Sunday, December 27, 2015

Milky dairy mumblings

‘Kaĩ wahanire atĩa?’ (what became of you)She asks after giving me a look over.

“ To mũtũrĩre kũnyamaria.”(it’s just, life dragging me by the ears) I manage to find a mild rejoinder but feel quite hot with adrenaline.

 I’m restraining myself from the usual biting sarcasm. I pull my hat around my ears some more and smile.

“Habari ya Nairobi?”(how is Nairobi) I grin at her.

“Aaa, wacha tu, Nairobi ndiyo mambo yote. Hata siwezi kaa gicagi, naenda next week.” 
(Nairobi is the place to be, I cannot stay in the village, I’ll be gone next week).

She must be recently turned 18. I knew her as the little brown chubby girl that always wore a mbocori.16, 15 years ago.
This is a mbocori on the left: it covers head, ears and part of the mouth,it is an essential in the highlands

Three months ago, I came to the village. And was immediately acquainted with her, for we often met at the  dairy. She was accompanying their farm-hand, carrying the dairy board.
 And I was balancing eight litres on each hand, with the dairy board tucked into my back pocket, along with a book.
milky business

tools of the trade. The dairy board is in my armpit.

 There was not much company as my age mates had transferred to Nairobi, Mombasa and U.A.E on turning 18.
 The others married other school mates and now raising teenagers. And I, a woman of twenty five  preferring to spend my time in the farm while I could be....

 I could be anywhere. But I choose to be here.

 I must look quite; well, quite. To anyone that thinks a lot about fashion.
 I’m wearing the same pair of jeans I wore, 12 or 10 years ago. Gumboots, a knitted sweater and a dark green jacket. 

The other day the vet found me grazing and asked,
“ĩĩ Kĩhũni, nĩ ngombe ĩrĩkũ ndĩretagĩrwo?”(young man, which cow is the matter)
 I don’t look any different from those farm men sitting on the wet grass smoking rolled tobacco. A  misty afternoon, with fog covering the country all around. Visibility reduced to two hundred yards.

 The girl is talking about her college.
 I don’t mean to deny her an audience, it’s just her remark, it has given rise to my vanities. Uncle said the other day,

“You would rather walk  barefooted, amazing, your mother would never venture out of bed without  some sort of slippers or shoes.”

And a visiting neighbour said:
“Gathoni nĩehaana,” (She is an original.)

I feel like, by being me, doing what I like, I am often raising eye brows.

Well educated. Fashionably dressed.
 Combed, straight hair
 Delicate featured


I'd rather gain wisdom and experience
Dress for comfort
De-tangled, curls
And be equal to every effort.

The land-cruiser arrives and weighs our milk.

"Na muuge kwĩ na mbeca cia iria,"(it's pay day) the driver shouts, driving off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to be Three and 10 without loosing it- A dozen Tips

2. Shhhh

Your housemate believes in fate and won't even set her alarm. 'Because you wake up at God's own time.'
Give a giggle when she tells you she got to work at 10.00am. It is almost impossible to change another human without arguing.
You have opinions? Keep them to yourself. You will have better peace.

3. Sacrifice Sacrifice Sacrifice!
You want to eat healthy? Cook a full meal with proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins just like they taught you in home-science class.

And that means getting off Facebook, walking to the market, or supermarket to get all these things together, cheaply. This also goes to having a neat house, a clean yard, clean clothes. Not much self improvement comes as a result of staring at your iPad for five hours.

4. Be on top of things
 When stuff goes awry; don't panic, don't get angry. Don't blame anybody.
 Be a storm inside but serenity on the outside, the inside will catch up too.
 So your guests don't eat read meat and pepper?

 Those tinned sardines you keep better come out of the cabinet this minute.

5. Dress up and show up
I've realised that whenever I make the effort, and put on  slight make up; even the matatu conductors are not hesitant to give me back my change.
look the part
Your head is splitting from a cold and you have a meeting at 9.00a.m?
Dress up, show up. You never know, they might end getting you a cup of hot lemon with honey.

6. Respect your friends

There is a reason they've been putting up with all this long- could it be, they love you? Trust you? Yes they do.
Respect them. Don't treat them like trash, call them, listen to them . The rest are

Maintain quality friendships. The same goes for clothes, shoes and household utensils. Get rid of everything rubbish.

7. Love objectively.

I used to think- what do I get out of this relationship? I'm learning to think- what can I give to make this last? My grandmother can no longer give me succinct advice, but she can tell me about her father who had many many goats. And that is enough to sustain a relationship. Loving objectively is teaching me to respect her feelings, even though hearing this same story for the fifth time today.

8. Keep Learning

This year, I took it upon myself, though with very slow progress; to Interior Decorate, the inside me.
 How to be slow tempered
 How to be forgiving
 How to be giving
 How to not give in to poop thoughts.

9. Rest

My dear, late nights are no longer part of life at three and 10 and beyond. It will show in the morning, in your eyes, and skin.
nights are for sleeping, day-times too

Watching a series is not rest. Put on something loose, brush you teeth, keep away the phone and get into bed. Sleep.

10. On love: Don't be jealous.

So he was speaking to her for a quarter of an hour longer? Get a life. Get on pintrest and read about ice fishing. Practice the lyrics to that song you've been practicing. You are not attached to his hip.

Jealousy shows, and all it does is make you very stooopid. I know.


Budget your time, your cash, your emotions. Know how much you can spend on a certain activity, purchase, person. Otherwise utapangwa (you will be budgeted).

12.Get proper medication

Your body is not what it used to be. Avoid self medication at all costs, unless you are a GP, and I doubt they also self diagnose. If you delay proper treatment, you only end up getting worse, wasting time and spending more more at the hospital.
My friend keeps essentials in the house though: Pain killers and sleeping pills.

Three and 10 is a rather, comfortable age to be , ukitulia (if you take it easy). You don't have the hot blood you had at 22. You are not set in your ways like you will be at 45.

You can be sensible, lovely, even cute, all rolled up into one. Don't be surprised if they think you are 25, just don't act it.
I'm still learning. And not thinking too much of it.

How to be Three and 10 without loosing it- A dozen Tips

 "I sincerely thought I'd be married by this age." She says to me, hoping I understand.
"On that day, I locked myself in my room and cried all day."

I look on with sympathy. I didn't expect to be married by 'that age', but I tell her I feel the same; since well, it is generally assumed all of us should be courting, engaged, pregnant with the second child or at least looking by 'that age.'

Three and 10, when it came was not a big life changing moment as I had thought it would be.

Physically, I still got the same murderous cramps.
Emotionally, sometimes only a good book can fix me.
Mentally, sometimes I'm not sure of the state I am in.
Socially, I still avoid parties.
Financially, sometimes I cannot afford bovine milk.
Economically, I still did not have my dream job.

But I have caught on pretty fast. So here are my survival tactics based on me and my friends' input.

1. Suck it Up

Just before I hit the big three oh, I got to a point when I couldn't pay rent. Would I go back home and risk being labeled boomerang kid?
Or stick it up and risk getting kicked out by the landlord?
I went back home. Sucked up my pride, worked like bunda cia Warubaga, Warubaga's donkeys. Seven months later I was back on my feet and ready to move on, but mother requested I stay on for company.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Highly Educated

".....nakwambia, mimi wasas walikufa niko miaka tatu.
nilifikiri sitasoma. Lakini sasa, I'm one of the highest learned people in Kenya..."

I turn my head slightly to see how high learned people look like.

"Mimi maisha yangu imekuwa nzuri, mungu 'mesaidia.."

He walks past me and glances at my shopping bag.
I've been getting stares.

-What is the smart lady doing here, yaani amekuja all the way kunua mboga,,enyewe sida 'mekuwa nyingi- they seem to be thinking.

 I'm carrying my shopping bag in-front of me. A bunch of kunde roots (cow pea plant) covered in earth are sticking out. I bought them from a pick up; they didn't have a knife to cut off the root and stems so now I'm carrying them like french bread.

   "Hata kama sina mali, maisha yangu mzuri, na ni kanisa...." I hear him say.

 He is carrying a  black briefcase, weak at the handles, and a long umbrella. He wears a shabby coat . The stripped ones that go out of shape with pockets seeming to sink inward.
He is wearing white sneakers that have a brown discoloration between sole and body, sign of a leak.

"Hivyo kijana yangu, 'sijiharibie maisha na pombe, I can give an example of myself. I have never drank alcohol in my life..."

The proverb, pombe ni kejeli comes into my mind. Pombe; alcohol, laughs at you. Nice, I could explain that  to someone.

We have come to a particularly wet part of the path, and both of us join three or four other people trying to balance on unsteady stones to get to the drier side across.

"Sasa umenielewa...mimi nimesoma....." he continues.

Though I'm not sure if he is still connected. He seems to be addressing me, and anyone else that overhead the conversation. A justification for his imperative statement.

Perhaps he meant, "I'm quite educated."
or, "I did get an education,"
but in a moment of desire to be convincing, the statement "among the highest learned" had escaped; and been overhead by audience who wouldn't care if he was Steve Jobs resurrected.

But all the same requiring an explanation for we humans sometimes say more than we need to, especially on a lone long walk home.

I would have liked to ask him, how many highly learned people are there in Kenya? What did you learn?
Do you have a club and meet every Monday for lunch?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

domestic revelations

After jaw dropping at his work, I said to the metal artist;

" I love the metal butterflies, and the dragonflies, and the metal insects."

"Aaah, women choices," said he.

'I mean, the concept, I've only seen paper butterflies before." I explain.

"These are more durable," he stated.

My heart sunk, but I moved on thinking, oh well, I've come to an art shopping mall, nkt.

Until I met the artists, not art sellers.

There was this painting by a young man, at the brush tu stand, I forgot his name. The painting was -fortress of solitude-  I didn't take a picture, it described my feelings too much.
He told me he painted emotions.

As the artists patiently explained their pieces, I felt I did the right  thing to come.
Like the -Domestic revelations- which were deeper than I had experienced, just looking..
when you dig some more; you see the real color- David Thuku

When I started blogging on the literary folder I had the firm belief that- it's a writer that knows his story, it's his business to write it-
The stories I write, they want to get out. If I don't let them out I get stuck, and impatient.

 An artist exposes himself to criticism; when in a moment of clear thought, his brush and paint pair and move in harmony. It is a gift to be able to paint what is in the mind, I have wished I could.

My stories, my babies,
No one can get within me and understand the formation of words. The way at times words, phrases and expressions go zip- zapping in my mind like discordant music. Only I can collect, sort and align them.

And not without difficulty.
For each story demands its own set of thread, canvas and frame.
this one got it right; it is impossible to dream without a feline about.

 Some stories come out in sighs, some need lots of visuals,
 some are enveloped in  many tears.
 While some form in the mind for months.
 Planted, needing harvesting.

 Otherwise they get thick undergrowth and make me edgy.
 On my way out I saw a talking T-shirt- Rasta ni wewe it said- we smiled at each other.

You sing, I dance

I was feeling like  I needed a hug, but it would be weird to walk up to someone and ask to be hugged.

made me smile right away, it was by Clavers

So I decided to go to the Kenya Art Fair. The alternative would have been to walk round Karura forest until I dropped, but it rained all morning.

I'm looking at John Silver's paintings; An animal that could  be a goat or a zebra with the neck of a giraffe..

"Come to my studio and you'll get even more disturbed."

He says, when he sees the kind of faces I am making at his art.
He is a talker, pleasant guy. He was lecturing a fellow young artist, a girl.

"Don't let your mother stop you from painting, kana akwĩraga ũtĩge gũthaka na marangi?

"Ee, wanasema hivyo."
"Hii marangi ndiyo inanilisha, na mimi ndiye nasaidia mamangu hata zaidi.
Stick to your art, kama una kipawa, ni mungu ameweka ndani yako. Let them sing, you learn the chorus and help them sing, or dance to it."

John Silver:  I'm an artist, no apologies.
 Wakiimba,-Tigana na marangi-

“Unaimba -Iĩ nĩngũtiga- na unaendelea kucheza na marangi yako."
In and out of the stands, my brain was blinking telling me, this is it.

 All the restlessness of a few weeks, lots of writing but the  struggle; should I post this?

Friday, November 13, 2015

hiding behind a language

"Ukiona  mwanamke amekaa na wanaume peke yake na haogopi, huyo ni mwana siasa.”

Said the man to his fellow, who looked up from his standard and regarded me for the first time.

‘Inaonyesha hawashuku,’ he said and went back to his news.

"Ni kama Karua ama Ngilu, the first man continued.
They assumed I was deaf.
So I played along.

 But wondered, don’t women ever sit by themselves, among men? Unless they are  into politics?

 The second man handed the  newspaper to the man of opinions then left.

“Eh, Waigũrũ. Acha tuone nayeye huyu ana hadithi gani leo.”

My mind wondered in and out of our discussion.

There is some truth in it. I’m not really intimidated among men, I might even be at most ease among them I think.

-I’m not into politics-
I wanted to explain to him. 
- I was raised by an uncle you see, and a bunch of his friends-

But Really? I don’t think that is a reason either.

So I regarded him behind my eye lashes the way us women do.
About 50 years, definitely a grandfather with a  desensitized wife weighing about 102 Kilos who gets up before 4a.m to go to the market.

The news on the radio are in a language I hear but  don’t understand, I hear the name Ngirachũ, That I understand.

My mind is back to the topic.
I’ve been trying to sign it. I signed it as president, then heaven, so I sign ARAB COUNTRY FAMOUS.
Wondering to myself, what language do I use to think. And I try to listen in my head. Could be English.
Wait. Can’t I hear my brain?

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 ...