Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trips? Anytime

I love trips. I also dislike trips very much
Planning for a trip is exciting, the itinerary, the journey, and all the wonderful times you will have once you get to the other side.
So you pack
 And unpack
 And of course you forget your swimming costume
 Or the sundress you bought especially for this trip.

Trips can gauge the strength of a friendship, not always but in some instances.
I’ve been on trips with my single ladies
Trips with big sistaz
 And trips with the couples.
 The third I’m not about to try again.
With some I’ve been on several trips.

It starts very well. One will watch the luggage as the other sorts out last minute buys. Airtime, antihistamine. 

 And then pressure begin to build up.
Usually, my pressure
Oh no, we didn’t ask what to take to the hotel. Was it a cab or a bus?
And then I realize I brought too many gadgets along.  Two hand phones, my camera, laptop, a torch, headphone, a universal adapter, three chargers and now my shoulder is hurting.

The feeling. I‘ve spent a month and half worth of rent and this tip should end right now, I wanna go home.
 But trips are great as they expose you to the unexpected and test your ability to think and decide on your feet, which I don’t have so I have to keep saying, sorry and ringing people back to say yes of course we can squeeze in a drink with you before we leave.

 Some trips have been were really worth it.
Santosa Island with my girls Tlotlego and Esther. They wanted to see everything in the underwater world aquarium, I was happy to end my trip at the stingray pond feeding them the fresh flesh of fish.
When we packed and headed out to PortDickson for our goodbye trip, I was the one with two bags, for a weekend.
 I swam in the polluted water and got bruises. Tlotlego slept on the beach while Ivy turned to Justin Beiber.
I always look forward to our annual trip with my gal Wangu, to Arusha where the accents make us crack up each time.

 I loved traveling alone, it doesn’t do anymore.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Tin full of chicken

I was determined to mind my own business. I had had enough of social pretences  and kuzoeana that had led me to give away  and eventually lose my dear dear Mooze( A three year old British blue tomcat). I didn’t even want to know my new neighbour’s names.

The first knock was quite unexpected. A pea sized, grin faced ruffian with a lisp was peeping at the door.

“Thi,thilia, hiyo ni TV unaona? Tunataka kuona Tv.”
Then one evening, a scrawny girl with an overactive mind knocked:
“C, silya? Tunaweza kuja kuona TV?”

Most of the evenings I just wanted to chew my food meditatively, stare blankly at the video playing,
Mac: You get to stay here with your big brother bloo..
Bloo: Don’t say it
Cheese: Braathas,, and together we are?
Bloo: Don’t say it.
Madame Foster: Bloo Cheese?

I had a choice; I could open the door, and expose myself to a session of mental damnation.

“We wacha kufanya hivyo”
“Achana na kisu”

Pretty soon I’d be running to get a rag to clean the stream of pee galloping toward the fruit bowl.
And the recriminations.

“C,silia mwambie aache kunivuta nywele”
“Mimi, sijamvuta!”
“Umenivuta wacha uongo! Mwongo kama Marba!”

Followed by pulling, biting and howling upon which I’d start to drag them to the door, all five of them. 

“Go home, it’s 10 o’clock.”
“Chakula haijapikwa kwetu..”
“Endeni mngojee iive.”

I would turn off the lights, just in case I heard the little fists pounding the door again.
I miss them though, they were really gorgeous kids, just neglected. I liked to watch them rounding up the chickens in the evening. One would hold an old milk tin while the rest picked up the chicks to put them in the tin.
They made me think of Oliver Twist

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Does God wear shoes?


              Mungu havai viatu?
-Unaonaje? Anavaa?- I ask, to buy time.

Anatembea mguu peku peku?
-Nafikiri mbinguni ni kusafi -

Aking’atwa mguu anahisi uchungu muda mrefu ama anapona haraka?
-Mungu hutuponya tunapokuwa wagonjwa sio?-

 I’m close to panic now, she is looking up to me like I have all the answers, and I doubt the mother would approve of  this conversation.

Na Mungu anajali watu? Mungu anafananaje?
-Mungu ni msmart sana-

Anatoshana hivi? She’s pointing at a flower.
Ni wa rangi hii? Now pointing at  a maroon color fabric.
-Apana, ni mkubwa hivi- I’ve opened my arms very wide and I seem convincing  enough so I add. Na ana nguvu nyingi sana.

Ana nguvu e? Na akidungwa mguu anatembea na mguu mmoja hivi? 
She starts to hop about the room on one leg.
 -Labda tu kidogo –

She looks at an illustration of Jesus and asks:
Huyu ni Mungu?
-Hakuna mtu anaweza kumwona Mungu-

Basi huyu ni nani?
-Huyu ni Yesu, aliwafundisha watu kumhusu Mungu.-

 Huyu ni nani?
-Huyo aliitwa Adamu-
Adam, she repeats then, Nataka kuona Kaleb tena.

Kaleb is every child’s favourite animation.
I met this girl in the morning, she was hiding behind her mother when the mother came to pick up some kale. She was smiling . I asked her,
-What’s you name?-

Her hair was askew, and she wore no hijab
I asked - can I brush your hair?-
Beautiful hair, but dusty, dry and matted. She came back later and I brushed it, then held it into two puffs.
I thought, if  I had a daughter, she would look like her. Darker, but similar, like a startled duck.

Yes ,Thank you

I’m recovering from a long sickness. It has a name too. It’s called:
-The NO Thank you plague-
You know, that person that says no to everything you offer them. It’s burning hot and you say:
Hey, come in for a drink?
 -No thank you-
Whatever you like,please
-I’m fine-
 And you wish to hit them hard with a piece of tile because they are obviously very dehydrated.

About the age of 6, I started to say -no thanks I’m fine- to everything and everyone. But I had reasons. 
Asking for something was usually followed by a barrage of
 -Where do you see the money ? Shall I pay for an education or for a toy?-
I stopped asking and decided I wouldn’t take it when it was offered.

The second theory was; inborn hard headedness.
“I’m an independent woman, and don’t insult me by offering me things. I don’t want your things. Keep them. And I don’t need your help. I’m super woman. I have strong legs and can multitask. So I paid for meals and drinks.
The other reason was self esteem issues. “I don’t want to trouble anyone. I’ll just sit here reading this Surgeon’s diary and be completely invisible.”
But on looking deeper I think the three theories were hinged on something utterly poisonous inside:
Theory number 1.  Not knowing how to time my requests, and using the wrong tone.
After an outing:
‘I want a wire bicycle.’
Of course I didn’t get it

Theory no 2.  Self independence. In other words selfishness. Thinking I am content and complete not needing anything from anyone simply translates to: I don’t want anything from you, so don’t need anything from me OK?

Theory no.3 Being illegitimate I’ve worn this like a religious vest to torture myself. I closed myself off to people that loved and were willing to assist me. By not wanting to cause anyone any trouble, and “ I’m better off away from everyone so everyone can breath…” I held back love and spooned it out in small doses to some whom I felt were worth it. And completely refused to give it to anyone that didn’t reach the mark.
It is only through the eyes of genuine friends I’ve been able to really see myself as I’ve been. Obstinate, bitter, selfish.

 By putting myself in situations where my, self assumed worth is non-existent, the rough edges are getting less edgy. Like the job I had as a maid in a Somali homestead. They paid me Ksh 66 everyday. I cleaned, scrubbed, brushed, dusted, drugged around furniture, washed  and swept. For six weeks.
 For six weeks I was just the cleaning  lady, sometimes they gave me black tea.

No thank you is still the first response that comes to mind.
-Will you come for the party?-
No, I can’t make it
-Oh, you have plans?-
No, I just remembered I don’t, see you Saturday night, thanks.
In the last, 5, 6 years I have accepted, money(cringe), a holiday(cringe), an expensive gadget(cringe),  dinner(cringe) ,  clothes(cringe).  

My life is now getting less walled in, less private and positively less complicated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


You are a woman when
 Your flesh tears and bleeds
 But you gotta work
 You gotta eat
You gotta feed your herd

You are   woman stepping into
The steps of your grandmothers
Mothers aunts and big sisters
 Your back is no longer delicate.

 A woman cleans brushes and scrubs
Has bruises and broken nails
And the often swollen fingers-
The feet occasionally ,Sometimes eyes
 From lack of sleep
 Or rest
 Or  from tears.

 You are a woman
And your man is special
You want him alright
Being himself

Being a woman
 Pure misery at times.

Joys and sorrows
Feelings and emotions
Hopes and fears, define a woman.

pictures googled, thank you very much.

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