Kiss me, a little more.

Let us pretend am talking to you in a conference. You are sitting while I am standing, addressing you through a faulty microphone that for a seven minutes talk the microphone will give us two technical breaks. In the breaks I will take huge gulps of water from a water bottle, refer to my points, think of my story and prepare my tonal variations hoping to make my story thrilling.


In my opening thoughts I will say “Sons raised by single mothers make responsible men.” I will pause and then continue talking, “I said sons, and I did not say all sons. A good number of them however make terrible men and dads. That will not make an interesting story if it is not about Sam.”

Before ‘he’ (not Sam) became your father, he was a boy, a man then your father. He made mistakes that boys and men often make. With fathers, you grow up just to realize you cannot become any better, you only become responsible. Your mind, position and attitude are things that are susceptible to change depending on your experiences and what side you choose to decide your things from. Changing your expectations gives room for less disappointments. The earlier the better!

I choose to say less and mean more. On the other end.

If a single mother was a commercial sex worker at a downtown bar or brothel. Then there are some things that she would never mention or explain to her kids. The exact kind of work she does. Why her job means ‘no’ dignity. Why she came home last night with bruises. Why she could not buy a bigger bread, buy no bread or afford three meals. She would not explain why her looks did not sell, for a reason maybe her old skin did not glow enough. Or even her previous client did not like her services and therefore could not earn her an extra ‘rating star’. This same mother will never go to bed on full stomach because she has to make sure her kids eat to the very last slice of bread as she looks. Similar case, a single mother who is a nursery school teacher in a village school, would not also be able to explain to her kids why her two thousand shillings salary cannot sustain their needs. It is either because it is too early to learn the truth or they would not understand. Lucky kids continue to grow with their mothers giving them their love in equal measure.

Explaining things would not be their responsibility because of the destruction the past causes and the unbearable moments to forget. Instead teach their kids culture and morals.

At 23, Sam, (not his real name) wanted out of his mother’s house. His body, heart and soul wanted another life elsewhere. He liked his mother’s unconditional love, but was fed up with the constant calls of responsibility from her. All his life he had lived with his younger sister and mother in a 2 bedroom house in Rongai. The absence of a father figure in his life, meant his mother would again and again shout at him whenever she was angry to remind him “I am your Father!” He would not complain either. It was true because she had ‘father and son’ like conversations with him. After every birthday and a few family weekends Sam learned something new about being a man from his mother. She gave the lessons with the boldness that each lesson deserved to cover the gap. Her informal job at a downtown brothel (story for another day) would not limit her parenting job. She struggled to provide basic needs but at least both of her kids were able to get an education.

At 24, Sam had upset her and she boldly told him to prepare leaving her house for his own place. He regretted upsetting her but that would mean he was starting the next chapter of his life. He was taught being a man but never taught living like one. He was hungry for freedom but scared what it would do to him.

It is frightening to be new to a city but it is worse to be new to a village that you know nothing or less about. More lessons were on their way. But it was time to man up and not care what was coming. He wanted to settle in a one bedroom apartment before he bought his house or ended up in his own compound. But his first house was a single room, one that he could afford to pay from the commissions he got for selling insurance policies.

Sam knew how to respect people, people who were not so proud, people who had zero obsession with authority or power no matter how small it was. His shortness for ‘respect’ got him on the wrong side of the landlord’s son. You know this other son of the landlord. Who every time calls him baba or mzee, the one that works like an errand boy always running up and down and always careful not to upset his boss, mzee. The one who looks more hardworking more than his other brothers. That one. The care taker.

Sam had an eye for his daughter. A 22 year old, university student and the pride of mzee’s other son. She was one of his many girlfriends he was involved with. He got her pregnant. And thereafter would never see the care taker in his eye. Water would be rationed for him. He would never be reminded to take is garbage out. His rent was supposed to be paid in good time or else his house would be put on lock and summoned for a long meeting. To remind him the estate’s must follow rules.

He could not run away because he would have failed his mother and became like his father. His conscience would haunt him forever. He wanted someday, in his old age, to sit in his rocking chair at the veranda, rock himself through the evenings and imagine that he was still a good person.

Today, this morning as I talk to you. Sam is somewhere in a hospital maybe in a maternity room. Against his then word. When he was 21, he swore never to step in a maternity ward. 3 years down the line, he has made up his mind he will get in there if he gets a chance, and know what it feels like to be a dad at the first cry of a baby. He hoped not to feel useless in case he gets a chance of setting foot in the labor room. He hopes to hear his baby say in his speechless cry, ‘Kiss me, a little more, my cheeks are ready.’

As I conclude, he asked me to say this for him: Remind your brothers and sons to become responsible.

And I say.

Sam, son of the Maa people. See how you look on paper. Your name next to responsibility. I pray you do not make a terrible Da.

Numbers


It is on purpose that I don’t have another person’s story. But thank God, I have something to write. I thought it was best today I interrupt other people’s stories with mine.

Allow your thoughts to wonder with me.

What if you switched on your TV and put your favorite channel to watch news just to find out, there is nothing like ‘news’? That your favorite news anchor did not turn up, without reason and their absence is not explained. It could be, something serious has happened to them and you don’t know- If you are fired today it will not be put on news. Small things piss you, and now you are a candidate of boredom. You have always watched news because it is them who brings to you the news in the way you have always wanted. Your instincts tell you something is wrong but there is no proof to support your feelings. And so you will not watch news in peace or not watch at all.

Dear reader,
We will be needing to talk. I prefer to do it here.

“My body temperatures are high, I have a bad headache, and coughing. I have running nose which made me buy two more handkerchiefs to add on my one and only souvenir handkerchief. I have a feeling it will be messy and noisy, it’s better if I fit my guard. This time around I have learnt my lesson from wicked people, so I will be blowing my nose soundly. Maybe that way, I will heal fast.”

That was exactly me, in early May, this year. My thoughts were zipped in this thing. COVID19. I was stigmatized and therefore very much scared, let me just say too afraid. Since COVID is also a flu, and I had similar symptoms. I knew if I tested, in one of the possible outcomes I would be told to go and continue staying safe. In the other possible outcome I would either end up in a hospital wholly depending on a ventilator. Or in an isolation centre, alone, of which I would misbehave by blowing my nose soundly. No one would be offended since loneliness will be guarantying my free will of doing things. The way I want. If luck would cast a dark shadow on my life then: this could be a wrap. I would thank my body for giving a good fight and I would prepare for my next life.
However, there was no call for alarm, it was normal flu with fever and dehydration. So I gave it time and I healed. Don’t tell me I am asymptomatic.

No one wants to become a COVID19 statistic.

Recently I realized that I like numbers, big numbers. My thing with numbers surpasses a mic tester thing ‘one, two…one, two, check.’ I know numbers can; define you and state your worth, create stigma and stereotypes, get you called many titles like tajiri- rich, draw you a seat at the high table. Then numbers can make you a president or make you know when to retire.

I am an academic writer, blogger and creative writer, all these gives me a chance to work online. As a creative writer and blogger, numbers are one of the reasons why I write, the growth aspect matters, a bigger circle means I can reach the world. After all, it’s a round world –spherical, and where my readers come from. As an academic writer numbers mean you are street smart and therefore it will make you a dollar rich. I like analyzing data (numbers) and writing reports. It is a skill that everybody would call statistics.

Today (Sunday), why we need to talk. I have finished doing a statistics assignment. I do not feel so proud. I was broke so I wouldn’t mind engaging my brains to earn a few dollars. For me it is both good and bad. Good, because ‘hakuna kazi- no jobs, it’s a big theory that does not exist. With this kind of writing you need to know someone. And bad because if you are not ready, it is not worth it. Where is this bile being drawn from? The answer is ‘I don’t know’. What I know is that I am angry because I was doing an assignment for a racist and lazy white student somewhere around the globe who keeps calling people like me nigger and doesn’t care. The student will still get a good grade and still say Africans are stupid. It’s saddening.

Ever since our lives were disturbed, I adapted the feeling of wanting to feel useful. As a writer and a person it goes far beyond the zeal and effort of becoming a better human. I feel different and not better. Striving to be useful can stretch you on rocks and squeeze your inner peace.

I think today is a good day to find inner peace and remind yourself, numbers are still very important and your new and old skills still render you very useful. Don’t lose yourself: It will not be good news on TV.

B plus


Pity is exactly what I feel and this is what I know and don’t know.

I am not Muslim and I don’t know how it feels like to pray five times a day or to be on an Islamic pilgrimage, going to Mecca- a city in Saudi Arabia which is considered the holiest place in Islam. I do not also know the feeling of watching a big football match in an ultra-modern stadium. My hands don’t know the texture of a first class air ticket or how big size of paper, it is. My head cannot tell how new fabric would feel on my skin apart from mitumba –second hand clothes, rather how I would look like. I also do not know how losing a limb would feel like. But I know how it feels like to be swept away by the moment or losing myself to time.

However, I know how big my smile cracks on my face when am satisfied. I also know the number of letters my name has. Longinus.

I love knowledge, and so I am aware that Louis Vuitton is a top clothing fashion brand. If you know nothing about fashion, and less about the latest trends like Versace, Fendi and Gucci, or own no collection, relax, we have something in common. I don’t know everything either.

I am a Christian and I know how it feels like not to pray in a week or forget to meditate in the morning. I know the feeling of watching football on a big screen and owning many used bus tickets. In my head something always tells me that the sun never sets that it is always a bright new day to someone different around the globe in every hour.

What I also know is that I do not have the monopoly of knowledge and that wisdom is universal. I know you do not learn everything by reading big books and magazines, instead, being a good student of life is far from reading. I consider what I know as basic and I believe it can sustain me until I learn and experience more.

Here is what I also know. ‘I know somebody who knows somebo’… Aah! Just don’t read that, I know people!

If you are a practicing driver you have already met her, if you have not, then fate will soon bring you to her. If you don’t drive, relax, when you learn how to ignite the big engine, step on the accelerator and brake, putting your hands on the steering focusing on the road. You will listen to good music in your car and follow traffic rules and finally meet her. This should not frighten you. I am talking about an enthusiastic rider and a lover of speed. Who will accelerate and overtake you on high speed.

Immediately Anita finished her science degree and graduated from the city university she had no more options laying unchecked on her to do list. She had been in this city for the last six years. Now she was an architect both by training and experience. In a modern and competitive part of the world like this (Kenya) she had skilled hands. Apart from sewing her torn pants and washing her dishes clean without going through the dish washer or worrying about her manicure, Anita knew a lot of things. The city had made her a tough woman with a fully formed character. The city campus had made her learn drawing unique designs and become bold and confident. Her friends had made her a motorbike lover.

Riding on a scooter was fun but it became something cheap and less weighty, feather like dreams. A 150cc engine. That was what she rode first, a bike that she would sit with her legs together and her feet placed on a resting board between her seat and scooter’s arms. She believed there was more to bikes than just riding a scooter, so she learned how to ride bigger bikes. She was an admirer of speed, big and better bikes with bigger engines, bigger tires and colorful helmets. After her street training she went for a license.

Speed bikes hooting past her, rushed her adrenaline. Her riding experience stuck somewhere in her head. When she was alone she moved her hands as if she was accelerating a bike just in case her skills were fading away she could hold its tail and pull it back. She felt pain in her hands whenever she felt like she was losing the grip and focus of her mental bike. Her riding experience was found and left at the fields she used as training grounds. She did not see herself in the future riding.

At 24, the time she was leaving the city, she was not seeing anyone therefore leaving the city would not feel like she had left a part of her behind. She moved on. The look on her face was satisfying and fulfilling, so she packed her bags and left for the next town. She had a job offer as a delivery person. It would not be a bad hustle after all, she would be useful with her time as she figured out what to do with her degree.

Anita opted to live with her brother, Charlie, who had just sat for his national exams, KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Exams) and now waiting for his results. He was obedient and a good errand boy who would do house cleaning, cook and use the Wi-Fi subscription fully.

She worked on an average bike. A 180cc bike. She knew her road safety majorly depended on her decisions. She knew that she didn’t have to rush to be early but instead schedule her work in good time. And enjoy her ride.

Every riding opportunity has its untold stories.

After a successful day with around 20 deliveries made. All she wanted to do was get home in a few minutes and take a heavy nap. Meditate. And pray. She remembers; a rush of events, a scream growing and suddenly dying, screeching breaks, a big bang then a blur and total silence with sound sleep of no pain.

“Some things are never meant to be, everyone sometimes stares at what they like, love or do not hate and give it a second thought.” She says.

The next day came, that day her mother was a little confused. The first week of December. When KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Exams) results are usually released. Charlie’s mother thought her son was calling to tell her about his KCSE results. When she picked that call there was a long silence.

All that Charlie did was to read what was on the small note.
“B plus” Charlie said.

His mother felt happy and proud, she thanked God for the hard work and good grades. But everything was wrong her mother’s joy was not on both sides of the phone call.
“It is the type of the blood ‘She’ need.” Charlie corrected her.

That is how the next chapter of her life would start. She left riding on a bike and came back pushed on a wheel chair. She would not walk again.
Anita is a rider who will not live all her passion.

I don’t know the exact measure of remorse I should feel for; her, those who have lost body parts or senses, the crippled, the poor, those in bad health, those who are hurt or those who never enjoy the good side of luck. What I know is all these people do not need our pity instead need our support!

“Dear God…”

Photo courtesy Haniel Mukuha

I have never been arrested, never been cuffed or escorted to a police station. I have never been chased or served with a subpoena. I have been to peaceful demonstrations that turned into fracas, but I always left early before the ‘side-show’ started. Not because am a coward but because I don’t ever want to see myself running up and down because live bullets and teargas were somewhere in the air ‘controlling’ the masses.

I have never been to a police nor a military recruitment, since I haven’t thought of wearing the police regalia or decided to cheer someone with that vision. I do not have the good luck charm for crossing fingers. It is not that my height is an issue or my discipline cannot match the requirements of disciplined forces. First, it’s because of mere lack of interest. Second, I do not run fast, the only moments I have been fast and even faster (you all know the 1.59.59 one) is in my dreams, not even Kipchoge comes close.

Don’t be too excited. However, I play street football when am free. It’s pretty cynical that am their attacker, because of my pace. You must think this is a slow team but everybody has their pace and therefore, a place in the team.

At least I don’t only have one skill.
Allow me to introduce you to this guy. Calistus.

Starting it off, I have an obsession with flowers. So Calistus and I met when I had gone to a flower shop on one of these special days for women, ‘International women’s day’. When the whole world remembers to cherish them. It’s absurd!

His mother named him Calistus because she loved the arrangement of vowels in the name (a,i,u). It was a unique name those days before parents started calling their kids Kelvin and Jayden. He became this kid who smiles and cries in the morning before he starts playing. Then a stubborn teenager. He narrates growing up and becoming a calm and ambitious man.

Until today, I have no record of ever meeting a man like this one. If you look into his world- in a quest to live a better life, he turns out to become a guy with the most skilled hands. He never knew how to give up not even when playing Candy crush.

As a client in his flower shop, I liked what he did. He arranged flower bouquets that made beautiful flower patterns all the way from the door, around the shop and through to the back. The shop had more than just live roses, lilies and gladiolas. It had flowers that let out an easy waft that could keep your nose and brain busy.

As he made my bunch, I sat there and thought what I should say. I know am not good with small talks, sometimes I deny them a chance of growing into serious conversation and just let them die with a few lines.

“I hope she likes them…” He said.

Who I was taking to didn’t matter instead I let his question go unanswered since I had no story to tell him. Later, I asked how long he was into his flower making career. He had a lot to say on the topic. Other lengthy conversations started. He was an interesting self to talk to. He knew how to move conversations and that made me not to focus on how much time I had lost just being here. He was kind and willing to teach someone else his skills. Calisters wore gloves while at work therefore his hands were well protected from thorns. At this point our conversation was almost becoming a reason for a powerful campaign. He said that his most gratitude went to all flower growers, gardeners and florists for the work they did.

“…they have to deal with thorny stems for the world to get, well packaged beautiful and harmless flowers. Is there any kind of love that can be compared to this?”

I know he did not compare to heavenly love but I left the shop a challenged man. How could it be possible? That I had not turned my face and focused my thoughts that other side. These guys are truly heroes.

We lost touch. Months later we bumped into each other in a cafe here in Nairobi. He was waiting tables. We had a reason to speak past the flower stories, hot coffee and Arsenal. I mentioned I was a writer and I wrote about people and I was waiting for somebody willing to give me his story and pay for lunch.

It is true, I love listening to peoples stories. They make me smile, laugh, pity and sometimes break. Everyone’s experiences has a thousand lessons.
Calisters wanted to see how he would look like on paper if his story was to be wrote. In this case not in an autobiography or on Mpasho for a scandal.

We made plans to see if his story would fit on paper.

Let me tell you something about him. He was nothing like a story, at least not an ‘interesting’ one. One that flows from line to line with commas, full stops and punctuation, lines to paragraphs, pages to chapters, chapters into books and into many volumes.

It was my turn to listen to his story and later write something about it. Maybe it could help him not walk around and have to explain himself to everyone.

I respect privacy but that caused me a big deal. I only have to write what I was told. I wish I could ask more.
Calisters had a family that he never met not because they owed him an apology but he felt it was best that way. He travelled many places to do many different jobs. He has a nice sense of humor. People were attracted to him but they all drop off when they realized there was nothing to know about him. He wanted invisible relationships with strong bonds. But that was only a wish. His friends list did not have more than two. Wishes to have more friends are beyond control but you cannot control loyalty and secrecy. He had invisible enemies, not in his mind, but real humans. He had a past that he held on so dear.

He talked to God. When he did it was always in his diaries. He started with a capital letter write two words and end with a comma. “Dear God,” Calistus would breakdown and drops of tears would tell God every problem. What followed was him becoming a man and walking out up and straight.

Of God’s whole creation he hated mosquitoes. They denied him a chance for sound sleep. If you asked him on a scale of 1-10 how much they disturbed his peace, the answer would be 11. At least every giant was brought down by the tinniest creatures. That was his plight.

I did not understand him either. But this is why.

Every country has this kind of people. Men (and women) who wear uniform when they are indoors and while training. When they come out they become air. Invisible and intangible. These men travel through walls without breaking them. Survive in cracks without dropping sand. Dwell in water without pollution. Stay in the air without contaminating it.

These men ‘breathe’ trouble whenever it is and have powerful enemies. Calistus is one of them. Hidden pins and needles are always pointed at him. If he let information out it would be treason, and if he did not it gave him a purpose. They are haunted from dusk to dawn. That would not give a chance for close relations if he cared about the others. What he did gave him peace because he was superman, he protected masses. Making the world a peaceful place is not a tidy and soft job. However, he missed having people close enough without risking their peace.

Calistus went to church, he served God before he started serving the state. As an errand boy he would be sent to secret missions to source information. A better part of his youth would be spent that way. He took every youthful assignment. Every morning he wept then prayed and that is what keeps him safe.


Next time when you pray, pray for him.

Kenny Rogers


What would a writer do when he has a pen in his hand and a blank page stares at him? Similar situation, an empty canvas staring at a painter with his brushes and paint?

Kenny Rogers

I would write two articles on death (LETTER BACK HOME and NOW HERE) not to defer hope and deflect possibilities but to preach desire and forge on dreams. A part of me would die and another would not. My spirit would reincarnate and live forever. From an unknown self to Calvin then to me. For a good mix of stories, allow and me to die live again.

Dear readers, these articles are for you. This evening as I write this article am sitting in a film director’s chair on a roof top of a residential flat here in Nairobi. My laptop is on and am typing away my thoughts. I will tell you, why here and now. Let me freeze frame everything before I intercut with my story.

I will define and describe.

Looking down, cars snake down the busy this feeder of Thika super highway. From a distance a metro seems to be parked beside the slim road. It is not a drop off point neither is it a pickup point. You might been asking yourself what is happening. Here is why, that is an impatient driver trying to get himself back on the track. We all know he ignored all the advices and quotes that dangle on the mudguards of cargo trucks. “Haraka haraka haina baraka.” and “Ungetaka kufika mapema ungetoka mapema.”

Panning my view for more details.

A crow calmly sits on an electric pole, a few seconds later it takes off. I am African- this is a bad sign. According to my mother; bad things are a part of life. You choose what you feed your mind and take away. Either self-nourishment or mental bondage. It is up to you, be wise.

For a while now I have kept my mouth shut, not moving my hands to type my thoughts on social issues. Legends and heroes have fallen. The world has felt the pain significantly. I did not speak up, I did mourn with girls, neither did I not condole with boys. I am not irrational. My senses are still in the right place.

Let’s look back, shall we?

I will remind you of a curved statute, a legend. Kenny Rogers. Somebody who connects your future, with the present and past through his voice. Have you ever thought how you would look like when you get old? How you will be dressing? What you will be listening to? What will remind you of your old classical days?

Wrinkles, white hair, hardworking hands with bulging veins full of old blood, ever focused brown eyes and a smiling face. A wardrobe full of cowboy hats, bandanas, boots, coats, jackets, fitting jeans trousers and skirts and colorful shirts and blouses. Mini-skirts. Listening to country music on a stereo, cassette radio or bluetooth woofer in your farm house when you retire. Peaceful evenings. Am sure you will feel young again and full of energy. You will be grateful and you will love your generations and generations to come. You will hope to die in peace when you are asleep.

Hey, please come back!

You have no business with music if you have not been addicted to any of his songs or loved his lyrics. My all-time Kenny Rogers song is Coward of the county. My best lesson is, when everyone considers you a coward and doubts what the light inside of you could illuminate… keep going. You don’t have to fight to be a man. Don’t put up approval fights… and if you do, make sure they are worth it.

Mental health is wealth, and wealth begets wealth.

It reminds me what everyone else will consider before seeing you a man or a woman enough. When that time comes, remember who you are. Go for your dreams. If you leave as a boy, please come back as a man and if you leave as a girl, please come back as a woman. If you packed your bags headed to the moon please come back with stories of hope. Our children also want to go to the moon.

So this is why am sitting here, am eulogizing Kenny. Because of his music I can see a future and so are you. I am writing because am not a coward anymore. Because I will stand for women and be called a feminist, I will stand for men and be called selfish, I will stand for mankind and be called human. I will tell you my stories and be called a story teller. I will build this craft because it is my passion.

Once again.
Good morning, good day, good luck and God bless!

Oslo

Guardians are more than just people who look at us. They are best friends who help us tick away the emptiness of our lives. Every day I look at small things and give them big thoughts. I am a student of the ‘what if’ principle.

Let’s talk about pride and care like that of parents.

Yesterday while I was held up in traffic a guy showed up with a strapped big dog. It had a long tongue with sharp canines hanging on its jaws. The guy walked along the street looking straight ahead and pretending not to realize the world admiring his big dog. He looked like he was in touch with his feelings. The dog was healthy and that proved some one cared for it a baby.

I gave it some thought.

When I go to puppy nursery. I will look for wonderful qualities. I love German shepherds but I will go for a hybrid dog, like Caucasian-people who are neither dominant whites nor blacks. Am sure it will love the rest of the dog family having not come from one family. I will pick a slightly bigger dog, one with a lot of fur on its body, medium height, big paws, sharp canines and a long tongue. Preferably, black or brown in color with a few patches of white maybe on its ears, belly, back, paws or tail.

I will consider names like Berlin, Bogota, Moscow, Nairobi, Oslo and Tokyo, not caring if the names look like a Money Heist casting list. I will consider another set of names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes and Bentley, just to be open for beautiful names. One of these names would make top of my pet names. And my dog would inherit that name for the rest of its lifetime. Maybe I would land on Oslo, like Norway’s capital. A snow white city one that is calm and busy. An indoors city.


Then, I will teach Oslo my cultures and make sure we believe in the same things. I will take it to a trainer that will teach it proper dog manners. Oslo’s trainer will make him an athlete. Then we will agree on a routine- running every morning and evening to keep fit and sometimes when am disturbed. When to play, when to shower and when to train. Soaking in shampoo and seeing the vet will be common. I know dogs don’t speak but I will make sure that we communicate. Not to stay out there and bark at people but to share emotions while inside the house. It will be sibling to my first generation.

My dog will not be an ordinary one, it will defy nature and not die at thirteen. It will live fifteen years. Oslo will be a rescue dog, a dog that doesn’t bark without reason. I will continue writing and incase papers drop on my floor he will pick them up. He will inspire me to write about animals and continue loving them. Before it dies I will give it an extra assignment, one that will last the next two years. I will be its servant. I will want to honor the service for the last thirteen years for being a good friend, a sibling to my kids, a partner to my better half and a loyal brother. My old dog will live in a better place an upgraded kennel. A place of a high standard of ‘military’ class for the retired major.

Many careful dog owners anticipate much different things when they get a dog. No dog wants to be thrown stones at, called bad names, be poisoned, killed by their care givers or hit by cars.

When Oslo’s time comes, the veteran will be laid to rest and therefore missed by many.

You grow to love and understand humans for who they are, with all their flaws. Pets pride depends on how well we take care of them. Am certain that when you see nice dogs something comes up. A self in you that wants to love more and in different ways. Forgive my wishful writing, this is or my future dog.

Dear readers, in a line, a paragraph or two, write to me your pet stories… who will go first? Collins? Rozy? Eugene?

Books


It is true, an old man’s mouth stinks but it will always say the truth. My country men say “fools also get old”. I urge you to be keen while detecting wisdom. They also say a small boy like me (Longinus) can share a meal with elders on one condition, if my ‘hands are clean’.

Photo courtesy Eliud Kipchoge

I can’t tell the exact school or even show you the gate of schools they (elders) went to. Probably it is because I was not there and furthermore there were no schools at that time. In the early years of the twentieth century school was not a common thing in western Kenya ‘going to school’ would not be said by a common man. ‘Going to school’ was a big word for big white men from foreign land who used a ‘witchcraft house’ that flew to come to Kenya. Years later, school was introduced it was a door to many opportunities, some embraced it and some abstained from it. Until today some people are not civilized enough to make that decision of sending their kids to school. It’s absurd!

The elders of Ichesombe had a monopoly of wisdom. Their wisdom could not be traced to any white man’s learning institution. They knew about the laws of nature and governed themselves with laws of the land and knew nothing about the laws of economics. The elders had not heard of America, ancient Rome or China. They knew nothing about Abraham Lincoln or Aristotle.

The community knew about respect and they respected their elders. The community had their Barraza’s which was far to be compared to the ‘Kangaroo courts’ we know today. They respected their roosters and therefore, they would not dare slaughter them for an enticing dinner meal. For many reasons, one, they would need it the morning and two, for other cultural activities. They respected roosters and roosters served with honor. This men and women were native people who bothered themselves with communism. In their immense wisdom, they enacted unwritten laws about ‘books’.

Allow me to unpack for you the laws;

  1. One book one pen.
  2. One pen one book.
  3. Never look at books while writing.
  4. Never open books during the day.

Those are the simple rules to apply in life and one day you will become an elder. However until today there exists another set of rules that they did not ordain. Nobody knows which elder is responsible. The laws of nature. The sun rises early and the rooster crows before it, solid bodies cannot defy gravity unless interrupted by science and dogs walk on fours and still raises one leg to pee. No one can tell about that.

1944 is the exact year when he made his father a senior. Talk about luck, Ingosi was a famous young man in the village. The white man’s obsession got into him as soon as he was ten years old he followed two kids from the next village who went to school in the far villages. That gave Ingosi senior no option other than sending him to school. His fellow men warned him of sending a small kid to a place he didn’t know. To Ingosi’s father knowing the names for his fore fathers and the ability to touch the other ear while putting his hand over his head was enough reason to start sending him away. He had many sons and he was still going to sire more so there was no need to worry about one child. Many children died of strange sicknesses or by the hoot of an owl on a village tree.

School was very far but Ingosi loved it that way. It gave him a chance to learn another language, the language of blocked nose. School also gave Ingosi a chance to wear a school uniform. A pair of shorts and a shirt. He repeated in his first year. It took him longer to transition from his normal life to the new normal (school). Ingosi became top of his class and drew affection from his white teacher, a missionary Catholic priest. The white father believed Ingosi would join priesthood one day because he loved God and His word. He liked the catechism classes.

Ingosi’s fame rested on solid personal achievements. Being top of his class gave him a chance to school through primary to form five. Ingosi had gifts that would match a perfect family man. However, he was the only one from the entire village who qualified to join the university. He was empowered to read “big books”.

On the eve of his departure to the big city, the elders gathered and gave him the age old wisdom (‘Laws about books’). A special blessing was said to shield him from the evil in the city. It made his mother sad and she cried a lot over it. She had no chance to hug Ingosi in public because she was a woman and that would bring bad luck. Ingosi went to the kitchen where his mother hid her crying face. He needed her blessings too. His mother gave him a bag of maize, in it, she had put tsiswa, mapwoni, vwova and added milled wheat flour-the brown one. She hugged him long until the elders started calling. They cursed it that his mother was changing his mind. Her head cloth got soaked, it had harvested big drops of tears from her eyes. He would not cry in front of his mother, it was a sign of weakness. Ingosi’s tears fell ‘in his chest’ and he left.

Before he started his journey. The only man who had gone to the city spoke last. He left being called Mulama and came back from the city being called Alphas. He asked Ingosi to be easy on himself and cautioned him not to break any rules. (Laws about books – they made everyone a man) He whispered to him his big secret.

“Nobody knows that I used to sleep on the floors of Victoria Street (Tom Mboya Street) and Government road (Moi avenue)… again nobody knows I only worked for one month got fired and had to marry a rich man’s daughter to survive. But look how am respected here and everybody celebrates me.”

Ingosi felt like he had known everything that he needed to know. He looked at Mulama straight in the eyes gripped his hand firmly shaking it. The few years he was going to spend in the city would have more content in their talks when he would come back. Mulama spoke louder now.

“Your father pleaded with us to let you go, but as soon as you come back I am giving you my daughter. You can then wife her and I will be glad to be your father in-law.”

He travelled to the lake town city (Kisumu) and took a train to Nairobi. When Ingosi landed in the big city, he was pleasantly surprised that no one followed ‘the laws on books’. He also followed suit against the advice on the words of the elders of Ichesombe.

Ladies at the University of Nairobi were beautiful and they confused him a lot. A week later, an afternoon after classes, he was introduced to the city life. This time it was by a lady, Mueni. He still does not remember if it was her real name. She was not a student, they met along River Road while he made rounds to get to know Nairobi. She was a bigger book with sweet memories. She had big buttocks and the ‘right’ curves, her skin was lighter, her smile was attractive, her teeth were white and her eyes were big. Mueni was wearing a mini-skirt and a sleeveless top. He could see her boobs, shoulders and hips. He had not seen this in the village. She was not to be compared to Mulama’s daughter who only wears long dresses and her head is always wrapped in a head cloth. He was sexually attracted to Mueni and he shot his shots at her. Somebody had tipped him that she would get laid for five shillings. His village men gave him sixty shillings so he was quite rich.

At this time he was twenty five years old. He was not a virgin and again he had learned to talk to girls who he helped in the village to fetch water and collect firewood for sexual favors. All went well with Mueni, she was kind and gave him a few rounds. Ingosi had got an introduction to ‘book writing’. He had wrote a book during the day looking at it. He wished someone had told him directly what they meant.

“They thought I would get spoilt”

He laughed hard and long to that thought and finished his day feeling like a man. He wished he could have spent more time with Mulama he could have tipped him more. But he had a community to represent. After all he had learned that he had come to the city because of books. He had also learned that in order to make both ends meet for a son of a peasant like him he would get dirty doing manual jobs to get money for ‘book writing’. It was nice that way!

He wrote in many books; 120 pages, 96 pages and even 32 pages!
He looked at books.
He wrote in books during the day.

He wrote in two books at the same time. He even wrote in an encyclopedia. He even signed on the cover of one book because his peers had written on all the pages. He was a true believer of his pen. He loved books and books loved him right back. So he continued writing.
Ingosi was named Christian by the catholic priest but here in the city he choose to stick to his sir name. He loved his identity.

Ingosi had come here to pursue a degree in economics but he had learned the secret of the world. Communication. He also knew: What economics was, why economics run the world, when politics and health would be discussed with relation to economics? Where Adam Smith gathered his knowledge on economics and considered a father of economics. How economics can save the world and its people, He knew it was all about communication therefore he lost interest past that.

He invested his time in book writing, he wanted to own a library. He says book writing here in the city would earn you a good name, you would be called professor and considered very wise. Luhyas have a powerful language prowess and that got them a good name, until today they get applauded and respected for it.

One day Ingosi’s pen stopped writing. He shook it and rubbed it between his palms. The pen worked. But after writing in a few more books, the pen stopped writing again! After shaking it, it began writing in red. The voices of the elders of Ichesombe began ringing in his head. He had broken all the laws on books. He was too weak and frail.

Opening books during the day and looking at them while writing, using many pens and writing in many books and writing in the wrong spaces is a Taboo. The elders of Ichesombe knew that breach of these laws would hinder innovation and creativity. Once you start writing you get lost in the books.

As I write this article Ingosi is still here in the city. When he is not being driven around in his classic Mercedes Benz, he makes time to read and write about real books. He waits President Kenyatta to lift the lockdown so that he can go back to Ichesombe. He admits of being among the very first people to contract HIV. He recalls how it was a big blow and became a big scare.

“… back then if anyone knew your HIV status they would run away.”

Mzee Ingosi laughs to the past events how his wife and two kids run away after realizing that he had tested positive. He had been away for a year and his wife blamed people from the far away land. He never married Mulama’s daughter and he is not among the current elders of his people.

He regrets nothing and wishes for no bigger things in life. He has lessons for young people to learn from. He loved writing books and that got him test HIV positive, he calls for responsibility. If he tests Covid19 positive today and succumbs to it, his inheritance is wrote on his two sons and that gives him peace. Mzee Ingosi is a wise man. Luhyas go away and walk astray but when they get old and have something good to communicate we welcome them home.

Book title

The pastor stood on the pulpit and started shouting. “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” His gown was long with a big purple cross that nearly swept the floor but he kept on pulling it on one side. That day his coarse voice pleaded with him. He cleared his throat and started speaking. He had crammed a speech and therefore read it out like a shopping list. Later, he pronounced them husband and wife. By reflex the congregation rose and cheered. The orchestra started playing, they entertained the invited and the uninvited guests fully. The praise and worship group sung hymns with a lot of passion. The church was filled by divine smiles, pure holiness.


To God be the glory!


After it all; photo session, cake cutting, long emotional speeches and too much feeding. A vintage yellow Volvo with an old number plate drove off with the newlyweds on board. The rear mirror of the car had writings ‘Just married’ and after the car took off a huge cloud of dust rose blocking the vicinity. The wedding had affirmed beliefs like that of an optimistic marriage therapists, the congregation had seen off a happily ever after.

photo courtesy Haniel Mukuha


It would not always be raining ice cream and dropping peanut butter. Of course they would go through a lot sometimes together sometimes solely. Fight as many times as one could ever imagine. Go days without talking to each other. At some point they will not make decisions as a unit. Sadness will invade their lives. Happiness will fluctuate. They would fall in love and out of love and have children that will give them a reason to stick together and continue work hard. That is how marriage could be described. Well, they say it’s what makes it beautiful.


I don’t plan to disagree. I am an amateur here.


When the last cloud of dust had settled and the vision was clear for everyone, small talks started. Fingers would be pointed at her. A woman who tried to go to them moon on foot, that was the simple statement that ignited mockery and spread like wildfire in the mouths of the congregation. She wasn’t a loser yet she looked like one. ‘Failing in love’ did not mean that anyone was a loser. That was not to be explained here either. She avoided the crowd, it hard toxic energy. Her loneliness was an ingredient for trolling.


We all need someone to care for us if we make at home at night. She lived alone. A one bedroom would fit her well but still it was too big. The vacuum in her heart tormented her. She broke when she was alone. Going outside was bad for her but staying indoors was much worse. Perhaps everyone wants something, she wanted a family, not so perfect. One with minor struggles would do her much. Feeling incomplete sometimes means you do not consider yourself good enough. She was not in love with herself. She had no one, maybe if she became a second wife. She always wanted to be first, not second to anything or anyone.

She was forty three, single and childless. You know what it means she would not get a baby, you know this menopause things. If she chanced on getting kids she would risk their mental uprightness, which is biology. Another possibility was if she went ahead with these plans then she would not enjoy her retirement days with her grandchildren, as this is norm and nature.
Being a midwife that evening she went for her normal night shifts. The maternity walls knew her. She brought joy into the world and made dreams come true even though she could not dream in the same way. In here line of duty people did not remember she was a childless ‘spinster’ or remember all her failed marriages. They would applause her for making their dreams come true for this was what she lived for. Every expectant parents depended on her.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is a story of a childless mother. A ridiculed midwife that I respect so much. She is a complete mother with or without kids.


Let’s continue showing her our love.

Man enough

MAN ENOUGH!
Defying a series of calls and repeatedly turning down requests to go to his place. I finally accepted to pay a visit. The friendship between us was on the brink of extinction.


As soon as the doorbell went silent and the door flung open, damn! I was in the visitor’s room. The view so amazing. In a cottage not so humble. An asset worthy of a gentleman. I was not surprised because I did not expect much from a guy who stays alone and accommodates different lasses seasonally. Just a ‘big boys’ lifestyle.


The air within was fresh, with a little almond perfume. A half of the walls were clear and boring. Being a lover of art I prefer walls that depict culture, heritage, memories or style. While the other half of the walls had; a one and a half meters hanging Bob Marley wall mat, a local painting of a dried river and a jug pouring water in it, an A3 size portrait photo in a big glass frame (In the photo, Antony is wearing a black suit, white shirt and a black tie, smiling with one hand on his chin and two fingers around his cheeks, his head slightly facing down and the other hand bent holding his hip), and the most interesting bit is, he has a very big and authentic wall clock that goes for around forty thousands in the leading gift shops. I guess this is what attracted lasses to this den- the wonderful touch of everything. The carpet on the floor had been nicely cleaned and the fur was vibrant. The house was cozy.


Antony, was the name me and my folks were fond of calling him. We were friends since childhood. He was a policeman and a widower. Before this meeting, many of us avoided him because of the accusations laid out on him by his wife. He was a wife-beater. Antony was and still is well-built and martial art trainer. I hope that gives a hint of his roughness in case you were on the receiving end of his beatings. Though our ‘in-law’ succumbed to a road accident. It affected him and changed the ways he related with everyone. He isolated himself.


An elephant could die of a broken heart, due to losing their mates. They refuse to eat, they lay down shedding tears sometimes starving to death. It is a way through which elephants show their affection, love and grief. Antony was an Elephant. A man who loved the ‘wrong way’, ‘too hard’ with his body and soul. Antony was yet to wife again but had two kids in shaggz staying with his mother.


His mother was a wonderful character, ever complaining about his son. A son who never wanted to retire back home, become a family man and a farmer just like her. She hated it from the moment when his late husband exchanged a fat brown envelope for her son’s job. His Dad said the ‘small fee’ was a nominal admission charge for every job. She termed the job as a black hood. However, Antony paid school fees and provided for his family in time but that was not enough since there was more to life. To her mother, a man’s value was measured by what he got from the soil.


Every child is born with a sacred gift from God and brains are a wonderful gift from our maker. Antony had not lost touch with everything, at least he had a lasting link with reality and taste. He had a nice taste of every good thing that came his way. He had assembled and established an attractive surrounding.


While trying to find a decent place to stay, away from estate drama and city noise. He found himself an old abandoned home with a stinking pool in the leafy suburbs. The owners had upgraded to a new home and had tried to sell this house without success.


The house had rugged and dusty floors. Broken sinks, dirt patched ceilings with holes and hanging cobwebs. Doors with bad locks, broken windows and loose taps. Plants were growing on the water gutters and the roofing tiles. This looked like a zoo with wild animals that would either terminate your life or mess it. He got it at a throw away price. He was lucky and couldn’t think twice of the offer. He had made a ‘kill’.


Standing at the window and looking through the balcony opening from the visitor’s area, things were different. The lawn was manicured, the building refurbished and life was breathed back to the swimming pool. This is one of those homesteads with nicely done flowers, the trimmed grass and well-kept kitchen gardens. The value of this property had appreciated, maybe to its tens, who knows maybe to hundreds.


Antony joined me while I was looking through his work. A compliment started off the conversation, then was followed by silence, a long one, long enough to be called deep. He did not look anything like a confident man when he did not wear that red beret with a government seal.
I asked how he was. He insisted that he wanted someone to tell his story, someone who would listen and nothing else, no judgments, no advices and zero pity parties. A smooth conversation with great tension of what we would say next. What would this be? Was this a lonely soul feeling the emptiness? He spoke first.


“Life is consuming and demanding”
This statement alone was a busy highway of emotions.


He drew a seat closer while sitting down then he let out a sigh. His past could not give him peace. In Antony’s thoughts, he had failed, to protect his loved ones. Failed to show up when his two daughters needed him most. He had only seen then twice in six years. He failed to respect his wife and went out to sire a male child without success. ‘Luckily’ no children came out of his affairs.


Also, he had failed to maintain law and order. More often he was paid to look away on issues that hurt innocent lives. He was a barrier of justice for money. Antony was a god of disaster, worst of it all, he had opened fire on a student he little knew about. He terminated a student’s life, poor and innocent. A young man with a whole future ahead of him, with dreams and responsibilities. A whole society had invested in his education, he was the only light in the darkness. After his death, the media had narrated the life struggles and odds this young man had overcome to make it to the University. It haunted him. He felt like this was the biggest mistake of his life.


This was a monster sitting next to me. I wasn’t being judgmental. He would be in heaven but he felt the responsibility of having a purpose. Antony was ready to turn a new page. The previous life had docked, another life had started. He had dropped out of service. I was there, on the same page with a man whose interest was elsewhere. He wanted to serve humanity, through art. I admired him, he was strong to admit to his shortcomings, I was inspired and still I am.


“The love for my late wife will never die, but here is something small brother. I met a petite beautiful woman with long hair that you should also meet. We share a common interest…”


We spoke of entirely different things and words picked speed. Antony wanted to focus on what made him happy than his past that made him a criminal, he was reformed. He loved houses and designing them. He wanted to transform houses into homes. Happiness into love. Thus we talked and talked about the new designs that exists. He shared the new and innovative ways that I haven’t seen elsewhere. He kept on talking about Burj Khalifa and other beautiful sky scrapers. Here is where sunset caught us, after exploring a million of designs.
Embrace art!
I’ am sorry if it doesn’t have big lessons to take home.
Happy quarantine days!

Now here

I must say, God almighty is all knowing, all seeing, most forgiving and merciful being. Father forgive this writing if it offends and bless this hand if it defends.

Next time before you consider ‘Nowhere’ as a refusal statement, I urge to also see the good in it, please look at it as ‘now here’.

At exactly 0934hrs, on a bright Wednesday morning 25th December 2019, darkness befell roads, and that marked a new beginning. Calvin ‘died’. God had ‘taken’ another life without warning. Was god fair enough? Why now? Was he really kind with life? Who knows?

Calvin driving on a very high speed, crushed beyond recognition.

Where a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. Was this another crazy little moment with a bigger lesson? To appreciate life more? Nobody would understand the loss. Death is a proof of life. I am not trying to make death look beautiful. What we knew was gone, what set foot here was something a lot different.

A gentleman; tall and of an American height, chocolate complexion with no dents, scars or pimples. A bald head stood out, looked like a lawn mower stayed there. He had a neat black beard and was in his late twenties. Late twenties, an age group for people with an obsession for beards. However, this isn’t an age for anyone to die, no one has reached the pinnacle of their lives. It is an age where people are busy chasing their dreams, breeding carefully and nurturing small families with love and care.

What is on your mind is not worth it!
Calvin was going nowhere. His body, soul and spirit is now here. When the air was thin and the cold colder than any freezer you know. He allowed himself to breathe and he would do it more carefully. His breathe was slow. He was keen on what got in, did totally nothing on what got out. Hahaha! He had zero tolerance on the bad breathe expelled. His heart was literally touched to its core and so his heartbeat would vary from too fast to too slow, rhythmic. Without compromise. Nothing going back to its normal. His thought process did not forgive either. Adrenaline rushed through his veins. It was simply a moment of a thousand emotions and feelings.

With high expectations like that of a guy on one bended knee. He took it in his arms. Arms very grown for one so young. Knowing its sex he put his ears to his heart, to listen and get everything he felt clearly. He would tell about it someday. A wave of reality had hit him hard. He had a baby girl in his arms. He was not a big boy anymore. He would therefore start to reason like a man. In this case a baby had appeared and the father was present contrary to what happens when a baby appears, the father disappears. Interesting, isn’t it?

Calvin nicknamed the baby to the favorite pet. Bunny. He loved animals and their young ones. He had a bunny that he carried with him when he was home. Bunnies love attention and people who are kind and gentle. They say, you can know a man’s character by the way he treats his pets. Now they were two.

It made him happy when the days went by. He was paranoid when anyone went near it or anything happened to his kiddo. They were darli, she looked at him calmly, he was careful with every moment. He tried to be easy on himself but he could not take all the tease. He was a crazy first time dad. He did not want to miss out on feeling or moment.

Calvin was proud of his wife, she had made him a padre. She did not say much but she liked it what he
had become. His wife kept smiling and feeling proud. Haa! Ladies can relate better.

Days later, they took her to church. An old Basilica near town, it was hidden in tall indigenous tree. Inside hundreds of pews were arranged to the wall leaving a long and wide isle in the middle. The Alter in front was raised and above it was a cross. The church was well painted and had a lot of vintage artifacts that were well maintained. You know how the Old Catholic basilicas look. Calvin had come here since when he was five, nothing big had changed. It had the same priest for more than thirty years and they renovated this place twice a year. It was appealing.

God was the giver of life and here they had brought the baby to Him for recognition and acceptance. The old priest came and during the baptism ceremony he took a silver jug a poured a little water on the baby’s head. It would not cry, this was holy water. Baptism is one of the must church rites. The priest kept on reminding them that they were on pilgrimage. Seeking out for God. The priest congratulated them further for being new parents.

Calvin said a prayer and made a vow.
‘For better for worse’ … He would protect this young one.

Calvin was a rally co-driver with dreams of racing on a formula 1 stage. He had vowed to stay true to his course until he achieved it. Now he was here with the same disciple he vowed again. He looked forward to the day he would go to a big race with his daughter.

He recalled all the days he had wasted. A party boy who would drink too much and club all night, every weekend that he was not at work. Other than fun, food and fashion nothing else mattered to him. He had responsibilities now, now he would get home early. Be useful by changing diapers, feed the baby, wash it and play with it. Stop thinking about himself and get an extra pair of everything that came in pairs. Calvin would get one more piece of every fashion brand for the baby and wife. His boys would miss him, but they would understand someday when they became fathers. He had no plans of going out soon.

The matrix of his life had changed in a split of a second.

He felt the world was short of feminists to protect Bunny and other girls. He had taken long before he went back to church. He had skipped a multiple of confessions. For a long time he had not been a good man. Calvin left church a changed man.
Calvin was going nowhere, he is now here to protect!

LETTER BACK HOME

When I left for the city my heart skipped. It left me speechless. The sky scrapers and busy streets amazed me.  Something I had only seen online and in the local dailies. To set things straight, this beauty made me a proud Kenyan. I was a part of it, a part of the city, a Nairobian. It is beautiful! I tell you.

 My steps were slow, I wanted to see everything, feel everything and experience everything at their best. Thinking long and hard. The feeling and the urge for success was irresistible, it came too fast. Dreams of a mustard seed, bound to germinate and become an ‘innocent plant’ maybe later a gigantic baobab will live. I had a plan, a mega plan. The first part of the plan was that:

I would hustle hard and smart until I make it. Loving work with loving hands would be a recipe for a nice ending. I had fell in love with this place.

Hello there

“I want you to be a part of my life. When I die give me a police escort home.  Let my last ride to have three cars; one for the police, the other one to carry my remains and one for a chosen few loved ones.  It will be enough. If I die old give me an honorable send off and if I do when am young give me a decent one. Let the world know that I was gentle at heart and I respected women…I will rest home peacefully”

This is how beautiful this letter reads. A perfect read before travel.  It is interesting to read but hey! Sing along.

…Life is old there, older than the trees

Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze

Ooh, County roads take me home

To the place I belong…

Hanging in there, in the trunk of a blue bus I would sing that and stare at the empty roads all the way home. They say people who come around have a phobia of their countryside. Well, it is a lie! I feared leaving the city, being left behind by the city vibe. This time round I was outbound.

This is an account of my life, not so well lived. A life brought to an end, without anticipation.  Life goes so fast and so the truck driver too nervous and eager to see his beautiful wife and daughter back home. Instead of breaking he stepped on the gas. He overtook carelessly It was thrilling they say speed thrills. And my brother would argue why a driver would slow down when roads are empty.

I will make a few changes before sending that in. When we stand at the threshold of death we can see our lives clearly. I had struggled, been swindled, lost but greatest of all I had my moments to win. The clarity of death is what my true life was like. A go-getter, troubled soul.

I have been way through worse, rough and ugly but tarmacked roads buffed to shine wouldn’t care. Let me say somethings you need to hear all road signs ignored costed this. Road carnage. It hurts inside and outside also to see my late old woman’s shadow hanging next to me.

It’s a nice story to read and reflect. Let’s stop insanity on our roads. We need everyone alive next year.  OUR LIVES MATTER!

HAPPY FESTIVITIES!

DECEMBER love STORY

In a quest to know who people really are, I realised the world has identified groups; the whites, Caucasian and blacks …etc. In a black nation like Kenya, this is not any different. Hierarchies still exist; black men, black boys, black women and finally black girls.

Ooh Africa!

She was a village girl who barely knew the village roads. Born and bred in Shagz but never knew the fun that came along with belonging to her countryside; she was not involved in what other kids were. I mean never played Chakalongo, skipped ropes or riot against small boys.

Useful lovers, readers. I am talking about a black girl child.

This one was unique, I mean different. She had read more novels than what other girls her age in this neighborhood had. Her English was fluent, though she was not loud they say intellectuals don’t speak much.Empty debes …’ (it’s you who said)

She never fetched water, never went out to collect firewood or sent to the shop and so she never made rounds going to the shop after she forgot to buy anything. She was a hidden gem.

They met in an abandoned village road, never used because no boys used to hang out these sides. He was interested in knowing where the road would lead. His spirit of exploring was on another level, he walked in confidence. Like a loose lorry he was rolling her way, his broad chest covered the road. His figure suggested he was a player of a rough sport; tall, well built with big biceps and large muscles around his neck. He was a striker, he played handball for his university team and back there he was a celebrity. He smelled like a man; cologne and a little sweat. That was enough to tell his physical dominance, his presence was too much for her small face and this footpath.

She remembered to breathe and looked up straight into this bold guy’s eyes. She had read more articles and books that advocated for gender equality. She knew her place though did not know how to ask for it. Everyone has a problem, gamblers have a penny problem, silence was hers and it was costing her. Her adrenaline rushed in her veins, she had a mix of reactions on her face. She had never felt like this before. He spoke to her like a real man – with a base. The feeling of getting the man of her dreams. A man so complete, nothing more can be admired from another.

For most girls first boyfriends feel like they would lead to a happily ever after. He asked for her number after a few exchange of words. She couldn’t hesitate, it felt like Christmas in a mug. She didn’t fathom how easily she recited the zero seven two …
She was going to the shop I guess to buy candies or airtime but now, for the first time she had to go back to the house and remember. She had forgotten.
This would see a beginning of an end, she developed feelings for him and she would no longer be a spinster without a suitor. She was a lady in love. She had fallen in love at first sight -her crush. She did not know why it happened but kept on believing it was her time.

This handsome lad was new to the area. He did not know much about the village or village life. He was a city boy and was not afraid to experience life of this other side of the world. She was joining campus soon. She could meet a handful of this kind of men in university but fate had brought her this guy. For the next few weeks the couple would walk around holding their hands they would together walk on new roads and meet new people.

He was good in art he made cards for her, bought her chocolate and candies. He was engaging and tender. He was a good singer, she was a good dancer but unleashed her dance moves in her bedroom. He also was a dancer, only that he danced a lot in his head. They say good dancers dance in their heads more than they can do. She sang a lot in her head too. Worlds of imperfections had met. They complemented each other. Seemed they were made for each other. Love birds, watching this two was a beauty. Young souls in love.

However, her bubble of happiness was bound to burst. It would be a little loud and painful for her. She had hidden her face and a locked door behind a four walled for a reason. Her window opened on occasion -when cleaning her room or when her novels wanted an outside feeling. She had no friends.

In this unforgiving land, you grow up quickly, you grow up listening. You become a witness. You become a part of it. A rumor will take a round a half the world before the truth even gets the chance to wear it pants.
He met new friends from the village, and adopted the narrative, he feared her -for who she was. Blamed her -for never saying the truth. She was HIV+. It is the positive that he feared. He was positive when working hard but not this positive. She tried to tell him but stopped because she thought that he would go forever. She was an introvert she was hurt. Hurt by the society.

He left without saying goodbye. He felt sorry for her -for who she was. She was born this way and started taking these pills (ARVs) which she never knew were strange to the world. She wanted to change this state for her kids, she also wanted a family, a beautiful one like anyone else!

My story is that of a HIV positive black girl stigmatized by the whole community. These innocent lives have been denied a chance to be happy. It hurts.

Dear Kenyans lets end stigmatization. They are beautiful humans.

Last wish

Forgive me father for I have sinned. In my thoughts and in my words. In what I have done and what I have failed to do.

A woman with a ‘nurse’ uniform passed in front of a parked car, and rear of the other car, then to the glass window of the building next to the parked cars. She gazed intensely at a print. An advert (poster) by fly emirates. It said FLY WITH US TO DUBAI THIS FESTIVE SEASON.

Photo by Julius Chepkwony, Standardmedia.

The young night was chilly. Looking around I knew she was the one. The one I was going for. Sorry if I failed to mention she was a night nurse, a woman of the night in the old famous streets of Nairobi. Here, this street had lost dignity especially at this time. It had no admirable prospectus to the visitors of the city, the on lookers and to be precise those who are rigid on thought. This street has a murdered statute and a fallen monument. Its sad. I wish Mbiu Koinange was alive.

Lasses of all kind – describe as you wish, were parading on this street. ‘Hungry lads’ were on location for a hunt. But that would not stop me from preying on the hunt of my choice. It was getting even colder every minute. I was set, I the pull my coat together and approach her. She was Lisa, ( my editors name) a girl in her late twenties.

Getting her attention was not easy. She was pretty or rather a beauty hard to find. I decide to break a code from my strict rules of scavengers. They say Fisis don’t have principles but I bet if it is true. I never saw them saying. Wait, who were they saying that?

I was in for a dreadful bargain. I name my price at Sh. 1500. Guess what? She declines my offer only to raise it by Sh. 200. I promise to give her Sh. 2000 if she agrees to my terms. I imagined to myself how it was going to prove its worth.

I hope we all get where we are heading.

On surface I was not sure if I was going to do it finally, for the first time. Though I wanted to do it. Underneath I did not know how it would go and how it would feel. Meanwhile my friend was watching from his old truck parked at a stone throw distance from where we were standing – you don’t go to these places alone. He was bored being around, he did not see the point of me insisting to do this.

Lisa and I get in the truck and my friend chooses to give us space. It was my choice, I had proposed to do it from here and good thing she agreed to my terms. It would take me around 30 minutes. It was little to maximise on, because if I asked for more she would not agree to it. She had repeatedly told that she had an ailing kid that she needed to see later in the night. Tonight she was only going to offer her services for 4 hours. Anyway it is how they operate to raise a living.

The interview was set. It had been a chase of more than a month before she agreed to it. Giving us her story. She preferred coffee so I had a take away for her.

“Everyone needs something” it was how she started it off. “From a tender age I learnt what it meant going hard for what I wanted” She poses then continues with a deeper voice ” I wanted a life.”

From what she was fed when growing up was that she was a baby put up for adoption a few day she came into this world. That was according to her auntie – mother on the adoption end. She was a stolen baby.

Her auntie was a cleaner at a hospital where she was born. That day she was on duty and on hearing that there was a baby girl up for adoption she went for it in a black way. She never got married and never had kids. She was barren. She later fled to this city to have a new life.

I sit upright so that I get every bit of this narrative. “I knew this when I was 13. I was sad. I was angry.” She began the pursuit to look for her parents, her roots. “I wanted to unearth my identity… Little did I know that my bubble of curiosity was bound to a loud burst”

A month later after she began her search her auntie passed on. “No relatives came, there was only one and a few friends from this street.” Tears flooded behind her eyelids, her emotions were rising. She then grabs her handkerchief wipes her tears and blows her nose.

Raising her arm I realise she had a fresh wound. I go on to ask about her findings. ” My auntie was my mothers cousin, they had fled their home for reasons best known to them…”

I interrupt. Her mothers did not matter anymore. I am a child at heart and I have a soft spot for women. “Wait! What happened to you, you have a fresh wound.”

If the past was an indication of the future then hers was going to be worse. Until when? She is a woman financially strapped, economically frustrated and socially bullied.

We got to another phase of it all, I was tone. She grabs her handkerchief once more wipes her tears then blows her nose. The night before our interview she was assaulted by a man who ravished her. “This is what I got in return,” she weeps bitterly. I choose not to tell more.

I was confused for a while. I got more than I had bargained for. I was mad and shy for being a man. It was more than an hour since we sat here. I give her a tight hug not to allow her to say more. Time wrapped into a still life photo. I could feel she thought I would judge her, for who she was. I am sometimes judgemental, but no, I could not allow myself to get there.

The heart of a maiden was broken. A story of pain and tears had no option but be cut short. I signal my friend to come back. She had one wish; to drop her at her house. We granted it… In deserted silence.

I blame where we were raised. We have been taught to hate so much for so long. I had come to listen to her story. I mean compare our wounds maybe we could have a common story. Perhaps not, it would not lead to that.

She had dreams like anyone else. She was in school. Her life was interrupted rudely by reality. She wanted to sail around the world. She would become a captain, then a captain of captains. She would become the best captain, a wonderful lover, a drinker of expensive liquor (probably Belaire would be her cheapest) in decent places, a salsa dancer, greatest of all a story teller. She would radiate positive energy.

Ooh useful lovers don’t be too fast to judge!

TALE IN A LIE

Sunday is a day considered worldwide as a day of rest. This year Mashujaa day having fallen on a Sunday made Monday an automatic holiday. This is the part most us Kenyans did not get it right.

It spurred a lot of argument, to some it was not important to have a day off on Monday. For others with open minds the zeal to take a day off soothed their thoughts.

Being a season of trends like #patreafterparte. It was an off day at work. And my brother phones me early in the morning at around 6 am. I tell you he is such an early bird… We make plans to meet and get out of town for a duo celebration. A brothers affair.

Moments later, being bored and sleeping the slow morning away. He cals again to check if I was in. If I was, where I had reached. The floor was hard and cold for me, giving it a thought for a second or two I decide to lie. Honestly, if I said the truth it would be demotivating.

Ndio hata natoka kwa nyumba

I breathe my sigh of relief though am not in terms with my conscience that I had lied lied. It was a half past eight, approximately two and a half hours after the early morning call. So I make haste in preparing myself and leave the house. It had taken me twenty minutes, quite a lot of time for a bachelor to get ready.

I was behind time, I had lied and I live in the far Ongata Rongai suburb! Well, I hope you feel the distance in my statement.

It would take me 45 minutes to get to town supposing I took a cab. That would cost me around seven hundred shillings, not thinking of a possible taxi siege. A matatu would take me an hour and cost me a hundred shillings. Good thing matatus (Nganya za Ronga) know how to navigate through traffic.

I decide to take a matatu instead. Arriving in style was not in my mind anymore. I cross my fingers and say words of hope to myself. I pray that I dont get stuck on traffic along Langata road around Uhuru gardens and Wilson airport.

Fifteen minutes later I am at Galleria mall, twelve kilometres away from the city. I receive a call, and I lie again.

Niko hapa Nyayo, I will be in town in few

At the back of my mind I know it would take me aroubd 30minutes to be there, believing my prayer could work. And that was the reason to postpone the truth. A series of calls follow, again I put up with my manicured narratives justifying my shortcomings.

Finally The big fat liar gets to town an hour later as promised by the fastest route. Long story short, after I showed up my brother simply smiles my bad joke away and we go on with our plans. Deep down me I bitterly swear to myself not to lie again to anybody when am travelling.

Today, October 27, I got a call from a friend asking to meet me. Not in town. This time I was time conscious. He lied when travelling. It was awfully bad.

I take a lesson home. We often tell lies to ourselves, family, friends, colleagues and other people around us. When we stroke the keys behind our keyboards do we ever think of what we impact on others? Lies are a sign of denial. Lying is keeping away information. Simply, not saying the truth.

If honesty is a virtue then why lie on issues we consider petty like declaring our location when travelling. Am sure every body fells bad taking that lie.

This week, I have a challenge for you , when travelling to destinations of your choice. Save that lie. Say the truth!

THIS MUST BE A GREAT WEEK!