Friday, February 11, 2011

Oblivious to the City


Yesterday I walked into the market  and felt at home. Somehow above all the din, it was peaceful. Perhaps from the fruity smells and noisy retailers. It reminded me of going to Chowkit market in Kuala Lumpur. I used to call it  the fruit tasting stroll. The peddlers would ask you taste mangosteen, a bit of rambutaan, a slice of dragon fruit . This is a red fruit covered in spikes, it grows from a type of cactus. If you have eaten the tiny cactus fruit, that is the big version of it.
 I have a pain in my right pointing finger  from  two months ago. I saw a nice cactus flower and tried to touch it, ended up with a thorn in my flesh and I’ve tried poking around, dipping my finger in kerosene, it’s still painful.

Like one time in Puchong, Malaysia I saw a  cactus plant ridden with ripe fruits, I was hungry- we had been walking about in the sun and the fruits looked appealing- I picked a handful, and my friends must have thought- ah, maybe her hands can take it. I  must say that was a crazy adventure. I ate the fruits, yes, but only a week later when the pain and swelling in my palms had gone down and a friend  suggested I use a knife and a fork.
So the market, it was interesting seeing  the red and yellow mangoes, fresh ginger, fragrant passion fruits, cheap shoes, which I bought- you can never  have enough shoes, and finally: finally, I got  ballet shoes that fit me. I live them but never get my size. Even though I have to walk with my  toes stretched out, I feel very happy.

 Then I went to the post office to pick up  my stuff from Malaysia. I love my trash, and I carry it around but I might just stop after being charged more than I suppose all those old clothes cost. I didn’t want to argue since I saw an Asian lady almost in tears for the amount they mentioned to her for  a packaged handbag she received. Last night I had a dream that my last  box of things  had arrived, and new things kept popping out, boots for my uncle, valued at ksh. 5,000 by the tax people, a knock off Gucci bag, yeah,. These Kenya Revenue Authority people really got into my subconscious, officially my new enemy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Comfortable 20's having a drink, listening to the world.

The wood fire burns lazily under the mumbling sufuria(cooking pan). I'm peeling overripe plums for home made jam.
The smell is sharp, like new red wine. My bare legs are outstretched on the earthen floor to catch some warmth from the fire. A radio sounds off jazz tunes. From the window, a few stars sparkle gaily.
The sky has moved, I can tell from the position of the plough and the three stars on a row.. The cat is picking bits of food from the floor. It feels good. I search capital Jazz club on facebook but the link is slow so I put on the jam to cook and imagine I'm close to the sea, with silent waves slapping the sand playfully. It's easy to imagine. The forest is a few meters away, dark and quiet. I know there are animals and bugs I've never met inside that sea of trees, just like in a water sea. One of my favourite mainstream song goes like- I'm with the bartender, if you're looking for me, I'll be at the bar with her. I think if I thought hard enough I'd tell you whether it's T.I or T-Pain in it. It reminds me of days when me and my girl Bridge would get a bottle of red wine well, she mainly got it, I only had enough cash to keep alive.
We would have fries and perhaps home made muffins, I loved the banana ones, as we watched Avatar, the Last air blender Cartoon Series, which would be hilarious than the usual measure.
It wasn't really about the wine and grab, it was more of-Saving the little moments. Sometimes we listened to Norah Jones or Maxwell, other times we watched a different movie on our laptops.
My heart was chipping away like acid rock; but somehow, eating junk and drinking wine with a solid friend was a lovely stage.
I'm brewing a bottle of red wine with plums from last season and an internet recipe. It looks red and rich, but made my mouth smell like Tom's, my dog. Maybe I should wait the 12 months the recipe said it would take. That is, if gran doesn't catch a whiff and send it flying across the Aberdare forest, which is currently on fire.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Farm Diaries- The long walks





I started off by walking a distance of about 25 kilometres two way to visit a colonial house that used be rented by  nuptials for honeymoon. It’s a beautiful house set on a hill, with the great mount Kenya directly facing the most important  windows. It’s in the normal colonial style, wooden floors of the ground, with black paint , and white wash for the huge windows.
There is a separate  kitchen, with a chimney coated black with soot, and a sagging bamboo ceiling. The reason for my visit was, I’ve been simmering with this brilliant  idea  to feature colonial houses in my area, even though a few  people  have told  me it’s  not really  something they wish to read about.
“Would  you imagine if  someone came, took  your  land and your neighbour’s  land too and moved  you  to a small plot and made you his servants? Then on the same spot  you had  your  house  he built his own magnificent mansion?”
So when I heard  about the one  that was converted to a guest house, it caught  my interest, up until that Monday . I was received  by a rather, thin man, he told  me he was  man of God, and said  he knew  what I wanted  from him but I would  be disappointed.
He gave me a comprehensive  history about the Presbyterian Church, his family, and  gave  me a tour of his library, which included different Bible translations and home remedies. He initially thought I wanted to request to host a wedding, possibly mine at that compound, so when I told him I was  a journalist, he quizzed me and asked for my opinion on a lot of things, saying his daughter  has recently graduated  from Mass Communication School and it would be nice  if we  met since he could  tell ‘even though I don’t have  a lot of flesh on me,  I something on my neck”

Seeing I had no story- the house is now a family home to him and his family, a minister’s manse- I walked back and went out to sniff out more stories, but first I sat and ate  the supply of plums I was carrying, the sun  piercing to my very marrow.

I had seen some farmers harvesting onions and I decided to pass by, it was a large crowd of workers, with some happy young men calling out to me, ‘hey, someone wants to talk to you’ so when I  started towards them, they began to disperse . I sat to talk to one woman, who wanted to know my family tree, later I found out they were relatives of my grandmother through marriage and polygamy. We had a nice  chat, the owner of the onions said I needed to show them where to  market their products, since I obviously know more than them. I did some rare quick thinking and said, of course when I write about farming, I am passing on knowledge, so at some point I might have a marketing article. He invited me for their Onion Farmers Association  general meeting.

 As I left, they offered me onions to cook. I could only carry a few, and they thought that was not very appreciative, were it up to them, I should have carried a whole gunia. I think they were happy about the pictures  I took of them and promised to bring them print outs.
I rushed through the rest of the week, doing more interviews and planting peas along with garlic, since my aunt, a seasoned horticulture farmer suggested it, even though what I really wanted was to wait for my sweet potatoes to grow, then I plant some hot pepper.
 
As  the week came to a close I was fatigued, really worn out and I dozed off while chatting with my friends, that was embarrassing.

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 ...