Wednesday, 29 October 2014
In the early 2000's I was in love, deeply, blindly and passionately in love. Oh! Love is such a great emotion for a young woman it takes you to cloud nine, until 'wisdom' with all its snootiness checks in, in the thirties. Party pauper the thirties are.
Well my Adonis and I were just strolling down the road between St Francis Clavers and bus station, holding hands, escorting him to Machakos bus station (yes you read right), when from nowhere our reverie was rudely interrupted by a gigantic street man. This one had outgrown the title of street boy. In Kenya they are derogatively referred to as chokora. The weapon he used to confront us was a hot, steaming, well molded, light brown mound of fresh human excrement.
Now those were dark times in Nairobi, street boys ruled the streets with the help of their faecal matter. They would threaten to smear you with their ordure till you gave in and ended up parting with your precious belongings; the really mean ones would still soil you with the poop anyway. The tales of people boarding matatus reeking of city council toilets were common place. We walked in fear. We lived in fear. Dark times I tell you. Then someone came to the city hall, a new town clerk and he was ruthless, he cleared the city of street families, rumour had it many unidentified bodies were seen floating on the Nairobi River, but seeing as I am no rumour monger I shall not pursue this. At the same time a new government took over and many street terrorists were recruited into the national youth service. Suddenly Nairobi was the city in the sun again. As usual I digress.
On seeing the street man and what he was wielding understandably my feet turned into lead and even if they hadn’t I don’t think I would have made it very far. However I was not worried I had watched enough Mexican soap operas, read too many romantic novels after lights off to know how this would play off. My knight in shining armour would disembark his horse and face my attackers to defend my honour and I would melt into his waiting arms impressed by his bravado right.
Well shock on me when my Adonis, my Knight, the love of my life took off at an alarming speed of lightning, leaving me with his luggage. The attacker and I were left staring at his retreating back and anyone would have been forgiven for thinking we were on it together. After a few seconds the assailant recovered and followed in hot pursuit, leaving me a forlorn figure on the road.
so much for swimming the oceans for me.
Damn mills and boons, damn harlequin romances, damn historical romances and damn you Escrava Isaura
Most certainly no one will catch a grenade for you so you better unlead your legs and run honey, run for your life as if there is no tomorrow. And hey do not get me wrong, we don't give up on love, expectations just become realistic. maybe I should have been thirty before I was twenty.
To be honest this was not my first encounter with these poop wielding hooligans, the first time I was with either the high school Linda or the University Linda, details fail me (I love you girls). This one must have been a rookie, he let us go with sagely words that we should go study hard so that we can help him and his ilk in the future. we successfully managed to negotiate ourselves out of that one with no expectations of rescue from a superman. Lord, I hope he never recognizes me on these streets though.
Ladies and gentlemen, the dark times are back on the streets of Nairobi, we were expectant of grand things from our new county government but maybe they are too busy dealing with grander things than excrement brandishing hooligans.
so people how will you react when they catch up with you?
Photo Credits; poop cake http://www.cakecentral.com/g/i/1391662/i-always-wanted-to-make-a-poop-cake-so-my-brother-just-turned-22-so-i-had-a-great-opportunity-he-loved-it-chocolate-fudge-chocolate-chip-cake-w-chocolate-frosting-and-toasted-coconut-cake-covered-in-chocolate-mmf-toilet-paper-made-out-of-rkt/
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
|Nyayo tea bushes in Irangi|
It is that time of year again, my rural home of Kianjokoma on the foothills of Mount Kenya is awash with anxiety, excitement, and trepidation all rolled in one. You see, the bonus has come! As per Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), small scale tea farmers countrywide will this October receive a total of Ksh 30.5 Billion as second payment otherwise known as bonus. Kianjokoma will share in this windfall, yeah!!
These couple of months leading unto Christmas was a most exciting time to visit Uma and Gaka (grandfather and grandmother) back in the village. Oh the air was festive. I swear the air was different, it was fresher it was tepid. Goats and sheep lost their lives as people gave thanks to their bodies. Christmas in the village was something I looked forward to all year. The chapatis made during that time were the tastiest ever, they still are. I kid you not. I honed my cooking skills from bonus related festivities, my chapatis are legendary. Oh Bonus!
|a plate of chapatis|
Before it checks in though the bonus is met with anxiety and many trips to the factory or bank to check on whether the money has been deposited in individual accounts. There is also anxiety over how much per kilo the tea sold and woe unto any farmer's representative who happens to be on their path. He will be queried and badgered about the fall in prices, the delay in the deposits, he will be threatened with no re election in case the prices are not satisfactory, explanations about the Mombasa auction, frost and what have you just don’t wash. I hear this year the prices have fallen, unfortunately for the farmer’s representatives i.e. directors it is an election year. But I digress.
|part of this writer's family farm in Kianjokoma|
It is not odd during this season to see old men clad in ill fitting suits and of ill discomposure hanging out in restaurants and bars (the kind with neon signs that scream 'bar and lodging') in the major towns, mostly Embu town, Meru, Nyeri, some even go as far as Thika. More often than not, draped on their arms will be a woman who reminds you of Clementine the one Lawino shares her husband with;
The beautiful one aspires;
To look like a white woman;
Her lips are red-hot;
Like glowing charcoal;
She resembles the wild cat;
That has dipped its mouth in blood;
Her mouth is like raw yaws;
Tina dusts powder on her face;
And it looks so pale....
Please note that these Clementine look-alikes are rarely locals, bonus brings with it local tourists from far parts of Kenya. Thus the trepidation from the long suffering wives and children who have spent all year being beaten by the bitter cold of the region endangering their health as they pick tea every day. In fact some are known to hang on the patriarch’s coat rails as he goes to collect the bonus so as not to miss out on this annual boom. Without a doubt if you miss to catch him, the smell of chapattis in your homestead over Christmas will be a far fetched dream. If this delicacy does not grace the plates, the silly children will always blame the mother who will take it because she can never discuss their father’s misdoings. In fact to the children he remains a hero until death. The sons aspire to be like him even when they have no school fees in January after the bonus boom. The coolest thing for them is to wake up every morning survey the land boundaries and then disappear to Kianjokoma town center. The daughters aspire to marry a man like their father and hopes to God not to end up like their mother whose back has bent from the heavy duties and on whose forehead there remains a permanent furrow dug by the heavy tea basket that she has to carry as she picks tea and as she takes it to the collection center.
|Two leaves and a bud|
It therefore is no surprise that the women grow fat, more beautiful and vibrant after they are widowed. They can now access and control the means of production and on top of that the whole family can benefit from bonus.
To the good men gone ahead of us and those still around that ensure the Christmas chapati smell will not die in the villages of Kianjokoma I say cheers.
Photos courtesy of: Kianjokoma wako online https://www.facebook.com/groups/Kianjokomaonliners/?fref=ts
Sunday, 26 October 2014
VIVA MISS UGANDA
Today, I happened to be hanging around a Ugandan mothers' online forum when a post of pure righteous outrage popped up, accompanying it was a photo of a beautiful African lady donned in a crown and the Miss Uganda sash, so imagine my amazement when I realised she was not being celebrated for the fete but rather being cursed for her alleged failure in the looks department.
On various other platforms she was ridiculed and jeered and told all she was good at was agriculture (as if agriculturalists cannot be beautiful), and hey she is a former mushroom and poultry farmer. A mother even stated that in the coming years her house girl could as well participate in the pageant (as if the house girl is not human). The furor that met her winning was unjustified.
The fact that the forum that was so full of indignation and dislike for human physical “ugliness” is a mothers’ group is worrying. What are we raising up our children to be, children do not learn from what we tell them but rather from what they perceive. Impute discrimination and shallowness in your child this early in life and rest assured that they will never depart from it and will have a hard time in life seeing as the ‘ugly’ people with brains run the world. It must be noted that on top of her new title and farming one Miss Uganda has studied computer engineering and science at Makerere University.
This is not a uniquely Ugandan problem though. One of the reasons that bleaching creams and procedures sell so fast amongst Africans is because of such reasoning. Of course if Miss Uganda had been light skinned people would have noticed her beautiful eyes, her gorgeous set of teeth and her bewitching smile. But alas, because these attributes were enclosed in her dark skin she is being defined as ugly and few are even bothered to learn her name. Granted there were claims of dirty business by the judges but the main issue from what I have read so far was how unpleasing to the eye their representative is.
This begs the question of how we define beauty
The stereotype of what beauty is must be why we East Africans consistently miss out on that title,
Ladies, let us stop bringing other women down. If you cannot do it or are not qualified, sit back and watch those who can do it, do it. In fact cheer them on, that way you will have your own cheering squad when your time comes.
Alek Wek ;The Southern Sudanese beauty has been described as the first black model whose looks did not conform to Caucasian aesthetics, the first with an uncompromising, sub-Saharan beauty.
Ajuma; The accomplished model is about to launch a cosmetic and natural skincare line for women like herself. She hopes that her products will inspire her contemporaries to love their own instead of attempting to alter it through artificial means, such as by skin bleaching.
Congratulations Miss Leah Kalanguka.
The sky is the limit.
The sky is the limit.
Thank you for not letting societal perceptions hold you down.
Thank you for treading the path where few dread.
Remember,others walked this path before you. Thank you for helping uphold the true African beauty.
Young man, be aware of these four good-hearted friends: the helper, the friend who endures in good times and bad, the mentor, and the compassionate friend.
The helper can be identified by four things: by protecting you when you are vulnerable, and likewise your wealth, being a refuge when you are afraid, and in various tasks providing double what is requested.
The enduring friend can be identified by four things: by telling you secrets, guarding your own secrets closely, not abandoning you in misfortune, and even dying for you.
The mentor can be identified by four things: by restraining you from wrongdoing, guiding you towards good actions, telling you what you ought to know, and showing you the path to samsaric heavens.
The compassionate friend can be identified by four things: by not rejoicing in your misfortune, delighting in your good fortune, preventing others from speaking ill of you, and encouraging others who praise your good qualities.
courtesy of: Waking Times
Saturday, 25 October 2014
PATRIOTISM ON TRIAL?
yeaahhh! You would think we would be excited by our innovation right. Shock on you, the news has been received by lots of mockery and jeering, social media is awash with mock horror (thought to be fair there has been some positive reception too). The vehicle which comes with extras such as air conditioning and power steering has been ridiculed and laughed for its alleged lack of aesthetic value otherwise known as ugliness. I do not deny that there isn’t much to look at, but really why not celebrate the fact that this is a Kenyan made thing. Haven’t we been yearning for industrialization? Why bring down those who are literally advancing vision 20-30?
After reading some of the comments on business daily online, I had to hang my head and cry for the spirit of my beloved Kenya. There is nothing wrong with well meant and justified constructive criticism that even has a solution, but this blanket criticism I condemn. What I decipher from your harsh response is that you doubt your adequacy; you don’t believe you are good enough. In your minds the Japanese and Germans are more human than you; the Lord gave them a bigger chunk of the human brain. For crying out loud decolonize your thinking.
Some of the comments as seen on, http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate-News/Kenya-made-car-goes-on-sale-at-Sh950-000/-/539550/2497400/-/glyasbz/-/index.html
Ati Mobius, they could have just named it Uglius!!!
What an eyesore. Ugliest jalopy I have ever seen. Hurts just to look at it. Reeks of "mzungu perception" of what an African car should look like. I still think its a scam (to rip off UN/NGOs) or some weird money laundering outfit and I will be shocked if they sell even one unit. What engine does it use (and is it new or refurbished)? Has it passed any official safety & roadworthiness tests? Where's the data & certification? Could be a death trap. Also look at the metal bullbars that can seriously harm pedestrians or cause great damage even in a small accident. NTSA!!!! KEBS!! Where art thou? This is a scandal!
But this comments from these patriotic Kenyans redeemed it all;
This is cool. Practical and easy to customize. I could definitely use this. For those who are joining the usual Kenyan bashing party-Kenya's favorite pass time... Sit on your ramp and hate on anyone who's actually trying to do something- this car is not built for you. It's built for hard working people who understand the importance of an affordable, new car that can withstand harsh conditions. The Japanese garbage in pretty dresses we've been importing is costing us a fortune to maintain and run and just filling up our dumpy sites. I've seen this car in testing, it's a great start for local manufacturing. Congratulations to the team at Möbius, I hope the laws of commerce favor you.
I particularly liked the phrase ‘Kenyan bashing party-Kenya's favorite pass time’ that I would modify to ‘Kenyans bashing Kenya party - Kenyans’ favorite pass time’
You may call it ugly, but i very proud it's Kenyan. Even if you mother is the ugliest in the entire county she's still your mother. That's how India started, today the ugly TATAs and MARUTIs are rolling in thousands from the assembly line and exported allover the world including Kenya. Thumbs up Mobius the journey has just began. It's now time for government to switch from passat to mobius....I've also offered Mobius to post free on www.magaripoa.com.
My dear friends there is no place like home, East or West home is best. Natujenge Taifa letu, and if you can’t, shut up sit back and let those who can build it for you.
Long live Mobius, and even if you don’t I still celebrate you. Do not let them laugh you out of town.