Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I remember telling Michael, Botswanian Michael as we called him- hey hey not beyond my wrist- when he would shake my hand- poor boy, that must have been so offensive. But I was not fully to blame for such a view point, I had just landed from a society, which still adheres to the code of boys on one side, girls on the other, even in public meetings by the chief, no no now, we mustn’t get too close; yet S.T.Is and Bastards abound, everywhere.

Hear I was, in the midst of Africans, the easy going Naija people who’ll call you brother on their first meeting, the happy beer loving Botswana people who like to hang out most of the time, the friendly Mugambe people, the smart- ly dressed Tanzanians, the Waswahili from the Kenyan Coast, from Oman, the curly haired Sudanese, now northeners, the Indonesians from Florence, the Tamil, and the Stiff Kenyans.

Ivy, from Uganda would tell me- Kenyans are so stiff, you’re like robots, why so serious all the time, fear, perhaps, no no now don’t get too close I don’t want you coming over to borrow salt and chai whenever you feel like. I’m from the highlands, hugs are a new education.

So Michael would shake my hand and give hugs all around. A month later I was a changed woman.

Last week I met my friends, a couple fro long ago and on impulse I wanted to jump in with open arms, but then it clicked, it’s a cheek to cheek greeting for the woman( Man! I hate those!), and a firm handshake for the man, with a slight eye contact for acknowledgement.
I am re-learning what I re-learnt and this time, honestly I feel like bursting out of this town and never coming back , end up somewhere on Ogingo Island or Kamchatka, where people hug and nod to Lady Gaga’s Poker face.

Things I have to remember:
If you have boy friends over- you are a prostitute
If you wear jeans – you are a prostitute
If you wear make up – you are a prostitute
Hug men- you are a prostitute
Wear a short skirt- you’re a prostitute
Wear a long skirt- your religion tells you to wear long skirts

The middle ages I tell you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farm Diaries, Jane of all trades

I got up at 5 this morning, it took effort since I slept quite late last night. See, every evening, I have to milk a goat, cook, food and tea and clear my neighbour's kitchen. A lovely old lady who has many tales. Anyway I really enjoy helping her out. She has experience in a lot of things, like slaughtering rabbits. Last Sunday she got up early so she could slaughter one and get it ready to cook in the evening, it needs to be hang up for drying. She said to me- If I ask someone to help me slaughter this tiny thing, they'll expect meat, so what I'are we supposed to eat if we serve the butcher a platefull?

We cooked the rabbit in the evening, three of us, the young child she is bringing up loves meat, she ate most of it, yeah and last night she vomited in her bed for eating too much, but we love the young one, she lost her mother only two weeks ago and is coping with it in her own way, like narrating funny stories about her mother to us. She told me, when my mother comes back, I'll be big, in my own stone house and I'll never get married. Her great grand said to her- she won't come back, you'll go to her, she said she doesn't want to die.

So when I got up, at 5.15, I made instant coffee and threw in a ginger root into my mouth. I'm not a fun of coffee, but ginger coffee is nice.
When the old woman got up some minutes to seven, I went in to rouse the child, who complained about a tummy ache, but we knew it was from overeating, and she has been looking for excuses to miss school.

Many times I pause and think,hmm today was another funny day, like the night when a strong wind blew and fell several avocados on top of my neighbour's roof. She is a teacher, lives with her daughter and a househelp, they begun screaming to the ends of the earth, and I, the good neighbour helped them. When other neighbours came with sticks and rungus, we thaked darkness that hid our embarassment. But that happens when women live alone,among coffee plants; they get hallucinate.

So today I'm going out to buy a thermos, and garlic if my budget allows it, I might get a heavy curtain too. I keep thinking a thief, banana thief,they are plenty where I live might come peeping one evening, I'm not ready to scream like that day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

cooking a fish

I’m a lover of fish, infact for a very long time I couldn’t forgive my uncle for not letting me taste a fish he once brought home, bought off a boy who had caught it in a river. I was six or seven, and I promised myself when I grew up, I would go to the Indian Ocean and catch myself a fish. I grew up and learnt that grand ma had said to uncle not to give the child any fish, incase I died and he’d be blamed. A lot of people won’t eat fish for a number of reasons. Fish smells bad my friend Mel says, the fish bones will kill you according to a lot of people in central province, majority have no clue what to do with a fish so they just opt for other meat.

When I lived on an island, I ate a lot of fish, different fish and when I came back to the mountains, I longed for the days I had bought 5 medium sized tilapia at Tesco for Rm.2.50 on holiday sales.

So when my friend suggesting a fishing trip, I could have jumped up and down.
I live in Tetu, and you can see a lot of Wangari Maathai’s green belt movement’s efforts. Trees are more than the population, unlike most places in Kenya, the beautiful surroundings are a treasure. There are a couple of public dams around my area, not many people make good use of them though and discovering the dams have been happiness itself.

I must say the scenery was more enthralling than the actual fishing itself, especially when the sun begun to set; the green reeds were reflected into the water giving the dam a soft green luster. The long legged white birds with the black, red breasted diving ducks, the kingfishers all completed the ideal setting for a fishing afternoon.

We arrived at 1.00p.m and at 5.30 none of us had caught a single baby fish. But you should have seen the determination. Someone caught a tiny one, which we threw back later, honestly, you can’t carry home a finger’s length fish and tell people you went fishing.

On another fishing trip at a different dam, on one Kamanda’s farm, the wife hailed her workers who came and dragged the net in the dam and caught us five fish-yeah!. We disappointed them though because immediately after we continued throwing our grasshopper baited hooks lines into the water. They left us to our mad experiments, and Maureen, by accident, haha, caught one, for which we celebrated.

Fishing is fun, as much fun as learning to play a guitar. I think you get the same excitement as you do when you learnt to play two notes of Snow Patrols’ Chasing Cars. I need about 15 more lessons before I can at least get a fish out of the water.

To cook a fish, unless it’s fish balls you’re aiming at, don’t boil the fish, like potatoes.

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 ...