So long a letter

Hi! Hope you still remember me, Akinyi the banker. It’s been more than a minute since I wrote you anything. Not that I haven’t been thinking about you and your kind, far from it. There isn’t a single day I have not thought of my last letter to you and what I hadn’t told you in it. I have so much to tell you only that it’s all juggled up in my brain. Furthermore I have been preoccupied with work most of the time and the rest of the time trying to play my motherly role to Sandbaby. I hope with that lengthy explanation you’ll find it in your heart to accept my apology because what I am going to tell you is very important.

I might not have mentioned this before but I have a brother, we call him Kaka. His birthday was just the other month, like my daughter and myself. Yes we are the January babies. It’s been about a year or so since my brother graduated from the University and I just remembered vaguely what he wrote on his graduation day.

“Dear Sister, you remember the letter you wrote to me when I went to high school? Today I fulfill that dream and request of yours. Because of you I have come this far. I love you big sis.” He texted.

I did not attend his graduation, I had to compromise, for a more important duty and calling. I have since cracked my head on what might have been the contents of that letter in vain until this year over our birthdays. The revelation was really mind blowing to say the least. You see my mother had inculcated a culture of writing letters in us from a young age and since we did not have mobile phones I enjoyed writing to her as much as I enjoyed reading her letters. In fact I had both local and international pen pals in my primary and secondary schools respectively.

Letter writing was my second love, after reading of course. This is because it gave me confidence to be honest and open up my heart to my audience especiaclly because in our homesteads a child is to be seen and not heard. Back to my brother though before I veer off completely. Kaka, the only son to my father, lacked male role models or siblings, or so I thought. At the time he was joining high school I had just completed my degree and though I knew my dad was happy with this achievement I also knew he’d be happier if it was his son who had graduated.

With this in mind I probably penned down a letter to Kaka. I say probably because I can not honestly recall exactly what I wrote. In my letter I must have told him to work hard in his studies and not let his father down as he was his only son. I confided in him that it was lonely being the only one in the family to have achieved this milestone. I pointed out to him how father continuously praised me at the expense of my siblings something that vexed them so much. I was the black sheep or the ugly duckling in the family and as such I loathed going home for holidays. I must have gone on to tell him not to shame my mother because dad thought he spent so much of his time at her side. And because I love my brother with my own life I signed off with my love.

My brother worked very hard in his education and on his first attempt at the national exams he performed exceptionally well but he had not achieved his expectations. We spoke at length on his options but he later decided to go back to school to try his luck for the second time. He still performed well, but again not to his expectations. This time he accepted his fate and joined the university for his undergraduate program.

I am so proud of my brother just so you know but what has moved me is his endeavor to fulfill my wish, my humble prayer. I did not know that a simple letter to a teenager could have such a life changing impact. I thought he’ll read it and dump it. I know I am not alone. There are many others who would like to impact and mentor a girl or a boy but are not very good in public speech or rather verbal narrative. Have you ever thought of writing a letter to one single child every term? Or month? Can you imagine what impact it might have on them?In the process maybe we could allow them to write back and this way gain their confidence. One letter may just be what that child needs to turn his or her life around. To excel in this journey called life everyone needs all the help they need to achieve academic excellence.


New Year, New Opportunities.

Happy New year guys! Yes I know it’s almost end of Njaanuary but hey it’s my first post so it feels like the first day of our year. In any case back here we’ll be saying happy new year till about end of March when it’s  Easter.
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Boychild under Siege?

The boy is under “siege” or so the men against women empowerment are alleging. Cyprian is Nyakundi is giving everyone, scrap that, most women over 27 years a migraine. He’s marshalled a brigade of men and women who are against slay queens who have been slaying the boy child literally if what Cyprian’s post are anything to go by. They are claiming that the womenfolk over their “preferred” marriageable age is responsible for the downfall of the boychild. Is this true?
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Two Cousins and A friend.

  There are friends, best friends, best friends forever and then then are friends who are family. These are the family that God gave us from different families. There is surely more to being friends than just going out and growing up together.

I remember a while back I was marveling at how my friends’ list on my social media platform had ballooned. A friend challenged me to name the ones I really knew from that list and it dawned on me I didn’t know more than half of them. In fact there are some whom I hadn’t even interacted with since we became friends.
  Most of these so-called friends were just there to fill the bus but were bringing nothing to the table. Growing up my mama was strict and observant on the kind of friends you hang out. She’d always call me out on the friends that kept taking and ask me, “Where are you going? Ati to that friend of yours I have never seen? Get yourself something to do in the house.” And that was  that. All grown up and I must say it’s the same, and as the Swahili say,”Imani ni kutiana”.  Friendship is two traffic and you’ll know your friends when you are down not when your life is happening.
  Lemme tell you about three of my friends that I would do anything for anytime any day, my ride or die friends. By the way it’s not that they are perfect or because we share a perfect friendship, on the contrary it is our imperfections that make us such good friends. Like I shared in my previous post,the power of three, we sort of complement each other since we are of different personalities and temperaments.
  I met Emily when I was about nine years old and we’ve known each other since then. I know her first crush and she knows mine, we played house,”cha baba na mama” together, heck we even went to the same high school. We lost touch when I joined Uni but got reacquainted when I came back. To say she always has my back will be an understatement. I am probably the sister she never had, okay so am pushing it but I hope you get the picture. Anytime am admitted, in trouble or I just need someone to hold my hand she’s always been there. Even when I let go her hand will stay put to pick mine back.  The other day when I went in for the arthroscopy  she was the one I found waiting for me at 9.00pm and she only left when I dismissed her. It reminded me of a time before I broke up with Person but I had the intention, when it had started hitting our relationship was headed nowhere. She’s the one person who agreed to go with me into that foreign land to course havoc, to give me moral support. She was going to my shoulder as I cried my heart out after the heartbreak which I did not have the heart to go through with at the time. Sigh. Love is stupid, most of the time. Instead I ended up leaving her in the hotel sleeping all alone as I kept warm in Person’s bed. She is also the one person I can be brutally honest with, I can be a little girl and a crazy bitch at the same time. We invest together, in fact the hustles am in, you know farming, bee keeping and bag selling, we are always partners. I go on my vacations with her be it going to my home or her home, going to Magufuli’s land or just visiting. In fact she was the only friend who came all the way to Seme for dad’s funeral.
  Catherine, hmm, I never know where to start. It is interesting to note that she’s Emily’s cousin but it is my friendship to each of them separately that binds us. I have known Catherine since I was in high school but more so after fourth form. With her infectious smile and enchanting deep dimples it is difficult not to make lemonades from everything life throws at you. I remember when I joined Uni my dad bought me a phone but what he never bothered with was to send airtime. Back then calling rates were high and a student needed a phone to receive and not make calls, or so it seemed to my dad. Catherine religiously sent me airtime which I never used on her but instead would call, Kedi, my crush at the time. And even when I attempted to call her she’d never let me use her airtime on her. Catherine is among my few friends that know that we sometimes skipped meals in our home despite leaving in a posh house. She knew first hand the struggles I was going through and even supported me in boosting my shoe business back in campus. She even financed some of my supplies and never asked to be paid back. She was my fairy godmother in my four years in campus. I can’t tell you how many times she’s come through for me but the time in campus will always stand out for me. Am hoping one day, very soon she’ll be available again to go with us on a vacay.
  I have known Grace for more than a decade, okay maybe two decades. It’s difficult working around your age when you don’t want to disclose it. Sandbaby and I recently agreed that I’ll remain 30years till she grows up then I skip to 41. I don’t know how she worked it out but I liked it. People always wonder what Grace and I have in common, well I don’t know too. All I know is we’ve always been together, whether it’s same class, saloon, discussion group, same college. Interestingly our dads even worked for the same employer and both of us are second borns. Grace doesn’t know and neither do so many people, but she used to cover my ass during the 10.00 and 4.00 O’Clock break times. She’d somehow have enough to share with me even when I had no cash something that she’d not brag about or hold me ransom to. Whenever we go out we always drink to the old days. The time we went job hunting in the local EPZs and we were disqualified because we were overqualified. The Chinese didn’t understand why we were job hunting when our grades allowed us to pursue other courses. Then we got our first jobs, being waitresses in a bar somewhere in South Coast where we were being paid less than a dollar a day. Hmm the things life teaches you no school nor teacher can teach you. This year Grace has again come to save my face twice, before my mother and my daughter. I can’t say much because I know she would prefer it that way, actually all of them would prefer anonymity. But hell we live once and there is no way I can just be writing about sad things and never about people who’ve had my back.
  Between these two cousins and my friend I can never say I am not blessed. I don’t know what I did to deserve them but I am forever grateful and always praying for their blessings. If nothing else is working for them I want them to always read this and know they have been my “neighbor”, ” the good Samaritan” in my life. They  can always look back and say,”I have put a smile on one person.” These are my friends in deed, friends who become family, family that life gave me for real.
P.S The title has been inspired by Four Cousins.
Tis the season to be jolly Fa La La… La La La!!!

Happy Holidays!

  It’s a few weeks to Christmas and a few days into December. Now that I put it like that I realise the weeks aren’t as few but hell the year has been long. I am looking forward to December like it’s your birthday. Christmas for me starts on the first day of December and ends on the third day of January. I celebrate three special moments through the year, the Sand’s birthdays, Easter and the Christmas season.
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My Lamentations

Have you read the book of Lamentations? Well you can chill because neither have I, or neither had I up until now that I have skimmed to just get the gist of  why it is called so. You can look it up if you want, it’s a book in the old testament of the Holy Bible. To lament is to express passionate grief about a thing, opinion or someone.
I had planned to do an independence post but instead am doing this, my lamentation post. I am reflecting on my tough luck being born in this continent called Africa and still finding myself in Kenya. I just don’t get why God didn’t think I’d be more useful in those continents, especially America and Europe.
Look at me, slim and tall all my life but did nothing with these assets. You know probably if I was in the US of A my mum or dad would have mentored me either into modelling or some sport for both their good and mine. Right now we’d be surviving on royalties and endorsements not this tough life of breaking a sweat. Instead both my parents were sold to education excellence first and anything far from this was to be child play.
By the way I was doing just fine before the government forced us into pay TV which is what digital TV is all about. Ignorance is total bliss, and what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you. For the longest time I would just hear people talk about Kim Kardashian and the Kardashian family without a clue. So exit analog, welcome digital.
Am on leave without a plan, yes I had no plan because it was a forced leave. With nothing to do I flip channels and I find the Kardashians reality show. I watch it a bit and it dawns on me that right about now other millions of people across the world plotless like me are seated doing the same thing. Watching this family make billions living their lives. Of course there are those who are fans and like to keep up, some watch it to unwind from a long day’s job.
The next day I stumble on many other reality shows, Married to Medicine WAGS Miami,WAGS Atlanta and Second Wives.
And am thinking, damn!To be paid to showcase what your life is like!This must be the life my fren. Here I am struggling to  pay for every single day that I live while others are busy flaunting their lives for a living. I wonder where my parents were when these African Americans were finding their ways to America.
But well here I am, in a country that is heaven to the hundreds of Somali and Sudanese refugees, the land of plenty for the brothers from  Congo, Ghana, Nigeria and the East African countries with nothing to show. Piped water is still a privilege when it comes out of your tap and public health is in shambles. I am in a country where workers strike is a relay competition and never a winner because no one ever gets the dangled prize. The reality TV that sells is politics, the politics of name calling, body shaming, tribal warfare, tumbocracy or kula leo as I call it. I am in a country that a wanted criminal will give an interview on national TV and still not get caught, in fact if you have been successful in your “business” you can even be the next governor.
But back to the American reality TV shows what exactly would I offer my Kenyan viewers? A long line of single mothers whose baby daddy’s can never be obligated to pay child support? Speaking of which the other day a man I know quit his job so he doesn’t pay child support and I was like, really? It actually bothers you to educate, shelter and even feed your children? But these my country men will show me things. Or maybe we can just do a show on the tenderpreneurs of this country to understand why they do shoddy jobs. Have you realised anytime a road construction job is given to a Kenyan contractor it takes long to complete and a shorter time to degenerate? Maybe through the show we’ll understand the psychology of this cartel because it seems the idea is to ensure after every election we issue tenders for the same jobs.

Or maybe we can just film Sandlady on her Mzungu escapades. Maybe I will get married to Hans then meet Naija broda or a beach boy called Jay who’ll be ngurumishaing my boat when Hans is out of the country. Come to think of it I think I can hack doing Mtwapa life as a reality show.
Well too bad we are in Kenya and no one is seeing my potential. I guess I’ll stick to the elusive paperchase living from paycheck to paycheck.

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Lots of love from me and mine,
The Sands.

Pad a Girl Initiatives:Why I support them.

If there’s a time I don’t look forward to as a woman it has to be the menstrual cycles. From the painful menstrual cramps, the extreme moodswings to the feeling of being filthy, it is not a good time unless of course you have been naughty. I first learnt about menses in class 4, when subjects like home science used
to be taught. The first pad I ever saw in my life was
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Locked out of Heaven

Last Sunday as I was attending a family service at one of the two churches I claim allegiance to I had an eye opening experience. After a lot of praising it was time for worship and the praise and worship team appropriately shifted the gears changing the tempo ushering us into a prayerful mood. Now this is the moment it hit me how easy it would be to be locked out of heaven. Like for real for real I’d be locked out of heaven except I believe God must have a sense of humour. While I believe that worship, prayer and all that is affiliated to them is very personal I am also of the opinion that your religious foundation plays a big role. That said you don’t expect people from other denominations, we call them pentecostal, to pray in the same manner as the traditional founder churches like the Catholics and the Anglicans. That would be expecting too much my people. We people of the traditional churches believe in orderly services and prayers, no noise and no shouting. We probably don’t believe David’s story nor do we know of the coming of the holy spirit. We use prayer books that have special liturgy for every moment and sing songs from the hymn book. Now that you have a picture of what my life in church has been like we can delve into why I will be locked out of heaven.
So here we are in a moment of worship, the Pastor calls out to the congregation to get into prayer. I close my eyes with my hands held up high in surrender I silently offer my prayer of adoration, praise and thanksgiving. In less than a minute am done praying and by now am more of singing along with the choir and listening to the pastor. Just like walls have ears I can not help but overhear other people’s prayers. I have always known that prayer is private so this murmuring business always unsettles me.
The pretty girl next to me is busying binding the devil who’s trying to steal her boyfriend from  her. She says,” God you know Richie loves me but that witch Lizzie won’t let him be. I know she’s using charms but Lord bind them! Make him blind to her and see only me everywhere he is.” At this point I tune off pinching myself to remember am in church. I even get back to praying repenting on my present sin.

The devil is a liar because even as I repent a mama behind is shouting and I can’t finish my penance instead I continue in my sin. “Dear Lord it’s me again praying for Baba Denno. God he barely leaves me money for food, and when he does it’s only for one meal. Where am I to get an offering to bring to you yet you say we should not come to your house empty handed?But I thank you because last night he left this note in his trousers that has been enough for today’s meal and offertory…..”
I consciously remind myself that am in church and should mind my own troubles. This reminds me of what one of my teachers used to say,  not everyone shouting and chanting in church is filled with the holy spirit or holy, some are crying out of pain or in repentance of their immediate sins. I therefore start hoping, not praying, that people will finish this “uncomfortable” session sooner than later. In the meantime my eyes take in the handsome drummer, the cute guy on the extreme left and the overly elaborate choir singer. Before I launch into ungodly thoughts of these characters the man God winds up the worship moment and normalcy resumes with tears being wiped away and less murmurs.
I silently ask God to forgive me once more for being rude and ill-mannered and point out that the devil is trying to derail me. So I ponder to think, which is which? And what does it mean to pray quietly or to shout? Does God have a preference between the two?And what will happen to us who can not listen to our own selves, we of the short term attention? I know am not alone on this one but am hopeful that God will not take offence and understand our predicament. Am comforted because did command us not to be like the Sanhedrin who would make sure everyone  knew that they were praying. Instead I’d want to be like Esther and her army praying in silence and  fasting.
  So here is a summary of things that I feel will keep me out of the beautiful gate of Heaven:-
1. Critic- I have this bad habit of trying to read between the lines of what the preacher or anyone else, is saying. Sometimes there is nothing between the lines except empty space.
2. Love for Revenge – So I know God already says vengeance is His but every time am put down am always looking forward to a time in the future where I can pay back. Unfortunately I almost always forget that am supposed to revenge and only remember when Karma does it for me. So yes I can claim Karma to be a darling.
3. Being alert and informed – Sometimes someone says something that is false or not applicable in a situated, instead of silently looking away like the average person I will either scoff at the idea or outrightly call out the bluff. This unfortunately may embarrass, disenfranchise and upset some people, something that am never proud of.
4.Kula kwa macho – Yes I said. Am definitely one of those women in church who instead of listening to the sermon will be busy looking at how well fitting the trouser is or how sleek that shirt is. Am that woman who likes to stare when a good looking man enters the banking hall and will probably flirt a bit.
Now you know my shortfalls to heaven let me hear yours on the comments.