Tuesday, 25 September 2007
I recently decided to make a trip that I might have considered very routine….I did a Safari in my home town game park called Lake Nakuru National Park…you must understand that having been born and brought up in the small town…I know this park nooks and crannies like the back of my hand but never tire of it….my every childhood holiday was spent with a climax (or otherwise) visit to the park and picnic at the baboon cliff. A good friend of mine started this amazing concept of a personalized package tour safari and I decided to indulge myself in a treat for my trip to the park www.storrysafaris.org it was awesome to say the least…… Let’s set the scene now…. I am a small town country girl…Born and brought up in Nakuru…..My bedroom as a child, overlooked the view of the lake and the lolling hills of Maasai land where my dad for a while attempted to grow wheat….During school holidays sometimes I would be dragged along to Ole Nguruone with my dad and stay in Mzee Tumanga’s land a tall Maasai man (with his three or so wives) who hosted our workers camp. We would set up tents for the weeklong harvesting period. It wasn’t half bad…once we ran out of tissue we had to use these soft leaves ( one day I mixed the leaves up and used a nettle instead…I was sore for days)..and play all day with the local kids while they went out to graze the cows….sometimes I followed my dad with the tractor to watch the combine harvester snap up the wheat with awe….other times I just sat in his car sulked and missed my mother, my room and TV….At night the all the workers set up a great big fire and cooked huge mounds of Ugali and sukumawiki... when we were lucky we would have meat…an errant Dik Dik hunted…I was usually too hungry to care and just ate without asking too many questions….they sang sometimes and chatted about the days events as I fell asleep in my dads arms before whisking me off to the tent…Many times I would wake up at night and hear all kinds of animals and insects making noises….terrified till the first break of dawn……. Anyyyyywayyyyy, basically I could identify buffaloes, zebras, white and black rhino’s, flamingoes, impalas way before I could spell out my name….I grew up waking up to the sounds of the woodpecker pecking away my dads blue gum trees….or to the unhappy voices of the neighbors complaining that a leopard broke free from the park and was harassing their dogs…. Anyway I pretty much took for granted the beauty around me that people spend thousands of shillings each year to come and be a part of….. Unlike earlier in the year when I was last there…the lake was full of flamingoes perhaps attributed to the bumper rain we have had…the park was bustling with animal activity…which coincided with the cycle race to raise money to conserve the rhino population. It was amazing to see brave cyclists against the scene of the Lake www.kws.org/nakuru I mean every corner of the park had lovely animals packed to the brim and the roads being muddy caused many of us to need rescuing…and thank God I decided to use the Storry Safari van rather than a small car because many needed rescuing from huuuuuuge muddy pot holes…I was so impressed to see that the rangers were readily available to help the people in distress. In fact at some point and tractor was strategically parked next to a series of muddy deep pot holes on the road heading toward the popular Baboon cliff….where people love to soak up the sight of Nakuru town the Menengai Crater the lakes and the hills on the horizon…it is very beautiful…. The Baboon cliff now has a protective barrier perhaps after a school kid tipped and lost balance peering down at the cliff during some school trip earlier this year…. While at the cliff I almost teared up with joy at the beauty surrounding me…and I so so proud of being part of the heritage of this small industrious town… Nakuru as small as it is was once famed for being the cleanest town (not too sure about this anymore)…it was also the gateway to the countryside of Kenya….its the kind of place people stop and enjoy its quaintness and take a break from a long trip or run away from the mad city life…. I am going to dwell on my home town in the next few rants….. Enjoy with me…Nakuru…
Monday, 24 September 2007
Sunday, 23 September 2007
I am a true African woman standing strong in the face of conflict, deprivation and pestilence
My heart pumps with fear and ardor each time I set my eyes upon the horizon
My hands calloused yet gentle to the touch and soothing to the cherished
My ever present smile is an enigma, riddled with despair filled with hope for more tomorrows.
I am a bona fide African woman making the most of what I can
My child sucks from my breast giving him life that gradually ebbs away from me
My child's emancipation from this madness is my only obsession
My tears never stop to roll for my lover and my brothers who fight against each other
My fears take a toll one my weak body as I contemplate the crumbling future
My last breath a prayer for peace for those I leave behind on the motherland
Don't mind me, sorry my smile carries some cynicism. Because I know for a fact that the Tusker you're buying is following the advance you applied for which I approved.
I saw you smile faltering a little when you caught my eye. I am sure it's not because of the length of my skirt and fine legs or the fact that you can only really impress the under 18's you hang out with.
May be, and this is just a thought… your smile faltered when you quickly thought of the fact that your rent is late and you're not sure how soon the hide-and-seek routine with the land lord will go on. Each night you get home and you turn your key successfully at the front door you breath with a sigh of relief.
So you trot off half-drunk because of drinking on an empty tummy…with a next to empty tank of gas in the car…and there is a new rumbling noise the engine started making…the fact that you may be locked out of the house tonight…no wonder you're a stressed man……
Friday, 21 September 2007
There is something about circles that fascinates me….we live in this great big orb that’s round like …no beginning no end kind of thing
….then we live in these endless cycles…we chase dreams….dreams chase people not interested in the dreams….we chase people not interested in us…they chase others not interested in them…and we go round and round and round till we die then let whatever the circle of life needs to do take us through the next…you guessed it…. Cycle!
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Mwananchi, pole sana retrenched from your job?
Now your a hawker?
(Definition:An Honest open-air entrepreneur who cant afford the rent rates in buildings in Nairobi city)
Why are the Police running after you gunning you down like a thief?
Did you tell them that all you want is a decent living for you and your 4 kids?
Did you explain... perhaps implore them that even though primary school education is free the children can’t go to school naked or hungry?
Did you say that the last thing you recall as you left the house was the sound of your children crying for food, clothes, books and a life?
May I ask a tthis point, how many of the Mwanasiasa’s kids are in the free education programme?
Did you tell the Mheshimiwa that you need to sell sukumawiki, nyanya, kitunguu and the second hand shoes that Kenyans walk in because bus fare went up after the tax hike in June and the real workers must eat?
Are you sure he knows that as the Mwananchi walks home they may be robbed killed…raped…because half the police are guarding the VIP’s houses and the other half have not been paid enough to care…
Is this the risk you run for being Kenyan???
No Rafiki, I did not hear you right…. does Rais know that you did the right thing to whistle blow the thieving fat cats with milk still showing on their whiskers.
It must be some horrible mistake when you say that you were fired for being an honest worker.
Untrue that you died because of no money for medicine. Untrue that nobody cared (haiya! am so ashamed) a widow left with children to feed and inconsolable grief…WHY?
Mwanachama, please tell me how much you were paid to cause chaos in town today.
Was it a price enough to buy your dignity?
Will it be enough to pay for a gold paved road to your shack in the slums and a lifetime supply for food, clothing and chang’aa?
Do you feel better to know you’re a cheap hired gun and that the politician you idolize doesn’t know you exist, or care.
When you threw stones and sent some of your fellow Wananchi to Kenyatta hospital did you have a feeling of great achievement?
When a stone finally hit you squarely on your face, did the Mwanasiasa get his silk monogrammed hankie and try to stop the blood flowing and take you into his SUV and drive you to his personal doctor? Or did you bleed to death at the emergency unit at Kenyatta (NOTHING URGENT OR REMOTELY LIVE SAVING GOES ON THERE)
Mwanachama, Mwananchi, wewe masikini perhaps you should go jump in the lake and die! Go on do it…. am I insulting your intelligence? Why? But aren’t you the ones who blindly
follow a Mwanasiasa’s plea for violence and commit to complete sycophancy????
Lets do a refresher course my fellow Kenyans…..
The buck really stops with you, the Voter aka Mwanachama aka Mwananchi!
Why follow the ones who ask you to torch a different tribe’s land, turn against your brother, burn mobile hospitals in your home area
Now, your child is sick and dying…. As you look at her dying pained eyes and watch life ebbing away from her frail body, are you proud of the fact that you torched, plundered the one thing that would have save her?
So go, jump in the lake, off the cliff of a mountain or drown in the ocean for having lost the sense of right and wrong.
Mwananchi, cast your vote with a mind heavy laden with the events of the past 5 years…when your daughters and sons were raped and the culprits went free…when your child, brother, sister, parent, wife or husband could the not be saved from a fire because they were locked in and the fire engine pipes ran dry and you heard his screams as he died and all the while your councilor is living in a plush resort on your expense drinking tuskers and ales and watching the sun go down and thinking of which new toys to play with if not hurling chairs and tables at each other you bought with your hard earned taxes because of a difference of opinion.
When crops failed and everybody forgot you existed until foreign press stumbled upon corpses of our starved friends up north
When mercenaries colonized your country
When the taps were dry and the lights were out in a country that generates power
When Uchumi closed, opened closed and opened again
When justice was up for sale to the highest bidder
When your TV signal got turned off and your daily paper got burnt.
When a cameraman got slapped for recording uncomfortable home truths
The press gagged for ratting the tales of thievery, complacency and intrigue in the highest degree…
This is height of mind colonization Mwananchi why don’t you see it!
Kenya these must be the last days.
When the Jogoo era’s tyrants can bring forth tears on cue for the cameras calling themselves martyrs fighting for the cause of opposition dabbing their mock tears with silk handkerchiefs.
Remember those tears quickly dry when you give them your vote and the terror will reign again and bring you all kind of clashes
Mwananchi please assure me that you’re not naive enough to think that the Mwanasiasa cares about you.
Bringing you two packets of unga ya chapati and a party t-shirt some pocket change (he stole from you in the first place)
Big smile plastered on his face and he keeps looking at his 5-year warranty watch not to miss his flight back for some engagement or other involving some great extravagant expense….
Mwananchi, remind me which Mwalimu was paid their deserved due... and meanwhile the Mwanasiasa have increased their own income thrice fold…
And you...well you, just languish in poverty…..and will probably die there too…
The change begins with you!
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Never run along corridors.
This is a lesson I learnt rather painfully when I was about 10 years old. I ignored my parent’s pleas not to run and jump off chairs and doing tumble turns on the carpets….and I was actually quite good at it…
They’d go “Don’t do this don’t do that!” “Act like a lady!”…or “that’s going to end up in tears and don’t come crying to me when you hurt yourself!” It was like a song. But, I had speed and I was young I felt indestructible. The last thing I needed was someone telling me what I shouldn’t be doing….
So one wettish evening we were holed up in the house horribly bored. The rain messed up our play time outside so we were all bursting with hyperactive energy….my mum called out to me while I was in the kitchen making mischief. I shouted back “Cooooming” and promptly zoomed off towards her bedroom. Then she called out again and this time I realized that she was in fact not in her room but my brother’s which was on the right and side hand of her own room. Now you do remember that I was perhaps moving at the speed of a light car and so the split second decision to go into my brothers room (his door was open) was grossly miscalculated and I took a hit at the door frame head on. But that collision wasn’t the real issue, at the time my mouth was open and so when I landed on the floor with my jaw I literally sawed my tongue into two….Lets put it in perspective….Have you ever bitten your tongue? Do you remember the excruciating pain? Now, quadruple that and double whatever you got and imagine you were 10 years old and what do you think you’d come up with?
It was a hysterical bloody and screaming mess that evening. Everyone was crying and I was the loudest. And , I couldn’t even cry properly….my mum got a towel and ice and held my mouth and horribly severed tongue to the car and got my bro to hold me on our way to the hospital. My dad was playing around of golf and word was sent out to him on the 16h tee that he was needed at the hospital As Soon As Possible!
Well not to drag the story...I was rushed in to the theatre and the kind doctor calmed me down and I got a local anesthetic. I didn’t understand why I just laid there and stared at his surgical mask as he drew needle and talked to me as he was sewing up my tongue. I was so calm it the midst of all the chaos. Am not sure how long I was in there but as soon as I recovered and my mum got a few prescriptions I stared showing off my stitches to my brother and anyone else who cared to look. The hospital staff said I was among the first to be stitched with the new stitches that got absorbed and didn’t require to be removed (to everyone’s relief really). So there I was gauze and all...mouth open trying to talk ….it was a drooling terrible mess…I was showing of my new stitches talking in incoherent speeches saying…”aaahhh aaaghhh ahh ahh aha “ and come to think of it, everyone kind of indulged me perhaps because they knew that the worst was yet to come. All hell broke loose when the anesthesia wore off!
Needless to say, I was not in school for about a month and social activity was cut off to give my tongue time to heal… I could only ingest liquids and even then it was torture…for ages my mum had to boil my fruit I had to take vitamin supplements for a while…it took me a whole year to muster the courage to eat an orange or pineapple as it was…. The stitches healed nicely and whenever I get the urge these days to run through the corridors when I am late for anything I always slow down and think of it as a tribute to my hardy tongue that survived and now wags and wags and wags endlessly! One of life’s hard lessons….
She was wonderful, exotic, beautiful and artisty…She was a loner not only because she was not from my country of birth but also because she enjoyed being her own company…that is one thing I could say I owe to her…I learnt never to get bored being on my own….. She was difficult to understand but hard to be angry with for very long …An argument was always resolved with a hug and a kiss...Once you realized that she almost always got her way then it was easier to love her and very hard to deny her…I spent most of my childhood following her around when she was well enough and I was simply in awe of her trying to ape how she walked, talked and got about doing whatever it is her heart willed...I was never quite as good but I enjoyed trying, I still do ..
But being a child then, I never understood why she had to leave me so often and so frantically when she got sick…if she was conscious she would weakly whisper that she would be back soon as my dad carried her off….
Other times, she wasn’t conscious and I was numb with dry racking sobs wondering why she would not answer when I called out to her…She was the lightest sleeper in the house, the one bound to hear me whimpering under my blanket when I think there is a monster under my bed…A hand always held me back and I resisted …ultimately using some brute I was led back into the house my cries growing more hysterical watching my father speed mother off to the emergency room….I would stare out the window crying till exhaustion set in and relieved me temporarily…I feared that one of those trips would be her last…then somewhere along the way my mum went into a long journey of discovering her faith in God…she embraced it fiercely and believed in it almost fanatically…. holding on to it for dear life literally…she transformed and more and more and we kind of lost her to religion… we were somewhat happy for her though because she found some joy in her struggle for life….she was like a new person…Mother succumbed to her illness though, weeks before I turned 22…she had suffered greatly in the last few years and deserved some peace.
It got me thinking when I first encountered death, I was 15 years old when my cousin lost her 4 year old son to leukemia days before his sister was born…the parent’s marriage never really recovered from that loss….
But like we all say, time has a way of dulling the pain and loss of those we love and slowly we pick up our lives. Our smiles come back slowly occasionally flawed with some memory and our heartstrings get yanked…we sigh, cry, laugh or simply just stare and think of the joy that person brought in our lives and how much we took that for granted.
I have absolutely no idea where people really go when they die…I don’t even know why they die in the first place… but I refuse to accept though that death is final perhaps it’s the start of facing new frontiers …I hope some day I have the honor to be with my mother again….
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Run as far as the land meets sky, reach your hand out and grab
You might find the things you so fervently chase
Endlessly like chasing the wind
Feeling like you ought to escape the weary’s of endless days of languishing
You dream of lavishing your body and soul with affluent delicacies
‘Tis a pity most of us die trying……..
Friday, 7 September 2007
Its not so much that I simply feel nauseous when I recall my domestic science teacher …she had a perpetual sneer and I remember her pasty vanishing cream on her face like a circle round the face and red lipstick bottom lip only (she had a unique foul sense of fashion). I remember her prancing around looking at our stitches and cooking with disdain.
I still have night mares about her.
Well, truth be told, there were truly precious moments in high school. I remember our cook Maina. He was a sunny man with an impish smile and never gave more than three pieces of meat On Monday and Friday lunch…not a piece less or more..matter how enticing..err or not you were. That was the rule, three bits of dodgy meat a piece… it was the highlight our dreary days in school. And who could forget sausage on Sunday, to this day I have no idea what kind of sausage they were but we savored each morsel like it was a million dollar meal.
These days I tend to look back a lot with all this nostalgia..perhaps am getting old and mushy. But I sometimes find myself laughing out loud when I remember our matron who we called "sixie" cos she had six fingers on each hand. She used to prance stealthily like a cat around the corridors busting us in all kinds of horrible situations. She would twirl her keys on her extra pinky (this by the way terrified us) and her eyes bulged out in anger and her voice bellowed like thunder, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING AFTER LIGHTS OUT!" Most of the times she was harmless her bark was pretty toothless nonetheless we respected her.
But what I am absolutely pissed off about is how the girls used to make up a mix of margarine, cocoa, sugar, curry powder, squash (basically anything edible in the locker)….this vile stuff was whipped together and aptly baptized MIXTURE which would then be fed to the masses at the dormitories in the hope to gain some body heat in the bitingly cold nights… I hated the stuff and those who like me avoided the stuff had dire warnings that with that direct cholesterol intake they were bound to turn into plump monsters. I bumped into one of those girls the other day…she looked radiant after 6 years of marriage and two kids…and me…how absolutely unfair that I turned to the bummy tummy mummy and she well...she looked like she was still a student in the debating club they were the hotties back then!
I was flattered though the other day when I visited the school to pick up long forgotten certificates (ha-ha they have archives of uncollected certificates dating back to the 60's) and some students recognized me and my work. Hmmm… at least I gained some bland levels of fame…I am not sure how flattered I should be because stories were also passed down that I was part of a group that staged the first strike in the school which got me two weeks suspension (ahem...everyone has a few skeletons) …
A lot of strange things went on in boarding school like the time one of the girls who had a peculiar laundry and showering phobia had inherited a total of 50 school shirts from former students in the school to avoid having to wash them though out the term. When the clean ones ran out she went through the dirty ones and powdered the collars so we won't notice. We could always smell her before we saw her. When the stink mixed with her Gucci perfume got too revolting we used the school disinfectant and showered her ourselves….but that's a memory trip for another day…So, enjoy your shower tonight, and scrub scrub scrub off all the scum of your otherwise busy day..
I can still feel your gentle embrace
I can still hear your loving voice
I can still feel your warmth
Kissing my troubles away
Even after this long separation
And each time I see a mother embrace her child
I appreciate the little time I had with you to recieve my embraces
And Although I miss you terribly Mama
And I wish you were here with us today
I know your in a much painless place
What is soo cool about lightening skin?
An inspired thought of kisses and caresses brings a smile to my face
My body trembles at the thought of your lips and hands on my skin
My mind goes wild with the fire burning inside of me
As I look into your eyes and see true love as you take me
Time stops and seems to float in the sea of your passion
Miracles now seem possible ....