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Picture this, you are in a loving flourishing( or at least you lied to yourself that it was flourishing)- relationship. You are happy, he is everything that you ever dreamed of since you became aware of boys. He might not be the prince charming you read about in those westernized princess stories, but let’s be fair, there is nothing like a prince charming in the real world but at least he is considerate, shows up at the appointed times, buys the necessary gifts, and yeah, he is alright!
Your relationship is going on well until he stops texting and you frantically try to reach him to no avail. First you assume that he was hit by a speeding motorist (the poor soul) and he might be lying in a hospital bed fighting for his dear life. Then you chide yourself for thinking such grime thoughts about your beau. Then you excuse his behavior by telling yourself that he is busy and he cannot find time to return your calls or texts. Finally you force yourself to face the cold reality that he isn’t responding to your texts and you stop blowing up his phone with your texts and leave him alone. You reason out that if he is serious and he is the a grown-up that he professes to be, he will pick up the phone and call you, better still he knows where to find you. You bask in your own confidence telling yourself that he needs the space and sooner or later he will come back after realizing what a great woman you are!
Only this time round he does not come back and after almost two months, a friend of a friend of his confides in you that he is getting married to another woman! You are a woman of great sensitivity, so you hold your head high and your dignity up and you do not break into tears but inwardly you are shocked and you can hear the little pieces of your heart crashing inside you like porcelain. You never did anything wrong to drive him away or did you? You did everything there is to sustain this relationship. You did not nag him even when you wanted to just do that, you put up with his weird habits and sexual fantasies- things that you swore to yourself you will never do. You showed up when he needed you when you’d rather be holed up in your house with an interesting book to read.
As you sit across that friend of a friend of his, you search your mind and you cannot find anything that you did or did not do to warrant this break up without prior notice of even a slight indication of it(I think people should give notices when they break up, something like “hey Betty next week we will be no more” Every woman can handle that). So you nod along as the friend of a friend of his describes his new girl and you wonder how people can be so insensitive. But wait a minute, this friend of a friend of his does not know that he was dating you! So you hold your horses and she goes blabbing about the wedding committee and the cost of the wedding and so on and so forth. During all this you are thinking of the future that you carefully planned with him, the house you were going to built, the children you were going to have and the ever happy life that you had even prepared for, emotionally. Somehow during this emotional internal turmoil and the blabbering of this friend, you get to know when and where the wedding will be and you begin your shrewd planning.
At first you resist the idea of revenge because God knows that you were brought up in the church by your mama and mama preached forgiveness, forgive your enemies so that your father in heaven will forgive your sins. That is what the holy book says. As much as you would want to respect your mama and live by the words of the Man above, you are hurting and this man does not deserve to go scot free. He deserves to know that you deserve better and at least he should have had the dignity to tell you that the relationship was not working. You finally make up your mind that he deserves to know that you were not happy about his leaving you out in the cold, without a word. You reason out that you deserve at least an explanation after four effing years of dating. Your challenge though is how to exert that revenge. You think of going to his place and pouring tomato sauce or soup on all his clothes. you think of trashing his house but wait a minute, you do not have a key to the new place that he had moved into a few weeks ago. You planned on getting the key but his silence coincided with the time you were supposed to get that key. You think of showing up at his place of work and giving a piece of your mind to him but you know that this will not work well. After all you are not that kind of a loud person to cause ruckus. Again you fear that people will likely mistake you for a mad woman and again you have never really been a woman who loves the attention, public spectacle disgusts you and you hate being the center of attention, and after all you were really never married, you were jut dating, but still you feel aggravated.
Weeks and days go by and his wedding day approaches and so does your rage boil. Eventually, you decide to show up for the wedding just to check out whether the new woman- his wife-to-be is hotter than you( how that is important at the moment does not register). Right now your mind isn’t working well, but you pray and hope she is uglier than you… how are you are going to tell that is difficult because everybody appears beautiful on their day of wedding thanks to the invention of make-up. A few days to the d-day an idea wedges itself on your mind, instead of showing up and making a spectacle, why don’t you send a present (gift) to the couple, a subtle gift that will remind him of your presence, of the future that will never be, of the broken heart that you will carry around with you for a while?
You carefully go looking for the healthiest looking rose flowers you can find, the white ones. He and you know that white roses are your favorite flowers. Once you find them, you let then dry and carefully place them in a gift box. A note of course has to accompany your gift, placed carefully inside. The note may read…May the fruit of this union wither like these roses…Cheers! You carefully wrap your gift and wait patiently for the wedding day. You will arrive early at the venue and sit quietly following the proceedings and as they declare their I do’s, you will smile secretly knowing that when he and his new wife sees your gift he will forever think of you or not!

A bump in the Head

I have just finished reading Liane Moriarty’s What Alice forgot. The story is about a  39 year-old stay at-home-mother of three kids who knocks her head during a spin class and forgets the last decade of her life. Before she transformed into  a-well dressed-thinly emanciated- actually- well-toned and actually physically fit-mom who is overly involved-in her kids after school activities and the surrounding community, Alice Love was a shy-self-concious-29-year-old-who-could not stand-up-for herself. So when she wakes up after that fall, she thinks it is 1998 and she is newly married to her husband Nick love who she loves dearly. The book explores Alice’s emotional state after she learns the facts of her life that she seems to have forgotten such as: She and her husband Nick are about to get divorced, She has three Kids who she doesn’t remember giving birth to, her sister Elizabeth is aloof towards her and apparently she had a very close friend who died tragically and whim she has been grieving albeit with alot of anger.

This story got me thinking, what if I forgot the last ten years of my life? What would it be like? If today I woke up and  my mind is stuck in 2007, what would I feel? Would I be happy? How would I react to the news of what my life has turned out to be now in 2017? Here is a list of those things that would really puzzle me about my life in 2017!

1. I have a job!

 My teaching job! Well my 2007-self is in college, third year trying to finish a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I guess I would laugh at myself for thinking I could conveniently escape the classroom! Something I thought I would do easily ten years ago. Again, jobs are a hard thing to find here in Kenya, so I would be pleasantly surprised at this.

2.I am still single! 

This would be the biggest surprise of my life. Ten years ago, I thought I had all the time in my life,once I finish college, to date and do all that stuff! Little did I know that, men don’t grow on trees and good men at that- with minimal baggage- will be a rare breed in 2017!

3 Those two relationships that have failed.

I think this would be a memory I would wince at when people remind me. The idea that I have tried and failed, that I have not been afraid to put myself out there,  that I had the courage to step out and try, only that it was not successful would be a bitter pill to swallow. 

3. My grandmother

I think I would be saddened by the fact that in 2017, my grandmother is battling memory loss. Ten years ago, she was the epitome of health. Busy regaling me with stories about the village fools.

The sad reality is, nothing much about me has changed in the last ten years, only that I have grown wiser. Unlike Alice who wakes up having forgotten the hatred that she has for her soon to be ex- husband, and awakening to the reality she is dating someone new and one her children have  behavioral problems at school, I would calmly walk back to 2017 without much fear and apprehension.

What if you forgot the last ten years of your life? How would that play out?

Mistresses

Medicine is my lawful wife and Literature is my mistress; When I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other” Anton Chekhov

I tend to think that each of us individuals placed on this earth have split lives; what we normally do and what we actually enjoy doing. The lucky ones are those who have successfully merged what they normally do with what they actually love and adore doing. The other denizens are like me: trying to juggle our wives with our mistresses. Like a man who is cheating, we will leave all the dirty laundry:the soiled shirts, the tantrums,the silences and smelly socks( I really do not know why I have included this one here)to our wives and head over to the mistresses, clean shaven and pristine with a big smile. I really do not know what I am talking about, seriously! And for the few minutes of whatever it is that the man goes looking for in the mistress- adventure-something he feels he cannot find at home,we will bask in those few blissful moments before we head back home. This post is not about men nor mistresses per se. It is about careers or whatnot.

This space here is my little mistress, the second one actually! How much can one be unfaithful? Some of us harbor thoughts of the grandeur of being writers but we do not have the courage nor the fortitude of getting into the trenches of actual writing. We therefore, take a detour to blogging hoping against all hopes that as we explore our thoughts and ourselves, we will finally come up with a strategy to finally write that story that has been pushing to be written.

My wife is teaching- teaching kids how to communicate using a foreign tongue, trying to mold their mother-tongue infested lips and tongues into shape such that they can communicate to the world- never mind that most of them might not see a world outside their village. I take my wife very serious because of course my survival as an individual and my ability to pay my bills depends on my herein performance with my so called wife(no pun intended)

My main Mistress is Literature- like Chekhov. Sometimes I swear to myself that I will leave it for good, but during those nights when the thought of waking up tomorrow and showing up to work plague me endlessly, I crawl onto her shoulders and find the comfort among the many pages that she has to offer. Early this month, in my one of those crazed bouts against my wife, I registered for a very demanding course that will take me(at least) the next three years! I feel overwhelmed. I am second guessing myself and doubting my ability to deal with it but because money( from my wife) has been poured I have to stick with it. I am guessing that my second mistress- this space will suffer a lot but I promise myself and to my mistress here that I will show up regularly and satisfy the need to tell a blank page my thoughts and fears hoping against hope that one person in the vast blog-sphere ocean will read this!
So this is to all of us juggling different mistresses in whichever version and face they come in! May we find the adventure that we are looking for!

Aging

2016 was  a bad year period. It didnot deliver on its promise but I do not complain about that, nobody said living would be easy. But sometimes I wish- and I am prone to wishing-that something just goes right for once, such that when I look back, I can smile upon that one event that went right. But no, 2016 ensured that it will take away  every tiny bit of happiness out of me. But well, I just have to accept it as it is.

Normally there is that one person(s) that you know and believe that they will always be there for you. They might not actually do anything but their presence makes everything better and normal. That person might be a friend or a family member. For me, my tower of strength, my anchor has always been my grandmother.I would stay away from home for a while wandering here and there but I would be sure that the moment I get home and see my Granny, everything would be just fine. She was that constant in our lives. Granted that in her yester  years, she was a drama queen but in the late nineties she became that person I would always look forward to  spending time with her. She was our memory, through her, I got to meet the other half of the family tree that I never actually met. She was my link to the other world, always talking about my great grandfather and all the departed souls as if they just lived yesterday. Through her, I got to know my late grandfather better, though dead these last 16 years, she would always talk poignantly about him- a man who was aloof for most of the years that I knew him- she would humanise him to a point I would wonder whether she talked about the same man that I knew. That was the joy of meeting her every time I went home. Her stories. Her memories.Our memories. Her mind. Clear as the day she lived those experiences.

Now, December 2016. She sits across from me but my heart breaks into tiny little pieces. She does recognise me and every other member of the family even the new additions but that is about it. Inside her head, confusion reigns. When you sit with her and you remember who she was a year ago and listen to her wanderings, a mind that is jumbled up, and a spirit that longs for a rest, then realization hits you that she is no longer the person you knew.

When you sit across from her, and instead of listening to the greatest storyteller, your job is to sieve through all the disjointed wanderings and bring her mind to the present, and when you look at her and you see the sadness that is etched in her face because of all these faces  that are clammering for her attention, faces and sounds only she can see and recognise, strangers that she feels she is letting them down because she cannot attend to them, then it dawns on you that she lives in the past, a past that is her present and there is nothing any of us can do to pull her from that confusion.

My grandmother is no longer the person  I used to know  but as much is it makes me sad and breaks my heart, I have to learn to love her the way she is now. The joy of hearing her call my name, the thought of her presence still here with us makes me love her the more.The confusion might eventually overwhelm her, as the doctor predicts but she will always be that one person who I love wholeheartedly, the one person who taught me my roots. 

As 2017 rolls by my only prayer is that she lives in good health, Alzheimer’s aside and that she doesn’t loose that tiny grasp of reality that is remaining.

Broken hearts

Every woman knows when she has met that one man who will leave her with the broken pieces of her heart clutched in her hands. And I am no exception.
As this year descends in its last lap dance, I am left grappling with the uncertainty of my life, my hopes and my aspirations. I find myself
standing at a crossroad wondering which road to take: the less travelled or the familiar beaten up road.
For the last two years, my life has been quite simple, split between work, my extended family and my boyfriend, squeezing time between  these three has been a huge challenge coupled with working away from the capital city where he resides and a very hectic work schedule for both of us.
Now all that has been upset and I tell you it is not pleasant.  Relationships aren’t easy and I am not an easy person to be with. They have always been hard nuts for me to crack. I have never gotten the hang of it really.
It is usually ‘you are too much of a woman’ or ‘ too questioning’ or ‘ too critical’ or ‘too proud’! And of course  the moments where you are left hanging without knowing what it is that you never did wrong!
So this time round, I am left holding the broken pieces of my heart and the added mystery of not knowing what it is that I did wrong.
I am very sure that by the time the year rolls around to the last month I will have figured out how to mend my broken heart and how to move on.
I would also have to decide whether my studies deserve another try and the direction my not so illustrious career should take. Its not really easy to make a life altering decision in the  aftermath of a break up but I will get round to it..eventually that is!
Now if you know how to make a relationship a success, enlighten me in the comments section.

A Peep into a day of a high school teacher part 1

Once in a while I will post something about my actual job that puts food on my table.
So here we go…
I am a high school teacher. I teach English language and sometimes I tend to lie to myself that I am good at it! As long as I can remember, I never wanted to be at teacher. Almost all my colleagues agree that they never wanted to be teachers. They sort of drifted into it. Some because their KCSE grades were low such that they didn’t have any other option, others like me, didn’t have the guts to rebel against their parents wishes and went into careers that their parents chose for them. The only time i can remember that i said loudly to any one that my future career would be a teacher was way back in class two when we had to tell our teacher what we wanted to be when we grew up! Fast forward into the future and I am a teacher. Sometimes I think it is Karma or something. I love the English Language and I love using it. I cannot say I particularly love the kids I teach. I am sure my students will not confess undying love for me. Anyone who has dealt with teenagers will tell you that they can be merciless and resistant to anything you want them to do. It’s even difficult when you are teaching a language which they never use to communicate. Instead of teaching English as a second language I am forced to teach it as a Foreign language. But I still love it. Sometimes I feel what I do is important. Other times I feel like its all wasted energy. Most of the days I do not want to leave my bed and face the day. Other days I cannot wait to be in class-no that is a white lie. Most of the days and especially Mondays I don’t want to leave the comfort of my bed. For the past four years, I have wished that I can proclaim that I love my job, but no matter how much I try I cannot. I know that we are supposed to love what we do or our lives would suck, but here I am I don’t love the job that I do and I may not know how to change that. The fact that I don’t love the job doesn’t mean that I do a bad job! There is nothing motivating in the teaching profession in Kenya. Any motivation has to be intrinsic. If you wait for anybody to tell that you are doing a good job you will grow old waiting. Everybody is waiting to crucify a teacher when anything goes wrong. I think I do a pretty good job because I believe in karma. A great number of those people in the teaching profession give all their best to the kids they are in charge of. They might not love what they do, they might not be passionate about it but they know karma is real and they pretty know well that if they screw up the kids(no pun intended) someone else will screw their kids as well. I fear karma so I wake up every day and that fear motivates me to do a good job. So I make sure that I inspire a kid to be a better person, and of course I ensure that I give my all to them.

Funeral passengers

The other day , i was travelling from my place of work to some offices in our sub-county headquarters.. Do not be mistaken, i work in a rural area, a small community in a tea growing zone where everybody knows everybody.I was supposed to taje some documents into our sub-county education office and rush back to work. I boarded one of those 7-seater vehicles that are supposed to be for private use but somehow are now functioning as PSV’s. In this part of Kenya, those 7 seater minibuses carry 13 passengers including the driver and the conductor. At some point on the journey, there is an unofficial  road block mounted by the policemen from the subcounty police post. Most of the time the drivers part with 50 shillings (half a dollar) which is actually a negligible amount of money compared to the massive looting that is going on in the country! As Kenyans we have learnt to look  the other way when the driver hands his driver’s licence with a 50- shillings note folded inside it. We have learnt to pretend not to see not to care what will happen in case the driver is overloading after the exchange of the money. We have learnt not to ask questions, after all we know that those policemen and women on the road are just minions sent by someone higher up in the police ranks  who will end up with unexplained 8 million shillings in his personal bank account. He will claim he works hard during police vetting,  but we all know that 8 million is that 50 shillings drivers have to pay everytime they encounter a police road block. Back to my story…On this particular day, i was seated infront, two other people were  squeezed between the driver and I. As we approached the usual roadblock, i saw the conductor stretch and pick two red ribbons from the glove compartment. I assume that’s what its called. To my horror, the driver stopped the vehicle and the conductor gave him one ribbon, then walked out of the vehicle and tied the ribbons on the side mirror. The driver did the same on his side mirror. I looked backwardsto see the reaction of my fellow passengers and they where all quiet. I thought someone will comment but nobody did!  The roadblock came into view, the police man manning it raised his hand fro the druver to stop,the driver slowed down but not with an intention to stop and as we neared the policeman, he waved his hand for our vehicle to pass to my utter consternation! We travelled out of view of the police and the driver stopped the car, he untied his ribbon and the conductor walked to my side and removed the other ribbon. I looked at him to see whether he was laughing or some expression that might tell me that he was amused  because i thought this was a joke..a sort of a sick joke. Neither he nor the driver was laughing. I laughed loudly and the other passengers laughed but nobody spoke about what had happened. I thought the pastor at the back would say something about tempting death but he did not speak. Then I thought, will they do this during their next trip because they will have to ferry back passengers since it was still early around 11 in the morning? The policemen will eventually realize that one matatu in  particular is ferrying funeral passengers to and from the sub-county headquarters, an even if they do not then someone surely has to wonder how many funerals can there be in a day and why one particular matatu. But my biggest worry was in us- the passengers! How could we condone that! Death is a serious business especially if you are on our Kenyan roads. I thought of Wole Soyinka’s The road, I couldn’t help feeling a sinking despair, what if death came because we had tempted it, canjoled? Eventually i arrived at my destination and made a terrible conclusion, Kenyans- I included have became so used to corruption such that when we see our fellows invent new ways of beating the system at its  own game we only look aside never questioning the consequences of these inventions!