Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My endangered Christmas

My favorite Christmas carol is ‘Little drummer boy’; “Come they told me Pa rum pum pum pum…” But if I am not at my rural home for Christmas, then it is as good as a wasted Christmas. To me Christmas is not only about the birth of Jesus, but also about my mum, my dad, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews plus both my children. It is about going away from the hustle and bustle of the city, far, far away to a tiny village in Eldoret. A Leafy home surrounded by so many trees (thanks to my dad’s love for trees) with vast land of maize plantations and Eucalyptus trees donning every homestead. There are also the insufferable untarmacked roads, thanks to Hon. Peris Chepchumba Simam MP, Eldoret South Constituency and her predecessors! Yeah, she of the "I had a mysterious dream Mr. Speaker!" fame.

I have celebrated Christmas in Nairobi before and I regretted it! First of all, for all the plans you make for the day, there is most probably a lack of quorum! Many people, understandably, choose to stay as far away from the city as possible. Honestly, Nairobi and Christmas do not mix. I’d rather be in my rural village enjoying the fresh air, the cool breeze, the chirping birds, the green plantation, the bad roads and the pitch darkness -O wait! We have electricity now. Bummer!

My favorite Christmas memories are of when I was a young girl still in school. Then, if we did not travel to Tanzania to spend the school holidays with our dad who was away working most of my childhood, we were in our rural home with my mother. At the time, electricity was still a rumor, and nights were pitch dark, broken only by paraffin lamps. The stars and the moon shone like I had never seen before. Christmas day coincided with the appearance of the full moon and it was so bright that it lit the night almost as brightly as the sun during the day. Those were beautiful nights!

We lit the traditional fire, with firewood of course, and sometimes with dry maize cobs courtesy of the harvested maize. It was smoky as hell. My sisters and I would sit around the fire and sing till midnight on the eve of Christmas, and then we would go to sleep only to wake up a few hours later to cook. Now this was the highlight of Christmas - the cooking!

Christmas was about the dew in the grass early in the morning, the cows mooing when they were being taken to the watering well , the chirping birds, the breathtaking beauty of nature, and the beautiful blend of our singing voices (and make no mistake, the Moipei…err..Murrey sisters can sing!) Oh, sweet sweet memories!

I cherish this season because to me, it is all and only about family; A party of ten – eight kids and their parents.

It is about a much traveled father who is a strict disciplinarian and a fountain of knowledge-An intelligent man to boot. A man who rarely smiles but when he does has a wonderful smile that is a contrast to his stern demeanor. He has my grandmother’s smile which is characterized by a slight slant of the mouth. My big sister has the same smile, complete with a dimple; beautiful. Back to my dad; he is a man who is always ready to protect his girls from bad…I am tempted to say men, but I will just say, bad relationships. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, innit?

Christmas is about a mother who is both soft and strong. A believer in family values and a woman who hates laziness – yet I am not sure if ‘hate’ is a strong enough word! Just to explain how strongly she cannot stand laziness, all our childhood we never got to sleep past 6am when we were home for the holidays. My mother would not allow it! I remember her asking the herder to take a few days off so that we could learn how to milk cows! Being 'city-dwellers' we vehemently lamented to this. We even tried to explain to her that it was a lesson in futility since she would be lucky if we ever got married to Kalenjin men, if at all! (Ahem!) Though her project ‘Teach-the-girls-how-to-milk’ backfired, her point was made; our education meant zilch to her if we were not in touch with where we come from. We spoke Swahili and English most of the time; she threw all that in our face by making sure we learnt Kalenjin and adamantly refused to speak to us in any other language. I would hate it now if I grew up not knowing my mother tongue and so I love her for that and for so many other values she instilled in me.

Christmas is about Jack – named after my late grandfather, a first born brother so intelligent and so blunt. He says it as it is. It is about Gregory- very smart, very generous and very kind; the kindest man I know, and that is no exaggeration. It’s about Innocent, the last among the men who is a jack of all trades. He is the ‘go to’ guy. When you don’t know where to get what, he knows a guy who does, or a guy who knows a guy. He has the connections.

Christmas is about my four lovely sisters too;

Iolanthe; who is painfully neat, organized and focused. She is flawless (I kid you not!), has a golden heart and takes her responsibility as the first girl with so much gusto-the perfect example of a sister to look up to. Imelda is my witty friend with a marvelous sense of humor. My daughter Hailey calls her mum – she doubles up as her other mother and her friend too! Imelda is a friend to her three children, something most of us mothers can’t hack.

Christmas is about Valerie; a go-getter and an adventurous lady who will not stop till the job is done. Her middle name is ‘resilience’. It’s about Vanessa; my sweet kid sister who we like to call ‘Towa’ – Last born. Vanessa is a young girl with the mind of a grown woman. Her maturity baffles me sometimes! I have turned to her several times during house girl crises for babysitting services. Such a doll!

That I should be so lucky, right? You therefore must understand that Christmas is incomplete if one of the above people who I love so deeply is missing due to our now busy schedules as grown ups. Moreover, modernization is creeping into our rural home and changing my perfect Christmas set up! There is electricity now - good bye dark, star-lit beautiful nights. Tap water and gas cookers are not a preserve of urban homes anymore. As Heidi crawls in the green grass, uninhibited by limited space and furniture (It sucks raising a child in these confined square rooms of Nairobi apartments, doesn’t it?), and Hailey runs around not worried about being hit by a vehicle, all I wish for is for them to see the stars, the moon, the morning dew and the three-stoned fire complete with lots of smoke! What say ye Santa, I have been good…

Merry Christmas good people! Mjibambe!

Friday, December 2, 2011

If you leave your abusive man...

This blog post was conceived in rather unexpected circumstances. There I was, poking around at my ‘friends’ profiles on facebook. ‘Friends’ from high school, family ‘friends’, ‘friends’ from work and other ‘friends’ who’s paths have crossed mine strictly through the social network but I have come to hold dear nonetheless. There are even some who I don’t really know – call them stranger ‘friends’ if you likeinsert thumbs up symbol here?

It was evening, the kids were asleep, and there was nothing good on TV (is there anymore?). I was too tired to sleep. I had time and the internet on my hands.

I stumbled on a link posted by one of my ‘friends’ (God bless ‘friendship’ for the sharing of information) about a woman who had suffered physical and emotional abuse from her husband of many years. She had three children with him. I read her story, and voila! today’s post was conceived. There and then, on my sitting room couch, it happened! (These things happen in the weirdest of places; once in a matatu) As is common with conception, the minutes immediately after were kinda confusing; I wondered how to put it into perspective, and how it will be received by…well, you! Confusion galore; it happens even when this is what you have been yearning for after a dry spell of having nothing (yeah, I am still talking about the elusive blog post). I had had nothing to write about for weeks and all I wanted was for this ‘baby’ to happen.

So, I read the woman’s story; how she had made a good career for herself and how she helped other women address their relationship problems, yet she did not have the voice to stand up against her abusive husband. I read the comments posted on the story and realized that women give each other outrageous (for lack of a better word) advice!

There is a trait about me that I don’t like so much. Two actually…..or several, but who’s counting - let he without sin aye? Trait numero uno is I get agitated when I see a woman being abused. Do I think that the entire world lies on my shoulders? No. Trait numero dos, when it comes to relationships I give what you’d call ‘bad advice’. Advise that most women would rather not swallow. Sample this, instead of saying things like;

“Vumilia tu, sasa utafanya?” (Just persevere, what else can you do?) – Instead of taking this very defeatist approach, I would suggest letting him know that you are in fact not a punching bag (Let him have a good look at you if he still doesn’t see the difference). Put it to him categorically that you would like to be treated like a human being. That you will not condone his punches, cheating or him talking to you like you are some creature without any feelings. That is unacceptable to you!

“Just keep loving him, he will come to love you back someday” I think not! If love did not bring you together in the first place, he will stay with you only until love takes him to another woman.

“Give him sex, and good food. He will never look at another woman.” He will have his cake and eat it! You will feel used.

“If you leave, another woman will take your place in a few days!” – This is my favorite. REALLY? Help me understand good people, should you put up with a man who abuses you, cheats on you, gives you nothing but grief only so that another woman will not have him? How noble of you to spare other women the same kind of treatment!

Your ‘expert’ friends, family and strangers alike will never lack advice to give when you are being abused. If you leave him, who will take care of you? - Tell them ‘Uko fiti’; If you leave him, you will be considered a failure - He failed you, not the other way round; If you leave him, the children will live without their father - Correction, they will live without an abusive father. An abusive man is not just a danger to you, but a danger to your children too.

Think of how good it feels to have reciprocated, unconditional love. Just like when children are young, we love them so much and they love us back unconditionally. We are even tempted to believe that we own them; ‘our’ children they truly are. Our pride, our joy, our reason for living… You raise them and they grow up to become young adults. Then you ask them to eat their vegetables and they won’t - they don’t like vegetables anymore. They don’t want their hair in ponytails either; they would rather comb it back. Small decisions here and there that make you realize that you actually do not own them. A human being can never own another, not when one has their own mind and personality. Once she or he is independent, they choose, they decide, they do. You can only influence, advice and (grudgingly) leave it up to them. They will love you with all they have, all they are, but they can never be yours to own.

What folly then to expect to own a man and make him want what you want? You can love him with everything you have, you may give up everything for him, but you can never make him want the same things you do. When HE decides to reciprocate the love, you stay with him - That is a healthy relationship. When HE won’t love you back but you try to force it anyway, in the name of ‘kuvumilia’ that is when you suffer – what we call an unhealthy relationship.

If you are suffering silently through emotional and physical abuse, he is doing so only because you are letting him - That is the bitter truth. So what if people will talk about you. So what if society will shun you. If you leave your abusive man, you will reclaim your life and build a healthy environment for your children to grow up in. You will get your dignity back and stop living in fear; you get a chance at being happy again. If you leave your abusive man, you avoid health risks like contacting STDs and HIV. You run away from a potentially fatal situation {cf. Moses Dola Otieno Vs. Sarah Wambui Kabiru (RIP)}.

If you leave your abusive man, you will be ok.

You are only a failure if you allow yourself to suffer in silence, if you live your life by someone else’s script, and if your happiness lies squarely on another human being. So pick yourself up, stop listening to bad advice and pick yourself up!

Circumcision of women is headed towards the exit door (thankfully!); wife inheritance is dwindling away to the oblivion. Women own property now, they even inherit from their fathers. So excuse me if I am sick and tired of feeling like this every time I see and read about women being abused. Haven’t we fought enough wars? Haven’t we made any strides at all? Have we come this far for nothing? Domestic violence in this day and age should be unheard of.

Of all the choices that women make today- we choose success, good careers, the best fashion designs, the best homes, and we even choose great flashy weddings - Why oh, why do we not choose to be happy?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PDA: When less is more

You must have been to a social gathering where couples abound; one couple could be seated close together, another seated away from each other. One woman could pretend not to care who their man is talking to as she keenly watches him from the corner of her eyes. Another man could be quietly checking his woman’s behavior as he prays that she does not drink too much or embarrass him in any way. There is a non-verbal language ‘spoken’ by lovers that always communicates their level of security in the relationship to the rest of the world.

If the couple seated apart exchange a look and a smile once in a while, the woman could choose to quickly wink at her man, hoping that no one else will see. If the man, feeling shy about winking back in the presence of so many people, casually puts a hand over one eye, and looks at her, smiling, with one uncovered eye, therefore technically winking back, they could both smile at the genius of the man and by so doing, share a private moment in public. Then I would look on and think “How sweet!”

If the couple seated close together does not shy away from proving that they do all the things that couples do. They could try out all the intimate positions; the man could put his arms around his woman one minute, then the woman could put one hand on his thighs and caress him. They could kiss and fondle and whatnot. They might even whisper to each other and giggle and laugh oblivious of the other people in the room. At one point, their legs could get intertwined such that you wouldn’t tell his from hers. If I avoid looking their direction because I am too embarrassed to witness what happens next. And if I squirm in my seat, as I sense other embarrassed faces trying to keep conversation going, or struggling to sing along to the playing music - anything but look at the two. Then I would look away and think, “Get a room for Chrissake!”

Public Display of Affection is good. With it you make a statement that ‘I have my eyes on no one else but her/him’ There is however, a thin line between adorable PDA, and nauseating PDA just as there is a thin line between an emotion-wrenching love scene (think ‘Titanic’ – the movie), and a porn-inspired love scene (think ‘Spartacus’ – the series). The same thin line separates a woman’s dressing from being sexy or trashy. Every woman must know how to toe this line.

I saw a wedding ceremony once where the groom, when given permission to kiss the bride, took his wife’s face in both hands, looked deep into her eyes and with so much intensity, kissed her on the forehead. This was a modern couple who knew all about locking lips. I thought that that was such an adorable gesture; a gesture of love, and respect for his woman.

PDA should be about your partner and not a performance for an audience. Though it is a public display by virtue of it being done in open view, it should be subtle and in essence private between lovers. What we see often is cheapened PDA - a Public display of horniness not affection. It should be more about your sincere attraction to your lover and not about getting into her pants. I refuse to believe that there is a woman who enjoys being groped in public. That is just plain disrespectful!

Hold hands, give a kiss on the hand, a quick peck on the cheek, unwavering eye contact, a wink, a smile. Small, subtle gestures that speak volumes.After all, a couple that tries too hard to display their 'affection', is well...trying too hard.

With PDA, less is more. It is only about love, respect and genuine affection. Stretch it and you have something else; a cheap performance. Stretch it and you have something that is not so beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love, Life & Little people

Imagine your tummy growing so big that it goes ahead of you like it is in a bid to leave your body and precede you to wherever. Imagine being so round that every step you make is calculated lest you tumble down and have a great fall á la Humpty Dumpty. Imagine being unable to see your toes let alone touch them. Imagine having to survive on flat shoes and keeping your sexy high heels at the back of your closet. Imagine not using your name and the word ‘sexy’ in the same sentence because it is a feeling so foreign to you at the time.

Imagine carrying another human being (say it’s a girl) to full term such that you get so heavy that you can only shuffle your feet; no jumping, and running is an absolute no-no. A human being who has her own mind and is not afraid to use it. One who will make you throw up that tasty meal you ate with so much zeal. Or who will make you suffer heartburn and bloating after enjoying a good portion of the same delicacy that she had you craving for in the first place. Imagine hosting someone inside your body who is entirely dependent on you but who ironically is your boss in every other way - Sonko, she is called. She determines your eating habits, and when she says no nibbling, there will be no nibbling and so you will sit down and stuff your face with a good amount of food in one seating. Forget your figure, which went to the dogs as soon as the pregnancy test read positive. Forget the cholesterol, which is a non-issue for the next nine months. She determines when and how you sleep; insomnia could be the order of your nights, or dosing the order of your days. You might toss and turn trying to find the perfect sleeping position. Only she will determine the perfect position when she (and therefore you) is comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Imagine getting that first sign of labour pains and thereon after, your body acting on its own volition. Things getting out of your control. Your body then timing itself effortlessly for each contraction; by the minute, by the second. Imagine your body determining that it is indeed time to let out this little person from inside you into the world, with no consultations to you of course. Ready or not. You can only lay back and let nature take its course. At this point, your timing is totally insignificant. Your body operates on its own clock, doing things that you never in a million years imagined it could and you become a spectator. The doctors and nurses too can only wait for things to happen. Maybe they will make you comfortable, monitor that all is well, give a little nudge here and there, and offer a little something for the pain perhaps. But basically, wait.

Imagine the bloody mess. Oh, yeah. Forget the movies that show it as a ‘decent’ affair, birthing is one bloody mess! The excruciating pain and the yelling (and I speak for myself here) - O, the yelling! Imagine the miracle of birth. The greatest miracle from up above. It makes the multiplication of five loaves and two fish, and the concoction of wine from water look so normal!

Keep your imagination alive and take it a step further. Imagine the little one refusing to budge. Imagine yourself laboring and religiously breathing fast through your mouth like you have been taught and yet nothing happens. Imagine the doctors opting to cut you open to get her out. Imagine going under and waking up to numbness.

Now imagine seeing her for the first time. Imagine all the pain going away as you meet the little person you have known since she was only a mass of cells. This little person that has been kicking your insides on end. The little person whose arrival changes your life, your perception, your dreams, goals. She changes everything! Imagine the joy. The swelling of your heart as it threatens to burst with emotions of love.

Imagine this trophy at the end of the race. Priceless. Precious. Imagine that little person that makes all those hurdles fade into nothingness. That little girl who enables you to see what a small price you pay to get this gift that is beyond human understanding.

Fast forward to one year later. Toothless no more, she smiles at you with her two pair of teeth. That little person recognizes you. She calls you mummy. Though she still needs you, she is slowly trying to become independent; if only to give you a tiny part of your life back. She is scaling the furniture as she stands, trying to maneuver around the house. Imagine her slowly tearing herself from depending on your bosom for her feedings as she samples the different kinds of baby food.

A year is gone and she still loves you like the first time you met. She is not tired of seeing your face and you know that she will need you to watch over her for the rest of her life. Just when you thought you couldn’t love her more, your love soars to greater heights, always at the deepest depths and the highest heights.

Imagine getting your waistline back, being able to touch and tend to your feet again, and feeling light as a feather, fit as a fiddle even. Imagine donning your sexy heels again, and getting your sexy back. Imagine that feeling after you had swelled like a balloon, wobbled around like a duck, and eventually screamed yourself hoarse while pulling at your hair in the hospital’s emergency room when you felt like your insides were oozing out.

Imagine the cycle of life.

That little person, Heidi, is one year old already. Now imagine that!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The dance

Once upon a time, a man asked me to the dance floor for a dance. I presumed that it would be a short dance so I indulged him even though I wasn’t so sure about the music that was playing. I thought that when it ended, I would go my way, and him his.

At the dance floor, I hesitated at first as I wondered if it was right. If I dared to lay myself bare and expose my not-so-perfect moves. To dance in such a big dance floor, with so many people; some dancing, others watching. There is something about dancing; you either get it or you don’t. You’re an eyeful or an eyesore. Nothing in between.

It started well, the dance. It was slow. Restrained yet teasy. We tried out the first steps with utmost precision albeit with so much uncertainty. We were careful not to step on each others’ toes. Not to stand too close. Not to appear clumsy. In the process, I stumbled on his toes, and he tripped over mine. But we were kind to each other not to take offense. ‘It’s ok’, we said with an understanding smile.

After a while on the dance floor, I started enjoying the choice of music, it kinda grew on me. I looked at him for the first time and realized that he was quite a dancer. He grew on me too. He stood tall, with the broadest of shoulders. I even tried them out by resting my face on his chest. It felt good. Slowly, I got lost in the dance.

Soon, we were dancing all over the floor. Carefree. Not bothered about the other dancers or what they thought of our dance. We swayed, we twirled, we got lost in the music. Just like Rihanna, we too were eye to eye, palm to palm, nose to nose, cheek to cheek, chest to chest - That close.

Then we got showy and we danced fast. The dance became heated, erotic and we were unstoppable. Sometimes we thought we had mastered the moves only to lose our steps again. We felt each other’s hearts pounding from the ferocious dancing.

Then we got dizzy. We got tired and needed to catch our breath. When the excitement died down, we tried to get back in step.

We’ve been in the dance floor ever since. We’re still dancing even though sometimes we lose the steps, tumble down and have to pick ourselves up. Sometimes we succeed, other times we don’t know how to. We keep stepping on each others’ toes. Sometimes we remember to say sorry while other times we are not bothered.

We’ve had to deal with other dancers who intentionally or unintentionally, step on our toes as they do their thing. Others give us a disapproving look like we don’t belong. Sometimes we lose each other on the dance floor, only to spot each other again. Sometimes I twirl so far away that he is out of sight. Sometimes, we are miles apart, literally and metaphorically.

As we dance, we are carefree no more as so much water has gushed under the bridge. We laugh with tears in our eyes. We smile with pain lining our lips. We try, we practice and we keep going hoping that we will get it right. He is not perfect, he reminds me. I am not either, I insist. It is sometimes frustrating not to get the steps right. It is exhausting not to know where to move next. Sometimes, it seems easier to stop dancing and take a flight. But the music keeps playing. It won’t stop!

The dance floor is crowded with people. Ruthless, conniving people. People that I cannot take on, I don’t have it in me. There are couples who are tired of dancing and have opted to take a seat. Some look happy, others look sad. Others are indifferent and others are menacingly close to killing each other. Most are seated with their chairs facing opposite directions. Others are no longer just two but have invited intrusive parties to join them at the table. Some are talking to each other while others can barely look at each other. Some are shouting themselves hoarse in a bid to be heard. Others are moving their lips but their voices are drowned by the music. Most of them look sad and defeated. A sight that is far from attractive.

Many times, I get the urge to stand at the corner and watch the other dancers from a safe distance. This is what dancing does to you; the music makes you high, so high that you could touch the clouds. But there is the other side of this intoxicant – the soreness, the fatigue, the dependency. Sometimes, I even believe that this music is not meant for me. But when I come close to taking a bow and walking out of the dance floor, he always turns around and gives me a nudge, asking me to dance some more. And the music just won’t stop.

It is bitter sweet. It is intoxicating. It is overwhelming. It is beyond me.

As I twirl away, the million dollar question hangs in the air. When the music stops, and when our feet get tired, will we take a seat at the same table? Will he make me a believer? This determined dancer of mine?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My breasts, my life!

I try so hard to think of an appropriate name to call her. I fail. What name could possibly explain her cruelty? What name could even do justice to the agony she causes the human race? I fail to name her simply because I fail to understand her. I fail to understand her because she terrifies me. She scares me stiff and I would rather not talk about her if that will keep her away from me and from the people that I love. I choose to ignore her hoping that she will not notice me and creep up on me to cause me the same agony I have seen her cause so many women and men, young and old. But ignoring her won’t keep her at bay. But I will insult her and hope that she will feel bullied enough to stay away from me. Think it’ll work?

I am not privy of her encroachment ‘itinerary’. Will she single me out next? Am I on her list? Does she know my name? My address? If at all I am on her ‘to-do’ list, how will she come? In full force? Quickly? Slowly? Stealthily? Most importantly, if she does come knocking, will I survive?

O, the pain! She dishes out pain like Santa Claus does gifts during Christmas. The pain of having your own body turned against you! Its my body damn it! MY body! Breasts, ovaries, colon, cervix, pancrease, lungs, blood. All mine!! Why does she do this to us? Making us slaves to her whims and leaving us an empty shell of our old selves. Why? Who gave her so much authority?

Now she is not sparing young children as well – What a coward! Isn’t it strange that the shilling is at its all time low, recession is still giving us the middle finger and as if that is not enough, this demon is stifling lives out of adults and children alike? It sure pours when it rains! It is not enough that she took from us a woman who was ready to die for the benefit of Mother Nature- Wangari Maathai succumbed to her insatiable appetite.

I picture her as this she-devil who has a sneer permanently plastered on her face. She is ugly. Yeah, so ugly that she has a moustache. She has big eyes. Ugly red eyes that could light up anything it glances at. She has this big nose too that occupies half of her face. In fact her face is half burnt, or something. Let’s add a pair of horns at the top of her head for good measure, shall we? She is hairy, ugly, and monstrous and she terrifies me.

I think Mother Nature is scared of her too. If she wasn’t she would have protected Wangari Mathai from her, after all Wangari Maathai lived for Mother Nature! The irony; what happened to returning favors, huh? If Mother Nature wasn’t scared of her, she would protect young children like 9 year old Rose Nasimiyu from having to deal with monsters that size; what happened to fighting someone your size? Mother Nature cannot stand up to her. None of us is safe. None of us is immune. When she beckons, she shakes our bodies, our immunity, our faith, our love and our hope. Our livelihood. Damn her!

October is her month. The month where we all join hands to try and fight this monster. This is the month we should check ourselves. Feel your breasts for any lumps, any pain, any signs of her. Let her not catch you unawares. Have that Pap smear; go for any test that will make you arm yourself should she make an appearance. Catch her first fast, before she wreaks havoc on your body.

For all those men and women, young girls and boys who have fought and survived her deathly grip, I salute you for the spirited fight. I applaud you for punching her ugly face in! I celebrate you today because I know that no one who survives an ordeal with her remains the same person. It is easier to give up and opt to die rather than have poison pumped into your system in the form of Chemotherapy. It cannot be easy, I can only imagine. So, for hanging in there, for not giving up, for choosing to keep fighting for your life and in so doing, fighting for your children, your parents, your spouses, your friends. I salute you. You did it!

For those who succumbed to her lethal attack, we do not think less of you. You fought a good fight. But we will keep fighting for you. We will win this war for you. We will make her pay for all her atrocities-past and present. We will get a cure. We will fight her and we will win, won’t we?

For those going through the rigorous treatments - you are stronger than you know. Don’t hold back. Fight this demon like your life depends on it, because it does. Fight her on your behalf and on ours too. Show her who’s boss. Tell her that its your body, your life and own it back. This October, the Breast Cancer Awareness month, I will say a prayer each day for all the Cancer patients who feel like their days on earth are numbered. You are stronger than you know, I insist. My health, my life. My body, my life. My breasts, my life right?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Say when

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she is expected to make decisions for herself. When that time comes, she is pronounced a grown up. She is then allowed to sit with adults and to do adult stuff; vote, drive, drink, and all things independent. She is trusted enough to be allowed to date and even have a ‘closed-door session’ with a boy. At this point in time, she is believed to know the consequences of every action she takes and she is left to make the right choices (hopefully). In other words, she is given the chance to screw up. If all goes well, she will learn from the screw-ups.

Imagine that power. The seismic shift from being told when it’s time to put on a sweater to being able to choose what to wear, when and with whom to wear nothing with. From being told what time you should be home to choosing where to call home. From being forbidden from watching rated programs and movies, to walking to a movie store and purchasing an ‘adults only’ movie - not because nobody is looking, but because you are an adult. Imagine that power.

Being the grown up that I am, last week I dared to watch the series “Vampire Diaries” after dark (I sense your disappointment. What did you imagine I was watching?) I have never been one to shy away from watching horror, save for the movie ‘Machete’ which I could not stomach. I watched the first five minutes of it and found my finger pressing ‘eject’ by reflex. That movie is gross. I can however brag of having watched ‘Mirror’, another horror, from start to finish. I also managed to watch a significant part of the movie ‘Inglorious Bastards’ but when people’s heads were shaved by the scalp like one skins potatoes, I drew the line and pressed ‘stop’. See, I make grown up decisions every single day.

The trick for me is to watch any scary stuff during the day. I stay away from horrors at night just to make sure I have a peaceful, nightmare-free sleep. Having watched season one of Vampire Diaries, I thought it was safe to break my rules and watch season two at night. So I convinced myself that it wasn’t much of a horror after all, I could take it. I am not a wuss.

After the pep talk I sat through three episodes of bending my knees till they touched my chin, curling my toes, and peeping from the corner of my ‘semi-covered’ eyes (why do we do that?) to see whether Caroline, the human-turned-vampire and Elena’s BFF, would literally suck the life out of her boyfriend. She changed into a scary creature in front of my eyes. Her ‘vampfangs’ came on, her beautiful face creased and I came face to face with the ‘monster’. I hid my face behind my outstretched palms but I was seeing everything through the spaces between my fingers. I looked on as she eer…it held the boyfriend in an intimate embrace, dug its now-long fangs into the depths of his neck and sucked blood to its system. I stared on as the creature came up for air and went back in with a powerful thrust to get another fill.

I could see vampires when I tossed and turned in bed that night. I saw their fangs, their ugly faces. I saw monsters and other scary creatures and I cried for my mommy. Ok, not cried, cried with tears and all but I transformed into a scared little girl, afraid of the dark. When all attempts to fall asleep bore no fruit, and when every slight noise sounded like a vampire lurking in the dark, I conceded defeat, baptized myself the middle name ‘WUSS’, got up and switched the lights back on, then I tried to read a book. Only then was I able to fall asleep.

So that is what life should be about; pressing play and if you like it, you keep watching. If you love it so much, you rewind. When it’s too much, you stop. Maybe you will come back to face it again someday. This time stronger. This time braver. This time, in broad daylight!

But life is much more complicated than that. We stop ourselves when we should keep on; pressing stop instead of play. We rewind our pains and heartaches by refusing to stop bad habits. When something feels good, we find reasons to end it even when we know we should have soldiered on. We keep doing things that we shouldn’t; not because we don’t know better but because we can.

When someone offers to pour you a cup of tea or coffee, or to serve you a plate of food, most times they will expect you to say when it is enough. In the same way, once pronounced an adult of sound mind, every individual gets to ‘say when’. There is something to be said about the individuals’ power to say when enough is enough. There is something about knowing that you hold that power to make sound decisions for yourself. You get to say when you have had your fill. When you have had it and want things to take a certain trajectory.

Sometimes we want a cup-full, while other time we want half a glass. Sometimes, we want our plates filled to the brim while other times we just need a portion of the serving. Sometimes, all we want is a taste, a bite, a sip. Other times there is no such thing as enough - we want more, and we can’t seem to get enough. Each one of us knows when their cup cannot hold any more, or when it is bottomless and they can’t seem to fill it up.

So even though we sometimes go back to being little children in grown up bodies, even though sometimes we need someone to tell us to go to bed and face the horror tomorrow and even when we tempt fate and play with fire knowing full well that we could get burned, each tomorrow in an adult world lies in his or her power to say when.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Born to Sapphire

September is a special month. For starters, it is the ninth month of the year even though its name comes from the word ‘Septem’ which is latin for ‘seven’. It is the month whose birthstone is Sapphire, which symbolises wisdom and purity, and whose birth flowers are forget-me-not, morning glory and aster. They say people who are born in this month are orderly, modest, diligent, analytical and self-sufficient; I don’t know about that.

Did you know that September begins on the same day of the week as December every year? Wikipedia explains that this happens because there are 91 days separating September and December, and 91 is a multiple of seven (the number of days in the week) so voila! September not only has 30 days - ok that is nothing really because April, June & November can boast of the same - but get this, no other month ends on the same day of the week as September in any year! Go ahead, check your calendars. I know you will not take my word for it. I am offended though; you don’t trust me? When have I ever lied to you? :-)

Having clarified that last year 2010, September ended on a Thursday and no other month ended on a Thursday, and that this year it ends on a Friday and no other month gets the privilege of ending on the same day can we now move on?

The two instants when the Sun is directly overhead the Equator are called the Equinoxes. These happen in the months of March and September every year. This year, the September Equinox will be experienced on September 23rd where the night and day will have approximately equal lengths.

Come September 23rd, I hope to be woken up by my alarm at 6am as always. I will get ready for work as sleepy and grumpy Hailey is prepared for school. I will take Hailey to school and then go to work, as my morning routine dictates.

Before Hailey and I leave the house, we will kiss Heidi goodbye and we will not forget to wave. She will wave back and say something close to ‘Byeee” in baby language. With her two pairs of front teeth, she will bless our day with a wide grin and keep waving and waving since this is a new ‘discovery’ she made the other day. If we are not careful to disentangle ourselves from her ‘spell’, we will be late.

Maybe on the way to school, Hailey will point out the moon that disrespectfully refuses to hide even in the overbearing presence of the sun. For three days now, Hailey has spotted the presence of the moon as I walk her to school and today she almost missed it. We stopped walking just to search for it to confirm that it had finally submitted to hiding, but there it was! Inconspicuous but very much around. I pointed it out to her and satisfied, we walked on. I saw two men look up trying to see what we were staring at.

Maybe on that day Hailey will be cheery and playful. Maybe she will run a distance ahead of me only to wait for me to catch up with her then run ahead of me again and again until we reach school or until she gets tired, whichever comes first. Maybe she will sing as she sometimes does or maybe she will be quiet the whole time. She might drag her feet forcing me to keep saying “Walk faster mum, we are late” as I hold her hand. Maybe she will ignore my plea like she sometimes does, walking slowly as if I don’t exist. If she will be in a very lousy mood, she might pull every antic tucked up her sleeve until I agree to carry her on my back.

I will tell her “I love you” when I kiss her goodbye at her classroom door. She will say “I love you” back (Thank God there is no ‘maybe’ to that) Maybe her teacher - Teacher Elizabeth will see me and wave at me like she sometimes does. Or maybe she will be too busy getting ready to start her lessons.

On this day, I will be happy in spite of all the tragedies that our Country has seen happen this September. I will forget the Sinai fuel explosions, the lethal brews that have killed and left others blind and the heinous road accidents. As I write this, news is breaking of another fuel spill in Busia – Western Kenya. But I will not dwell on that. I will not dwell on any mood dampeners.

In fact, I will call my mom and remind her that it is my birthday (if you had 8 kids, you would forget too) and we will talk on the phone for as long as she wants. Don’t joke now, my mother can stay on the phone for a whole hour if you don’t cut her short, she is an incredible woman.

On this day, I will sing to my favourite band - Daughtry’s song, September. Part of it goes;

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September, We’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

This coming Friday, the 23rd of September, I will thank God for that Saturday that saw me make an entry into this world as a little baby. Yes. I was born on a Saturday; my two daughters were born on a Saturday too. Heidi should have been born on a Thursday but she said ‘No thank you’ and waited till Saturday. So you can safely say we are ‘Saturday people’. Hihi.

God willing, should I see the morning of September 23rd, I will celebrate a heart that keeps beating to keep me alive and a body that has not failed me in over 3 decades.

Allow me to sway my hips just a tad and to add a sashay to my walk. Allow me to acquire imaginary wings and fly. Allow me to smile and laugh and get consumed in living my life like its golden. Allow me to sing and dance because on September 23rd, mama Hailey turns 33. Yikes!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lady luck is in love with the urban Kenyan man

Urban Kenyan men are so lucky; I think the luckiest in the world. Look at the typical urban bachelor. He has a job, a car, a good house and he has money- you know what this means right? Women! Yep. Scores of women abound in his life. And not just women, but women who will take his crap and allow him to treat them as he pleases. Isn’t that something!

With every woman he meets, though he will say ‘hello’ with a handshake, his demeanor will say “You're in love with me. I'm well-off, but not into money; I'm smart, but not a know-it-all; I'm funny, I love animals (and whatever else you want me to love) but bottom line - I'm a catch. If you can wrap your head around my humongous ego, you adore me!” Most times his assumption will be absolutely correct!

Every Kenyan man can play out the above script quite impressively because they know it by heart. They have dissected the urban Kenyan woman (the hippie) and they know what sings to her heart. They know what makes them go ‘aaaah!’ and ‘aaargh!’ and so they stick to perfecting the art of churning out more of the former than the latter reactions.

These men have women trying to hold onto them like a drowning man on a straw. Set this man out and ask him to walk into any bar or whatever social gathering. Unless his breath stinks of last night’s boiled eggs and he emits a pungent smell that makes him comparable to a walking sewage system, that man will not go home alone. Even then, you can’t be sure that one or two ladies won’t take his number and call him up the next day in the hope that he would have, by some divine intervention, cleaned himself up.

Flip the coin and take a look at the urban Kenyan woman. First of all if she cannot and will not conform to being a soft whore, she is invisible. The mantra in this day and age is; he buys you drinks, and you go home with him; just like you feed coins into a vending machine and it ‘vomits’ snacks, beverages, cigarettes…whatever you choose. So if he takes you out, buys you good stuff; clothes, jewelry, even pizza (and other trendy cuisines) then he has his way with you. End of story. You don’t like it? Well, go fly a kite! Or eat glass! Or… something…

This means that the woman who is not willing to get knee-deep dirty and scramble for this man might as well disappear into oblivion and no one will notice. The soft whore is queen. All she does is wear her ‘uniform’ which is, according to Chris Rock, a pair of high heels, very short skirt, fishnet stockings, tube top, leather jacket (or not. ‘Freeze and shine’ works wonders too) not forgetting the excessive make up and overdone hair. The ‘urban law’ states that if a woman is dressed like that she is not allowed to cause physical or verbal harm to a man that approaches her with the assumption that she is ‘good to go’.

A male acquaintance, who is relatively young in age and experience, once told me “Kenyan women are so easy. If you want them to stay with you, all you have to do is impregnate them. After the baby comes she is all yours - you will treat her like shit, but she will cling to you like a tick.” I was tempted to agree with him, but asked him to be careful. “Make sure you know who you’re dealing with because not all women are the same.” He disagreed vehemently and swore that all women live to have a man by their side by all means. I had to fight the urge to pinch his cheeks and go “Coo-chi-coo! You naïve sweet little thing youuuu…!” in the same tone I use to persuade Heidi to eat her food.

Blanket statements aside, the truth is lady luck is always smiling at the urban man, making things work out for him. She threw him a bone recently in the name of Pastor Chris Ojigbani who claims that dating is witchcraft, ergo it is a sin. Forgive me but I do not understand why the men are not throwing a jamboree yet! Women who form part of Pastor Chris’ congregation might as well get married to this shallow, money-wielding, egoistic, chauvinistic, blinker-wearing example of an urban Kenyan man with eyes wide shut. God forbid that you should practice witchcraft! God forbid that you should take some time to date him and try to find out whether your future spouse is at least God-fearing!

Of course I give credence to the other men who look for the unadulterated woman to love and who gives all his heart to his sweetheart while ignoring the urban ‘whorish’ trend. As I applaud them I have to add that they are as few as the women who refuse to conform to this urban frivolity. Some men will try to ignore the uniform and opt instead for the ‘stuck up’ non-conforming woman who wears stockings-not on her legs but on her head- and a t-shirt to bed (beauty is skin deep anyone? No? Ok) Sometimes he succeeds in this ‘noble’ cause. Other times the uniform looks so attractive and it beckons at him obsessively. If he succumbs, his woman might still insist on sticking by him like a tick, or she could choose to pick up her dignity and head to the exit.

At the end of the day, there are more soft whores than there are good men and so however contemptible a man is, there is always a woman ready to put up with his BS. Lucky bastards!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weep not, 'child'

"Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain

Politics is a dirty game. I hate dirt. Therefore it follows that I hate politics. But once in a while, I roll in the ‘mad’ just to confuse my enemies. Just like at times I watch Tom & Jerry cartoon or other times I sit through ninety minutes of football not only to see grown men cry (Arse ‘n all), but mostly to confuse my enemies.

I love the circus and comic relief that politicians provide once in a while and so I try to milk it dry. Kenyan politicians are full of theatrics. Some will speak horrible sheng in the spirit of connecting with the youth and post a video on youtube. Then you ask yourself, who is their target audience because most people who have internet access can indeed understand, even speak English! Others punch walls in 'anger' or spill maize flour in full view of fellow hungry Kenyans. We laugh at them only because we don’t want to cry.

Yesterday, as I flipped through the channels to sample the news headlines one story caught my eye. “27 year old joins bid for presidency” – this I had to watch.
“My name is Kingwa Kamencu, a 27year old Kenyan studying at Oxford University….” That’s all I got from the response she gave when one journalist asked who Kingwa Kamencu was. She talked fast like in a bid to prove something-maybe the fact that she could speak without thinking twice. I hoped that she would talk slow, sift through her words. Pause once in a while. I was disappointed.

Ok. Then she is asked what party she would be affiliated with. “I am not affiliated to any party. I am running as an independent individual” THAT’S IT, I didn’t finish reading the constitution when it was still in draft but correct me if I am wrong; shouldn’t someone who vies for presidency be affiliated to a political party?

In desperation (yes, I could sense some desperation) she was asked what she had done so far to champion development in Kenya “I have always blablablabla…” (who is chasing this girl, why is she talking so hurriedly) Then I caught this “We were involved in a clean up exercise in Eastleigh in....was it...20..03?” I look around. Who is she asking? She can’t remember? A CLEAN UP exercise? What am I doing? I should be running for presidency too!

The channel I was watching never showed her shed tears but had I seen that, I would have joined her in crying. WHAT WAS THAT?!

This morning Capital Fm hosted her in the morning show and Chris asked where they would get funding for campaigns. She digressed totally not answering the question. Janice raised the same question and Kamencu went round and round on how money was not important…then she finally settled on “We have enough money to see us through at the moment” Pocket money? Savings? WHAT? It has to come from somewhere, innit?

Coincidentally, I had watched Martha Karua being interviewed barely two days ago by Debarl on NTV’s morning show. I caught the show while it was just winding up and it appeared that they had over run it and were therefore cutting short the calls that were coming in. But when the host tried to hurriedly wind up Martha goes, “Wait. You haven’t’ asked me about my presidential bid. I was waiting for you to ask me about that” Debarl mumbled about lack of time etc etc. Martha goes ahead to make her plea “I would just like to briefly tell Kenyans that ....” And she goes ahead to say why she should be voted in as the next president! Debarl could not stop her and she took up a few more minutes of his time to plead her case.

In those few stolen minutes, she actually pleaded for votes. In fact she almost groveled which made me feel so powerful. I never got to listen to the whole plea but she took a tone that I had never associated with her before. A tone that seemed to say “Renee, I need you so much. I need your vote. Please let me help you make this country what it has never been. I can do it. Others have stolen from you and used and abused you without caring how you will make it through this tough life. But I can do all that and more. If you let me, I will make things OK again. I am capable of turning things around. Please?”

If I had to pick the appropriate tone used by Kingwa Kamencu, this would fit her bill “Hi (scratches her head for a name), I think I can be your next president. I really don’t know how we will hack it but WhatsHisName insists that I can do it; after all I am in Oxford University. At 27years old I am mature enough and willing to push my way to the top. In fact, I…eeh...WE once did a clean up exercise in Eastleigh, was it? That was in….in…2003 was it? Yeah. That’s how much we care about our country. We need change from bad leadership. Where we get funding for our campaigns is not important.”

I did not know a thing about Kamencu until yesterday, so I consulted my BFF google for more about this very gutsy individual. From what I found, I respected her more for what she has been doing as opposed to what she wants to do. I respect the fact that she has written a book “To grasp at a star” – I hope to read it soon too. I am impressed that it won the youth category of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, Kenya’s most prestigious literary prize. Being an only girl in a family of boys, I believe Kamencu has had to prove herself quite a lot and that could possibly be the reason behind her resilience. You have to commend her for that.

But she cried. Why? Weep not Kamencu. Because when you do that, you try to grasp at a straw and therefore, you don’t do yourself or your book, any justice. Don’t do that because it automatically makes you a side show and not a serious contender (unless that is what you really are). Don’t weep because when you do, you insult our intelligence. Don’t weep because your tears will not fetch you the votes you need. They instead make you fit perfectly into the stereotype of a young woman – weak, emotional and inexperienced.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

She shall be called Woman

A female human being, an adult female person. Aristotle called her an incomplete or mutilated man – “The female is as it were, a defective male”, he wrote. Idiot!

Aside from these scholarly definitions, what does it really mean to be a woman?

It means that you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That you will always need vindication if what you stand for is not co-signed by a man. It means that you will be jeered when you try something new. What? You think you have the ‘balls’ for it? In order to be heard, you will have to speak louder, maybe even shout. You will have to hold in your tears when you feel overwhelmed, crybaby!

It means that for you, dumb is good. ‘Dumb’ women are nice. They are sweet and appreciative - grateful for being granted the honor to share in this ‘man’s world’. The so called ‘smart’ women are full of it! Full of what? I don’t know, maybe they mean ‘it’ preceded with ‘s’ and ‘h’? These smart ones are arrogant, bitter, loud, demanding, unreasonable and unlikeable. In fact, they are stupid. Isn’t Ignorance bliss? “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead”, said Aristotle. Smartass!

As a woman, you will be misunderstood, appreciated, loved, despised, admired, abused, cherished, chastised, adorned, tainted, glorified and embarrassed in equal measures. One man will exalt his mother while abusing his wife. Another man will support his wife’s career in the corporate world and frown at the female politician who wants the top seat. You will be expected to work and help bring home the bacon, while at the same time you will have to be the stereotypical ‘bare foot and pregnant’ woman when called upon to tend to the home.

You are allowed to scale the ladder but not to go all the way to the top-you simply don’t belong there; huko kuna wenyewe. If you dare sing to the tunes of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent woman’, you warrant the middle name ‘Bitch’ for daring to forget who runs the world.

The other day, a male colleague sought my assistance in gluing together a torn 500 shilling note. On this slow Monday morning I am feeling uninspired. The excuse that it is a Monday would normally suffice but not today-the weather has mood swings. It’s a gloomy cold Monday. Insult to injury - I am suffering a headache and a sore throat; call it a hang over if you will. I don’t know if it’s the drinking or the chattering the previous evening that earned me these ailments but it’s not a great day by any standards. I tried coffee but wapi?

I am seated at my desk trying to work. I start looking at some photos I had saved in one of my folders where I come across a full length photo taken with Hailey. I analyze it; Hailey’s pose is so ‘America’s-Next-Top-Model’-ish. She has her right arm folded to her side, the wind is blowing at her ‘Cinderella-inspired’ dress and she is wearing this smile, coy and sweet. Even at her tender age you can already tell she is a ‘woman’ in the making. I know every mother thinks that their kids are the most beautiful on the planet. Shamelessly, I am no exception. Aristotle has an explanation for everything; He says “Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own”. Tsk, the nerve of that guy!

My analysis of the photo is interrupted by my colleague, who has a roll of cello tape in his hand, he mumbles some greetings even though we’d been through that when we met in the morning. Seeing that he has my attention, he goes on to produce a 500 shilling note from his pocket. “Si you glue this money for me?” It is torn in half.

I ask why he wouldn’t do it himself. If I was to do it, he had to ask really nicely. After all, What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do - yeah, Aristotle once again. He (my colleague, not the smartass) had tried piecing the torn note together but was unable to do it right, he pleaded. Since I had a headache and couldn’t get into a testimony on stereotypes - as badly as I wanted to- I agreed to help the poor ‘dude’ in distress. “Give it back when you’re through, will you?” he says, tongue in cheek. “Very funny!” I retort.

I placed the 500 shilling note on the table, brought the two pieces together and with the utmost precision of a surgeon, passed the cello tape over it to make a classic merge of the two pieces. Former President Moi’s (or is it Jomo’s) picture was perfect, not even the contour of his shoulders was crooked. Had I been doing this job in my previous life? No. I am a woman. But do I say?

I know I make it sound like I just performed brain surgery but you must understand that as a woman you sew, you clean, you cook, you love, you nurture, and you hurt and rejoice with your heart. You piece together torn notes, torn relationships, torn children and even torn men to make them whole again. You find an inner strength inside of you that you never knew you had until you needed it. You hold together those minute details that to the outside world seem so negligible but are in essence the integral part of the whole. It’s what we do.

Woman - Does this one word do justice to who she is and the role she plays? Maybe. Maybe not. Because to some, she is shit while to others she is THE shit. We should however never forget that regardless of how others see us, Happiness depends upon ourselves. Aristotle said that too. What a genius huh?

Cheers to all you wonderful women out there! I would drink to that but I promised myself not to touch alcohol for a while. Nevertheless, be proud of who you are woman!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hi, my name is Renatta

I don’t believe that we have been properly introduced (Guys, this is one sober pick up line). I took some time over the weekend to work on this blog – the design, theme, font, the works. We are now doing a font called ‘Trebuchet’, and the headings are in a font called ‘coming soon’- I swear I did not make that up. You like?

Anyway, I realized that the closest thing that comes to a description of who I am is the one sentence in the “About Me” section -I can do bad all by myself - which is not saying much “about me” really. Come to think of it, I come of as a higher than life self-centered mama who holds herself up there awaiting a dramatic descent from sanctimonious glory. If this has been your perception of me, today I wish to remedy that. I am not that woman described by Everclear in the song “She’s so high above me” I am more of that woman Dolly Parton sings about in “She’s an eagle when she flies”. So that line in the ‘about me’ section has to go. But what will I replace it with?

That I am Shy? Fastidious? True to myself? I could dare say that I wear my skin quite comfortably. That I cherish silence- Especially when I wake up in the morning. I love falling asleep to soft music. I was a deep sleeper until I got kids; I think a ‘mother’ switch was turned on somewhere ‘pap!

I might just add that I love coffee. I however don’t like eggs; fried, boiled, scrambled, I hate them all. I love the Kebabs that are served in Eldoret restaurants (my hometown) -they have always tasted divine. Nairobi restaurants should borrow a leaf. Though I don’t junk much, I am not a fanatic of healthy eating. Food is food, I eat what I eat and my body takes care of the rest.

If you have to know, I never go out of my way to impress people, so I end up being the background music in most conversations. Sometimes I am noticed, sometimes I am not - It doesn’t bother me when I am not. Being a quiet person, my fanatical love for rock and hip-hop music is one part of me I don’t quite understand.

I know humans to be naturally selfish and therefore trust no one 100%. People tend to always look out for their own interest so I know that there is nothing like free lunch. I have made some exceptions, but I have ended up being disappointed- I hate disappointments.

I could mention that I believe in God. That I try to stay true to Him and He knows that I am not perfect – doesn’t He know everything? The God I believe in knows every dark secret in the core of my being so I know I can never pretend to be someone I am not. Not to Him at least. I know there are other gods that people look up to; gods that don’t mind hypocrisy. Why else would there be so many evangelical ministries whose main agenda is to con naïve people out of their little money? I do not associate God with wealth, power or religion. God is just God. I just might confess that sometimes I feel his presence more from the confines of my home, than from a church building.

I believe in love and friendship. Though I love the idea of romantic love and fairy tales, I am a realist. Is it appropriate to add that I don’t believe in marriage; straight or gay? Straight marriages because love fades and after that two people are left to screw each other up and make life a living hell until the day they die. Unless there is something I don’t know about marriage yet, I simply don’t understand why a great number of people (read women) go to great lengths to have a ring on their finger. I don’t think Gays are ‘Born that way’- Siamese twins are ‘born that way’. I do not believe that gay couples should raise children either. I know that I am not the only one who thinks that a gay couple raising children (a product of a male-female union)is oxymoronic if nothing else.

I won’t forget to add that I am a sucker for humor, so naturally I love comedies. I cannot stand Mexican soaps or Afrosinema ‘oga’ movies. My perfect weekend is spent indoors with a good movie or series. I am not a ‘party-loving’ person and so I don’t ‘heng’ out. You could call me a social drinker, if one drink in a couple of months qualifies me as such. I think that alcohol is overrated. I get my high from listening to music –my earphones are my best friend.

I might also volunteer that I have spent seven hours in a cell but due to no fault of mine. The matatu I was traveling in was impounded and we were all “arrested” for not wearing seat belts, never mind that the vehicle had none. And I use the word ‘arrested’ quite loosely.

I could add that I cry more when I am moved emotionally (like when watching a touching movie) than when I am hurt physically. When I am pissed, I write; when I am hurt, I cry. I am a secretive person and so naturally I don't kiss and tell. I don’t talk much about my life either so consider this a real treat. Hehe…

I suffer a powerful conscience making it hard for me to screw people over even when I would like to dish it out to people who really deserve it. I however have an evil side which involves not reminding the matatu conductor to pick my fare and paying for stuff in one shilling coins only. Now the latter, I seriously enjoy! I only subject certain people like matatu conductors to this inconvenience – No. I don’t hate them. I only love seeing their faces when I pay my fare with twenty one-shilling coins then I go “Sina pesa ingine”, while I am thinking “Uta do?” Most of them never even bother to count the many tu-coins; they just toss it irritably into their pockets. Is it even normal that I enjoy doing that so much?

I believe that a woman can do anything that a man can so long as it does not involve siring children or using their muscles. I believe that men act silly most of the time- they are capable of love, greatness and amazing insights but most of the time they are idiots and that is why we (women) are here – to keep the idiocy and the egos at manageable levels. I know that no man can do without a woman, the reverse is however not true. Men know this to be a fact but very few dare to admit it.

I am not a morning (or moaning) person. I hate formality. I love children. I hate drama. I am strict (this I'm told, so I can’t verify) House helps are allergic to me (or is it the other way round?) and I have therefore had a very high turnover of house helps so far, and counting…

What else would you like to know? My favorite colour is purple. I am a Virgo. Erm... that basically sums it all up.

Well, now you know ABOUT ME. Hopefully, my arguments henceforth will not suffer from ad hominem tu quoque fallacies - after all I did not hold up my bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The truth is still out there…

One final hurdle, how do I summarize all this information to fit into the ‘About me’ section?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A smiling face in High Dependency

HDU stands for High Dependency Unit. But you already knew that no? This is one of the sections of a hospital that makes one to really think hard about so many things; Life, Death, God, Health, People, Friends, Enemies, Frenemies, Family, Cars, Politicians, Fuel… (Ok, I am kidding about the last three)

I spent 3 nights in this unit early this month from the night of July 30th till the morning of August 2nd. These were the most trying moments for me as a human being and mostly as a mother.

Heidi fell sick in the wee hours of Tuesday, 26th July. I first noticed that she was not ok when she became very irritable at around 2 am. Then it started- That noisy breathing that was to make me a walking zombie for the next one and a half weeks. We walked into hospital hoping to get treatment and go back to living our lives. Little did I know that from the pediatric casualty of Aga Khan Hospital, we were to be admitted to the children’s wards. Upon admission I thought, well they should indeed watch her overnight just to make sure that she is breathing fine. Little did I know that one night would turn into nine days!

Nine nights during which I barely slept. Nine days during which I showered not just to clean myself, but mostly to feel the almost scalding water run through my aching body. Nine days during which, I sometimes forgot to brush my teeth (something I am very particular about) Nine days during which I sneaked in a few minutes for myself to have a good cry - in my sleep and in the shower, but never in public; I had to be strong. Nine days that I depended so much on my family that I could not even dare to imagine what a mess I would be without them. Nine very long days; very tiring and trying days. Nine days of looking up to God and the doctors to make my girl well again.

During those days, I cried, I prayed, I gave up, I hoped. I sat with Heidi, slept with Heidi, played and prayed with Heidi. I even tried to negotiate with God at some point.

This was the night Heidi went to distress and had to be transferred from the general wards to HDU. I could barely think. I held her in my arms the whole night. Even when those codes that are connected to a monitor were strapped to her chest, I held her even when a mask for nebulization (look, I learnt a new medical term!) was put over her face. She cried, and I spoke to her the whole time. Soothing her, telling her that she would be fine. That I was there with her, not to be afraid. I was scared. My feet were cold and my arms were aching.

When she managed to fall asleep, I turned to God and had a very long conversation with him. It went something like;

“I have been good, haven’t I? Is it just me or am I actually a good person: I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm… I consult you every single day before I get out of bed. I remember to say thank you for my meals that are consistent and for the good health I have enjoyed since forever. I turn back to you at night before I hit the sack just to check in and to keep thanking you. There is nothing I take for granted, nothing. Neither the air that I breathe nor the perfect functionality of my five senses. I remember to thank you for not getting hit by a random vehicle while I crossed the road, that the driver whose matatu I boarded to work was sane and sober, for not running into armed thugs on my way from work. I thank you that I have an education, a job and I never forget to thank you for the person that I am; that I can speak for myself and that I have the confidence to follow what I deem right and to object to anything that I feel is not right. I thank you for my mother, my father, my children’s father, my brothers and sister , everyone in my life– some who know me like the back of their hand, others who barely know me. I keep thanking you for Hailey & Heidi; the two most important people in my life. Every single day I thank you that Heidi can have milk, food to eat, clothes and even diapers to wear. I thank you when Hailey does not break a leg when she jumps from furniture to furniture. I thank you when she does not come into contact with dangerous appliances that could cause her harm. I thank you when she is dropped home from school in one piece. Every single day I remember to thank you when I get home from work and Hailey runs into my arms to promptly demand for chocolate and yoghurt even before I am through hugging her. I never forget to thank you for Heidi’s smiling face when she sees me walk through the door…..So where have I gone wrong? Why is my little girl helpless and sick and weak and where is that smile Lord? Why is my daughter not smiling tonight?”

Then suddenly I went blank. Words failed me and I had nothing else to say. I eventually managed to plead “Please make my girl well again Lord. Please heal my little girl”, and I promptly fell asleep.

Heidi was smiling the next day. And even then, I didn’t forget to thank God.

Motherhood! What a load we take up, huh?! For the nine days in hospital, when Heidi made the slightest movement I was on my feet to check on her. I checked the machine that monitored her vitals for the heart rate, blood oxygen and respiration levels every waking minute (I learned a thing or two about this "MD" jargon too) I asked the doctors all the questions I could think of. I insisted on knowing what medicine they were giving her and what it was for. I refused to take any chances. At some point, my colleagues from work who had come to visit remarked that I had lost weight. “Damn! There goes my chance to grace LMK’s slimpossible program!” I lamented. They could only shake their heads.

In all these, I knew that God had the powerful card. The Ace. And I trusted Him to use it on us.

He did. We were out of hospital on August 4th.

Sometimes I have to ask myself, do my girls have the slightest idea how much power they wield over me? That smile from Heidi, and the laughter from Hailey cannot be compared to ANYTHING that walks the face of this planet. Nothing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Embarrassing conversations caused by drooling

For the last couple of weeks, I have not had the pleasure of ignoring unwanted phone calls. This is because of Heidi; my beautiful ever-smiling 8month old daughter. See, she messed up my mobile phone by drooling all over it. She is at an age where everything she holds has to pass through her mouth for validation. My phone went from her playful hands and with joyful coos swiftly made its way to her mouth. By the time I realized that my phone was being gnawed at, it was swimming in drool!

I however did not think much of it. Wiping it clean I proceeded to do what I should have done before she got her hands on it; keep it out of reach. Boy did she make a fuss! She cried and gave me that look. You know the look; that which seems to beseech you to stop harassing the life out of her? “Why do you do such mean things to me?” Is what she was saying with her beautiful eyes. If I lived in the USA and someone happened to walk in at that moment to find her wailing like that, I am positive that she would be shipped to a children’s home if only to get her away from mean mothers like me. Woishe?!

Wiping the phone clean on the outside, I never bothered to open it and check on the battery and all. I was once advised by her father that should my phone ever get in contact with water, the first step I was to do was dismantle it and leave it that way for a couple of hours -that was sorta like a ‘first aid’ tip for mobile phones. In retrospect, I really have to ask why he felt the need to share this information with me. Like I have a ‘reputation’ or something…?

This apparently important piece of advice slipped my mind and a day or two later, my phone wouldn’t light up. It was working all right, but the screen went black. By the time I remembered to dismantle it, it was too late. So I cannot read nor write and send messages. I can only blindly dial a number to make a phone call since I cannot access my phonebook. Being one of those people who think that ‘caller ID’ is the best thing to ever happen to mobile phones, the most irritating part about this messy situation is that when my phone rings, I am obligated to pick up every single phone call, lest I miss an important one. Don’t look at me like that; I exercise my right to pick or not to pick phone calls. I know my landlord is not reading this. Or is he? The most embarrassing part though is, having to ask who is calling if for one reason or another I cannot recognize the other person’s voice. I could just assume that I know all the people calling me by their voice but that would also present another more embarrassing situation like the one I had this morning.

My phone rings -”Go girl, girl it’s your birthday…” (Trey Song’s song “Say aah” is my ringtone if you’re wondering) Hehe, I am gangster like that.

I was already late for work so I hurriedly picked up the phone;

Me: Hallo?!

Other Person: Hallo! Sasa…..

Me: (Instantly assuming that it’s Heidi’s dad) Hey, I’m just heading to the bathroom si you call me after…what? 20mins? Feel free to tease me about how long I take in the shower!

Other Person: eeeh….ok. (Silence)

Me: Hallo…?!

Other Person: Renee, eeer.. I only wanted to inform you that I will be coming to the office a bit late this morning. So take care of things...?
My supervisor! It dawns on me…

Me: (embarrassed) ooh…o-ok.

So here I was, late for work and I just informed my supervisor that I take long in the shower. This was the mother of all TMIs. My previous excuses of being stuck in “this notorious traffic jam along Thika road” (with the construction of the superhighway and all) at that moment became NULL & VOID!

Yeah, I seriously need a new phone!

Let's talk about DILDOS

When I was growing up, I remember hearing the song “Let’s talk about Sex” by salt n’ pepa. The young…eer..VERY young (ahem!), naïve and shy girl in me used to think “What a BOLD song!” I swear I would blush from hearing the song play on radio. Coming out and talking or singing about ‘stuff’ like that was taboo.

Once upon a month ago one of our local dailies ‘The Standard Newspaper’ decided to tread where angels wouldn’t dare yet (Give it time, am sure such articles will make their way to our tabloids again soon) The paper didn’t just write about sex, which is nothing these days; they carried an article on sex toys! I hear you ask “Kwani they rebranded their publication from ‘The Standard Newspaper’ to Cosmo-Standard magazine?” It came as no surprise when people complained that they had crossed the line and the paper had to follow with an apology. Ouch!

How things have changed! We don’t whisper when talking about sex anymore. We just say it. There is a program in one of our local TV channels that talks about sex and relationships. Though the hosts try to veil everything in ‘euphemisms’ like Miss Victoria, and Mr. Victor for the female and male genitalia respectively, or ‘Mombasa Raha’ for the act of intercourse, they try to talk about this very (pun alert) touchy subject in a candid way not tried before. Forgive my digression; back to matters at hand.

Before you cross yourself and recite a round of Hail Marys for The Standards’ benefit, ask yourself did the paper have an audience? I think sex toys have nothing to do with one’s morality-But that is just me. Was The Standard wrong to carry such an ‘adults-only’ kind of article in their daily paper? You bet your civil African behind it was!

HOWEVER, having read people’s reaction to the article, I got a little bit confused. It’s true that the paper crossed the line in even considering carrying the article in a daily paper which is read by all and sundry. Even school children peruse through newspapers fyi. You don’t know which kid will be sent to the butcher’s for a kilo of meat only for it to be wrapped in an old newspaper that just happens to have an article on dildos! See? Who wants their 5yr old catching a glimpse at a dildo and asking what it is. We are still trying to find the words to explain to them what a Condom is. Each time the ‘Nakufeel Mpenzi wangu’ advert comes up I curl my toes and hope that my Hailey, who is 3 going on 6, will not ask me what it is. She once went “Mum hiyo ni nini, Sabuni?” I promptly responded “ sabuni” Never mind that it was a pack of Always Sanitary pads being advertised. She loves that Always “check, check” song and can almost sing the whole of it word for freaking word! Sigh, I honestly think someone out there gets paid to make parents’ lives more difficult than it already is. But I digress. Again – so yes, I totally agree that the paper should not have published that article.

Having said that, we are a generation whose teenagers attend concerts half naked and get dry-humped in full view of the world, amen? We are a society that cannot stay faithful to one partner and make a joke of Jimmy Gathu’s “fanya hesabu’ campaign of discouraging ‘mipango ya kando”, right? Aren’t we the same people who complacently sit back as the ‘bend-over’ generation takes over? Ah-HA! The Muliro Gardens “brothel” comes to mind now. In all honesty, we are not perfect. Far from it. I therefore understand why the paper thought that we were ready for that article. Come on, look at us!

We shouldn’t try to veil our disgust at the publication as coming from a moral point of view because our morals and self-respect went to the dogs a long time ago. Putting this holier-than-thou façade does not make us angels any more than not acknowledging the problem makes the problem disappear. We are failing as a society as our values go under faster than quicksand. This ‘filth’ - as most are tempted to call it, which was published by our local newspaper, is but a negligible part of the bigger problem that makes us stink as a society.

As we rebuked the article and all it stood for, we missed the lesson; A wake up call to put our house in order. We are so two-faced that we don’t even know which face to wear when. We shut our eyes to the fact that our kids have internet access; how many teenagers make part of our social media networks – please close your mouth and stop pretending that you had no clue that your sweet ‘Junior’ is on Facebook! Aren’t we the same parents who buy our children very expensive phones with internet access? How many cyber cafes give restrictions to the underage kids on what sites they should access and which ones not to?

A child is raised by the society. So either we have our heads buried deep in the sand or we are selective on which garbage to feed to our children; and garbage by any other name still stinks, right? We are not doing our job very well. The cyber attendant is not, the TV stations are not, that musician who should know better than to “bend over” a girl who is barely legal has no clue what his/her significance as a role model is, and the radio stations (read Maina & King’ang’i – Lord have mercy!) are most definitely not doing their job!

Lamenting about the article in The Standard is like asking a person with bad breath not to open their mouth. As long that they don’t speak, their breath won’t stink.

So we go “How dare you? What is the world coming to? Dildos? Where are the men? We are proudly African – show some respect! We demand an apology!” All along, our sons and daughters access any adult sites they wish, we live with child molesters in our homes and refuse to oust them, and we encourage promiscuity by refusing to stay faithfully married to one partner.

For a mature woman old enough to have sex I believe that the choice on whether to use dildos or not is personal just like her choice of underwear and she should not be judged for that. Why do men become so insecure when women take matters that the same men have neglected, in their own hands?

Should you ask me whether The Standard Newspaper went too far in publishing an article on dildos I would reply thus:

A young teenage girl is feeling depressed. She had come to Nairobi to look for employment but nothing was forthcoming. She lived with her sister in Eastlands who was also struggling to eke out a living and pay for her siblings’ education. They could barely get by with her sisters meager earnings and so hoping to ease her sister’s burden, she asked her friends’ advice on where she could make money to assist her sister in paying the bills. One friend advised her to go to the city centre - there were some generous men roaming the street at night. “Just dress well and look good, that’s all”, the friend advised. She even offered to lend her some of her own clothes and make her hair. “We can go together if you like”

The friend took her that night to Koinange Street and when she waved at a vehicle and it stopped, she asked her to go with the man in the car. She went with him and when she asked him if he could give her some money, he said of course. They reached their destination (a hotel room) and once inside, the guy was all over her. He kissed her, she kissed back. He fondled her and went ahead to undressed her; she was slightly puzzled but then raised no objection. When they were both nude and the man wanted to have sex with her, she was shocked, utterly offended and disgusted! Angry, she asked him, “What made you think that I wanted to have sex with you!?”

Where do you begin to answer such a question?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Surviving Men

Next time you see a bride standing at the altar in a wedding gown and exchanging vows with a man, promising to stand by him no matter what, you should applaud that woman. Seriously. Get on your feet and applaud her because she will be undertaking a rough path full of hardships.

Not to say that the men have it easy. All I am saying is that before you go around making silly statements like ‘women are hard to manage’, (refer to my previous blog) take a minute and walk a mile in our pinching shoes, will you? Some (few) men already know this; others have never really stopped to think about it, while others believe that we are only doing what is our job to do and we should therefore shut up and strive to do it well. I will ignore the last cluster since I am in a good mood today and I don’t want anything to change that.

You know the way a woman carries a pregnancy to term while ensuring that the baby she is carrying is well nourished, safe and healthy? Now imagine having another baby who has no ‘due date’, meaning the difficulties you face while ‘carrying’ it are indefinite with no end in sight. Imagine having to provide ‘nourishment’ with no guarantee of its full growth and safety. The latter ‘baby’ is who we like to call a ‘Man’

The only two differences between a foetus and a man are that one is a ‘parasite’ inside a woman, while the other one is outside her; one grows and develops while the other has stunted growth.

The emotional roller coaster that a woman goes through when she pees on a stick during a pregnancy test, and when she walks down the aisle and stretches out her finger to accept a wedding ring are somewhat the same. She thinks, will I be a good mother (wife), will this pregnancy (marriage) go smoothly? Do I have the strength to see it through? Am I ready for this?

If she chooses to have the child or accept the ring (tomato, tomay-i-to) then her life is not hers anymore. It becomes all about the child (man) because she has to make changes to accommodate this person comfortably in her life. The food she used to love eating cannot be kept down anymore as she ends up puking it all out, thanks to morning sickness; she has to change her circle of friends, thanks to the society’s perception of her new status. Her outfits become restrictive and she has to buy new ones, thanks to a bulging tummy; her decisions are equally restricted as she has to consult and maybe even forgo some of the things she would have loved to pursue, thanks to a demanding husband. As if that is not enough she will have to adapt to a new family who, just like a protruding belly, are not easy to carry around.

Just like a growing foetus might abort with no warning and due to no fault of the woman, a marriage may come to an abrupt end leaving her wondering when the rain started beating her. It may end simply because a man prefers another woman who is more fun or slimmer, taller, sexier, prettier - the excuses are in milliards.

Instead of thinking how hard it is to ‘manage’ your woman, think of all the sacrifices she is making and how hard she is trying to make things work. When men get married, their search for a mate is obviously over and therefore, mission accomplished. Case closed. End of story. Their main agenda for a chick they are interested in is ‘kumuingiza box’ as they call it. Once a chick ‘ameingia box’ what other challenge is left for them? To make the relationship work? What is that? This might as well be Greek to him. That automatically becomes the woman’s responsibility

Well, just as there are so many pains in pregnancy; fatigue, heartburn and gas, there are also those fuzzy kicks, overwhelming emotions of pride and joy to get us through a pregnancy. Just as there are all the disappointments in marriage in the form of ‘chips funga’, lies, betrayal and disloyalty, there are also special moments of pride, joy and happiness to make us survive men.

So even though men are absolute idiots most of the time, there are a few times every woman looks at their man and sees the reason why she has stuck with him through it all. These moments should not be few and far between. Very few men understand that in order for a marriage to work, he has to keep chasing the same woman even after she says ‘I do”.

Monday, June 27, 2011

'Managing' Women?

There I was, walking to the stage to get a vehicle to take me to work. It’s almost 9am, and I am running late (what else is new!). You know the way you may be walking then you find yourself walking in step with someone, yet you are not really ‘together’? Yeah? I found myself walking step by step with another gentleman though he seemed not to be in a hurry. Why is it that I sometimes think I am walking very fast only to be overtaken by someone (mostly men) who appear to be walking slower than me? I always wondered to myself. Maybe my math teacher in school forgot to teach me that x=2y (where x is one step taken by a male, and y is a step taken by a female). Or maybe he did teach me one hot afternoon but I was not paying attention-I never paid much attention during afternoon lessons.

Anyhoo, moving on swiftly……

As ‘we’ (are we an item now?) continue walking with my stranger, another man appears from my side of the road, from a ka building and smiles at my stranger while shouting some greetings “Niaje?”, or something along those lines. My stranger responds and I try to walk by faster so that I can leave the two to their chitchat.

For the life of me, I am unable to leave them behind (refer to my formula above?) and so since the friend to my stranger starts walking with ‘us’ towards the same direction, we appear to be together and strange enough, they do nothing to close the gap between them. Shauri yao!

I am therefore forced to eavesdrop on their conversation - Will you believe me if I tell you that I wasn’t enjoying doing this? Hehe…yeah, I wouldn’t believe me either. From their conversation, I gather they were mere acquaintances;

My stranger: Kumbe unaishi hapo (points at building)
The ‘friend’: eeh…ndiyo. (Sounding dodgy, like he doesn’t want to talk about it)
My stranger: I thought unaishi (names place) ama ulihama?
Friend: Hapana sijahama. Bibi yangu mwingine anaishi hapa.
My stranger: (He is turning out to be so nosy this stranger of mine) Haiya, uko na bibi wawili?
Friend: Haha….(bashfully) Ndiyo, nina wawili

I am still trying to walk fast but wapi? Don’t look at me like that, I really tried to give them their privacy….what did you expect me to do, run?

My Stranger: How do you manage bwana?
Friend: (stammers) heeheee…..eeh. I just manage
My stranger: Managing one is hard enough bwana. Bibi mmoja ni kazi sasa wewe wawili unawaweza aje
Friend: Saa zingine inabidi bwana. Nimejengea wote wawili nyumba huko (names some place)
My stranger: Na wanasikizana?
Friend: e-eeh wanaskizana! (LIAR!) Unaishi peke yako?
My stranger: (nodding) eeeh. (dude looks old, and is still single? Clearly, he needs help!)
We near an interception and I notice My stranger is heading to the stage just like me, so sadly we have to part with ‘our’ friend as he was going to the opposite direction.
My stranger: Sawa basi, si baadaye.
Friend: Poa.

I smile to myself as I stand at the stage to wait for a vehicle to take me to work. My stranger goes to a vendor by the roadside to buy a newspaper.

Why do men talk like that? Ati ‘managing’ a woman is hard work?! How many diaper changes do we need in a day exactly? How many feeds at night?

Should we start talking about how excruciatingly difficult it is to ‘manage’ a man?

I think we should. So next on Reneeissance, I will tell you what women go through to survive- yes, to survive men.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who wants to be a Millionare?

Those who know me know that I am all for women empowerment, girl power, ‘what’s-good-for-the-goose-is-good-for-the-gander’ kind of shit. Heck, I have been called a feminist. But if asking… ok you got me – if demanding that women are treated more like human beings than objects qualifies me as a feminist, then I will gladly answer to that name.

Having said that, I also believe that women should act in a manner to make it easy for the society to shun the age-old perception that we are all kitchen-bound good-for-nothings who should only worry about perfecting the art of leg-spreading (be it for sex or to give birth) , wash, cook….and other four letter words. Are we doing all in our power to distort that picture entrenched in the male mind of women donning aprons and tending to the family while barefoot and pregnant? I sadly think not!

Why am I ranting, you ask? Today’s Nation Newspaper carried the story of a woman who is not willing to get married to any man who will not raise bride price of 1million Kes. She, in my view, simply wants to be bought. To the highest bidder. She wants us to believe that she does not come cheap! She says she is educated and intelligent (ahem!) She claims that she is an asset since she will be helping the husband bring home the bacon. What the poor lady forgets is that by putting a price on her self worth, she comes off as cheap! She might as well go, “Hi, I am Rita Muchiri, and am worth only 1 million Kenyan shillings, cough out the cash and you can take me home!” Smile girl, and hope that the men don’t choose that flashy car over you!

How many criminals, men of questionable character can come up with the 1M Rita is asking for? If that is all it takes to have you girl, then you are one very poor woman.
So she will not get married to a poor good looking man who might genuinely fall in love with her. What’s love got to do with it, right?

I can only say this to you girlie. When you pay to have something, you automatically assume ownership of it. I believe that the smart you has done some transactions now and then. You call the one million a ‘token’ of appreciation to your parents. Token, really? In spite of your dumbness, your future does look bright, masters degree and all. Just get your lazy ass to work and support your parents and yourself. Stop being greedy! And most importantly, for Pete’s sake stop taking us back to the stone ages!!!

*Breathes in and out*

NKT!! I am ok now…