Dear Mr. Interviewer

You don’t Look like an Engineer! ‘

The interviewer said mockingly as he looked at my RaeDan designer suit; Cut to precision, bold across the shoulders, gentle lines around the waist, the perfect inverted triangle: black, satin lapels, perfect length. I was sleek. Well dressed. Super confident. Eloquent, courteous, knew a hell lot about my role and most importantly I listened not to answer but to understand. I ran my hand along the surface of my silk tie and sat down.

‘What is this?’

He asked mockingly as he raised a Neon screwdriver test light.  The device is a form of a screwdriver. The tip of the tester is touched to the conductor being tested (for instance, it can be used on a wire in a switch, or inserted into a hole of an electric socket).

‘I don’t know Sir!’ I lied to massage his ego and to confirm his doubts.

‘What is with the Photography, Leadership and Motivation Speaking? This does not help you in engineering. That’s why you don’t know what this is. How comes you scored highly in the aptitude test you did yesterday? Young man you need to identify one thing and concentrate on it. You need to have things figured out now. You are in 5th year. You have no time…”

Dear Mr. Interviewer, I thank you for giving me the job despite your spending 30 minutes to scold me. I am grateful for ‘an opportunity to help me figure out one thing in life!’  But with all due respect, I humbly reject it. I thank you for showing me a perfect example, of what I never want to be.

Firstly, being in my 5th year doesn’t mean I am going to die. It’s a lie that I don’t have time. I do have my whole life ahead of me.

Secondly, I don’t want to have it all figured out for me to explore my abilities. When am in leadership or photography or designing bespoke suits, I don’t do it because I need help in Engineering. If I were that weak, the 4 solid years wouldn’t be such a walk I the park.

I have done 123 Experiments in the Electrical Engineering Laboratories of the University of Nairobi. Every other time I submitted my report after each experiment, I discovered everyone in class got different results. Guess what? We all passed! My lecturers kept insisting that, the life of an Engineer is purely based on the experiments. Since the experiments are built up on theories we learn in class and assumptions of uncertainty, we can only infer from the results, we can NEVER HAVE ONE CONCLUSIVE FACT FOR ALL! This is the most spiritual statement I have ever come across in the School of Engineering.

Why is it right to experiment on the theories I have been taught in class for the past few years but you want to patronize me for experimenting on my inborn talents that now click 23 years old? Is it right to only live a life experimenting on Newton’s relativity theory but it is absolutely wrong to experiment on my ability to make bespoke suits for men? Or my ability to speak to such a lady as Herfrica who was sexually abused by her biological dad; who held a PHD in Human Psychology? Is it wrong to give her hope for tomorrow because this isn’t related to engineering? I shouldn’t offer a shoulder to cry on for my brother Mwangi Kip Otieno, whose house was torched and his family lynched as he watched during post-election violence?

And why should you always judge me simply because I am honest enough to show you that I am human being with diversified interest. I can NEVER be a perfect fit for your organization’s mission and vision! Organizations and Companies have one mission and vision but a human being cannot have one line for their personality. A human being is not a machine, say a vehicle to be described by one conclusive title e.g wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles, aircraft or spacecraft. People can do much more beyond a title or company’s statement of vision or mission.

Conventional Wisdom says that a person should focus, they should find one thing they’re good at, put the blinders on, stay focused on it, and never get distracted. Apparently, I don’t buy conventional wisdom.

I think what gets us into trouble is that we get trapped by titles, and somebody describes and says, “You’re an Engineer, or you’re a Doctor, or you’re an architect, or you’re a politician,” and we buy into how they describe us and stop seeking. We allow people to put a period and define us by how they met us where I believe life put a comma. It’s been my life pursuit to see how much is in me.

There is a seed in all of us, and we have time to produce what is in the seed. The notion that there is only one tree in the seed is really a myth. There may be a forest if you give it enough time. So if you nurture what’s in you and don’t limit yourself by job descriptions, titles or people’s expectations, you can evolve out of one seed into a tree and out of that tree comes a forest.

I think the key to being able to do multiple, functional occupations or interest is to find the common thing. Whether I designed a suit, did photography, gave motivational talks or wrote an article or anything that I aspired to do, a common denominator is my intention to communicate my love for humanity. I want everyone who comes across any of my work to feel important. And once you find your common denominator, its manifestation can be in design, in print, in films, in spoken word et cetra. But one thing that connects it all is that my work communicates my immeasurable Love for humanity.

Yes I Don’t Look like an Engineer. I will NEVER look like an Engineer. I don’t just dress up to repair machines, I dress up to meet human beings and make them know that I value them. I can’t lay low and have mechanical feelings. Being human is my Style. Not using Force is my Attitude. Helping others is my Happiness. Doing maths is just my Interest. Listening to my heart is a Hobby.  And Yes I am an Engineer but chasing my other dreams too.

Dear Mr. Interviewer, the next time you watch 9 o’clock News and admire Larry Madowo’s suits, made to measure. Epitomizing craftsmanship in all aspects. Impeccably tailored from a variety of high quality fabrics. Cut to elegant slim fit and the light weight construction. Or you see Johnson Mwakazi’s dazzling shirts. Or HopeKid’s creatively mixed-color match. Or when you pass by Villa Rosa Kempinski and see camera flashes striking from that SPA in the balcony where POTUS Obama used to spend his nights in Kenya, always know that these are done by  this person here, who doesn’t have it all figured out.

Kind regards,

The Grand Danstan!

Who Was Your Valentine?

I fell to my knees and begged to have her back in my life. Every single cell in my entire body and soul wanted this relationship to work out. For almost six years, I had lived a happy life because she was my world. I adored her to bits and never imagined how life might turn out, without her. She looked at the book I had brought her in a bid to salvage our relationship. I knew it was rich in knowledge about Love and that it would work miracles. She picked it up and smashed it on my face. She kicked me out of her place. I walked away in tears. It was hard to take in all the humiliation despite my genuine attempts at making things right.

 

One month later, things weren’t getting any better. I thought time would heal the pain but in fact, it worsened. My health deteriorated. I suffered from myself. Every part of my body ached. I took on an eight hour journey back home, my all-time assured therapeutic destination. I would stay home until everything faded away, then I would travel back to the city with a renewed soul and spirit ready to take on a new life.

 

Immediately I got home, my mum embraced me warmly. Her hug was priceless. I felt like a toddler being lulled to sleep. All my siblings ran to the living room, each giving me a warm welcome home in their best preferred ways. It was all giggles and laughter until mum popped the question,

 

” Where is Nana, my Daughter-in-Law to be?”

 

Everyone turned and looked at me in silence waiting for an answer. My mind was blank. I hated myself. My whole world was crumbling in and there was nothing I could do. I wish they just understood how much I was hurting. Yes, I am an African man who is a rock and shouldn’t ever confess that at times my heart is vulnerable. Yes I know that I am supposed to do what most men my generation do; pretend and hide my insecurities behind the bottles and barrels of liquor or a fleet of women. But I just cannot be that.

 

A part of me was really mad at everyone. Do you mean they couldn’t just appreciate me as Dan without the lady I used to introduce as Love of My Life? Was I just a door through which they got to see her? Could they not understand? But who is to blame? Definitely not them. They couldn’t understand what they didn’t know. I lied that I was just home for an academic trip and that I was travelling back the next day. At least I managed to pull one of those many excuses we are used to whenever we are trying to run away from reality.

 

The next day I was on my way back to what I was running away from – City Life. The thought of living in the harsh city life while trying to find my lost pieces crashed my dreams of ever being whole again. I sat in my enclosed house for three days thinking. I didn’t know the kind of places I like hanging out at. I didn’t know the kind of dressing I like. I didn’t know the type of movies I enjoyed. Frankly, I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know what makes me happy. It’s funny that I couldn’t make myself happy but yet expected someone that I loved to do this for me. All along, I had dressed for her, watched movies she liked and hung out at the places she loved and thus we were happy. Now that she was gone, I was left alone not knowing myself or anything about me. I had lost my identity.

 

Your happiness is way too high a responsibility to be bestowed on to another human being, take charge. We spend our life moving from one partner to another and blaming the previous one for not making us happy. We develop deep hatred for a set of group of people because the person we dated from that tribe, community, nationality or race didn’t make us happy. We blame others for failing to give us what we cannot provide on our own. We develop conventions about this and spread it to our circles.

 

If I asked you to name the things/people you love, how long will it take to name yourself? Have you ever asked yourself who you are besides your lover, friend, family or relative? Are you defined by someone else’s identity?

 

I beseech you to embark on a journey to mould yourself. The self is not something that one discovers, it is something that one creates. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen next year. But eventually you will discover yourself. Don’t wait for death to liberate you from your earthy imperfections. You are exactly the same after death as you were before. Nothing changes; you only give up the body. If you are a thief or a liar or a cheater before death, you don’t become an angel merely by dying. If such were possible, then let us all go jump in the ocean now and become angels at once! Whatever you have made of yourself thus far, so will you become hereafter. Even if you reincarnate, you will bring that same nature with you. To change, you have to make the effort. This world is the place to do it.

 

One day it just clicks. You realize and appreciate what is important and what is not. You learn to care less about what other people think about you and more about what you think of yourself. You realize how far you’ve come and you remember when you thought things were such a mess that you would never recover. And you smile heartily. You smile because you are truly happy and are the person you’ve fought to become.

 

People say that so and so is happy because they found the Love of their life. But the love of your life is not someone you find, it is someone you become. You are the Love of Your Life! Stop looking for people to make you happy. Start creating yourself!

 

Henceforth, will you be your Valentine?

This is a must read for anyone who cares and loves Kenya. We can’t let this go!

So as weird as this might sound I dreamt about that story, not in the way I will describe it but roughly. The clearest part of my dream was of a tanker in the middle of Kenyatta Avenue, right at that intersection of Koinange Street, it’s long cold snout pointing towards GPO. The whole street was deserted, not a single soul in sight, a breeze blew loose leaflets down the vacant streets.
There were stones on the roads and all sorts of debris; shoes, spent teargas canisters, handbags, lipgloss rolled towards drainages, an open notebook facing down, a teddy bear, mobile phones that had been trampled on, broken spectacles, a child’s lone black shoe, motorbikes felled on their sides, napping in this ensued melee, hats, a novel by Clancy and plastic water bottles. There were cars parked in their spots with windscreen caved in, some with doors swung open as if waiting for an important person to walk out of a building. Nobody came. Nobody will come. The buildings were hollow with emptiness, broken windows, naked mannequins, their clothes stolen from their unresisting stiff plastic limbs. When I looked up, over the skyline towards Eastlands area, black smoke bellowed into the sky. If you listened keenly you could hear a faint scream, like the sound of a strange bird. A chopper whirred away in the horizon.
The air was rent with burnt rubber and fear and desolation. KICC, now a mockery of development, stood out for once, hunched in this emptiness. Our Parliament – the theater of comedy – sat silent for once. A few military guys leaned on their cars smoking cigarettes and laughing at a joke.
The entrance of Intercon Hotel was bare of that tall elegant doorman who stands there in uniform, he would not be bowing to anyone. If you walked into the foyer you’d be met by broken glass and a bunch of lone suitcases that would never connect with their owners. Down the street, a half drunk bottle of Yamazaki sat on the counter of The Exchange Bar at The Stanley. At Nation Center, the military stood guard with guns. Traffic lights blinked amber.
Tom Mboya street was a ghost town – a transistor radio played Kameme loudly from an empty shop. River road; dead. Museum Hill overpass, dead. Our National Museum, dead…ironically. If you stood at the roundabout at Kenyatta Avenue and Uhuru Highway and looked east, you could see all the way to the hump of hill leading to Nakumatt Mega. Not a car in sight. Not a human. Uhuru Gardens across echoed with the the carcass of democracy and free speech.
Only cops, military officers, stray dogs and cats, and ghosts of a dead nation walked the city. At night bands of hoodlums prowled in alleys, ducking into empty shops to steal shoes. Nairobi as we know it was dead. Nairobi in ruins. A city that had turned into an oxymoron. The Mau Mau and our founding fathers turned in their graves.
Elsewhere, in the outskirts of the city we fled. Luos, Kisiis, Luhyas, fled towards Nyanza. Kikuyus fled walked towards Central. Kalenjins left for the Rift Valley. We only carried things that we really needed; family, clothes, food, water and lots of prayers. While we previously drove cars now we were all on foot, every last one of us and we all gravitated towards what we knew, home, shags, dala, gicagi. We also carried fear and uncertainty. We were weighted by the unknown, by terror.
We left everything we owned in our homes. Our microwaves would never warm any meal again. In Runda the electric fences still hummed with current, fencing off empty homes. Abandoned dogs, pedigrees that cost 250K a paw, barked incessantly from hunger and lonesomeness. Luxury cars lay parked in compounds. We left all our money in our accounts, now useless. M-Pesa had gone down a week ago, right before power went out in most parts of the city. Everybody was mteja. M-banking was a dodo. Fuel a rumour. We all ran away from the stench of death in the city, a city now framed by smoke.
When we passed by dead bodies lying by the roadside, we covered the eyes of our crying and terrified children.You had already paid school fees for your child next term? Oh he/she won’t be needing that. No bells would ring. There would be no snackboxes to pack. There was no single bus leaving the city. No water in taps. The expatriates had all fled, there will be nobody on Sankara’s rooftop bar chugging bottles of Krug Grand Cuvee using their “hardship” allowance. No planes took off in JKIA, our national liner, KQ, sitting on tarmac with no pride left in its belly. Military vehicles swarmed the airport with military guys drinking alcohol from duty free shops. Nobody was going to land into JKIA to go look at the wild animals in the Mara. In fact, the Mara was so deathly silent, that wild animals started coming out of the park to look for humans to stare at. The trains stopped moving. The young brilliant guys who had started excellent hopeful startups had watched them all go south. The Kenya Shilling had become paper, a prophesy of Luo Dollar and Octopizzo’s song “Bank Otuch” coming to pass; pesa surely, is otas!
The radio only played the national anthem, over and over again, a sound that we would associate with desperation.
All this happened because all the tribal shit that we casually played with online had now come to pass. Luos had turned against Kikuyus, Kikuyus had turned against Luos, Kalenjins had turned against Kikuyus, Kikuyus had turned against Kalenjins, Kalenjins had turned against Luos, Kambas had sat on the fence, Merus had fought for Kikuyus, Luhyas had fought for Luos. Then when we had gotten tired of fighting and hacking each other because of our last names. When the city had sunk into desperation and suffering, it had become about class, and the poor had come for the few rich who hadn’t left town; climbing over their walls, raping their wives and daughters, breaking into their safes with machetes on their necks and fleeing into the waiting lawless darkness.
Nairobi’s hope had died. Then there was nothing left.
The only thing that continued working was fear and hopelessness.
Kenya was done.
We made headlines on all the major networks. CNN kicked us while we were down on our knees; a hotbed of a mess. Wazungus shook their heads and muttered, “Kenya? I couldn’t have seen this coming. Africa is indeed cursed.” Talking heads compared us to Rwanda, then Burundi, then Central African Republic. It was open season; comment was free. We had become savages. Donald Trump, now the president, sent peacekeepers down; big burly men in dark shades standing legs apart at roadblocks while tyres burnt cinematically in the background. The French dropped us relief food. Even Somali, broken as she is, stewed in a broth of war, looked over our fences with puzzlement. The UN stayed in meetings, deliberating, looking up the word “genocide” on Urban Dictionary first before they acted.
We had all lost.
All of us.
We were done.
We had become refugees.
We crossed through our borders with our children. Thousands and thousands of us, mostly the middle-class because the wealthy and the ruling class had left as soon as the fire started burning. Now they were in Milan and in Switzerland and in London eating caviar and swirling merlot and cognacs, an eye on a burning country they once professed to love.
We crossed the borders clutching our children’s trembling hands. Children we named Liam and Tamms and Amani and Zenani and Hawi, a generation of modern post-internet children, free and alive to all the possibilities that escaped us, children who were to save us from tribalism but whom we now had failed terribly.
Tanzanians welcomed us, yes, but would end up treating us like the poor cousins who had come a-visiting. Ugandans opened their borders to us. Museveni, who we constantly mocked on social media, mocked and taunted and made memes of, now said graciously, “Let them in, let those Kenyans in but check their pockets, nobody should come here with hashtags! Not on our soil!” Yoweri had become our father.
And we shuffled into Uganda in our old shoes and battered faces and weary souls and we were given a section, a large tract of land where all these humanitarian bodies perched on us, like vultures on a dying animal. They pitched huge tents for us and we lived like goats in a pen, taking a shit in the bushes, showering from sufurias, queuing for food like slaves. Refugees. Even our shadows were miserable.
We had become a disgrace to ourselves, a spectacle to the region. We had stripped ourselves of all dignity and had become beggars. No hashtag would save us. In fact, our neighbours would create a hashtag;
*#SomeoneSaveThoseKenyans* on our account. Imagine that, a hashtag by Ugandans and Tanzanians and Somalis, these people whom we felt were inferior to us; we mocked that they couldn’t even spell yet they were now saving us. Oh how the tide turns. Kenya, the oasis of peace in the region, was no more. Kenyans On Twitter had become a rubble of collapsed hubris. Regret cuddled with us in our wintry refugee tents.
Used to instant showers, warm beds, and all these things we currently take for granted, now we craved a place to just put our heads to sleep, a peaceful place where nobody could kick in the door and drag us into the darkness because we had the wrong name. In the sprawling refugee camps, grown men silently wept in darkness. It rained in Uganda. Daily.
Chaps from Amnesty International would show up like they always do, and talk to defeated men, place fatherly hands on their shoulders as the clouds above rolled in with more rain. It would rain and rain and rain and we would huddle under the tarpaulin and listen to news from home, aching to go back and do normal things: buy bananas at Zuchini, go to T-mall and do an M-pesa transaction, sit in evening traffic along Uhuru Highway listening to a drive show, have a meeting at Java Yaya over a granola with strawberries and honey, run at Karura, buy a Jambo Jet ticket online, like a picture on Instagram, you know, simple everyday things. But we wouldn’t be going home anytime soon. Nobody knew when. Kagame would meet Uhuru, Yoweri would meet Kagame. Magufuli would meet Raila. Uhuru would meet Raila.
As refugees we would sit all day and all night, sit in miserable clusters, wondering how it had all gone to the shitters, but knowing very well how it had come to this. Our children, now with their tattered clothes, would stare at us with empty looks and only find fear in our eyes. And all this shit started because we thought we were immune to war, we thought we would not be broken by tribe, it was all fun and games hating on Facebook right up until the crows came home to roost.
Now we had tanks in the streets

**Think twice before you Share any article on tribalism: Think Peace, Think Kenya.

By Steve Biko

2016 Highlights: The good, the bad and the uncertain

Style Summit Africa

From major international events such as the Brexit vote (yes Brexit had a major impact on fashion) and Donald Trump’s election, to award ceremonies, fashion shows, the growing use of African fashion in music videos, and the passing of a global fashion icon, the 2016 fashion industry has seen many highs and lows. Care to take a walk down memory lane?

2016

The global fashion industry was thrown into a state of chaos and uncertainty when the U.K. voted in favor of Brexit. Why? To sum it up it’s because the fashion industry is a VERY global and mobile one. The UK relies on interns, manufacturers, contractors, designers etc from all over the EU and other parts of the world. For Africa, this would mean barriers to our exports of footwear, fabrics, apparel etc. For more on the impacts of Brexit on fashion, see this article by elle.com. Similarly, one…

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I Wish You…

28 missed calls, 57 New Text messages and 9773 WhatsApp texts. I still hold on to my simple stand. If you have a plot for me, don’t call me or text me, just come home and tell me about it. If you don’t know my home, kindly lets meet on the jungle at January 15th, 2017.
At this point in time, if the plot doesn’t involve tagging along my football team of kids and playing around hide and seek and performing flips on the grass by some thicket or a walk in the park, count me off.

We start off the car and all kids got to their feet in excitement and took their positions at the windows peeping outside. Some excited about the trees ‘following’ us. Others are singing Christmas carols as they pull the tip of my Santa cap and ‘hide’.  Others are excited about the cloud of dust left behind by car.It was all filled with excitement and noise that showed what this road trip meant to us.

The kids throw in hilarious questions from all angles and I responded instantly to avoid making them look at me. This was easy when they needed a Yes or No for an answer.But immediately they needed explanation, I was tired.
Dan why did God make mountains out of rocks instead of using metal?
Dan why did God make the tarmac road to the mountain narrower than the one at the supermarket? Do you know the boots you bought me can stamp of Satan till he cries?

It’s all giggles and screams until I found myself literally chocking with emotions. I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. They all were looking at me and asking why I was crying.
I burst into a dry laughter and pretended to be surprised.
“I am not crying. There’s so much heat in the car that my eyes are sweating!”

Thankfully they started wiping their eyes as they too  started feeling the heat. Deep down the truth was different. I was undergoing an unbelievable transition. It all started twenty years ago. Ever since I started walking, I have been walking barefooted on this trail. To the market. To school. To the fields with a flock of sheep. To the river to fetch water. And everywhere else. 20 years later, I am now going to all those places seated, holding the wheel or at the back left examining this reality. Indeed life changes.

Before long, we reached a road block. The traffic police were as excited as the kids were. It’s probably been years since they last saw Sleek Car ,and/or with a foreign plate along this road. We were inevitably stopped. This could be Christmas Jackpot for them. They won’t be getting ‘Kitu Kidogo’ this day, with big cars come big things.

They examined everything as they take several cycles around the car but there’s nothing to jump start a conversation that will lead to our leaving ‘Christmas’ to them. They all salute and make way for us to pass.

Ten minutes later, we finally got to the Game reserve. After hooting for some minutes, a gentleman comes running. He was in a grey shirt and brown short. Needless to say the original color of the brown short trouser was white, while the grey shirt was black. But life happens you know.

He asked us to feel free and wait as he goes for the keys to the Reception/Office. We walked around the littered compound as we watched numerous livestock grazing around the ‘office’.
I got a little busy reading the prices on the sign post besides the office that I pretend not to comprehend the conversations between two men who attempted to clean the compound after seeing us from afar.

“These ones don’t come from around. They seem to have lots of money. We should ‘Milk Them!’ ”

Thirty minutes later the gentleman returns with a key and opens the door to the office. He overstated the price by 100% claiming that the sign post on his office was outdated.  Indeed they were determined to ‘Milk Us’.

Immediately after paying the gentleman offered to take us around the park. We walked for ten minutes without seeing any animal. We could only see a malnourished Zebra from a distance looking at us. We turned to be the wild animals running around its ‘kingdom’ disrupting the peace and tranquility that it had grown accustomed to.

This is when he disclosed to us that almost all wild animals that the park was famous for, died long time ago. Including the rhinos. The only reason I chose the park despite its proximity from the town was because of the rhinos. Ever since I was a kid, I used to hear stories about them and wished I could see them but I never had that chance. Now when the chance and money came, the rhinos were missing. I was disappointed.

This would be my ideal holiday. My most awaited one.

Surprisingly, I was the only person who was disappointed. All the kids were already having moments of their lifetime.They  ran around the bushes and screaming at the top of their voices. They played hide and sick along the way and made fun of each others’ walk.

Isn’t it funny how we spend all our life looking forward to a moment that will mark an ideal job, vacation, spouse? Consequently, we forget to enjoy the process. Yet the value is in the process. The fun is in the process.

There is no destination called joy, happiness and success. Joy is waking up and traveling safely to see your family and finding them all fine. Happiness is embracing them momentarily and dining together, regardless of what you eat. Success is losing toxic people who made you focus on material things to give you Joy and Happiness.

I wish you Joy, Happiness and Success in 2017!

 

 

 

JUSTICE 4 HerFRICA!

Herfrica is the kindest ladies you could ever wish to encounter in your entire life. Her amicable spirit and warm personality is one you wouldn’t trade for anything else. So when she invited me for a coffee date, I couldn’t give it a second thought. This date let me  into the world beyond her beautiful smile. A world decorated by tears, sweat and blood.

So this girl was only five when it happened. She had been in a family of three…her mum, bro and her. Her mother had previously moved to the city to seek employment after successfully fleeing an abusive relationship which would have certainly ended her life if she didn’t call Jesus on that fateful night that she escaped.

She left her two children with their grandmother amidst threats from their father that he would surely torch that grass thatched house that the grandmother lived in one night if they don’t consider getting back to him. Luckily he didn’t make good his threats.

After a tough year, her mother was able to secure a job as a PTA teacher. This helped to live with her kids to her new place.  Her children could not join school immediately because they could only communicate in her vernacular. They had to stay home for a whole year. Meanwhile, the kid’s uncle also came to stay with the family after dropping out of school. Let’s call him Uncle Devil. They all lived in a single room partitioned into two by a silky black curtain.

With a salary of Twenty thousand Kenyan Shillings, Queen’s mum could not sustain her family together with uncle Devil. She had to start tutoring students at different homes to get extra  pay.

One day, while Herfrica’s mum was out in her usual tight schedule and Herfrica’s brother was out playing, Uncle Devil called Herfrica into the house. She ordered her to get behind the curtains and lie on the mattress at the floor. He then closed the door moved towards Herfrica. She was terrified but she couldn’t scream because she knew the uncle would beat her up. She felt something was totally off and got more confused.

The uncle proceeded to undress her. He tore her inner pant and blocked her mouth while pressing her against the mattress. He forced himself into her. She cried in pain but nobody was there to help. He then took a machete besides the mattress and held it on her neck. He promised to chop off her head if she ever spoke out to anybody about the incident. She was forced to lick off all her blood from the mattress and clean up the house. Henceforth, Queen grew up traumatized and detached. She became afraid of darkness and quiet places.

All the while her mother was so busy making ends meet for the family. She barely noticed the immense changes in her Queen’s character. She kept wishing that the Uncle proceeded to chop off her head immediately after the act so she wouldn’t have to live on and experience her life after. She says, it was like dying every day but you don’t get to the other side each time.

Her worst experiences every day after she started schooling came when Uncle Devil had to help the mum take her to school. He always insisted to carry Queen to and fro school. Unlike other kids who looked forward to going home after school, Queen always cried whenever she imagined being carried home by the uncle who molested her sexually and staying with him in the same house.

When she turned 13, her mum noticed the discord in her conduct and took her to a counselor. She shared all her traumatic experience. This helped to nurse the wounds in her heart. Queen’s mum apologized for her absence in Queen’s life but the damage was done. She had learnt to face her demons alone. Though she forgave them all, it took time to trust anyone around her. She had developed a solid personality where she’d rather smile and dismiss people, than let them know that her heart was in flames.

 YouTube Video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtxbyiQ1-xo&t=198s

Tears Of The Son- GoodBye Phills ’16!

I was seated there, broken hearted. The ONLY piece of biscuit I had preserved, had escaped my mouth. Immediately I dipped it in and out of my juice, it broke off and fell on the floor. On normal days, I’d apply the 3 seconds rule- Grab it before it gets to the floor. Even if I missed it, I’d pick it from the floor. Germs are not aware. This day was different. I had three awesome visitors. My prayer partner (PP), Mercy, Emily and Joe. I tried to secure the place my biscuit had fallen so that in case they leave early, I’d pick it up and eat it. But you know Mercy. In her jumpy state, as she tried to forcefully reach for my peanut butter, she stepped right on it. My heart scattered into pieces. I tried to grin in pretext of not knowing what had happened. My biscuit was Gone! What happened to submission?

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Muchai the PPs you gave me bully me all days. Do you mean all the discussion about submission didn’t bear fruit? I heard there was a heated discussion on this topic when I missed BS the other time. Immediately after reading Colossians 3:18..all potential feminists became vile snakes almost spitting venomous words against the society’s requirements for submission. Sadly I missed it. I really wished I were there to see how BS was that day. The kind that makes Felix forget to ask whether there is Tea afterwards or a bigger cup for refreshments.

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I was shocked to discover that even in her ever quiet sense during most Bible Study, the Persian Butter cup was an ardent contributor to the discussion, I wonder which side she supported. I wish I saw her in action that day. All I know about her is her characteristic silky, black, natural hair that typically identifies her with her elderly beauty pageant wise sister Joyce, and her chubby cheeks.

I would have asked Benja about the proceedings of the day but I know he had absolutely no recollection of the ongoing discussion. Given that I know the effect of the intense day we had had, he wasn’t really a reliable person at the time to ask about the details of such deep conversations. Well unless there is a Lingala background music playing. In which case he would be very attentive by all means. I wouldn’t want to speak much of him because I might find myself confessing that I catch him off guard 100% staring at…

Dottie too was there! She is famous for her mellifluous voice and the way she sets the mood of singing. She puts on a somber face of cluttered emotions almost like one who is about to cry and goes…”We worship you. …We lift your name Lord!” Then the congregation transcends the mood…worship begins.

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Evelyn is so adroit in God’s word! When we are amidst a tough argument about why Fello shouldn’t eat meat slaughtered at a Makumbusho by his neighbors back home because it is meat offered to Idols. Or Kove’s neighbors who regularly steals cows from another Christian neighbor expecting renewed forgiveness, you just see her shoot up her hand, burning with passion.

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Then you notice Josephine, Pricillah, Joyce and Ndanu too are burning with zeal. They want to deliver the biblical perspectives. First, Josephine shouldn’t be given such chances. She always makes me feel like I have never touched the bible. She just knows so many scriptures related to one thing. She intelligently brings them all in her explanations. By the time she finishes, I always feel BS should be halted and an altar call made. Refreshments can be served as we meditate henceforth.

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Ndanu is another one. She is soft spoken and gentle with her words, but full of content. She speaks with a speed governor, editing each thought that comes off her mouth. I knew how smart she is during Trivia. Like other contestants, she picked about 12 random papers with bible verses written on. She was able to recite the texts from the quoted verses flawlessly! I was challenged. Backto the BS session, because many people want to contribute, she humbly passes up her chance.

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You guys know Joyce. When she says she is going to be very brief or wants to say something in a sentence, she takes 5 minutes and 47 seconds.  Her one sentence has 17 comas and 13 verses right? The problem is, she engages you in her talk that you hardly notice the time flying. We agree now that she too shouldn’t be allowed to speak right? Her wisdom is saved for the last minutes.

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The only person who gets this golden chance is Evelyn. And she never disappoints: One verse, period. The verse is succinct. It explains every question asked by everyone. You can’t imagine she was in her phone texting while the question was being asked yet she managed to answer it perfectly! She really encourages me to ‘…join Padh-We.’ (Pathway-a discipleship class in church)

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This is where you know who Muchai is, a wise leader. She always knows who to pick for what duty. From someone who will make good Ugali during sleep overs to one who will plan what to buy when Fancy is shopping for Sophie’s kid, Baby Myles. Sorry I mean when WE are shopping for Baby Myles not Fancy. She knows who to call when she’s going for banana ride at Luna Park.

You don’t expect Evelyn’s chance to speak will come easy, do you? When the debate is heated and Kove is bringing more complications on a simple topic, everyone starts speaking. That’s when you pity Muchai whose shrill voice is suppressed. You can hardly hear her shout, “People. ..People…People. ..” All you can see are veins in her neck and you know indeed, leading a BS is a real struggle.

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Anyway, after Evelyn’s verse everything is settled. Kadima is all smiles, I don’t know why. No I do know, I just won’t say it loud. Anyway, after her verse, two more people may cement it, say Pricilla with a real life analogy talking about the aspect of engaging one’s brain when reading the bible and not merely accept everything bombarded on their heads. Finally Fancy says what her mentor said and we move on. By the way, given that we know the gentleman behind the camera, needless to say Pricilla’s pictures will come out best.

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This is where the two Engineering Zombies, Benja and I come in. To read the next verse. We are usually caught off guard wondering how such young people can have that much passion for Christ. To read and explore the bible to this level where they have all answers at finger tips. All I have at my finger tips such times are dirty, oily nails. After spending half my day standing in the Laboratory doing an experiment without getting results, only to be told four hours later that the equipment we are using are faulty.

Just after reading the verse, I notice someone in specs seated at the farthest corner with her legs fold. She is staring at me like a class 7 English teacher who used to beat us up because of errors in our compositions. You all know who am talking about. Mercy Muchai’s name sake-Yes Wincie! Precisely Teacher Wanjiku.

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I always have a feeling that Wincie is the cheekiest person in our BS. But like Jacky and Esther, she is ever quiet following the proceedings. I have a feeling during the session, she’s just correcting every person who speaks. Silently in her brain she writes vile comments e.g ‘Poor English’ before awarding Oxygen marks (O2). I always looked forward to that day when she’ll get up and pinch everyone’s nose sighting collective mistakes, ‘Hapa dio mnapatililianga Ujinga!’ One day, this will happen people. It’s coming, Beware!

Alternatively, I’d have asked my neighbor at Mamlaka-Joe. But I doubt if I’ll concentrate seeing him explain. I’ll probably burst out laughing. He always reminds me of SpongeBob Square Pants. One of my most spectacular scenes was watching Joe amidst SLVs struggling to coordinate the movements of his hands and legs in the name of dancing. You were really awesome during  ‘Salt Leavers Special presentation’ Joe.

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I’d have asked about the proceedings from my PP Mercy or Benia’s PP, Emily but I didn’t dare. You know those two WhatsApp emojis that show happiness and smileys? If our BS was a WhatsApp text, Emily and Mercy would be the two emojis.  Ever cheerful, a little clueless at times, but like Joshua, when an opportunity to speak comes, they are always on point.

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Joyce and Chenye would be the laughter emojis, they are always happy. I only remember Chenye for her wide smile and passionate laughter. Remember your Form 3 Chemistry-Nitrogen? There was something called laughing gas. I think these two always have this element in their diet. Like Chenye just wakes up in the morning, washes her face, brushes her teeth and eats Chapo, Smokey and a cup of Laughing Gas. Keep it up Chenye!

I once met Tasha at agony Hill in the evening. I don’t like hugging her. Tasha has a towering height and physique of a model. When she hugs me, she has to crouch a little. The way you would bend to reach for Pastor John Lwawi’s hand for greetings. It is called being vertically challenged. Don’t you dare say short.

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Anyway, I asked Tasha why she has been skipping BS sessions. She tells me, it’s because she was taking some Chinese/Japanese classes. This was not a surprise to me, given the size and shape of her eyes, Chinese is the way to go. Unfortunately she’ll be the tallest, black, Chinese girl. In USA blacks are called Niggas. In China, blacks are called Chiggas. Tasha you are my Chigga!

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I wonder where Ruth disappears to on Mondays. I’d have concluded that she’s gone for a photo shoot. But as a qualified PSI- Private Secret Investigator (NOT stalker) I can confirm that she hasn’t had any significant recent shoot that’d guarantee her absensure. Her dp is that same one she had last Semester, with her lovely mum. From other sources she recently had just a minor shoot with core fashion. Ruth, where art thou?

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Vinny is visually impaired, but when he decides to laugh at you, he does it really good that it pricks. He literally Laughs Out Loud. It mocks the hell out of you. He tells me often I look sharp. I mean am I this cool that he can feel it? See how bad I am in dressing? Always trust RaeDan elgant Wears for men’s official Wears in your life, wedding, graduation, Everywhere!

My most dear topics in Mathematics is Ratios. One of the things we were taught is the Inverse Proportionality Relationship. This precisely means one is the opposite of the other. Charles is inversely proportional to Wilson. Charles is Tall, Wilson is Short. Charles is Outspoken, Wilson is Reserved. Charles wears Official Coats, Wilson wears Jampers. Wilson Sings so well, Charles just makes a Joyful Noise to the Lord.

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This has been my family in campus. With all her Glamour, Beauty and Brains Muchai intelligently stirred up family warmth amongst these crowd with diversified personalities. We laughed together, had fan together, ate together, fellowshipped together. But when it came to crying, they did it alone. While they were in captivity at Pangani police cells, I was on 540 Seat B02 destination Lamu! Hahaha I was happy to discover that Muchai and I share one thing in common. Despite all our intelligence, we given Supps at Pathway level One.

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Now she’s passed the button to this warm and compassionate angel with mad love for Christ, Kerry, my other PP. With her love for her pet Chicken, I can already tell how many chicken will be in Phills ‘17. I am Luhya Kerry, I don’t mind the company of chicken. It couldn’t be better!

It is 4 a.m in the morning. I am seated in my Einstein Chair, alone in my room, in deep thought. As I Sip my coffee, every drop comes with hefty emotions and big memories. Memories about each of these beautiful souls I have shared my Campus life with. I wonder how it will be next year. I’ll be seated with Joshua, Mercy, Kerry, Esther, Emily, Benja, Emma and Vinny, not seeing each of your beautiful smiles anymore. You know Joshua and Benja Never Smile.

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With each Monday morning will come a special memory about you, you are always in our hearts. If you want to know the real character of a man, give him power. Money is power. It is easy to be obedient when you don’t have money. It is easy to be God-fearing when you don’t have money. It is easy to hold strong to your values and principles when you don’t have money. It is easy to commit to church and other believers when you don’t have money. Watch Out! When money Comes your way, let it not make you Go Astray!

Keep your passion for Christ alive. Live for a greater course. Remember us wherever you are. Know that we are on our knees praying for you. Don’t Give Up! Grand A-Pic Photography is waiting to capture your beautiful smile on your wedding day.

And am looking forward to host you and your families monthly in my ranch.

These are my tears. Tears of the sun. Goodbye Phils ’16. Hell yeah Phills ’17!

Wanyonyi D.W

 

I Am Too Full Of Life To Be Half-Loved!

Long before my body learnt to initiate a chemical reaction just by a thought of a lass I came across by day. When I could look at a perfectly formed gorgeous lady without inadvertently having any underlying risqué thoughts. When I never got to worry about being arrested by luscious gyration of a female’s hindquarters. My mama taught me that, if you give your whole to someone, and it still is not enough, then you are giving it to a wrong person.
 
After years of consistent change of character, interest, passion and personality to please you, thank you for giving up on me. Thank you for believing that I’ll never be good enough and for making me feel like I’ll never be someone you appreciate or respect.
 
If it wasn’t for your constant disapproval and rejection, I wouldn’t have found my own voice and I wouldn’t have found the courage and the strength to fight your voices and follow my own.
 
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Thank you for giving up on me so easily, you taught me how to fight for myself.
Thank you for not waiting for me or giving me a chance. Thank you for being impatient and thinking that this is all there is to me. Thank you for pushing me away and guiding me to a better place, guiding me to find better people who believed in me and accepted me and thank you for giving me a reason to walk away from you forever — a reason never to look back.
 
Thank you for not missing me when I was gone, thank you for not trying to win me back, thank you for showing me how l meant nothing to you. You made me realize that you were full of lies, you were fake, nothing about you was real and we never really had anything in common.
 
Thank you for your lies because they showed me the truth and thank you for your departure because it forced me to find new beginnings, to find new roads and to let go of the past that you were once part of.
 
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Thank you for making me feel like I’m hard to love, thank you for choosing other people over me, thank you for making me feel unworthy because you taught me to see my worth, you taught me to choose myself and you taught me that no matter how difficult I can be, I still deserve to be loved. I deserve to be embraced with all my flaws, but more than anything, thank you for showing me that I don’t deserve you.
 
Thank you for giving up on me when I needed you to be there. Thank you for letting me down when I thought you would lift me up and thank you for closing the door when I came knocking on it.
 
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You taught me how to survive, you taught me how to depend on myself and how to find my happiness away from you. You made me realize that I don’t have to be defined by how you saw me or how you treated me. You made me realize that I can redefine myself and my life.
 
Thank you for getting out of my life, I know now that losing you was the only way to find myself and I know that I needed you to give up on me so I can never again settle for someone who would easily let me go.
 
Thank you for giving up on me when I didn’t love myself, instead of destroying me, I built myself up, instead of making me cry, you made me smile.
 
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I’m smiling because what you thought was a tragedy turned out to be my happy ending, and what you thought was an ending turned out to be my beginning. I lost you, but I found me, I WON!

Spirituality

The Little Mermaid

It’s 2016. I have decided that I’m gonna start to speak my mind unapologetically by writing my absurdly wild thoughts within quotation marks and tag them as ‘The Little Mermaid’ to make them sound more credible so that people believe every shit that I rave about. Let’s just do it sassy and a wee bit smart-assy.

“If people actually made love to the mind and soul with the same flaming passion as they made to the physical body, we would have long had an illuminated generation of spiritually, morally and intellectually elevated species.” 

-The Little Mermaid, MMXVI

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The Politician You Have In Mind, Won’t Save The Country!

Those who are waiting for Raila Odinga to save this country, I am sorry.

Those who are waiting for Kalonzo Musyoka to save this country, I am sorry.

Those who are waiting for Peter Kenneth to ascend to the presidency and save this country, I am sorry.

The problem is not with the leadership. Even if we imported Obama or Kagame or Magufuli or a Mandela, we will still languish in the same soup of problems as before.

Kenyans are the problem. Our attitudes are the problem. Our apathy is the problem. Our lackadaisical nature is the problem. Our leaders, sorry to admit, only mirror the wants and attitudes of people.

We are all corrupt- and so, we get corrupt leaders. We are tribalistic- we elect leaders on the basis of the tribe they come from.

Look, what did you expect when you pocketed the politician’s hundred bob to vote for him? When they know that ascending to power is dependent on your financial muscle, they’ll do all they can to hoard funds in preparation for campaigns.

Like it or hate it, they hoard that money so they can BRIBE you to vote them into another term. And, fortunately to them, you will still vote for them.

Dear fellow citizens, what we need now is a change of attitudes- a cultural transformation. If we voted in leaders purely on merit and charisma and ideology and ability to lead and transform our country and our constituencies, then the leaders would hate to be caught up in any scandal.

But they know you don’t give a dime. They know the antidote to a bad reputation is greasing our hands with a few shillings and we’ll forget about their corruption scandals!

Let’s fight the monsters within us before we go to the forests to hunt for ghosts.

We need to resolve within ourselves not to engage in acts of corruption.

Stop giving out bribes to traffic police officers. It may be an inconvenience, but for the love of our motherland, brave the inconvenience. Go to court and say the truth.

Stop accepting handouts to vote in a particular candidate. Tell them off. Apprehend them. Vote them out. If you can, report them.

Stop sitting on a Sambaza in PSVs. Don’t board overloaded PSVs. Don’t be the extra load.

Generally, don’t cut corners.

I am not blowing my trumpet, but I have tried very much to give corruption a wide berth. I am fallible. I sometimes compromise on the principle- but I rise quickly and remember I need to stand up against corruption.

Let’s end corruption. Let’s start from within ourselves.

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