Saturday, August 29, 2015

The men in my life

They are four. My three brothers Chris, Francis, Casper and our uncle Solomon(mama). So why I’m I thinking about them this week? It could be I need to purge and get out my feelings so I can move on as my self help thoughts tell me. And anyway, I need room for new thoughts. For the longest time my relationship with the opposite sex has been influenced by how I felt towards  my biological father. Between age 12 and 18 my main goal in life was to find out who he was. I did, at 19. Met him at 22, and at 25, I decided having a father was not really my kind of thing. So I packed, and headed home, to tell my people that they were the greatest. I didn’t, I’m still learning how to make confessions.
I regretted the time lost in that selfish pursuit. Our rojak family set up of uncles, cousins, grandparents, aunts, mothers, friends, sympathizers and mafans was just fine.
These four are my heroes. My uncle held my hand and walked me to my first day of school. He gave me his handkerchief. I did the math recently and found out he was just a teenager himself when he suddenly had to play father to his sister’s kid. We became buddies.
I admire him for maintaining a peaceful home for all of us. He deserves a kingly hat for his sense of justice. His head is full of white hair now, he still works like a horse but it is always refreshing to sit around the fire and listen to his stories that make us laugh and choke on our food. I owe him for not letting me drop out of high school in my forth year.
During my high school years, Casper my younger brother stayed up with me when my head was going off like fireworks, when I realised  my days at home were counted. I’d soon be packed off to the city. As we were growing up,I felt bad  when he had to get up in the morning to help with  milking  despite his morning allergies. I hated it for not having a place to welcome him when he was interning after college. Despite all that, I and everyone in the extended family knows they can always count on Casper. If it is within his reach, he will get it done, even delivering a computer in the middle of the night. I could never make him cross no matter how hard I tried, and I did try. You need to be really mean to make Casper mad.
Then Francis grew up and came to visit me in my log cabin and brought a big bag of food with him. He asked no questions, just came to visit. He was in high school. Later, he sold a young bull  and sent me some money- and I cried like the fool I am, wondering why it took me so long to know I had a family that cared.
Francis is humble, he acts like he knows nothing but he has all the copies. He has always been able to gather a crowd. He would gather the neighbour’s children and bring out every single edible thing out. He still has a gang following him wherever he goes. When our neighbor,( died recently, he broke the news in such a mature manner I added another feather to his hat. He also acts as the link to everyone; if you need to know what someone in the family is up to, just ask him.
Chris was born a few years after I left home. But his thinking ability fascinates me. Everyone says he reasons like a middle aged man. He has already established himself as our age mate. He is in cram school but whenever he gets access to a phone he will call me. He looks for me. He is a hero for being able to maintain peace between his mother and grandmother, something I always look on with amazement.
I’ve been thinking about these four men, their love and their good example, thanking my creator for putting my life under their watch. He was right all along.
There are others, like Mama Mdogo(lesser uncle)Kamande who ensured I had lunch everyday and taught me how to make decorative stitches when he learnt how to do it in home science class, it was the coolest thing. And many older brothers not related by  blood but whom I’ve come to love very much for setting a good example on how to  be kind,, mild, wise and to worship God with all seriousness.
 Francis, Chris at the front and Casper with the shades, and my sis Melissa, the girl with the food.

 Mama and Francis

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Naughty doctors and coping with winter

If the weather continues to get this haphazard, I’ll have to move to a really hot place between
April and August each year, or learn to hibernate. Nairobi is cold enough without adding the sewage factor. Dust is not simple loose earth but filtered sewage. The air contains smoke and pollutants that could cause silver to rust.
So anyway. June, July and August has had me in and out of hospitals having tests carried out for
fever, headaches and general discomfort.
I've got so used to lab technicians telling me:
-I need to get some blood out of your finger-
Other times it's a vein on my left arm
and  after the normal tests for Malaria, Typhoid, HIV.

I look at the Doc with hopeful eyes.
-Is it TB?- No.
-Is it H1N1?- No.
It's an infection, are you pregnant or breastfeeding?(she had asked that before the test)
No,what are these for?
She has prescribed antibiotics and worm tablets
-If you don't feel better go to the referral hospital- she says, removing her coat.
 It's lunch time and she really has to go. Never mind there is a queue of patients.

Why naughty doctors? Because corrupt is their main adjective. Uncaring? No, it is not a doctor's
job to care in this century. That is why they are so free to throw about disease words like,
underlying problem, pneumonia, lack of calcium, meningitis. They have no idea what that does to a mind like this one..
There is no way I could go to the referral hospital. When the problem started, I spent a whole
morning and a half queuing, because others with connections in the hospital would come in and get help to cut in line. When I finally got to see the Doc, she said, handing me the lab request:
-Don't go here, you'll take a long time, go outside the hospital to the lab across, the prices are
the same-
I hate such blatant disloyalty, so I decided to go to the hospital's lab anyway but the commotion
and disorder was just as in the waiting bay. No particular number system just patients scrambling at a tiny window trying to get noticed.

I ended up in a private hospital, and after repeating the tests the doc informs me I have a
Bacteria infection. So I donno what bacteria infection is but to describe it, it is  combo of sore throat that won't go away, a hacking cough that starts the minute I lay my head on
the pillow at night, eyes get infected at some point and you wake up heart beating so bad coz
you're not sure if they have Braille copies of your favourite writer.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Adjusting the sails

Everything that could go wrong went wrong at the beginning of  the year. My hopes, and the solid ground I stand on simply gave way and I was falling, sinking, scared and wanting to scream.

I did.

Change is hard.

But I take it harder than most I guess due to my emotional make up.

And because of the life I have chosen, things are always changing in my life. Not many things are permanent.

But there is always something I can count on. Whenever I close my eyes and imagine the big expanse, the universe and the creator of it all. I don’t feel scared.

If you could take a peep at my heart, it doesn’t carry its original color and shape. It is a patchwork of seams and darning.
It is not difficult pick up the pieces, dust off and get on with it. after disappointment, discouragement and hurt

Not this time. I lost my personal space where in a room of one piece of furniture my thoughts flow, my sadness finds a way to evaporate and leave by the ventilation holes.

It’s not any better, but I have adapted new ways to keep panic at bay.
It used to be music all the time, but now I have a child jingle that says- life without end at last-
Coz that’s what I hope for, a relief from this rubbish of a life.

The best trips I have had were paid for by someone else.
The best clothes I have were chosen and paid for by another person.
The most delicious food I’ve eaten didn’t cost me a shilling.

I’ve enjoyed wonderful nature walks with close pals, spent evenings in homes of people who are only related to me through Adam.

I believe a good job couldn’t make me happier.

Dashboard confessional bend and not break.


"You on the other hand, look closer to the menopause than the mortuary."

Midlife has just begun and boy ain’t I scared-
Bff Wangũ calls it menopause.
And rightly so, for death is a relief but menopause; it drags on and on.

I don’t say it in mockery. For a few months, me and three of my bffs have been suffering from aching backs and aching legs and reduced energy, fatigue and an almost obsessive need to tell everyone to shut up because you can’t keep up with all the chitchat.

We are the spoilers at parties coz we wanna get home early. We won’t visit water with children in case they fall and drown and we’ll be blamed for kids drowning with adults were around.

Bff Karen calls it the 40’s phenomenon and we are taking a while to adjust.

Meanwhile; we have taken to home remedies for aging. Bone soup never ceasing, fish to keep our brain working, and green leafy vegetables (these cure everything right?...right?)


The need to process information in a quiet environment,
The need to get rid of things. Well, all experimental.
 I could have slowed down when I gave away my furniture and felt nothing. And suddenly most possessions seemed like clutter. So the books started to go, clothes. Then it was like I was on a high-everything must go clearance-

But it’s good for me anyway with my mobile life. Trying to fit everything into a pick up and go luggage.

picture from

sorry, I really donno

With each day that passes, I realize that I know very little.

Like only this month(JULY) I fully understood what it means to:
treat older men as fathers, younger men like brothers, younger women like sisters, older women like mothers with all chasteness.

I have, what do you call it, a quite freelance approach to family set ups.
Perhaps because I was always treated like a grown up, and I learnt to treat adults like my agemates.
I call my aunts Perry and Jane  and my mother’s friends Lucy and Nyambura.
 and it never really bothered me.

But I am learning differently.
 And I almost fainted the other day when I  said to my friend’s father, Lucas how are things?

It felt odd. It’s never felt odd before but recently It started to bother me since everyone about me,
 I noticed, for the first time, despite their size, they call older women ‘mum.’
I’ve tried it, it’s not too bad. Though I won’t be calling anyone dad in this lifetime, I can’t pronounce it.

I could call them father of Hamadi or Mzee.
So anyway, I am a late bloomer but I know things will fall in place.

I’ll learn to sit quietly with my palms on my laps as someone tells me what a squid I am.
I donno, maybe I’ll stop to feel so strongly about everything.


And remember no to try to control everything; time, people’s actions, my potted flowers.

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 ...