Necessity, invention and everything in between!

Those nights when sleep eludes to the point where you question your specific origins…mammal or otherwise 😉

Which brings me to the content of my post…where sleep hides, words reside. Where warmth is absent, the cold seeps in and we are forced to wrap ourselves in blankets and drink hot beverages and shield ourselves from the icy wind. Since time immemorial, really, the absence of something meant that a gifted human somewhere would “discover” a way to combat the presented challenge, true? False!

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This gifted person would most probably be a frustrated, exhausted and angry person who needed to solve said problem so as to live more peacefully. This is not to take away from the great genius minds that invented the telephone, microwaves (the actual waves not the home appliance – then again, that too), binary code, electric heaters, cars and the list is inexhaustible.

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Closer home, tough times call for tougher measures. In that same vein of insomnia presenting a resting challenge, as it often does in my case, my mind runs through endless possibilities of things to accomplish before that first attack of real sleep hits. I usually get a whole lot done in the wee hours of the night and keep it here for you may yet see the next “big thing” as a result of those restless nights (I wish). Often times I employ various home made solutions to things one notices when the world is asleep; for instance, the reality that lots of creepy crawlies do come out to play in the dark. Now, I can squish a spider along with the best of them, but when it comes to those reptilian creatures called geckos, for the life of me, I freeze! They’re barely longer than my middle finger but that slapping noise their cold-blooded bodies makes along the floor or the “chik chak” noise they make as they call out to each other simply gives me the heebeedeejeebies! Nonetheless, on one of those sleep-deprived nights and having decided that I’m not a fan of having them as room mates; I turned to trusty old Google. What did I have around the house that would get rid of them without us having to be in contact? Unfortunately, all listed consults included the use of my hands- and that was simply unacceptable- at the time.

To cut a very long, drawn out, painstaking story short, due to necessity and an abundance of unsightly gecko poo, I am now rather adept at dispensing of the critters with barely a blink however, and this is for the animal lover reading this, my intentions are noble and little to no pain is inflicted on them in the process. I digress. This whole exercise had me thinking that without the lack of sleep, there would have been no noticing of the presence of the geckos and therefore no need to eliminate them. In a similar thought process, I have taken to observing what else I use to carry out seemingly simple activities and duly pay homage to all who went before us, discovered their “gecko” and devised a method of dealing with them that has been passed on and refined and is currently in use by our generation, rather nonchalantly, I might add.

I do not claim any genius in my method, make no mistake, but I am more aware of the centuries-old steps taken by humans long gone in efforts to make the lives we now live a whole lot easier; and I truly appreciate necessity along with its role in invention.

#AsYouWere

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…where were we?

A new day dawns. I love Fridays so it’s a v.e.r.y good day indeed. I have been silent for a while and then some. It happens sometimes. That time, I think, has come to an end. Maybe I was waiting for this day (subconsciously, because this was definitely NOT planned); maybe I was meant to write this right this moment. Whatever the reason, it’s the beginning of so many beginnings this page cannot hold them all.

It has been a well lived year, yes, I know, we are only but mid-year or thereabouts, but the amount of living that has gone into it is indescribable. So many memories made, so many lessons learned, so many experiences had – these will be detailed here over subsequent weeks.

There is sweetness and sadness in every circumstance, even when we only see one side of the mirror. It really depends on where you choose to focus. Today, I focus on the sweet side of things. And I’m praying I hold my gaze 🙂 Much like this little gem I found on the world wide web >>

Here’s to freshness and sweetness! And lots of tea 😉

PS: Feels good to be back!!

CHRIST(‘S)MAS OR X-MAS?

Call me Scrooge and slap me silly or the Grinch-that-stole-Christmas and pinch me blue! What am I on about? The early Christmas hullabaloo!!

Do not mistake my grouchiness for dislike of the season, I simply do not understand why we must begin to “deck the halls” and gift-shop from the first day of December! By the time the actual Christmas week rolls around I have “festive fatigue”!! See, most of us, myself very included, in this economy and current inflated…everything…do not have the luxury of time to sit and day dream about shiny bright lights and blinking baubles on trees <who’s history in the African context is suspect> and gifts we can barely afford unless we steal hours to make them ourselves! Or maybe we should all, for those 24hours of the feted 25th, revert to our childhood state so we can truly enjoy the festivities without a care about bills from here to the afterlife come the equally celebrated New Year.

I am all for celebrating the birth of our Saviour but I have a huge problem with how it is done by many. Plus by the time the real Christmas day rolls round all the joy has gone out of it, for me, at least. Why must we squander sums irreplaceable when we’ve been miserly all year through and all on our selves(selves inclusive of family)? Trips abroad or out of town, further lining pockets of transporters from air to rail and everything in between as they ruthlessly hike their fares claiming ‘peak’ rates; yet another monster we have nurtured with our excesses. Family gatherings are sweet but when they turn into a contest about which sibling gave the parents the priciest gift, the opposite becomes reality, Rivalries, debt, irritations and misunderstandings between spouses, siblings, parents, employers, employees and the whole lot and you wonder where the “Merry” in the greeting disappeared to! Boss didn’t give you that hefty Christmas bonus? Parents didn’t get you that Nintendo WII? Boyfriend didn’t get you that rose gold ring? Neighbour didn’t invite you to that Choma? Come on, do we always have to receive for it to be Christmas? Do we have to string up ugly hues of cheap crepe and place unnecessary trinkets under even more incomprehensible Christmas trees to truly display our Christmas spirit?

Malls in Nairobi started decorating by the last week of November, advertisements on mainstream media began with their “Christmas Sale” rags by the 5th  of December everyone begun to get into the “holiday mood” >>If you ask me, it’s an excuse to be legally unproductive 😉 True, everyone needs a good break at the end of the year, but why do we fuel the December madness by accumulating our ‘leave’ days, booking left right and centre all roads leading out of our locales and saving up to fill bottomless pits all in a matter of a few days? Surely! And the sad bit is, many of us will not be celebrating the real reason for the season, we will be celebrating ourselves. Feeding the body(self), drinking(self), travelling for leisure(self), partying(self). Alright I won’t bore you with the “sharing is caring” adage but it begs some consideration if you think you need it then doesn’t someone else who can not in the least afford it need a bite of the ‘holiday’ as well?

Again if you love all the bits about Christmas that I seemingly dislike, fear not, you’re a part of the majority. However, spare a thought for those this season who may have nothing to be merry about other than the life they barely hold on to. Spend wisely, travel safely and thank God for your cheery self.

Ah, I tire. Let me go board my ‘matatu’ full of people with already heaped shopping bags loudly making travel plans on their cell-phones in preparation for “Christmas”.

And we’re Back!

It’s been so long since I wrote this feels like a homecoming of sorts. I’ve been through here’s and there’s that are too numerous to pen but I definitely will be dishing out the highlights in subsequent posts. In the meantime I have been enjoying the musings of some fresh bloggers I happened upon via Twitter, will list some so you can decided for yourself what you think of their writing.

 A lot has taken place in my life, my city and my country. If you love Kenya like I do you will agree that sometimes it feels surreal watching and hearing the things going on in our beloved Kenya currently. Normally I’d be on here furiously typing out my opinion on everything from the corruption allegations against MPs to the demise of our inspiring Dr. Wangari Maathai(Rest In Peace, Heroine, Champion of Club Do-Something-About-It and trailblazer for millions in activism everywhere), to the inflation that seems to be high on a yet undiscovered substance and the current war…situation. These past months however I took a step back to survey (and pray) over the goings on. Prices of things fluctuate so much it makes me feel like I’ve lived four lifetimes in one and lived to tell the story, not to mention the insecurity levels that constantly re-invent themselves from ‘simple’ muggings to gang rape and murder and unexplained disappearances, no locale within the city excluded.

Feel free to visit The Greenbelt Movement site and see how this badge can help you honour the late Dr. Maathai’s cause>>

This is not to mean I’ve been living in fear, no, I’ve had my share of being out and about. It just means that what I have to take into consideration before going somewhere like transport, timings and location are really starting to give in to pale in comparison to the option of a relaxed night in especially after work weeks like the ones that seem to be an everyday occurrence nowadays. That’s been another issue; I get home sometimes and I could swear my room has moved a few inches farther than it was in the morning! Days morph into weeks, weeks melt into months and the only trick I have up my sleeve nowadays is sneaking a random weekend getaway from the city-to a haven where deadlines, meetings, reports and must-attend-do’s take a back seat for a few blissful day. Of course these getaways aren’t as many as I’d like nor do they come at exactly the right time but they are the silver lining, no doubt!

Ever watched the movie 27 Dresses? I’m living it and probably at 37 by now. I am sure there is a memo circulating that hasn’t reached me yet and If I were to guess it goes something like,

“To … it is officially open wedding season and there’s only a few months left so grab a date and a bride/groom and have at it”, Signed, the Universe!!

 

I wish all the happy couples long, loving, blessed and fun nuptials but if I don’t participate in another wedding for several long minutes, the earth will rotate a little easier on its axis and that is the truth!

Through the writer’s block period I was harshly reminded every day that I didn’t buckle down and write, just how much of an anchor putting pen to paper is for me. In primary school, science class to be precise, we learned about earthing- define. Well, my pen “earths” my thoughts onto paper and that’s what eventually shows up here. Yes, I am of that dying breed that first drafts everything on good old paper before typing out, my thoughts feel much more connected to the resulting words that way. Yes, they (my thoughts) told me that 😉

MUSIC. My other form of release.

 

TOOK ME THROUGH A WHOLE TWO MONTHS

So now my two loves can co-exist as I get back to telling you what I think, feel, am learning and know, Mwixelligently of course! 😉

Check out the musings of Snippets of My Life-esp TGIF by @kawiriaFikira Zangu by @buoghaNanjira: Confessions of Aquila by@ninanjira and feel free to share any others that you like. All rather likable Kenyans 😉

 

STILL RIDING HIGH ON THIS ONE (bonus for reading till the very end of this very long post 😉

Endangered Men?

I got one of those forwards recently that I did not delete on sight because it had a title that sounded a tad oxymoronic to me:

“Men-the Real Truth” (need I say more?)

The bottom line of the piece was how men sacrifice tirelessly to care for their women(read mothers, sisters/cousins, girlfriends/wives) and provide the best for them at all costs.

Some extracts from the message are:

“He starts compromising at a very tender age. He sacrifices his chocolates for his sister.”

“…thus he sacrifices full youth for his wife and children without any complain.”

“…yet every mother, wife and boss tries to have control over him.”

“Finally his life ends up by compromising for others’ happiness.”

“Respect every boy/man in your life. You will never know what he has sacrificed for you.”

It got me thinking and I must admit there are some guys out there who fit the bill. Unfortunately over time this scenario has changed and I am tempted to replace all the “he’s” with “she’s” because in today’s society, women do way more sacrificing than the men in their lives.

Granted there’s some truth; and as Mr. Ezekiel suggested and I quote:

“You see the truth is that in this era of empowerment n all…men’s roles are really looked down upon. Men themselves are really taken for granted. I cud sing a song but am a man and we are expected to be tough”

I sent it to a few guy pals to feel them out on it and I was surprised.

Rebmann said “…we always see it as a duty rather than a burden.”

Sam on the other hand believes men are macho and shouldn’t wear their hearts on their sleeves. He is also of the opinion that it is not necessary for the women in their lives to pour out their appreciation in buckets, an occasional “thank you” would suffice. I like something Rebmann added “…men appear unappreciated cause most of their efforts are normally viewed as what they ought to do…” This I concur with to an extent and must admit am partially of the school of thought asking why should it be a celebration when men take up their responsibility when it’s basically God-given for them to do?

I’m on the fence because I think my problem lies in:

  • The generalization. Some men do not know what sacrifice is, the women in their lives sacrifice so they can be what others see. The mama covers for him by paying bills, supporting his whimsical ideas and raising his “totos” and when he finally comes round well, if ever, she’s just plain tired of the whole charade.
  • The misconception. You see God instituted that man shall toil for self and family so just where do we get the idea that it’s going to be easy? The woman shall be the help and man also got the good bit, that he would lead the mama.

Alright with the advent of empowerment, women’s rights have been highlighted but just what is the plight of men? Men don’t speak out about issues so we (maybe wrongfully) assume they have none? Women are the fairer gender and where men have the chest hairs to put forward(pun intended) women may need that extra hand. No I don’t mean affirmative action, I mean bringing to light issues such as domestic violence(against women), rape and FGM for example.

What say you?

Of many worlds

Type. Type. Then that annoying red line appears under my British-spelt words. What? That is correct. And it is. But my word processor is set to American English. 

So I change it. And type…type…type. Then that horrid red line again. What? That word is correct. And it is. It’s an American spelling. But I am now using British type setting. Not to mention our education system also styled after the UK and you can see my dilemma.

So I change it back to American. And keep typing till the very end and then proofread with eagle eyes. O the bother!

I love tea. I am addicted to tea and must have my minimum three cups(make that mugs with a capital M) every day. Morning, afternoon, evening and before bedtime…did I say three? Oops! Apparently tea-drinking is very Brit. Quite the capital non-alcoholic beverage. It used to be coffee for me(strong and black thank you), the all-American favorite, ’till I switched and could not really understand why. It was simple natural progression. I think.

When I dress, from the fashion rags to fashion columns in the dailies, I can place myself in the American style casual-smart section. When I was younger I loved plaids, tartans and tweeds. Catch me dead today in anything plaid unless it’s burberry(ahem, or barberry, by that Kenyan; you know- the one that looks like the real one but isn’t?). And you guessed right I shifted from Brit dressing to American style get-up.

When I want to buy anything, I must bargain unless I am in a retail chain store and even then I know when the ‘sales’ are on. I make it a point to know where to get the same items for way less from anything from vegetables to shoes and everything in between. ‘Nyama choma’ and arguing over politics are mandatory for me to take my place among my brethren, the Kenyans.

When my aunt, uncles and cousins come a-knocking, I better switch to the tongue that my mother was raised speaking(Isn’t it ironic how we say our ‘Mother-tongue’ yet in Kenya the child is supposed to take on the Father’s birth language?), before I am considered a “snub-nosed-city-girl” by The Family.

Kiswahili/Sheng mixed with English is the only way to make yourself understood: period. “Si i’m sure you jua what i’m semaing? ” To be able to board and depart from the infamous “mathrees” and eat cheap but filling meals at the local food kiosk, my tongue would be out of place without a smattering of Kiswahili peppered with the right amount of sheng; depending on the service provider. ‘Swa-sheng’ also gets you in with the cashier most places from the mpesa stall to the kiosk in the housing estate and some of the best jokes aka ‘mchongoano’ are expressed this way.

Oh and did I mention the two years or so after high school I spent drilling punctuations and pronunciations in French into my young brain? Parents with a vision, who take their darlings to foreign language specialists to help them ‘secure’ that lucrative six+-figure UN post in T+n years. This section includes the kids sent to schools that are easily recognized by one word, you know the ones, not like others which had to have nicknames so you don’t have to say St. Francis of the Holy Tri-une blah…blah…blah.

From well-meaning parents to the television shows to the silver screen, literature and now the advent of the all-encompassing social media; I am yet to know who or what I truly stem from. You see I’m Kenyan by birth and my tribe is pre-detrmined by my father’s origins, but I watch predominantly American shows, drink tea and write like a Briton, watch local shows and interact with fellow Kenyans who speak and act like both Brits, Americans, Nigerians and Kenyans(sometimes not very well i’m afraid), transact in English and Kiswahili, read and hear a smattering of French and now I’m learning to speak social. Yes social; the online lingo that connects you to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Doodle, Netlog and all other social network buddies.

Who am I? I’m a child of many worlds 😉