This past year, I have wished for three things, money, car and a miracle…
Source: Confession time
This past year, I have wished for three things, money, car and a miracle…
Source: Confession time
This past year I have found myself wishing for things I never thought I would wish for. I have found wishing for cash- the kind that you carry in a briefcase and when you open it to pay someone they just open their stupid mouths. I have found myself wishing for a car- a damn looking and expensive car, the one you step on the peddle and it just zooms by like the famous world Safari rally I loved back in the 90’s, and finally I have wished for a miracle. Odd wishes these are, but nevertheless ones that I have fervently wished for, and this is why? Money! They say you can never have enough and that it is the root of all evil! In my wish I want lots and lots of stinking money that I can just pluck out a page out of a check book and watch the other person-in my mind that person is tall dark and menacing who thinks that charging someone half a million for a stupid transaction, money which he knows you cant afford even if you sold your parents, is nothing – watch as his surprised dirty greedy smile lits up his stupid face.
My second wish is just a normal wish for a poor dreamer who still believes hard work pays, but for you to understand it let me put it it context. Imagine yourself in court, waiting for your trial, imagine being accused of let’s say theft, let’s say lots and lots of money which even if you were given a week to count with your bare hands you won’t be able to do it. You know that the odds are aganist you after all you are an honest citizen and everybody knows our justice system is fucked up for the poor people, you are real aware that the consequences are bad. Now imagine that as you sit on a hard cold bench outside the courtroom, you see the person who cooked all those lies about you, the person whom your gut tells you is the real thief but because of their power you can’t do a damn thing about it, imagine seeing that person look at you and pretend to converse to another person, imagine them casually glancing at you and going back to their irrelevant conversation, wouldn’t you wish for that split moment that you were speeding on a highway with a very powerful car enjoying how it handles the smooth tarmac and for some miraculous moment, that idiot steps on the road and you just hit the peddle and hit that damn smack out of their stupid face? Tell me wouldn’t you wish to do that?
I have wished for a miracle, a miracle that will ensure that a young innocent father has a job to feed his tiny little angel. A miracle that will ensure that a very young couple can look at tomorrow and smile knowing that their little angel is safe, safe with his daddy. A miracle that will take away the dread of a new day, the worry of what the future holds. A damn simple miracle that will make everything alright again.
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.
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!
For the longest time i have lacked something to write…writer’s block! God knows i am no writer but just a pretender to that throne…why did i think of pretender..oh yes Shakespeare and his masterpieces! I am digressing…I have been unable to write anything on my blog for a while now. Sometimes i think that if my blog was a child, it could suffer neglect and it would have made a complaint at the Children’s services! Children. I thought of writing a post about saving money for my unborn child! Walking into a bank and opening an account for just that. I am not pregnant, but i might save because nowadays we save for everything with our shady economy. I would save so that i can safely buy those matching bathing basins, buckets, clothes,bibs, shawls and clothes for the baby when i finally decide to have it! I hear you need to know the gender before hand so that you can colour coordinate everything, blue for a boy or pink for a girl! But i cringe at colour blue…there are so many shades of blue and some hues of blue are pretty ugly, but having a child is such a hard job! Let me just remain without one so that i do not commit a faux paus by colour coordinating my future baby artefacts in such weird colours like peach or lime green which i absolutely love. The post was not about baby colours, it was about saving but what the hell i am not having any baby soon so i will just retreat back and think of a more appropriate post. Sorry folks for wasting your time!
No i will actually be grading my students compositions for the next two weeks!
I allowed myself to dream
to hope, to speculate
That there could be anything
But now with clear solid clarity
I understand that i wasnt
Good for you
You were way too above me
in my naivity i forgot
You were unreachable, and
I was way below your gaze.
A good friend of mine has decided to offer me advice on dating! Sorry dear but you knew you would end up in these pages…well sorry but chances are you, my friend, you are not going to read this! So here we go. I was talking to my friend- A man about my continued singlehood. He opined that i should not give up. Or he perceived that i had already given up on relationships and men. He told me that its all my fault, that i should go out and meet people, place myself out there and i will surely find my soulmate! Thinking about it later, i realise it was a fine piece of advice given to the wrong person. For a start, i do not live in a big bubling buzzling city where i can go out on friday night outs( this reminds me of friday night lights…?). Even if i were, will i hope to meet a future potential partner in a night club or a restaurant? Secondly, i do not go to church, i hear that churches are a good hunting ground for desperate women looking for men or is it the otherway round? Thirdly i have an infinate fear of online dating sites- no offense to those who have met their future partners online, but my friends tell me that these days, anyone present on online dating sites is out looking for casual sex mostly, married men looking for a thrill! Now i am not a very social person, being an introvert, making new friends is hard enough, let alone being introduced to their friends! So my friend, forgive me but some of us aren’t just lucky when it comes to dating and its hard enough if you live in a remote part of the country where nothing happens at all and its harder enough if it is 2015 when the only people you know, are either married and if not they are not looking for a serious relationship! So my dear friend, its not that i have given up, its just that being single is much easier than the hustles of trying to date in 2015!
A recent comment from a collegue ‘that someone seeing me for the first time will take me for a mother of two’ got me thinking about motherhood. At first i was shocked and angry but i hid that shock and anger beneath a very sweet smile! I am what in PC they call ‘ a curvy girl’ but in real sense, I am a girl with meat on her bones, lots of meat. I thought a lot about that comment, whoever made it did not know what nerves he had hit, but for someone like me, who has endured such ‘fatty’ comments all my life, i knew first hand what emotions such comment arouses! That comment also reminded me about another comment made by my boss three years ago just a few weeks after reporting to work in my current station. She( the boss) confessed that her first impression of me was that i was ‘motherly’, this is after i divulged that i didnot have any children! I have been called fat in my face, men have declared to my face that they cannot date me because i am fat, and all this didnot pull me down! Women who are plus size have had to deal with alot of negativity due to the societies worship of the skinny girl! You have to be a strong woman if you are curvy because everywhere you go and look, you will be reminded of how big you are. Even for those of us who have supportive partners who tell us categorically that they love their women curvy, this isn’t enough. I have learned to deal with comments about my body, but this is new; what does my body size have to do with motherhood? And should i embrace this new evaluation of my body or should i see it as just another extension of the negative view of the plus size woman? Motherhood is worshipped here in Africa, it is the epitome of womanhood, a woman has not achieved anything until she has progenated, and she is more worshipped if that progenation happened within the context of marriage for she becames a queen and a deity! Now here I am a 30+ single, curvy woman being objectified as a mother, should i celebrate it? Or no, I reject this objectification! I am a fat woman, i do not go to the gym for various reasons, i have long reconciled myself to my body size, coming from long line of big sized women, i doubt whether any exercise will lower my bone size and density! So i would rather someone calls me fat to my face that hide it behind a pretentious comment on motherhood!
What if I decide to love myself more? Turning 30 early last year gave me a lot of perspective. There I was, a 30 year- old woman, single, working professional with the open world ahead of me. You see, the twenties is quite a difficult phase in a young woman’s life. It is the phase of trying to fit in, to find approval and validations from other sources other than the self. This is also the time when you are expected to find a mate for your life as well as get a career. Trying to jungle all this brings confusion to a lot of young women. As the twenties draw to an end, any woman who hasn’t accomplished the above starts to panic because there are people around her who make it their mission to remind her that time is running out! I went through all that, the high hopes that a relationship is going to work only for it to disintegrate in front of my very own eyes, celebrations of completing both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree only to have the added pressure to undertake doctoral studies, the anxieties of settling into the job market, the joy of the first pay check and the attendant bills. In addition to this, the anxiety of the things unaccomplished, like finding Mr Right, building the longed for family and living in complete bliss, taking lots of pictures and posting them on facebook and on Instagram. I went through all this, but when I hit 30, I decided to make a change. I broke up with Mr Critical writer, and I decided to love myself, to pamper myself, to look for validation from myself and to shut out all those noises around me urging me to quickly get married- as if there is a supermarket where husbands are picked! I decided not to listen to the noises shouting to me that my biological clock is running out. I decided to seek my own happiness, to enjoy every sunshine and every dewdrop, to care for those who hold meaning in my life and to do away with toxic friends. Is this selfish? I do not think so but if it is selfish, let me be selfish for me! For I am, and there isn’t going to be another me in this world! Being 30 is great, it’s a great phase in one’s life and it must be cherished. My 31st birthday is a month away and I can only hope for great things, more happiness in my life whether I am married or not!
Christmas is here again and I am not excited at all. I just feel that it has lost its charm. I watch my nieces and nephews gearing up for Christmas, going to church practising Christmas plays and songs, accompanying me for Christmas shopping for niceties and I wonder what memories of Christmas they will carry into their adulthood. Much has changed since our Christmas days in the early nineties when I was growing up. For one, I grew up in the rural areas, while these ones are growing up in an urban area a within community where you don’t even know your neighbour!
Our Christmas back then was the epitome of celebrations. Firstly it was the only time you got new clothes especially if your parents did not have an obscene amount of money which was virtually everybody in the whole village. If you had siblings chances are you would all be wearing the same outfit and if your mother was like mine, she would cut the costs of shopping by unveiling her clothes that she had saved throughout the years for my elder sisters. Of course these clothes would be a size bigger than their tiny frames and they would be the butt of all jokes from their friends. It was also the only time you wore new shoes and on Christmas day they will pinch you because your feet has not been used to any shoes let alone new shoes! For us-my sisters and I- it was the only time- on Christmas day when we were allowed to be at home after 2pm in the afternoon. It was the only day of total freedom to hang out in the local market after the festivities in our church. Some of my memories of this festive season include participating in singing competitions in our local church and reading memory verses which we had practised for almost a month! I vividly remember the path that led to the church, that winding path which we took cheerfully on Christmas day knowing that we will have the whole day to ourselves, singing, playing and the culmination of the whole ceremonies would be a banquet prepared for all the church goers which included lots of goat meat and some sweet mandazi’s and chapattis- sorry for those who do not know, chapattis are thin bread made from wheat. And of course there were assortments of sweets being distributed all day long. Of course the festivities did not end there, at home mum would be waiting with a sumptuous meal and the whole family sometimes joined by the larger extended family would gather together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We did not have any Christmas trees nor did we have any Christmas decorations. There were no Santa clauses dishing out presents left and right nor expensive getaways but I bet the Christmas cheer was made more meaningful by the gathering of community members which enhanced bonding. As for my nieces, they have got their new clothes, these ones specifically for Christmas, they have their Christmas tree full of decorations and the presents are already wrapped, they will have their Christmas vigil on December 24th and on December 25th they will dress up to go for an excursion somewhere in town, they will jump in bouncing castles, swing, ride the rollercoaster and have a good time. When they come home I will be waiting with a sumptuous meal which cannot rival my mother’s meal of yesteryears. What will be missing in all this is that communal bonding that we enjoyed those years but I guess theirs will be some good memories that they will cherish! Merry Christmas dear friends!