The Mud on My Chest

Several centuries ago, I bagged myself a nice Bukusu boyfriend. It was quite weird because growing up on the mountainside, we had always been told that Bukusus are man-eaters, and I was always hoping his cannibalistic traits don’t show up when I’m around. Well, I lived to tell the tale – and they are amazing people.

This Bukusu boyfriend once asked me what I was most insecure about myself. I thought for a nano-second and then answered, “My hairline.”

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Oh, to be a Spoon!

Do you know how hard it is to be a christian girl in the days of the Duke of Hastings? It’s like being a catholic in Palestine. Or a non-weed smoker in Amsterdam.

He is the reason why some of us are not getting healed even after elders have come with tanks of anointing oil and laid their sanitized hands on our coconut-oiled twist-outs? Even after the said elders with their silver beards and safari boots have erased all the grease from our hairs and tangled it afresh, requiring us to buy a wider-toothed comb and more conditioner to detangle the prayer knots, they leave us with our infirmities and go away shaking their heads. Do you want to know why? It’s the Duke of Hastings.

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Of Neighbors and Feelings

Feelings, like people and dogs, have names. That feeling like your head is swelling like a dam in the long rains; when you can feel your skin harden and your eyes redden like you’re about to become The Thing from the fantastic four and go smashing through walls and breaking glasses with your fingertips; you can almost feel the smoke coming from your ears and veins the size of baobab tree trunk appear on your temple – that feeling is called rage.

Or when your intestines are in knots like a yarn a cat played with; you get an instant urge to pee and in extreme cases, the muscles in your bowels get a brain of their own and open without consultation. Goosebumps appear on your upper arms like you missed your measles vaccination; your hands and feet are vibrating like a Richter scale in an earthquake, your heart pumps on your throat and you’re breathing like a dog in summer – that feeling is called terror.

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Ka’Fuu

Moving towns feels like getting an amputation. When you leave a town (or a country, but that is above my paygrade for now. I’ll let you know in a few years 🙂 ), you’re not just leaving your landlord that you probably hate and have been tolerating the parasitic relationship between the two of you — where each of you believe the other is the parasite.

You’re leaving the memories and the familiar – the mama mboga who you send a text when you’re stuck in traffic and you find your spinach well shredded into wormlike threads that are impossible to stir, they intertwine like overcooked spaghetti. When you eat them, one end arrives in the duodenum while the other one is still on the plate. But she’s your mama Shiro, you can’t trade her for any other Sukuma wiki shredder.

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Masterpiece

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If I was a Bible character, I’d probably be a pre-Red Sea Moses. Oh, that’s too far. I’d be the Moses at the burning bush. The one who gave God all the reasons why he was the wrong guy for the job. Moses did such a perfect job talking God down that the big guy got him a mouthpiece.

I relate to that story like the guys in Kondele relate to the riots in Minneapolis. The Kondele peeps may seem calm, but deep down they want to be chanting “Haki Yetu” down East 38th Street in Powderhorn Park.

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How to Stay Sane Working From Home

I have been working from home, writing, editing, wiping little bums and snorty noses for almost four years now. While I’ve had a tremendously fulfilling time — my payment has been lots of tiny baby bear hugs and the sweetest ‘love yous’ — I’ve also experienced some hair-pulling emotional and mental distress.

There are days when I’d just drive to Java just to see other grow-ups and not have to speak baby-language for an hour. There were days when my ‘office’ walls were beginning to talk back to my thoughts. You know you need a break when you start to miss the lizard that passes by on its way from State House.

I haven’t pulled my hair out (yet). After a  couple of years, I can tell you a few things that have made me productive and sane working from home.

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Trails

I had a glass table once. I smashed it to pieces with a cup full of tea.

For a long time, I struggled with anger that would strike like a thunderclap headache. I lost many cups and plates to these fits of anger. But the day I lost the table is the day I knew horse-manure had hit the fan. Something had to give.

I searched for outlets. I joined a women’s study in the church, Wisdom for Mothers. This study exposed my heart and helped me grow. But it also gave me wonderful women who became my closest confidants. There’s very little I can’t tell this crazy bunch of wonderful women.

Before the anger outbursts, I had grown increasingly uncomfortable in my ‘situation’. I was a stay at home mom. Each day when Mr K went to work, I was left feeling like I made the wrong choice. Like all I’ll ever be is “Mom.”

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Stupidity and virginity

stock-photo-yolo-road-sign-you-only-live-once-concept-556147753.jpgYesterday, someone called me ‘old’.

I know him from my University days. There we were talking about children and spouses and the forgetfulness that comes with being a parent. And then it just hit us like bird poop on the head — we’re old!

Afterwards, I tried remembering the girl I was when we met. I was young, naïve, a little stupid and oh-so-thin. I was a third-year university student with a heart that was still healing and a promise not to love again for 3 years. I don’t know how I got off imagining that it takes hearts 3 years to mend. I said I was a little stupid, didn’t I?

If I met this girl today, I’d give her a long, long hug. I’d tell her to be her own best friend because people come and go. More often than not, they go rather than come. The person who’s the best friend could become a stranger who blue-ticks her on WhatsApp.

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Does how you react to rejection reveal your mental health?

“It’s over, I can’t be with you anymore.”

How do these words make you feel? Desperate, infuriated, depressed, suicidal ..?

While it’s normal to feel all or some of the above at some point, how you choose to deal with the feelings says a lot about your mental state.

In life, disappointments are inevitable and more so in matters of the heart. If you find it hard to accept rejection and even toy with ideas of violence or even murder, you may be standing on emotional quicksand

Worrisome trend

Murder and suicide cases have been on the rise in the last couple of months. The Global Study of Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018) lists mental illness as a key motive for murder, among other factors.

In the cases where the murder was a crime of passion, many claimed that if one spends money and time seeking your affection, then you are obligated to reciprocate. But, are you?

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Navigating Nairobi Town for Dummies

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I’ve always been fascinated by the books that purport to have guidelines for dummies. Or idiots. It makes you want to pick it up because, I mean, here is someone who will dumb it down for you enough to gain entry into Punjab University.

Making fun of the people who come to Nairobi from shags has made people famous. It’s not funny anymore though, someone needs to tell the now (not-so) funny man from Ukambani to take a break on his show. This is no laughing matter anymore. Still, comedy has not yet seen what Nairobi can do to an ex-Nairobian who comes visiting after many moons.

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My Coffee Needs a Coffee

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There are days, then there are DAYS. Those days when even your coffee needs a coffee, and your masseuse needs a massage. This week was one of those.

I’m nursing a terrible hot-tea burn on my thigh. It’s hard to sleep, and even harder to wear clothes! The things we take for granted! Venezuela is struggling with having two presidents; Maraga is struggling with his sloth of a judiciary and I’m struggling with wearing clothes! But I’m definitely doing better than Venezuela.

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What if You Fly?

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?

What’s the worst that can happen?

I’m in a Uber, on my way to the airport. It’s a Taxify cab, but since all toothpastes are Colgate and all washing powders are Omo,  it’s an Uber Taxify. The driver, Mr. Man, is a brawny guy, he has thigh muscles that make me want to sing, “All things taut and beautiful the Lord God made them all”.

 

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No Exercise Beats this One!

There’s an obsession with the outward appearance that is neighbouring on insanity. Take the weight loss craze and ‘team Natural’ euphoria – both of which I must add am a devoted life-member. I love my hair natural, it’s fuller than it has ever been but the maintenance my friend is another ball game altogether.

Let’s not even talk about the weight loss ‘program’. I find it ironic that a section of this country needs a feeding program while another percentage needs weight loss programs. Can’t we just switch sides like a volley ball game? All the people over 80 kgs be ferried to Turkana and Kilifi for three weeks, and the emaciated people of Turkana come to the big cities and get living space in all the chips and chicken dens.

exercise-faithThe issue of weight is not a light matter, and I hope no one gets offended by my humour attempt above. I’m a victim myself, the kilos are following me like flies on trachoma. I hear wheat is bad for me, but of late all chapatis know me by my three names and they call me loudly at 1 AM. But while I will try my best to plank, and squat and drink mint leaves and cucumber water (I’m not ready for detox yet, I think I need pre-smoothies counselling first), I have been reminded of a more important exercise and I would like to throw this other challenge in the ring — Soul Exercise.

I have thought of the importance of having a great body, free from unwanted fats and flab, curvy in all the right places and what wouldn’t I give to rock that crop top! Oh, shoot! I don’t wear crop tops, so let’s go with what wouldn’t I do to just fit in my campus jeans without suffocating in the process! But I have also looked around and seen that there is little emphasis on growing our spiritual muscles and getting rid of the things that make us ineffective in our spiritual walk.

1 Timothy 4:8 says “…For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

This is what I would like to see more of. People encouraging and urging one another on to godliness and going at it with as much psyche and determination as shedding the kilos. And I don’t mean all those ‘type Amen’ empty promises that are aimed at threatening people with a view to generating traffic to worthless courses. When will you understand that God cannot be blackmailed into blessing you? Even if you type amen, Monday will still come after Sunday, your boss will still be a pain in all the wrong places and you will most likely still be broke on the 19th of every month!

But if you read your bible and pray every day, if you set aside a day of fasting and actually keep off food to seek God, your life will change. Because change starts on the inside. Most of us want to change the way we look so as to please our spouses and loved ones. Granted, I want my husband to be proud of me and to actually desire being seen with me on the road. Nothing wrong with that. But if I change from the inside, I will have more energy for the outside and even more beauty from deep inside.

I’m seeing a gap that is being filled by religiosity and self-appointed prophets. That gap needs to be filled by good meaning brethren who desire to see people filled with the Holy Spirit and who seek to advance the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. As we exercise our bodies, let us also exercise our hearts by walking with God. Grab an audio Bible on your jog and listen to the word as you walk along, let your walk with God not be affected by your walk with jog buddies.

Just like you need to tone your body muscles, your faith is also a muscle that needs to be exercised. Heart attacks also happen in the spiritual, prevent the devil from attacking your heart by having an “it is also written”.. counter-attack on the ready.

It was Billy Graham who said, “the very act of reading the Bible will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise”

Maybe then we will actually have the discipline to eat clean and healthy. And we will have a total change of life, not just the body.

Now, bring on the smoothie!

O.k, maybe not.

Are You Childlike, Or Just Childish?

I don’t know how to write this post without looking like I’m being pushy, or shooting myself in the foot! I rarely struggle with posts, But I’ve had this one on draft for a week now. So, I have gathered all the courage my fingers could master and clicked ‘publish’. Here’s to hoping I will still have readers after this post.

Maybe your spouse looks at you and feels like shouting, “Act your age!” But they know better than to rattle an already grumpy, unreasonable human being so I will do the (dis)honours for them: There is a possibility that you are married to a child or you are the child in the marriage. Because many times we are busy running to our best couple and pastor when really, the problem is we have refused to grow up!

I know even the bible has adviced us to be like children, “For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. But there is a very big difference between Childlikeness and Childishness.  And marriage is the great separator of the two.

Love is good in a marriage, but the ‘feeling of love’ alone cannot keep a marriage going. Lately, I have been thinking hard about 1Corinthians 13, the chapter of love. If you measured your love againts the yardstick of that chapter, what do you need to be more conscious of? I say consious because sometime we go through marriage like zombies. We just make sure we tell our significant other ‘I love You’ while every other action says we don’t!

There is a very good reason why Paul added verse 11 to that chapter. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me”

After a whole chapter on what love is and isn’t, why would he talk about maturity? Maturity in marriage is tested in the crucible of problem solving. In counselling, they will tell you a million and one things about solving prolems in marriage. A husband and wife who can SIT and talk about things they seem to have strong difference of opinion about without a Homicide being reported will stand the test of time. Because it is very hard to be civil especially when tempers are flaring and emotions are erupting.

man-couple-people-woman-large  But a hard talk is important in marriage because if you have chosen to live together, it would be not only disatsifying but also devastating to just let the days go by and wait for death to separate you! But for some people, it is easier to skin a porcupine than getting them to sit and talk! There are a few things we can learn from Paul in that verse:

 

  1. I talked like a child

Are your words clear and audible or you are the master/mistress of muttering under your breath, grumbling alone inaudibly as you noisily do your chores. Are you sarcastic? Guilty as charged — Aunty Acid has nothing on me in this department! And we women know how to swing a comment so sarcastic it can cut open a heart! Are your words well thought, do you listen to UNDERSTAND or you listen so that you can answer and defend yourself. Men do this most of the time.

Are your words loving? Do you say things to hurt the other person or to make them shut up? When you soberly think about what you said in retrospect, are you proud or ashamed? Does your spouse trust to talk to you and not feel demeaned or disrespected? Are your words clean? Once I had grown fond of the word ‘stupid’. It was harmless really (or so I think) and I would have many ‘stupid this or that’ until my husband told me to stop calling all things stupid! Repentance mode! 🙂

2. I thought like a child

How are your thoughts? Are they clean? Are they truthful or do you conjure up in your mind anything that will get you out of trouble? Do you seek to see things as they have been presented to you or are you the mind-reading guru? Do you accuse your spouse of things they haven’t even done yet because your mind told you so? Who advises your thoughts? The WORLD or the WORD? Watu wasome Biblia.

3. I reasoned like a child

Do you leave your spouse thinking, “what kind of reasoning is that?” Are you sober minded? Does the things you have agreed upon with your better half cease to exist when you are confronted by different situations? Do you reason with facts or feelingsWhat has shaped your worldviewand the way you look at marriage and your spouse in particular?

Today’s world is full of ‘All men are like…” and ‘All women are like…” Do not hang your husband or wife out to dry To justify a stereotype! Not all men are team mafisi, not all girls are gold-diggers (Although money does make us a little happier, give us some once in a while 😉 ) I once saw in a facebook group a girl who is fighting with her husband because he said he wants to work from home. She is worried he will be with the house girl the whole day — what with all the stories we hear of team mafisi and dms! But the guy has never given her a chance to doubt him, not once! #SMH!

Like Paul, let us put the ways of childhood behind (us). Because it is assumed that we got married because we were grown up!

Let us pray that the Lord grants us wisdom to engage with our loved ones so that we do not reason like the heathen do!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE NEVER FAILS!!

This is What Stupidity Looks Like

Things are thick, my people. Thick is actually an understatement, things are elephant! At such a time as this, I wish I was Biko Zulu so I can use words that start with an ‘F’ and others that start with an ‘S’ and end with a T without being judged and without being summoned to the Discipline Court (Presbyterians know how horrible it is), because I think people kinda understand that better.

This country of ours is headed south, and the only good thing with South is South Africa — when they are not beheading foreigners. But it is not the politicians who are taking it there. It is not even Ann Waiguru or Tunoi or Kidero or even Moses Kuria. O.k, on second thought, maybe Moses Kuria is leading the team taking us south.

Today Morning, I was at a paints company office to pick walnut vanish for some furniture. Have you noticed how edible paints are looking nowadays? They have these enticing names and colours I didn’t think existed, and trust me we women know all colours even those we don’t know. So, I’m waiting for my order to come through and suddenly, the office is a market! Soko Mjinga to be precise. Every town has a soko mjinga just like every town has a Marikiti and a Makutano.

What I witnessed is post election violence — without the elections and the machetes. There were machetes, actually, it’s just that they were word-shaped. Khalwale should have been here because this is what bull-fighting looks like. Kenyans were at each other, almost to a brawl point and for what? For who? One was trying to instill sense in the other one who was busy telling us how he was justified in burning an innocent civilian’s car in a demonstration. And he also added that ‘his guy’ is like Jesus. (Insert horrified emoji!)

My mind was taken back to a talk we had with a colleague a few days ago. According to him, my life is way better than his because I’m married to a Kikuyu and from Mount Kenya. So now, when I go to the supermarket, I buy my Dola unga at 3 bob while he has to pay 112 because Uhuru is the president and I’m a Kikuyu!

My mother’s house doesn’t have electricity yet, it is now that we are thinking about pulling resources to get it wired. Maybe I should just ask KPLC to send the invoice to Uhuru — after all, he is the president and I am a Kikuyu — by extension. At least with this one, we choose to agree to disagree to avoid throwing punches. We have come to the conclusion that we will probably never agree on politics and ‘my person’ and ‘his person’, but we will also not scream at each other about it. Actually we consider ourselves friends.

We are supposed to be wise. We are supposed to fight for the peace of this country. But I have witnessed even the most intelligent among us getting all emotional and loud and defensive of their ‘person’. We will soon burn this country to the ground with the fire we are breathing out of our nostrils. And we will have ourselves to blame. I thought 2007/8 was a lesson for us, turns out we will not stop until we out do Rwanda and Congo and Burundi!

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While we should not tolerate corruption and all other vices, we have a mandate to maintain peace in this country. You will never see a politicians punching the other, or even their kids burning anything, yet we are here fighting and getting all emotional and protective of ‘our person’. I seriously feel like calling us stupid, but I think Mzalendo Kibunja might still be in office so I wont. Oh, what the heck — we are stupid!

Stupid to think that these politicians have us in their minds when they do and say whatever they do and say. Stupid to destroy properties and businesses that a hustler has built with sweat and blood. We are stupidly pulling each other’s Brazilian weaves and punching daylights out of each other while the politicians wine and dine at break fast prayers (What’s with that, by the way? I thought prayers were food-less, you know, something called ‘fasting’). When did stupidity become cool? I may have political opinions but I will not punch anyone who does not agree with me. If we ever needed to exercise restraint and reason,it is now.

Because South is a horrible place to go.

 

Ups and Downs…mostly Downs

I have just been sad today. As I write this, I feel tears balancing in my eyes, I can barely see. Like I have mentioned before, I have this bad habit of rethinking things more than they ought and mostly making things worse than they really are. But today, I’m thinking about life. Or the end of it.

I have a quote on my gmail; it’s something Steve Jobs said, “If today were your last day on earth, would you do what you are about to do?” I have mulled over that for a while. My thinking is blurred and I have put Ambassadors of Christ, Nimekupata Yesu on Re-play. It’s a joyful song that is capable of making you sad. I don’t know how they can do that, these Rwandese (Rwandese? Rwandan’s? Who decides when to say -ese and -ans on these African names?)

Anyway, the Rwandans (-ese) are doing a good job at keeping the sad me happyier. But there is a guy’s smile there that I like. I keep going back to see him say ‘mwamba’ in that beautiful black and white smile. He’s cute, this one. So, as I listen to Ambassadors in repeat mode, Steve Job’s quote is on my mind. I read it a again and I answer, No. I would not be here doing this. I would not be seated on my desk waiting for KEBS to stop misbehaving and allow us to continue producing our water, which is really hygienic, by the way. I would be dancing to Barney and Friends with Bobo.

I would not be thinking about my relationship with my sister, wishing we were more friends than we are. Because I love her. (Another tear! Jeez, can I just blame PMS or hormones?) The girl who helps her mother cook for us at work has brought us pilau. This part, I would like to keep doing. I love Pilau. Not Njeri. The Pwani pilau that has black pepper that the faint-hearted have to keep selecting putting on the side of the plate. Ambassadors have gotten to the Mwamba part, so I rush to my VLC player and rewind. Will I go to hell for liking this smile too much?

Hubs calls. We talk briefly. This is one of the best parts of our marriage. He keeps tabs on me the whole day. Sometimes I wonder if we will outgrow this awesome habit. People at his place of work think it’s weird that we text and call so many times in a day. This one I don’t us to outgrow. Like the Reverend told us, it’s this kind childishness that keeps a marriage. The day you stop being childish together is the day you know things are going south. When you can play hide and seek, chase each other around the house, dance to songs (and laugh at what a bad dancer he is) the marriage thrives.

My player has started playing ‘Wewe ni Zaidi’ by a guy with two English names; and one of them is Smith! Erick Smith. Awesome song, Mr. Smith. But I still miss the Ambassadors (If I say that guy’s smile again, hubs will start ‘catch’). So I rewind again. For the umpteenth time.  Damn! (Can a Presbyterian say ‘Damn?) What’s with me today? I need a coke. Seriously I think I’m low on caffeine.

My Pilau is getting cold. My heart is getting lighter. Writing is awesome, you should try it one day. I love being able to type my emotions and heart aches and joys and feel like a whole load has been lifted off my back. I know I probably love the comments and likes too much so make my day, comment on my posts. You might just save me from suicide. Really. I’m weak, I’m a mess many times, more times than people imagine.

I know how to put up appearances and type ‘lol’ even when my heart is crumbling. I talk a lot, and some people think I’m actually funny. This is a sanguine’s undoing. The world expects you to be happy and make everyone else happy. Even my own husband always mistakes my silence for anger. When I’m quiet, he asks me, “mbona nimemkasirikia”. And I have to keep telling him there are more emotions in the chart than ‘happy’ and ‘sad’. For me, there is also that emotion called ‘I also don’t know what’s wrong with me.’ I’m on it right now.

18369905-hand-supporting-a-woman-Stock-Vector-woman-sad-drawing I’m glad I have hope in God, and the Bible tells me that this hope does not disappoint. Even at my ‘downest’, I know He’s here. Holding me. Understanding me, telling me I’m perfect — because He made me.

Victory Doesn’t Come by Accident

Happy 2016! And to the February 29th babies, this is your year! Please invite us for larger than life four-years-memory parties, we need to remember your birthday until 2020! Happy birthday month. 🙂

I want to imagine that some of you had new year resolutions and I want to hope that they will actually last beyond the first quarter of the year. I normally don’t do resolutions partly because I rarely remember what they were in the first place and I have a way of letting things just happen. But I read something the other day that made me have a resolution.

Victory does not come by accident. Have you ever read words and they seem to jump right out of the page and hit you smack between the eyes. These ones did. And God must have been speaking to me through these words for I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

images I may not have heard resolutions but I did have dreams, hopes and prayers that I have always wanted answered as each new year begun. And many a times I let them just be dreams and hopes. As much as I did pray, I felt I was being called to more fervency and faith. And dreams and hopes without prayers is like ‘ueue’ in queue, totally useless.

And so this year, the Lord reminded me that I could be victorious in all my dreams and hopes. But I will not be victorious by accident. Athletes don’t win races by accidents, soldiers don’t win battles by accidents.

This year, take your dreams and hopes to the gym. The gym of exercises of extreme faith. You can’t pray a ten cent prayer and expect a million dollar answer. Pray without ceasing. Victory is assured, but it will not happen by accident. Let us pray…

Is Something Wrong With My Hair?

DSC00259  One and a half years ago, I decided to finally do the big cut. After weeks of postponing even after hubby gave me the green light, I finally set the big date with the barber and downed nearly all my hair. It was scary at first, the sudden cold feeling on my scalp and the ‘empty’ feeling when I ran my hand over my head. But I had done it!

There was nothing really wrong with my hair, but I guess we all have that season when we feel like we want to do something life changing. You know that time when you just want to resign from your job, jump on a plane and go surfing. Well, I couldn’t do the surfing thing so I decided to do something more radical – I shaved my hair!

I didn’t know how it would make me feel but it was one of the most liberating things I have ever done! And it also came at a time when photos of most of the people who had short hair were doing the rounds on social media. I would be glad to let you know that my photo appeared alongside those of our first lady Margaret Kenyatta, and other first ladies such as Janet Museveni and Jeanette Kagame to name but a few – photo-shopped of course.

Not many people were amused of course and I had to bear with the gasps and angry stares from my friends. Others were honest enough to ask what bug had bitten me while others just wished they could be as courageous as I was. I was having a blast experimenting.

A few months later, I decided to let it grow again, this time I was going all natural! So I descended on braiding with gusto! Before I knew it, my hair had grown long! You see, if you have hair like mine, seeing it grow beyond five inches is a call for celebration. And it is also the very light kind so to actually see it form a real afro was quite a feat! So here I was, loving my afro and wearing it everywhere. And I was getting the love and support from both expected and unexpected quarters. My husband loved the afro and a few strangers acknowledge it too.

But then there were question from a few people. At first I thought these were just some concerned ‘friends’ who wanted me to have a treat in some spa or something. But then the questions kept coming, some from acquaintances who I barely knew. And if I thought I was the only one raising eyebrows, I was wrong. I even witnessed a friend get battered on why she hadn’t made her hair, yet her hair was clean and neat and natural. She kept being asked the same question I was getting: “Why haven’t you made your hair?”

I washed my hair every weekend and combed it with a blow dryer so it was not tangled or anything. She too had good, clean, well groomed natural hair yet we still were expected to go to the salon and ‘do our hair”.

Is something wrong with my African hair? Do I have to relax it or put on a weave for me it to be properly ‘made’? I have grown to hate weaves with time but I’m not going to go all hate-mode on weaves but for the life of me I cannot understand why there seems to be so much discrimination against my African hair!

I’m not planning to relax it (it has not informed me that it is tired and needs to relax yet) and I’m also not planning to weave it. I hope more African girls can be more proud of their hair and show it off more often – long, short, dread locks, pop corn – show it off ladies!

Of Broken Bottles and Broken Lives

broken-beer-bottle  The last few days have been interesting. The president said, “Jump!” and Kenyans were all willing to ask “How high?” And jump they did. In fact, they hoped, stepped and jumped from depot to depot, leaving in their wake rivers of alcohol flowing behind them and mountains of broken bottles and destroyed beer barrels. As they say, this time, it was no joke!

Watching the action in various counties reminded me of my days at the university, Fridays were anticipated with as much excitement and enthusiasm as they are today. And the fun would start way before the allowed time; but who cared? This was Friday! Those of us who were not involved in any reveling watched and listened from a distance as the drunken comrades made their way back into the hostels in the wee hours of the morning. Some barely made it to their hostels. I once found one comfortably snoring in the senior ladies’ hostels – on the stairs!

But the real image of just what transpired the previous night would be clearly painted on Saturday morning. The ‘Academic Highway’ would be littered with broken bottles of all shapes, sizes and color. It looked like the intoxicated comrades wouldn’t be done until they broke the bottles. As we cautiously stepped over the broken bottles on our way to the morning prayers, I could not help but think: For every broken bottle, that was a broken life!

And I saw and witnessed lives get broken by the bottle every waking day. One man comes to mind. Since he hasn’t allowed me to share his story, I will call him Mike – everyone knows a person called Mike, right? Mike* had been invited to study engineering, but he couldn’t hack it. So after a year, he changed courses to Sociology. I do not remember a day I saw Mike* sober! He used to be drunk morning, noon and night. He was always reeking of alcohol. Always.

Needless to say, Mike* never sat his exams. I doubt he even used to know when the exams were due! A couple of years later, his drunken mind advised him to gang up with a few comrades to plan a strike. His brilliant proposal was that we go and raze the administration block! We were all sent home for months, while Mike was sent home for good. I have no idea what became of him, but every time I saw a broken bottle on ‘Academic Highway’, I couldn’t help but think about him!

I have watched with keen interest as the operation went on with anger and jubilation in equal measure. Women were especially happy to break the bottle and pour the beer. Everyone was expected to be involved in the ‘operation’ and failure to show up or showing up late with even a hint of reduced sobriety wasn’t taken lightly. Ask the now jobless chief from Muranga!

While I do not condone the destruction of property, I still think the people need to come to that point when they say we have had enough! People dying after imbibing illicit liquor is no longer a cause for sympathy and sorrow, it is outright annoying! Maybe the anger should be expressed at the drinkers who half-soberly explain how they drunk themselves to blindness and how lucky they feel to have cheated death.

But death might be smarter than they think especially if they keep playing the I-cheated-you-again game. Remember the man who died in last year’s illicit liquor tragedy? He had been previously hospitalized after almost going blind after drinking some lethal stuff. This time he lost. Ethanol won. I sure wish we had broken those bottles earlier!

And mothers are not planning to have any more wishes made too late. In the day and age when we have vodkas named Rest in Peace, I say let the beer flow; this time not into people’s bellies but down the drain. Let us break the bottles before they break any more lives! The only responsible drinking is not drinking at all!