girl growing up in my granma and mama’s farm,I picked up smells and identified things by their smell.Like the rabbits I reared.Their fur has a comfortable scent that makes you want to cuddle . It’s not the same smell when someone has butchered the little balls of fur and they are cooking together with some vegetables, what used to be the rabbits’ food.

Mama would scold me daily if I didn’t give enough leaves to the poor animals and even if it was dark and misty I’d go out carrying a touch to pick a few leaves.How is one supposed to know which leaves are green when it’s dark?

I would have to smell the leaves to know which were safe and which would fetch me a beating. If by mistake a single onion stem got into the mix and the nose missed it, wo!

I’d be peeled,kuunurwo,proper.To be one the safe side,I’d try to trace some spinach and banana leaves.The spinach would definitely result into a beating,lucern was out of the question,that was for the dairy cows.Pigweed was for the sheep, cabbage leaves for the chicken, and the kales we ate.To differentiate the weeds in the dark was the hardest task.Some weeds made the rabbits' ears sick.

So apart from sharpening my sense of smell,my sense of touch just had to catch up.That’s how I I’d know how to get the blackjack and not the stinging nettle and how to avoid the Datura thorn apple.

One day after my night tour I smelt datura but, assumed the smell was coming from my gumboots and clothes since I had been wading among the weeds.When I got to the hutch mama was waiting . I was mumbling prayers, when I handed the leaves to mama for inspection and was pretending to scrape the mud and weeds from my boots on the grass.I looked up when he said nothing for a whole minute ,he was holding up-a datura thorn apple leaf-along with a face that’d have split a log of cider.

Mwana uyu kai ugucagia kii?{you child,what drug do you use?}

Ugatwira mbuku magurukia?{you got datura for the rabbits?}

Datura, in kikuyu if translated would mean the plant that causes madness.

I could never answer my uncle back so I just kept quiet and the smell of the plum tree cane intensified[that was what I received my strokes from,a fresh pimpled stick} ,and the taste of tears was strong in my mouth.My ears were itching and I could not even hear what he was saying.Just the strong voice of my cucu in the kitchen saying to tata:

Ici mbuku ni ciaki ituragia mwana na kiriro[what’s the use of these rabbits ,they just bring tears to the child]

But at the moment,any beating was alright,as long as I kept my rabbits,and my cats,and the puppies,and the chicken,and the trees I was watering every evening and forgetting to feed the rabbits.

Now that I moved into the city I hate it each day because you will not imagine the smells I pick.But I can still remember how blue gum leaves smell and taste,how the sap smells and taste, how the blade of a two handle saw smells after it has been sawing through wood all day.

When I see rabbits,I remember the old times how mama threatened to set free all the rabbits if I didn’t feed them enough.

I read in a magazine that just because rabbits have long ears doesn’t mean they should be used as handles.I read that somewhere and laughed because mama would scold me when I held my chicken like a cat,not roughly by the legs,like a handbag.Yet,he doesn’t get near chickens himself.He says they are full of fleas,and a health hazard,their sole purpose to destroy his cabbages


Mama-uncle

Tata-aunt,mama’s wife

Cucu-grand mother

Talk is Cheap

Language,speech,the means of communication.When I think of language,I like to lean more on the written bit of it,and for a good reason.

The few times I have tried to say something in public,and especially when a microphone is involved,my heart beats 142 times per minute,and that is when I have taken deep breaths.

What happens I’ve surveyed is despite having the idea clear in mind,when I start to speak,boy.My mind behaves like a faulty marquee. I only have single words and letters in the mind,and that’s what I grip to.If I had to say something like.

-It is important to retain the literary form of any piece of work when posting a blog.

I’ll have literary ,important, piece of work, blog in mind

And try as I might,the correct order can’t come so I might end up saying something like:

Remember it is important to, for a blogger, um,any time, when posting um literary works to retain the literary bit of the piece of work.

A pack of too many words which most times won’t make any sense.

Ken Njuguna says it’s always better when written and I agree,talk is cheap,some say. Literally, I agree. Because as you talk,you don’t think much about what you’re going to say and what comes out is not quality.

So writing is the better option,and when you have to talk,always have an outline.But then you might sound boring,or abrupt,or even out of your mind.The other day someone I respect asked me

-how’s you cat doing, okay?

I said yeah. Yeah, and should have said thanks and shut my mouth but heck I asked and, how is your fish?

Well if he had a fish it would have been fine, but he never told me he got a fish,so he asked

-A fish?-

And I asked

-what do you have?

And he said I believe to rescue me;

-I have a couple of mosquitoes, some of them are dead..-

So you,see,talk is overated.That’s why I write,even to my gran who can’t read.I figure she can always ask someone to read the letter or text to her.

Monday, March 10, 2008

डोमेन SERCHES

What seemed like a casual stroll around the net trying to find the perfect domain name has now turned into big business. There are those who trade in domain names the same way brokers trade shares at the stock exchange platform. This said, it is crucial to hold the search until you are certain that the ideas for domain names you have are very close to the final one you hope to attain. The reason is that on the wed there are people who’s job is to try to pitch popular domain searches and test them for use if they prove to be worth keeping.
For long term online usage, it is advisable to install a domain search tool to assist with the search and keep it private, another safe option is going through a registrar, whose work ethics will no doubt respect your preference. Some websites will have video tutorials for those doing a search for the first time, some go straight to the search, for example www.bustaname.com. In these sites, you will find inbuilt tools to assist you, so your search need not be a treasure hunt. Some normal websites come with integrated domain search facilities which are also easy to use. For a quick easy search, just follow the steps clearly stated. Normally if the name you search is already in use, the domain search tool will offer options that are very close to your input.
Unlike with random domain searches on the net, using a search tool gives private searching, this can also be found in public sight domain search pages, with a change of setting.
Un-syndicated domain search pages include www.securepaynet.net, and www.pcnames.com. The latter is attractive in that searches are not logged in so it’s like and cheap way of conducting private searches, and names are update everyday enabling a fresh choice every time a buyer conducts a search.

Buy A Domain Name

Buy A Domain Name
Well, there is nothing on this earth that cannot be put on the market. When a user decides to buy a domain name, he needs to be informed about a couple of things. This is just as well since, when you buy a domain name, you are not buying it passé , it is a case of renting it, to use from it’s originator. When your time expires, you can either choose to renew the contract or get yourself a different one. So why not make a smart choice?
Domain names are easily available, but the popularity of your name of choice may in often times determine how much the domain name will cost you. Premium domains cost a few hundred dollars. The benefits of paying a little more for a domain name that suits your needs are beyond measure . One is that it increases you chances, if expanding your business is your target. Tying with the first point is that search engines can easily pick a well thought of domain name.
When buying a domain name, it is important to go through a reliable domain name registrar. On contact, you will be required to provide information concerning you, as you would when performing any other type of registration. These will include contact details.
Most domain names come in a package, some domain providers will give you 12 e-mail addresses to start you off you might be asked for contacts of other people who will be aligned with the particular domain. For example. If your domain name will read domainmania.com. The e-mail addresses will read claudejoka@domainmania.com . Some popular websites for domain names include google.com and godaddy
For your domain to be in use, of course you will need a host. Some hosts include BlueVoda and Fatcow.

303 words.

Efficiency, why we must learn to be.

 There are no schools that you will sign up to to learn how to be efficient. Most will teach you a profession or a skill and it's up to ...