See the World Through My Eyes

Guest Writer

Smile If Nothing Else

Patrick has been my friend for 18 years and I’ve known his wonderful family for roughly the same period. They are the most friendly, honest and good natured people you will ever meet. I knew his dad, a very friendly and insightful man. His mother, a woman full of love and understanding. It is why I am honoured to post this article where Pattoe (as we call him) shows us a simple yet effective way of living. 

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”

— Ken Keyes

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He poked at the fire, furrows creased, thinking, scheming. It was day 4, still no animal in sight, they had come a few dead carcasses, long dead to be of any use. “Such bad luck”, he thought but his father always had something positive to say.  “The herd must be close by”, he said. The endless optimism was annoying at times, but anyhoo, to each his own. His critical mind liked to analyze facts, scheme, plot and decipher. He wanted a plan, a set course of action to follow. He wanted things to make sense. There was a drought and the animals had migrated, the crops had failed, people were starving but he was always smiling.

That smile, who could forget it? It was a constant feature in his everyday life. It was a part of his life and he couldn’t avoid it, he had come to accept it as part of everyday life. He glanced over at his father, sleeping, the smile plastered on his face. An SI unit, poked at the fire again and added some firewood. He thought about the hunt tomorrow. “Hunt? More like roaming around and hope we strike gold, or in this case meat.” Three days of long treks and committed hunting had yielded just a rabbit, long gone since they needed sustenance. Three days and nothing to show for it, well except the smile.

As much as he tried to worry, he couldn’t. Somehow, deep down, he knew they would find something. It was a sense of calm that he loved and hated. Why wasn’t he worried? Three days of nothing and he had this optimism. This undeniable feeling that someway, somehow they would succeed. It baffled him and annoyed him, yet it somehow made him want to go on pursuing, chasing, and searching for that ever elusive prize. He started smiling, “Am my father’s son,” he thought. The last few years had been HELL. The war came, bullets whizzing past, they lost everything, all they had left were the clothes on their back and each other, he had been through enough suffering to last three lifetimes but that ever persistent feeling of optimism never seemed to die, he had given up many times but it was always there lurking, never leaving him. Like that one mosquito you can’t seem to kill, that one, that gets inside the mosquito net and flies into your ear every five or six minutes.

You have to understand; this wasn’t his life. Four years ago, he was an aspiring engineer dreaming of building bridges. The “game” he hunted was the female kind, he was what the young folks called a “fisi” Now here he was, ready to eat a real fisi if he came across one. Oh how life changes! He was now hunting game like he grew up hunting yet he had been a city boy through and through, never had slaughtered a chicken in his life. The scariest thing he had killed was a huge banana spider. But here he was, sleeping under the stars, smiling and thinking about the antelope they would kill the next day. There it was, that optimism! Followed by that smile, he fell asleep, dreaming of laughter and meat.

They did eat the next day, a large antelope that had been left behind by the herd. Years passed, things got better, life improved. The smile was a constant feature; that never changed. But one day suddenly, no more smile, it was gone! Now, here he was, burying his father. He had heard many scary sounds, screams, gunshots, the roars of a hungry lion in the dark. Nothing filled him with more gloom or dread than the sound of the soil hitting his father’s coffin. There was such a finality to it. That day, after that sound, the optimism left him. Gone with the father that he was now burying. He tried to smile, nothing. Not even a forced one, it was truly gone. Gone like yesterday, never to come back.

I lost my smile one day, like him it disappeared with that awful sound. A sound that feels me with dread to this day. You see, I too lost my father, four years ago. Words fail to explain the trepidation that filled my heart, as the soil hit the coffin. I felt that life had to come to an end, not just his but mine too. Many of us, if not all, have buried someone. We have gone through the motions, we have missed, mourned them, drowned our sorrows in drink or other ways to try and fill that void. I did all that and then some. But as it may seem, this story does not have a sad ending but rather a celebration of the great men and women that once graced our lives. Though he is not here physically, the perspective he gave me in life will always live on. He instilled in me a never ending positivity that grows and wanes but it’s always there, a constant in my life. For that, I am thankful. So we aren’t here to mourn but to smile, and smile some more.

There is a story circulating on FB that goes like this:

“Two twin boys were raised by an alcoholic father. One grew up to be an alcoholic & when asked what happened he said” I watched my father” …

The other grew up and never drank in his life. When he was asked what happened he said “I watched my father” …

Two boys, same dad, two different perspectives.

In life, we are all faced with similar situations. Two people will look at the same situation and perceive it totally differently. I looked at the death of my father like the ending of a book. But what I later realized was his story was not yet done, he left a beautiful wife and four wonderful children, who continue to tell his story and add more chapters to his book. I have dreams and ambitions that were founded on his encouragement. So when my story is told, they will speak of a father who imbued me with optimism and a never quit attitude. Maybe one day, I will honor him in some grand way and everyone will know his name. Maybe not, either way, I am honoring him in the best way I know how. Being optimistic!

What about you? How is your outlook in life? How do you perceive things? Do you know that your perception is your reality? We walk through life sometimes trying to change the world, how about looking within and changing ourselves? We are constantly bombarded on how to look, what to wear, how to be successful etc. Every single aspect of our lives is micromanaged by one thing or other. I am not here to do that, I am simply making you aware that it’s your life, get in the driver’s seat and drive. The way you can do that is to change your perception if need be. Wherever you want to be in life, it may seems that’s its dependent on one circumstance or the other but it’s really just dependent on how you view them, are they obstacles or challenges? SMILE

There are a lot of things that I would like to tell you, but I will leave you with this. If you don’t do anything else today, SMILE. I know that’s what Mr. Ndung’u is doing and that’s what he would have told you.

Use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile!

My grandmother passed away this weekend. Last weekend, we celebrated mum’s birthday. A few months ago, we got grandmother a pacemaker, because of that my grandmother enjoyed her eldest daughter’s (my mum) birthday. We miss her, but we are thankful! She taught us to smile…if nothing else.

Dedicated to the loving memory and smile of Mr. Francis Ndung’u.


Killing The Chief of Staff

I recently came across this very outrageous writer called Prestone Adie whom I strongly believe deserves a medal. I choose to call him outrageous because I am yet to figure out why this article made me laugh and eventually fart involuntarily. He is a very intelligent and gripping story teller and I also suspect he is a very disgusting individual to have a beer with. I would hate to imagine the agony his close friends go through by association. Read this and just tell me flat out if I have praised him a bit too much. Oh and Big Up Camp Mulla on their video ” Hold it Down”. These kids are Legendary. Watch it as you read 🙂

By Prestone Adie
I struggle to keep my eyes closed. Every time I catch a glimpse of the dark land something jerks me awake. I’ve been at this the last 20 minutes or so. This is not my favourite past time, at least not at this moment of the day. Seated close to me is a lady who I guess got her size matters figured out. She occupies every space in her seat and most of mine. Who am I to complain after all she’s fearfully and wonderfully made; in this case I bet the potter did a tonne fearfully and a tiny wonderfully. I understand there are men who like this size. Again, am just a piece in the puzzle I can’t complain why this little space is where the potter let me fit.  I pull and tug to fit the seatbelt at least to be sure I won’t fall off should this bumpy ride stay this way. I give up when I realize the belt might have been consumed in her mighty butthole. She has every luggage on her lap; the yellow extra large polythene, a kuku, a hunting bag( no other bag is that big) and a large china phone. One of those phones that I bet come with CD players. Did I mention she loves her music loud, I mean no ear phones but the classic palito on hand. I bet this must be the reason can’t get any sleep because suppose she decides to play Brick breaker on that phone who knows the size of bricks it has and whether virtual reality could be real at any point in time?

This episode of my life reminds me of the time I took a group of Philistine friends of mine to Nakuru. They kept asking questions on and off in a language close to English, maybe it was English because most words after serious explanation sounded English to me. They talked of how happy they were to have come to the nativity of US president and asked me whether I would take them there. I said yes and named my price that’s when I realized Kikuyu is not a tribe in Kenya, they are spread all over the world. They lectured me on the proper ways to treat foreigners even if I was playing host. We might be foreigners but we know that given a thousand shillings is your highest monetary denominator one must always find change whenever they use it, they said. They told me how they had been to Kenya before and even gone to it’s second largest city, Kampala. In fact they said Kampala had the best Kenyan women because they knelt down to greet their men and showed the highest respect. When I challenged them why they didn’t get married to them they said how dark thighs dimmed their sexual appetite.

Truth be told, I had hosted these Goliath men for the last 1 week and by then I had taught them the lines of “Mgeni siku ya kwanza…” which they sang every time they could. Am not a bad host, that much I know because my mum had taught me well. Question is how much of that do I remember or use. Let me whine a little. In my neighborhood I am a very respectable man. For one I don’t drink and when I do I don’t tell. Next, I don’t play loud music mostly because my other neighbours have better systems unlike my version of a subwoofer which is basically a stolen matatu speaker placed inside out in a cut Jerrican that I proudly made in campus, Genius huh! Again, the kids on the block love me, they want to be like me when they grow up however much I keep beseeching them to have different goals because even me didn’t want to be like me when I grow up. These kids come calling when they can and that’s where the problem comes with my guests. They walk naked in the house and say clothing is something for people who are not proud of their bodies. Am not proud of their bodies. They take pictures every other time and record everything including the time I was shouting at my mum for pledging a 10000 give away at church in my  name. Yeah! Times are hard but that’s a fact I don’t want my parents to know because they believe am one of their successful projects. These Goliath people don’t flash the toilet and say that in their country they have automatic flashing systems that go swoosh when you are done losing weight. They hate ugali and love uji, how’s that even possible. They love nyama choma and prefer I cook them nyama choma than ugali and sukuma wiki. They like Jamaican songs and believe the Jamaican language is the one used in the God’s must be crazy. In a nutshell they are quite the guests.

Once on the trip to Nakuru I told them that Zebra’s are called Punda milia and donkey punda, an action I soon came to regret when they kept shouting punda milia at everything they saw. Then I told them that Nyani is Kiswahili for hi so that they could give me some fun in the car while they kept exchanging pleasantries and they ended up using it on a traffic police officer.  Long story short thank God I borrowed a turbo charged land rover hard body for this trip cos damn! How many horse power does that thing produce again?

I remember on the second day when they skyped a friend of theirs in Australia who gave me a hard time explaining that my dad is human and not a chimp. After the call I took out the family album and compared with the evolution pictures on the internet.

Actually I understand why David had to kill their chief of staff with a stone from river Tana.  These people are a pain in the ass. There’s a reason why David is the hero of this story and am not surprised he’s a Maasai, after all they are the only people I know who like David kill lions and graze their father’s cattle. Here’s a question for y’all, What is the average height of a philistine because Goliath is the first and the last I know who was both huge and tall? Is that why he was made the chief of staff? Do they have oval faced women there or is round their only version of sexy?

Here’s a pointer. While men say women whine, am a masculine version of a woman because I complain a lot and that should not make one think I didn’t have fun. These philistines gave me three things when they were around. One is fun like never before. Then there’s a million pictures of nude men on my desktop which I have learnt to delete without looking. And finally, most significant of all they made me bankrupt.


TO CHEAT OR NOT TO CHEAT?

BY PATRICK WANYOIKE
The last blog post by Michael Ngigi really created a furor and got me thinking. Although the actual blog was not about cheating, many people judged the blog by its title and thus lost a very important message on self-love. Many thought that the author needed some sort of intervention, well if you just read the first few paragraphs and never really bothered to read the whole thing. Cheating it seems, is a very sensitive topic although it’s very prevalent. So this blog post is ACTUALLY about cheating. Let me first reiterate that I am not encouraging anyone to cheat. I thought about this topic and I enlisted quite a number of people who wished to stay anonymous (for obvious reasons) to give their opinions on this topic. What I got back, were a myriad of reasons that was too long to list. They gave reasons for and against cheating; here are some of the reasons they gave as to why people cheat…

1. Boredom
This was the most common reason. Most people felt that once you put time in a relationship, you lose the spark. The chemical high wears off; the sex becomes dull and infrequent. Same position, same person, and only the adrenaline of an affair can bring back those feelings of excitement. Some people just enjoy the thrill of running around and trying not to get caught. Long-term relationships have the annoying habit of making people lazy. They settle and once they do that, boredom sets in and cheating might follow.

Nobody will bring back the spark in your relationship unless you work on it. How about you try investing that time you use to cover your tracks, sneaking around and cheating to go out on a few dates and keep that spark alive? Better yet, get a hobby or work on your bucket list

2. Revenge
So he/she went and cheated on you. You ‘forgave’ them and now it’s payback. You feel betrayed, wounded and want to give them a dose of their own medicine and even the playing field. So what do you do? You go and cheat

People do dumb shit. (Pardon my French) This is one of them. When does the vicious cycle of an eye for an eye end? All this ends up doing is leaving everyone blind.

3. Because They Let You
This was a reason given predominantly by the men who felt that once they cheated, and were forgiven; felt that no matter how many times they did it, they would be forgiven. After all, you did let them get away with it the first time.

Maybe it’s time to take a stand and don’t allow anyone to take advantage of you and your generosity

4. Self-Esteem
Sex can be an instant pick-me-up; that makes women feel sexier, more beautiful and more loved. And if you are ignoring her, not giving her compliments, some other man might be doing just that. For men, who need their ego stroked constantly, nothing does that better than discovering that other women still desire you sexually. And when this happens, sometimes the temptation proves just a little bit too much

Pay attention to her, ask her questions and don’t hold back on compliments — a little flattery goes a long way. And for the ladies, it’s your job to make your man feel like a man. Or someone else will…

5. Exit Strategy
Instead of breaking up with you, they cheat on you. That way they don’t have to deal with the broken relationship, which is much harder to fix. An affair is the easy way out — or at least that’s how they see it.

Don’t be a coward, man up. If you want out of a relationship, say so. Don’t cheat.

6. Its Genetic
A report came out a few years ago that said, “In what is being called a first of its kind study, researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY) have discovered that about half of all people have a gene that makes them more vulnerable to promiscuity and cheating. Those with a certain variant of the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism — or DRD4 gene — “were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity,” according to lead investigator Justin Garcia. DRD4 is the “thrill-seeking” gene, also responsible for alcohol and gambling addictions. The gene can influence the brain’s chemistry and subsequently, an individual’s behavior. The desire to cheat or sleep around seems to originate in the brain’s pleasure and reward center, where the “rush” of dopamine motivates those who are vulnerable, the researchers say.

I guess they better come up with a test for this in order we can all get tested. The science is sound but whether it affects you is a totally different matter. Look at the term used “more likely.”

Patrick Wanyoike studies Organic Chemistry at the University of Iowa.

Beware of who you marry….

The first time I met Maurice Matheka I couldn’t help noticing how easily he handled women. He’s one guy who always fascinates me in the way he understands the female psyche. He simply knows what women want. So when time comes for you to have a bridal shower just make sure you call this guy. Trust me. Not that I’ve been to a bridal shower but as a guy, I’ve learnt quite a bit from this brother. Go on, have a read and prove me wrong. I dare you. I think he is one brilliant orator and I hope that one day, I will be great enough to share a stage with him. To my readers, happy year one from A Day in Dog’s Life™. Leggo! – Michael Ngigi, A Day in a Dog’s life™

•••

By Maurice Matheka

Dear Maurice,

Where do I begin?

I am a wife and a mother of 5 children, my youngest is 14 years old. I was married at 22 and have been married for 28 years now. In those 28 years I have been through thick and thin with my husband regardless of what he throws at me I have stood by his side not because of the children but because I married for life, I am a big believer in till death do us part and will stick with it as I am not about to break my vows. Now in regards to my husband he has always been a traditionalist and that is something I have had to adapt to but it was not easy especially during our first 4 years of marriage.

When we met I was a very out going woman with plenty of friends and hobbies, needless to say he stripped me of those pleasures of life. He is a loving man who provides for his family and when it suits him he will treat me like the most special woman but unfortunately that is where the good side ends.  On our fourth year of marriage I came to find that he had an affair with my neighbour’s house help and got her pregnant. She was fired from her work and my husband did his part and decided to support the baby, which he still continues to do to date. I was upset as you can imagine and hated him for a while. I moved out to my friend’s place for 5 weeks but I later forgave him for his adulterous actions. Another part of the saga that annoyed me was that he defended his actions stating that in his culture he is allowed to have multiple wives and that I should not fuss about it because I would always be his first wife. Maurice I painfully took his words and despite the hurt I was determined to maintain my family no matter what.

Maurice asks,

It’s probably an obvious question but did you by any chance identify the kind of man you were dating before you married him; did you sense his traditionalist character?

She replied,

Yes I knew the kind of man he was and still is. I knew about his believes in regards to the family unit. I knew that his extended family led a certain life style where men married more than one wife so in a way I knew it may affect me however I also thought that he would discuss it with me and not impregnate a house help behind my back. I am very well aware that men who practice polygamy will always consult with their existing wife or wives before they introduce another woman to the family I never got that memo. Living with my husband has been an experience and I have learnt a lot about male unorthodox practices and behaviours.

Maurice’s comments,

You have been married long enough to assess your man and you have clearly accepted his character and the actions that come with that character, you also imply you know men pretty well, so at this point I must admit I am puzzled because I haven’t determined what it is you need from me?

She replied,

Maurice to my horror I recently found out from my husband’s close friend that he has 2 more children with the house help. I then visited her at her upcountry home and she confirmed the same. He built her a 3 bedroom house and apparently over the years he has been visiting her and spending weekends with her. In my mind it all added up because I prodded information from her about dates and she confirmed a lot. He supports her and guess what? His family knew about it, and behind my back she was traditionally confirmed as a second wife and life went on as if I never existed.

But here is the icing on the cake. While we were candidly chatting she happened to mention that in 2008 my husband acquired himself a young 19 year old girl from his home area and she has a 2 year old baby. It is alleged that he is in the process of confirming her. She is currently living with her parents but from what I hear he has received blessings to marry her and educate her through her campus years.

Maurice asks,

I must ask, is your husband wealthy? I mean, in this day and age it’s not easy to keep 3 wives.

She replied,

Well the man has a full time job as a company MD and 2 personal businesses so I guess he can afford the life style he chooses to live. I am a house wife but I also run a successful business which was funded by my husband over a decade ago.

I am lacking companionship, a loving full time husband, a man who only wants to be with me because I never thought I would share my man yet I am doing it everyday.

Maurice asks,

Do you really truly still love your husband or are you there because it’s an easier option to maintain status quo, the devil you know syndrome?

She replied,

Maurice I love that man. Whenever he comes home he finds a cooked meal waiting and I still share a bed with him and we still share intimate moments. During that period I shut out all other thoughts and enjoy every minute spent with him. I know I sound odd but love is a powerful feeling and I can’t ever leave him despite all the things he has put me through.

I want to tell him that I know about his other women and that I don’t care about that part of his life but he now needs to only provide for them and become exclusive to me. I need to feel like the woman he married. I am a very balanced and practical woman I cannot change what has occurred but I would like to believe that I have a future with my husband exclusively. I still have a lot of love and passion for him, so how can I convert him for him to see that I am all he needs in a woman?

Maurice replies,

My dear I would love to tell you that your current irregular relationship status will change in time but let’s review the facts. You have been married for a long time and from the beginning you knew the character you were marrying. Playing the supportive wife you allowed for things to escalate over the years. Your husband got another woman pregnant early in your marriage and in my opinion I believe there was never an honest heart to heart between you to share and establish a foundation of honesty and trust that would limit a repeat occurrence hence the additional kids with his first mistress, if I may call her that, and now there’s a third woman with child.

I believe that your husband suffers from a kind of narcissistic personality disorder. Let me shed some light to this behavior; your husband has worked hard to acquire not only a top management post but also 2 businesses. He craves ‘prestige’ and his wealth gives him that. He also craves to feel like a man which comes in many forms, in his case he has ‘power’ as a boss and he maintains 3 women and unlike the common trend in many men he makes sure that all his women are well catered for. And that he does not do out of the goodness of his loving heart, some may disagree but that’s my opinion. He may be the most loving man on the planet but his compulsive nature drives him to believe that he can love many women. My last hypothesis is that your husband at some stage of his life may have experienced a state of feeling inadequate and formulated a strategy to work hard, acquire what he needed to feel that he has conquered the World and you have been part of that development.

You can try and convert him as you put it, but I don’t see that path bearing any fruit. Your only viable option is to sustain the life you have led with your husband, cherish those moments you described and endeavor to make them as regular as possible. You have chosen to stay with him so as a practical woman it’s now your turn to strategize on ways of keeping your husband occupied.

Follow his blog on http://mauricetherapy.wordpress.com


Connecting Life’s Dots •-•

There is a writer whose strap line is ‘Tattooing great things on willing minds’. Her name is Brain Tattoo and she lives up to it. You will agree with me that her style is simple yet profoundly deep. Like tapestry, her well woven words always paint a great ‘bigger picture’ in the end. Happy reading!

•••

Written by Brain Tattoo

It has been a week since the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs.

I remember waking up last Monday to the news of his death on BBC, and feeling very sad … in the same way that Princess Diana’s death affected me (understandably, she was our modern day Princess, the closest thing to all the fairy tales we read as children).

I am not sure why for I am not particularly techie and do not even aspire to have an i-pad, i-phone or any of those i-gadgets.  However, I was left hating cancer, pondering its cruelty and thinking that there must be some way out.

Perhaps, it was because his death came so close to that of Professor Wangari Maathai who had also passed away from some form of cancer.  Perhaps it was because her death had awakened an instinct to protect myself.  Perhaps it was because my gynae, while doing my annual pap smear, had discussed with me the availability of a vaccine that protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Whatever the reason, I found myself listening yet again to his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement address, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

I had listened to it a couple of years back, and been inspired.  But now… in light of his recent death, his words seem to have more gravity, more meaning.  It felt like he was speaking to me from beyond the grave and reminding me ever so subtly, that life is not a rehearsal; we only get this one chance to do it.  I think that on that day, I could have conquered Mt. Everest if it was the challenge before me, but it wasn’t.

It has been a week since then; a week of pondering his message and trying to fit it into my life.

I’ve gone through a myriad of feelings; jealousy, for people like him who know from very early on what they want to do with their life; envy for the others who have the courage to pursue their dreams; confusion on how to go about living my dream… ; and finally, acceptance that there is no single method of living purposefully.  What should matter is whether I am pursuing meaning in my life.

I am reminded of a saying I’ve heard; that life is like a tapestry.  From up close, you can only see the threads woven together looking messy but if you stand far away and look at the whole picture, the view will be perfect and meaningful.

Perhaps, while some of us may know the path required to start out on our life’s journey early enough, for the majority of us, the picture may only become clearer when we look back on the criss-crossing of our life’s paths.

In my life so far, I’ve worked in so many sectors that from where am sitting it is hard to see the bigger picture.  I’ve been a customer service rep in retail, worked in a bank, been a nurse assistant and physiotherapy assistant, done development work and actually managed to raise funds…etc

Today, I can say that my customer service experience has come in very handy in my job.  I don’t know where the rest of the experience will fit in but for right now, I can sincerely say that his death was a reminder to ‘trust that the dots will connect somewhere in the future’.

It was a reminder that whatever I do (so long as am doing it), I must weave that thread to the best of my ability if it is to contribute to the perfect picture.

So… until I can move on to the next thread, colour, pattern; here’s to weaving this thread picture perfectly.

•••

You can follow and read Brain Tattoo’s work on http://braintattoo.wordpress.com/


The Final Jack – Grandma And Her Two Cents Worth

I have no words to explain how beautifully Flo Mwangi has put everything into perspective. I literally feed from her words. She has mastered the art of making sense out of the melee that has become the tipping point of many a relationship. I believe that if she’s not careful, she could end up as an undisputed best seller or with me. I present to you my Final Jack.


By Flo Mwangi
Every time I speak to her over the phone or pay her a visit, I am left reeling in laughter and with plenty of food for thought. This is why I cannot wait to see her over my vacation, plus she made me promise to anyway seeing as how she is in her grace years as she likes to call them; kind of like extra time where that whistle can go off any minute. And this she says with a hint of laughter. I tell her she’ll be around for quite a while. She is a tough nut.

My grandma; I don’t even know where to begin with the phenomenal that is this woman. I am overcome with emotion whenever I think of her; this woman who raised me and to whom I remain forever indebted, who shaped my ideals, who I feel a deep and profound love and adoration for. I am in awe of her sheer strength, her unshakeable Faith, her compassionate nature, her wit and wisdom and her charm. She has lived to see four generations; now that’s a fit and all generations through we appreciate and hold her in high regard. She has touched each of our lives in a special way. We all have a tale to tell as far as this wonderful woman is concerned.

For me it’s the first few years of my life which I spent with her. When my mum was off completing her undergrad studies, my grandma nurtured me. I applaud my mother; having me young did not stop her from pursuing her dreams, and achieving them, she made no excuses, expected no sympathy nor loved me any less. She took it all in stride and pressed on. I am truly proud of her. Those are some wonderful memories -me and my grandma- I still fondly remember this lovely little basket she kept in the living room, especially for me, filled with juicy oranges freshly picked from the garden by her, which I was treated to after a long day at school, and we all know school can be pure torture for a kid.  I remember her dressing me up for church every Sunday and me sitting up next to her at the front pew. She has always played an active role in church; I admire her Faith evident in all she does and passionately stands for. She is an astute believer in God’s overall role in every aspect of our lives from creation, to our daily existence.

Her Faith inspires and rouses all around her and has remained unmoved by the changing tides of time and circumstance. And it has been tested no doubt. She was not bitter at the passing of Grandpa -if anything we all drew strength from her- and as he lay in hospital, those last painful days, no one needed to tell her he was gone. She knew the exact moment he had breathed his last. How many of us can boast of such a connection with their spouse? The love those two shared I’ll be forever in awe of. They were inseparable and in an age where expressions of love or treating each other as equals was not too common, I have to commend those two.

Submission as I have observed through her is not losing oneself rather it is appreciating each other’s role in a relationship and having mutual respect for each other. It’s not about yelling matches but learning to listen -difficult as it maybe- while the other is talking and then stating your case as you would to a friend and finding a middle ground, compromise. And of all else a lifetime partner should first be a friend, because for such a commitment there’s a lot more at play beyond all the temporary fiery passions. It’s not about who ‘wears the pants’ in a relationship it’s about recognizing each other’s strengths and building on them and collectively applying them to build something of value. It’s not about finding fault and playing on each other’s weaknesses but rather compromise; there’s what initially attracts you to your partner, the mistake we make over time is averting our eyes from these wonderful things and focusing instead on each other’s shortcomings and before we know it we no longer feel the same, we become revolted by the sight of each other, we begin to fall out of love. You need to revert your focus back to what drew you to that person in the first place, it’s all still there you just became blinded to it over time. In doing this you will begin to cherish each other more and rekindle the flame once again. We easily loose those that we love because we never take time to make it work.

She was always meek with grandpa; she let him hold the fort while she was run the show behind the scene. He adored her; his respect for her was evident. She was forever at his side, never behind him. He valued her insight. They’d claw at each other sometimes but the love was never lost and in no time they’d be laughing over a joke either of them cracked. They were a vision of happiness those two. Never did they keep in silence or let the sun go down on an argument. And when he was taken ill, she was by his side till the very end.

She is appalled at the sham we have turned the marriage institution into. Women no longer appreciate their role in marriage –we feel so liberated now we want to steer the family ship in complete disregard of the men. Men on the other hand appear to have lost sight of what their role is exactly. A marriage is a partnership, a union, not a power struggle, going about it as such beats the whole point of getting into one in the first place.

Dear enlightened woman -not all men are evil and they do like to be in charge and that’s unlikely to change. Let him reign, play up his ego once in a while. So what if you are more educated? Or make more money than he does? It doesn’t make him any less of a man and there really is no point in rubbing it in, making him feel inferior in the process, that is cold and uncalled for.

Dear man – excessive control over your woman is not how you assert authority, neither is aggression. Take care of your own, always, evading responsibility is a sign of weakness and just plain unacceptable. Applaud your woman’s achievements, complement her, support and protect her and please work in some romance while you’re at it, we dig that. Companionship is human nature. It is possible for two people to share a happy and fulfilling life together so long as they keep their pride and ego in check, and learn not to blow up trivialities. If there’s a problem, nip it in the bud; keeping it in only yields more problems that are even harder to resolve.

They upheld the value of hard work, respect for self and others, discipline, were virtues that were engrained into us from the minute one could walk. I remember we’d all get up early, my cousins and I, and join them as they set out to pick flowers, we just loved running in the endless beautiful fields; picking and laughing and playing our way through. Whatever the tasks we did them together making them less daunting. We might have been up to our necks with chores -that’s inevitable when you’re living on a farm- but we were all content because we understood what needed to be done and everyone’s role in all of it and the whooping one got if they failed to do what was assigned to them. I had quite an early start on all matters work.  At the end of the day when we were all done we ran around in the grass (my grandma’s yard has the softest, forget carpeted) and played in the moonlight till she called us back to the house when it got late. One thing I admired about them is how they treated their workers; feeding them -on a daily- paying them well and on time. It was a valuable relationship they had, one of mutual respect and beneficial to all.

She is a fiery one my grandma, despite her diminutive nature. She needs no amplifier when she needs to be heard. She speaks her mind. She, just like many who watched as the country fought for and attain independence knows the true price of freedom. We should not take democracy for granted; we just need to look at other oppressed states and the turmoil they’re in to appreciate its worth. Allowing ourselves be influenced by our selfish so-called leaders who most times don’t see beyond their noses is truly a sad affair. Stay informed; knowledge is power. Love thy neighbor and seek divine guidance in all you do. On a lighter note she doesn’t get the logic of my prancing around in 7-inch heels which in her view are uncomfortable and worse still might leave me with a damaged ankle. I of course promptly remind her of the sky-high platforms that they rocked in their hey days 🙂

She still went and got me the loveliest boots though, and what do you know, they were high heeled -how sweet. She misses the point in walking around in clothes that are barely there, we might as well walk around naked “oh how times have changed” she mourns. “Didn’t they rock them shorter in the 60’s and 70’s?” I argue, “Well back in those days people were definitely not as blatant or half as wild as the lot of you is today, running around like all the blood done rushed to your heads” she quips. She’s not overly cynical, she appreciates that times have changed, yes, what she can’t stand is how our values have become eroded over time. And I don’t blame her, a shameful lot we have become indeed; self-centered, egotistic. It’s all about self-interest, the age we’re living in; success at whatever cost, self-gain in relationships. Whatever happened to extending a hand to one in need? Most of us have lost sense of direction we live as though we are of no purpose and are more of a burden than of value to those around us. Spirituality has become fourth nature to us; no wonder we’re lost. “God save us all” she pleads.

She is loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To live to see 83 and make light of the challenges that come with old age is a reflection of a self-assurance one can only hope for, an amiable strength.

She is blessed. In my eyes she is a legacy and I am proud to bear her name.


I Do Coke. I Do Jack – Two! The Reply

Today I introduce to you my ride or die friend Eva Gichana, whom I love dearly. Having known her for almost ten years, I have to say that she is one of the most honest people I know. It especially sucks when I need her to lie to me or at least hide the truth to make me feel better!  She never plays with her words when it comes to expressing herself. I respect this beautiful woman who also happens to be a very talented singer. It came as no surprise when she called me up to reprimand me after reading my article ‘I Do Coke. I Do Jack too!‘. I am still trying to figure out what I said that was wrong. Did I mess with the wrong women? Culpa Mia 😦
-Mikey
By Eva Gichana
One or the other…or maybe not… I wish to join you in your drink and conversation…But me, I’m more of a double lime and sprite woman.You bring up some very solid points in your thoughts . . . I just wonder about some of the semisolids.Must she really choose on matters that do not even seem mutually exclusive? Can’t she want to be president and not be misconstrued to have something to prove?

You ask ‘who are we gaining independence from’…I’ll tell you. And it has less to do with this generation and more to do with our forefathers that passed this down. Off course ‘Independent man’ sounds silly. In the same way that say ‘colourless water’ sounds silly.

The man has always been independent…The term independent is almost synonymous with the word Man. Society (as far back as African traditional history goes and pretty much many other traditions) has always painted the woman as a dependant and one that needs provision by a man. This in itself is not toxic. What is ugly and what we are seeking ‘independence’ from is the scorn accorded to the said species as a result of this perception that she cannot provide for herself.

You and I agree that yes she can provide and depend on herself…but when she loves you she will let you do these things because you love her but with a full understanding that she can do it for herself. It shouldn’t be a choice of independence or love. I think an independent woman is easier to love.

The journey of life is much better travelled with someone. While you say a man’s needs are simply to have an eat-drink-work-sleep-play lifestyle, remember to leave room for what she wants to do other than stand beside you and watch you eat drink work sleep and play.

Superman didn’t find Loise Lane sitting there doing nothing. She was at work. There is more trouble out there to get into for superman to come save her from 🙂

Nyambura


Earthquake – The Japanese Canadian Experience

In the wake of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster; I think I speak for most of us when I say my heart goes out to those affected by the ongoing “controlled chaos”.

Today’s guest is not only a dear friend of mine, but also a brother whom I’ve grown up with in Toronto.  The author of ‘The Japanese Canadian’relocated back to Tokyo a few years back, and yes, he survived the earthquake.  His firsthand accounts of the disaster are chilling and heart-wrenching.  Check out his blog for more real stories from a very real person.
Susan Wong

By Kentaro Ichimori
Three weeks… is how long it has been since the earthquake hit the east coast of Japan.  It has been such a learning experience.

  • I learned that Japan could probably withstand the worst earthquakes, and still remain standing.
  • I learned that all the damage which comes to Japan with earthquakes, happens immediately after the earthquake.
  • I learned that Japanese people can still come together as a community, even at times of duress.
  • I learned that I have a hard time being a part of that community.
  • I learned that no matter how many years I am here, I am Japanese-Canadian, and not Japanese.

The damage in Japan has been colossal, with almost 30000 dead or missing.  The television broadcasts censored bits of information regarding the recovery efforts and the people who are coming together to help the community.  Indeed it’s a great scene to know that people are helping each other out, as that positive effort is what the community needs to see.

In Tokyo, I still see the daily affects that the earthquakes has on the city of Tokyo.  The shelves at the grocery store and convenience stores are empty.  In certain stores, soft drinks are still available, but in others, there is no water, no drinks and no alcohol.  The daily things such as toilet paper and tissue paper are still relatively scarce, and there are limitations on many things that people can purchase like water.  The land in certain areas which are man made, have buckled under the pressure of the shaking from the earthquake.  The shortage of power in the Greater Tokyo Area has caused many people and industries to go on stand-by for rolling black outs.  Although the everybody has playing a big role in helping to save energy, with so little lights, every night is a reminder that Tokyo is also on life support, still not fully recovered from the damage.

Then there’s everything else with political parties, elections and nuclear power plants, but honestly, everyone has a different stance on that, and everyone is entitled to their opinion about it.  It’s too serious and too touchy to discuss on here, so I will leave that debate for another time.

I felt strongly, that life is precious, and I shouldn’t plan for things that don’t matter to me.  Every single day of my life, I should be striving to be the best that I can be, and I should strive to make my surroundings feel that I am able to contribute to by being my best.  At the same time, if I am unable to gain understanding for my goals and aspirations, and be told be the image that someone believes me to be, then I have to make a choice of whether I should hold faith in the life that others promise me, or to take control of the path I feel that I should be going on.  There’s many uncertainties, and many will say, “you should be doing this” or “you shouldn’t be doing that”, but the only true answer is “what “I” want to do”.

“What I want to do”, and “where I am now” are the two answers that I will strive to have an answer for.  Everything in between is what I “should” be doing.

Visit Ichomori’s website at http://www.thejapanesecanadian.org



15 MINUTES OF FAME

Ahenda Anjichi is back again, this time on a mission. She is out to create awareness on this long standing challenge of HIV and AIDs. The first time I read this post I couldn’t help acknowledging the weight of her words. It is my hope that this message spreads far and wide. If you are not infected, you must be affected. I take this opportunity to launch the first awareness campaign on this blog. Let’s call it  A Minute of Silence. Thank you Ahenda.


“My feet sort of just glided haphazardly from the seat of my car, ankles angrily exerting force onto the tarmacked parking as I made my way to the side entrance of the white building. So many thoughts were racing through my mind, why am I even still walking? I couldn’t feel the ground but I felt myself moving. There was a buzz of activity around me. A pregnant woman who just looked void of all human energy was standing by the main entrance, her husband/boyfriend/friend/baby daddy hunched over her attentively…I whizzed past them, smelt her cheap perfume and grimaced.

My feet pounded on relentlessly, I wanted to slower my pace but I guess after being up since 3 AM and having thought about this all night, I was here. Some unnatural forces were pushing my body, against my will to the first floor.

A gust of hot air hit me as I emerged into the semi-packed waiting area. I sat down on the plastic covered seats, not quite sure what to do or how to do it-my thoughts were louder than the baby wailing in its mother’s arms next to me and I only heard a whisper next to me when the white cladded receptionist/nurse tapped my shoulder and repeated her question five times, obviously irritated by my absent-mindedness. I nodded.

Yes” was the choked reply.

Five minutes later, I was half walking behind her and half running out the door, my body feeling like a 5 ton truck and my heart pounding against my ribcage.

What the hell am I doing here?

She led me into a tiny room, at the end of the hall and all of a sudden my heart stopped beating, my feet refused to move and I stared in blank wonder at the white walls and statistic charts adorning the walls.

I was offered a seat stood there as she rambled on, talking nonsense because I wanted to forget I was there.

10 minutes later,

Time sort of stopped.

Froze.

Stood still.

My head was spinning so fast, I felt the white walls turning 360 degrees…i had developed malaria: aching joints, fever, hallucinations, and shortness of breath and one hell of a headache…

It’s only when I felt a slap on my face and someone screaming [the fake name I had jotted on the dotted line on that yellow single sheet of paper] and telling me to calm down, that I realized the throbbing headache was actually my heart sinking and the aching joints were as a result of my hitting the floor and table, banging my head against the surface of the floor and my chorus of “OH NO’S!!!”  made the hallucinations.

It was like a freaking out-of-body experience! I was watching myself act out this role in a movie and it was not actually happening and I’m not that crazy girl reeling on the floor, bringing attention to herself in that small, white walled room with arms flailing all over and white lab coats straining to pin down my struggling and jerking limbs.

I looked up through my tears and glanced back at the two ugly red lines, which in just FIFTEEN MINUTES had managed to shatter my 24 years of living, by a simple prick to my index finger and small talk of living positively.

In FIFTEEN MINUTES all the people who saw me walking down the hall would remember my draught stricken face and my tear stained cheeks and how concerned the counselor was as she led me back to my car, whispering words of encouragement in my ear that seemed to evaporate into whims of air the minute they left her lips because they didn’t register in my mind, neither did they make any sense-she could have been talking Greek for all I cared.

The world around me was like a bad dream and I was snow white and those two red lines were the evil step mother that had turned my world into gloom.

There was a slow buzzing in my ears and I found myself hunched over the low hedge, violently hurling out the remaining gooey lumps of my breakfast, constantly jerking like I was in an epileptic fit as if to drain every grain of the disease from my system.

I was in a pained trance and I could still feel the warm tears cutting irregular streams down my face.

I could swear that my heart had stopped beating and the quick breathes escaping my nostrils and mouth were my life’s essence seeping out into the noisy world and nobody noticed my frame, slouched next to my car, fingers digging into the tarmac and my arms hugging the front left wheel, hopelessly wishing that I was that cold inanimate object that proudly owns no emotion.

At that very moment, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, because all the stares and glances had me naked and vulnerable and I felt like “HIV POSITIVE” was plastered on my forehead.

I had drove into the hospital just FIFTEEN MINUTES earlier and nobody knew me; now I was just but one of the statistics.

 

FACT FILE:

DID YOU KNOW??

That-

  • Kenya is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics.
  • An estimated 1.5 million people are living with HIV; around 1.2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS; and in 2009 80,000 people died from AIDS related illnesses.
  • Kenya’s HIV prevalence peaked during 2000 and, according to the latest figures, has dramatically reduced to around 6.3 percent.
  • This decline is thought to be partially due to an increase in education and awareness, and high death rates.
  • Many people in Kenya are still not being reached with HIV prevention and treatment services. Only 1 in 3 children needing treatment are receiving it.

This demonstrates Kenya still has a long way to go in providing universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care.

  • Kenya’s HIV epidemic has been categorised as generalised – meaning that HIV affects all sectors of the population.

Nearly half of all new infections were transmitted during heterosexual sex whilst in a relationship and 20 percent during casual heterosexual sex.

  • HIV prevalence is higher amongst specific groups and tends to differ according to location, gender and age.
  • Various studies have revealed high HIV prevalence amongst a number of key affected groups, including sex workers, injecting drug users (IDUs), men who have sex with men (MSM), truck drivers and cross-border mobile populations.

Some of these groups are marginalised within society – for example, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Therefore these groups are difficult to reach with HIV prevention, treatment and care, and the extent to which HIV is affecting these groups has not been fully explored. Up to 33% of new infections in 2008 were within these ‘most at risk populations’

  • In 2008, an estimated 3.8 percent of new HIV infections were among IDUs and in the capital, Nairobi, 5.8 percent of new infections were among IDUs.

Laws prohibiting harm reduction services, such as needle and syringe exchanges, significantly hinder the prevention of new infections among IDUs.27 HIV infections are easily prevented in healthcare settings, nevertheless, 2.5 percent of new HIV infections occurred in health facilities during 2008 in Kenya.

  • Women are disproportionally affected by HIV. In 2008/09 HIV prevalence among women was twice as high as that for men at 8% and 4.3% respectively.

This disparity is even greater in young women aged 15-24 who are four times more likely to become infected with HIV than men of the same age.

Kenyan women experience high rates of violent sexual contact, which is thought to contribute to the higher prevalence of HIV. In a 2003 nationwide survey, almost half of women reported having experienced violence and one in four women aged between 12 and 24 had lost their virginity by force

  • Adult HIV prevalence is greater in urban areas (8.4 percent) than rural areas (6.7 percent) of Kenya. However, as around 75 percent of people in Kenya live in rural areas, the total number of people living with HIV is higher in rural settings (1 million adults) than urban settings (0.4 million adults)

Source: http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-kenya.htm

N/B:

Those statistics were as of 2008/2009.

Imagine how the situation is at this moment.

I did a random survey in a mat this morning, asking how many people riding with me to town had ever had an HIV test done.

I was sitted just behind the “kange’s”seat.

Keep in mind that the mat was full.

I managed to talk to the “kange”, the guy behind me, the passengers sitted on the double seats across from me and two guys alighting the mat, and with the Kenyan spirit of “udaku”, the answers chorused around me in the mat.

Out of 14, only 5 had “I have been tested” answers.

Now spread that out across all the mats in the traffic on Msa road at 7.45 AM at the Nyayo round-a-bout inter-section this morning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT.


My Wet Dream

As told by Asaph Bryan Change on behalf of a discomfited victim.

 

Dear diary,

I saw her again today. I didn’t know what to say when she walked right up to me, so in return I stared dead shamelessly, and she walked away with the same chuckle she gave me a fortnight ago when I saw her last. I promised myself that this wouldn’t happen to me after the last time. But it did. Now I’m back to that frenzy of thoughts, and I hate myself for having them rule me again. As much as I’m timid to admit, I can’t hold back my mounting crave.

I thought I had this all under control, that the last time was the last, but seeing her today plunged me back to the gutter of what we did. Damn!

I want it to happen again, I plan on asking her what she felt about it, what she thinks of me now, but the thought of me seating her down for that dialogue sticks me in ice. But I have to find out if it’s mutual. She has to want it as bad as I do, right? I mean, she’s the one who made the first move. But what if she regrets it and would rather it didn’t happen a third time? No, she looked at me the same way she did when we were wrapped in my bed sheets dripping wet in our exhausted state of undress.

She told me not to worry about what they’ll think, so that must mean she regrets none of it. I hate this. I’m torn between doing the right thing and ignoring it all and pursue something so wrong but right to me, to us.

I heard her on the phone saying she’s coming over for a visit tomorrow, so I have until then to rehearse my advance in hopes that the answer I’ll get will have us back into each other’s grip.

I’ll try getting her attention when the rest will be distracted in the delight of laughter and tell her of my request to have a word. Once in the privacy of the both of us, I’ll get straight to the point and disclose my inevitable state of being and ask if it’s what she equally feels. But I know her. She’ll probably lean forward to gently bite my lower lip into an ardent kiss like she does every time we are behind a closed door, but I need to know if this is real to her as it is to me.

I’ve shared this furtive with a close friend and he hated me for this twisted condition I threw myself in, and he’s constantly been reminding me of the clutter this would leave me in. I get where he’s coming from, really, I do. But like she said, I shouldn’t worry about what they think, him included.

A week ago I called and asked her what the big sister would think of this if she found out; for I respect her with the whole of me. For the first time, she froze. She didn’t have an answer. I could sense fear in her silence. But she only told me that her sister needed to never know about us, or any one in that regard. I don’t know what to do. I love her. What we may have is something I want to keep. But her sister, my mother, poses a great impediment. Everyone does.

This was a story told to me in full confidence by a dear friend. I do not regret publicly exposing it to you. I needed you to read this and question the number of people out there living in this very situation, most of who breed in it without remorse. Some who can’t stop due to the twisted pleasure they achieve, and a majority who are tempted to initiate.

So, what have you been up to lately?