See the World Through My Eyes

Travel

Breaking Up with Her

iris

So the time has come to let go of someone that I’ve held dear to my heart for too long. Her name is Iris. I first saw her 10 years ago one day on my way to work and instantly I knew we were meant to be. I decided I would do everything just to make her mine. She was a bit too old for me but I didn’t care. At least she was mature and had a cool head. A month later I was the happiest man as Iris and I drove into the sunset to start our lives together.

We travelled all over the country to new places meeting new faces and making friends long the way. On the road she was the envy of many girls. They couldn’t understand how a girl her age would would still look so beautiful. She was always calm even when the going was tough. She hardly complained or broke down like all the younger girls did. The sound of her heartbeat has never changed; deep and strong like a raging storm. She was always ready to go regardless of time of day or where the journey led us. She’s taken us on the most memorable road trips of our lives. She has also accompanied us on some of the saddest times. She was always up to the task. She still is.

My friends love her. To us she represents all the good times we’ve had. She has always had room for everyone and everyone has had room for her in their pictures. My family doesn’t remember who I was before Iris and my nieces will kill me if they knew what I’m a bout to do.

You see though she can’t speak, Iris talks to me. Lately she’s been telling me that I need to move on to a new adventure. Every time I look outside the window I can see her looking back at me from the driveway. She also wants a new adventure. Don’t get me wrong, we are not fighting. We just understand each other. She just wants me to see what else is out there. “Go see the world, I’ll be fine” she says. She’s a classic girl. I know that feeling so as painful as it is, I will let her go.

It’s been a great 10 years and a lot has happened. It’s not easy to break off with a car that you have come to understand so well.

Therefore I am inviting offers for my 23 year old Mitsubishi Libero Wagon named ‘Iris’. She features one of the best engines Mitsubishi ever produced; a 1.8 litre 4G93 engine and full time 4 wheel drive system. The suspension consists of 2 weeks old monroe shocks running under a regularly serviced engine. It is advisable to buy Iris as a collector’s item and complete her restoration which is at 75%.

I’ve had Iris for 10 years. It’sad to let her go but it’s time for a new adventure. And yes, this post is just about a car.

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The New Girl In Town: Just Remember Everything Will Be SAWA

Have you seen The Bigger Picture? Well it’s one of the blogs that have inspired me and given me pointers in writing my own. I am honored to know the owner of this blog and she happens to be a good friend. I have taken time to study her work especially in writing and photography. My conclusion? She is gifted. Meet Susan Wong, a Chinese Canadian who has travelled the world extensively. Wong is a traveller, writer, radio personality, photographer and fashion designer. When she told me she was on a flight on her way here, I didn’t waste the chance to request that she write me a blog note while on the plane. Today was her first day on radio (Capital Fm 98.4). She was good!

By Susan ‘Lucky’ Wong

My body ached and my head throbbed from exhaustion.  Coming up on 20 hours of travelling time, jetlag was definitely catching up to me.  As I flipped through my colourful Kenyan guidebook in a desperate last attempt to absorb as much information about my new home, the captain spoke over the intercom and informed us that we were descending into Nairobi, and moments later the flickering city lights welcomed us.

Mesmerized by the enchanting lights and the new adventures that awaited me, I reluctantly closed my guide book and put it away.  I realized that no amount of homework could really prepare me for my relocation to Nairobi.  I suppose the best preparation was to put aside all expectations and just humbly enjoy every moment, adventure and opportunity that crosses my path.  And with that mindset, I penned this journal entry to myself just before the plane touched down…

Dear Self,

 

Young Lady, you are no stranger to Africa, Kenya, Nairobi or the challenging task of relocation.  With that said, ignore those butterflies in your stomach; stop thinking about the ‘what ifs’ if you had made another choice; and tell your Mom’s chanting of “Nairobbery….” In your mind to hush!

 

Undoubtedly there will be a lot of challenges ahead.  You will face challenges that seem impossible to prevail.  You will meet people that will challenge who you are and the core of what you’re made of.  You can do this.  Remember that you’ve been blessed with this opportunity to follow your passion and perhaps answer a call.  There are amazing people that are waiting to support you.  Be bold. Just be you.

 

Don’t forget about the lessons you’ve learned in the past.  And yes, you’ve learned so much in Ethiopia from the past few years.  Take everything with a grain of salt.  Trust people until they give you a reason to not trust them.

 

Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to explore the diverse restaurants in town!

 

Don’t fret.  Chin up Girl because everything will just be Sawa.

Voice over the intercom: “Welcome to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  The temperature outside is 18 degrees and expect a light drizzle …. Thanks for choosing….and we hope you have enjoyed your flight.”



The New Girl In Town: Just Remember Everything Will Be SAWA

Have you seen The Bigger Picture? Well it’s one of the blogs that have inspired me and given me pointers in writing my own. I am honored to know the owner of this blog and she happens to be a good friend. I have taken time to study her work especially in writing and photography. My conclusion? She is gifted. Meet Susan Wong, a Chinese Canadian who has travelled the world extensively. Wong is a traveller, writer, radio personality, photographer and fashion designer. When she told me she was on a flight on her way here, I didn’t waste the chance to request that she write me a blog note while on the plane. Today was her first day on radio (Capital Fm 98.4). She was good!

By Susan ‘Lucky’ Wong

My body ached and my head throbbed from exhaustion.  Coming up on 20 hours of travelling time, jetlag was definitely catching up to me.  As I flipped through my colourful Kenyan guidebook in a desperate last attempt to absorb as much information about my new home, the captain spoke over the intercom and informed us that we were descending into Nairobi, and moments later the flickering city lights welcomed us.

Mesmerized by the enchanting lights and the new adventures that awaited me, I reluctantly closed my guide book and put it away.  I realized that no amount of homework could really prepare me for my relocation to Nairobi.  I suppose the best preparation was to put aside all expectations and just humbly enjoy every moment, adventure and opportunity that crosses my path.  And with that mindset, I penned this journal entry to myself just before the plane touched down…

Dear Self,

 

Young Lady, you are no stranger to Africa, Kenya, Nairobi or the challenging task of relocation.  With that said, ignore those butterflies in your stomach; stop thinking about the ‘what ifs’ if you had made another choice; and tell your Mom’s chanting of “Nairobbery….” In your mind to hush!

 

Undoubtedly there will be a lot of challenges ahead.  You will face challenges that seem impossible to prevail.  You will meet people that will challenge who you are and the core of what you’re made of.  You can do this.  Remember that you’ve been blessed with this opportunity to follow your passion and perhaps answer a call.  There are amazing people that are waiting to support you.  Be bold. Just be you.

 

Don’t forget about the lessons you’ve learned in the past.  And yes, you’ve learned so much in Ethiopia from the past few years.  Take everything with a grain of salt.  Trust people until they give you a reason to not trust them.

 

Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to explore the diverse restaurants in town!

 

Don’t fret.  Chin up Girl because everything will just be Sawa.

Voice over the intercom: “Welcome to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  The temperature outside is 18 degrees and expect a light drizzle …. Thanks for choosing….and we hope you have enjoyed your flight.”



Same Script Different Past

By Michael Ngigi

I see things. I see through things. It’s slowly dawning on me that I’m in the wrong profession. I should have been a priest. I can see through people and their past. I’d make a good priest to confess to for that matter. Or maybe I should have been a customs official. I have x-ray vision too. I can see what’s in your purse. What’s in your heart. I am yet to find out if this ability is a blessing or a curse. But in the meantime…

I’m seated on the Metro that runs from Sharaf Dg to Al Rigga with this gorgeous woman from my dreams. It is rush hour and the train is full of people from all over the world mostly asians. Almost everyone looks tired and worn out save but a few. It’s been a long, hard day. My eyes sweep wide and my visions begin. I have met everyone in the cabin in a life before.

Meet Yana Koirala. In her twenties, she looks like an actress. Slim, big eyed and wearing an almost permanent pout. She’s wearing large golden loops and a shiny quartz and white gold necklace. She looks spoilt and accomplished. She is used to the gazes and stares. There she seats, like an Indian goddess atop a king elephant. It almost feels like she is silently wishing we were her type, so we could have a conversation. If we only knew!

Yana was born in Calcutta in the  eighties, she doesn’t have an idea when exactly. She was part of the huge population of street children. She has never known who her parents were. The only significant person she knew but now hates is Khalid. You see Khalid is a pimp. He picked her up from the streets with a promise for a job and better life in the UK. She endured four months in a container at sea only to find herself on the backstreets of Dubai.

That’s history now. She met and got married to a wealthy Emirati. She now spends her days shopping and visiting friends. She won’t agree to have a driver as she doesn’t like being followed around. No, she wouldn’t let her husband know her past. For now, everything is going fine. Let’s keep it at that.

On the far corner Bayani Benjie looks exhausted and beat. A Filipino native from the Hiligaynon minority tribe, he is tall unlike most of his country men. His hands are rough and his eyes are sunken in a deathly gaze. He works hard for a meagre pay. He doesn’t mind it though. Back at home he is a wanted man. The high court charged and sentenced him in absentia to hang for murdering a minister’s son. He doesn’t feel guilty. In fact he’d do it again if he had the chance. How can you forgive the man who raped and strangled your nine year old daughter?

Bayani sleeps in the open desert. He has no family and no friends. His only possession, a picture of his dead daughter. He chose to run to Dubai in the hope that he would find his daughter’s mother who came here as a casual worker. It’s been seven years now. The search continues.

In the seat across seats an elderly Pakistani couple and their teenage daughter. The Al Zardaris have been here for the past 3 years. Life is hard but they’re happy. A native of the Hiligaynon territory of Sindh province, Mr. Muzamil Al Zardari deserted the army after being ordered to kill a group of women and children. He can’t go back anytime. He has to make this [their new life] work. That is why he looks pale and haggard.

His daughter has seen this face many times and in a way she feels it’s her duty to make it go away. She takes his hands and pretends to read his palms. She says he seems to have a bright future and that all will be well. The whole family smiles and tears well up in their eyes. Tears wash your eyes clean of dirt and a smile keeps your heart healthy.

It’s getting dark and as I try to look out the window, I see us in the reflection. I came here in search of something I couldn’t quite tell. My heart had been uneasy and it needed emancipation. I believe we have lived in a time before this. If you disagree, the tell me. Why do I always get this feeling of déjà vu whenever I’m with her?  She can read my thoughts as well as I can read hers. She came looking for a better life. I don’t know if she’s found it yet. Everything seems to be okay between us. In fact I want this ‘thing’ to last our lifetimes if not for eternity. She looks at me and smiles. She knows what I’m thinking. What we both don’t know is, tomorrow we are going skiing and something great will happen.

As the train cruises to our destination, I can’t help wondering if anyone else feels like I do. That we are all part of the same scene in the same script despite different pasts.

“Al Abuwab tu blak” door closing.


COMING TO AMERICA: A dog’s account

pack 1 |pak|
a group of wild animals, esp. wolves, living and hunting together.

My guest writer on this article is a great friend of  mine (we are members of the same pack),  but he’d rather keep his identity anonymous as it would greatly affect his current status. Once again, I would like to welcome comments and articles for this blog as we shamelessly discuss and learn from our experiences.

I was fresh off the boat, or should I say plane? Had a few escapades getting here but that’s a story for another day.  I survived and was in the land of opportunity, ready to face the world, determined, driven and ambitious. Just another fresh-faced African brother arriving in the US. Hoping to get an education and hopefully get with an American girl. I know, I know, I came to get an education, but on top of my list was to sample the local delicacies, mainly the ladies. To tell you the truth, there is no man who goes someplace new and thinks like, “Hmm I would love their culture, language and customs.” Sure that’s somewhere on the list but those are things we would like to learn from the natives, preferably a nice looking lady that is willing to accommodate a few other requests. Married men on their honeymoon also are a victim to this, sad to say. So for all women out there, on your honeymoon, don’t let your man leave the room; keep him busy.

I was one of the few lucky ones to have someone to show me the ropes. First thing they told me, “Keep off the girls at school,” “What?” Talk about having your hopes and dreams crashed. I felt deflated but stubborn as I am I couldn’t fathom the thought of striking out. So with this mind, I set out to see what was on offer. First day in school, fresh cut, dressed nice, looking sharp. No luck, second day, zip, third…none. The week dragged on and I was still a ‘virgin.’ That Friday, one of the Africans brothers had an accident. Unfortunately, his car got into a fight with some bricks and lost….badly. Word on the street was, he was encroaching on somebody else’s territory and this was a message, to kindly KEEP OFF. My dream of getting laid was becoming more and more of a dream and soon enough I would throw in the towel and start hunting familiar prey.

The weekend came and went and I arrived in school with renewed purpose. Am stubborn like that. I figured I didn’t own a car so the chances of that happening to me were zero. And from high school math, if the probability was zero, then it would be impossible for the event to occur, a familiar case is the chance of the sun rising in the West and setting in the East…impossible, probability? ZERO. I was set and ready for anything. First class I met the same African brother, and damn, he had two black eyes, not one but two, reminded me of the bushbabys I used to see when we used to go for camping in Rowaland in my primary and high school days. He told me he fell down some stairs, but I knew he got himself an old fashioned butt whooping. As he slowly walked up, put on some shades as he stepped outside, so went out my hope and I headed to my next class. Coming back to our math lesson, I had two eyes and the probability of getting a black eye was not zero anymore, with that I figured I might as well give up on the dream.

Life is indeed funny, got to class and this female decides to sit next to me. She was FINE in capital letters, kinda girl I would never dream on hitting on. Way out of my league. I felt like life was trying to rub it in. She looked divine, smelt heavenly, smiled like a dream and had a brother thinking about all sorts of things that you don’t generally think about in a calculus class. After class, she said hi to me and asked me if I wanted to go to lunch. I couldn’t believe it, I was on cloud nine. We headed to lunch, and she asked me about home, family and some very dumb ignorant questions that unfortunately all Africans get asked when they get here. Do you have cars? How did you get here? Do you live on trees? Do you get attacked by lions? I answered all these with a smile, and wondered to myself what did I ever do to get such an angel to talk to me? Anyway I milked the moment for all it was worth and I must have done something right because she gave me her number. I went home happy as a lark and prayed that my dream would go on tomorrow.

To cut a long story short, a couple of weeks later, I lost my American ‘virginity.’ I musta have done something right coz I got quite a few references. And any man will tell you that references are the best thing a girl could ever give you. Ladies value other ladies opinions and a good one certainly helps a brother a whole lot. Otherwise why would your man cheat on you with your best friend if all you ever said about him was negative? Food for thought!

That’s all for now folks and until next time these are just the ramblings of a student in a foreign land. Till next time…..