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!!!
©2017

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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.
  Growing up I used to look up to Christmas because of the spoils that came with it. We’d always go upcountry to our grandparents and so would our cousins with their parents. It was a family time especially the evenings when we’d gather around a fire, roasting maize and listening to a fable from one of our aunts. I was particularly fond of Min Milly, mother to my cousin Milly who’d tell us stories of the mischievous hare and Milly would always chime in. We might not have understood some of the luo words but we got the gist of it and enjoyed it.
  This is also the only time we would have our hair braided. Those were the days most primary school wouldn’t let you  rock cornrows on your head just because they thought keeping hair would prevent you from concentrating on your education. Come Christmas and you dorned your kitenge matching outfits or if you are lucky some satin or silk puff inspired dresses that for some reason were meant to look like Cinderella’s but came off looking otherwise. And then we had this overnight thing called”lang ago odi” or something like that. Pardon my Dholuo. We’d go from house to house on the Christmas eve night as we followed the star like the wise men collecting gifts almost like people do on Halloween nights. Only we would be collecting offertory and end our procession as midnight struck at the local church.
   Things have changed pretty much and there seems to be little to look forward to. This is because nowadays you eat chapati and chicken any day any time, food that was traditionally Christmas specialities. Even new clothes aren’t left behind, the glamour and pomp in Christmas is being killed.
  Now we are reduced to admiring and decorating trees, yes the Christmas tree. At least this is the one thing that everyone is currently struggling to ensure they put up before Christmas. Gone are the multiple sufurias of rice, beef stew, chapatis, kachumbari and in with the Christmas lightings.
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Oh by the way Sandbaby wants a white Christmas and am stuck explaining how it doesn’t snow over here and that even where it snows people don’t enjoy the cold as much. Just in case you think this worked no it didn’t but we are working around it. No crowds because no one visits anyone for Christmas what with the state of economy and Matiang’i ensuring candidates have sleepless holidays.
  Having joined the esteemed working class of this country I discovered the seven-day theory of Christmas. To tell you the truth I had forgotten about it until one of my long time girlfriends asked me if I was up for it when I posted that am on leave. No, am not on leave I just wanted to make some people jealous and also not attract a lot of sympathy my way. Now the seven day theory is where we go out and drink ourselves silly on every single day of Christmas. Christmas eve was an exception since we needed to attend the night vigil and still go home for the family lunch. Christmas night is the mother of all drinking because the next day is a holiday.
   The bestest thing about December people are in good moods which means they are also generous. This is why the seven day theory is easily achievable because there are always willing buyers. Everyone is trying to out do the other in paying for rounds plus the fact that most companies pay out salaries well in advance. This is the one month I don’t allow myself to catch feelings at work for whatsoever reason. This is the way I see it, it is the only month that has a long weekend and another holiday just before it which means my working days are reduced. Heaven knows that even tippers tip better in December because it is the season to be jolly and to give.
As an adult I have always looked forward to Christmas movies with mushy endings, that’s my thing. I particularly like Mr Stooge’s movie and I have watched a dozen times. I don’t usually repeat movies but Christmas themed ones are special. Ideal holiday equals just sitting on the couch with some juice and cake watching telly the whole time. The funnier the better, and the less the company the merrier. I don’t want to fuss about my looks or what food to cook, I just want to watch my movies and that’s that.
#Christisthereasonfortheseason

 
 

Aside

Scars and Memories.

So am finally having the shoulder op today. Am a bit grumpy because I have had to skip breakfast, apparently these are hospital rules. Functioning without my daily dose of nicotine is not my cup coffee so am really trying to collect my nerves. Good thing I am alone and I don’t have to play nice in my current mood.
  I decided to walk to the hospital from the matatu terminus that’s at GPO Mombasa, not because am a cheap stake but for old memories’ sake. I used to work in the CBD some few years ago on my first job, somewhere along Nkrumah Road. As I walk I reminisce and wonder where the Somali money changers are at  this wee hour of the morning. Just so you know 7.00am is a wee hour in Mombasa, thank you very much. The Somalis run a legal illegal mobile forex bureau whose network is vast. Usually as you walk you bump into them after every two metres or so, with them calling out to you.
“Sister, dollar, euro!!!?”
  A few metres away is the urban police station which means this network is right under their noses. In case you think you can swindle these semiliterate moneychangers you have another thing coming. One thing you need to know is you can never swindle a Somali his money, maybe the other way round. And another thing their clientele are loyal because half the time they give better rates than the bureaus and banks. As I walk on I see what used to be a cyber café that I used to frequent. This is one of the moneychangers offices for bulk transactions. I think the cyber business was just a ploy or a side hustle for the owner to secure his clientele. I used to like this cyber because of their work ethic, whenever the net was slow I would browse for free. That was a big deal.
   I catch a whiff of ukwaju or tamarind sauce if you like, the aroma of potatoes covered in gram flour and breathe it all in. My stomach rumbles and I can feel the little beings in my stomach mumbling. This is what Mombasa is all about, it’s cuisine, that’s highly borrowed from the Swahili and  Arab. On a weekday you will find queues of smartly dressed office dwellers waiting to buy snacks for their ten o’clock tea. Today you can catch a few men either from the night shift or going into the morning shift seated with their plateful of mbaazi and mahamris.
  Am finally at a favorite place on this road. At Maggie’s cafe or rather kibanda. Seated at the end of a line of several banks, opposite the Mombasa County and between Stanchart and Bank of Baroda is Maggie’s place aka maporomokoni. Maporomokoni holds a lot of secrets and am thinking even the mastermind behind the 50Million heist at KCB Thika must have been a member of such an establishment. It is not an average hotel, it is a very simple kibanda on a slope of debris hence the name.This is where deals were brokered, hangovers cured and acquaintances cemented.
I particularly remember the many times we had to drop in at Maggie’s on Saturday mornings because we were late for work. We would order for our kawaida chapati and maini to wile away the time before we could report for duty. Those were some of the best made mainis I have eaten to date. If you are ever around that place you can try out her mean chapatis and roast chicken and if you need something for your hangy she can get you soup with lemon and pepper on the side.
  Looking at the building that I used to work in, I can’t help but wonder about life after the op. I think I made a quick decision to have this op done, I should have taken some time to think it through. Granted it’s not the first surgery am having but still this is going to be at a very obviously visible part of my body. Will I still be able to do midriffs and off shoulder outfits? Kisha how am I to explain the tuscars on my back? Damn! I think I’ll have to  camouflage them  with tattoos, at least it will be worth showing off. Wow! Yaani it is going to take an op for me to have myself tattooed. It don’t matter, the end justifies the means.
I have dealt with the human concern now am wondering the kind of conversation God and I will have on the day of Judgement. I have interfered with his wonderful and fearful creation not once but several times. How am I going to explain myself? But well I know I have an easier case in comparison to my sister Vera Sidika and the late pop idol Michael Jackson. I just hope God thinks so too and maybe I won’t have that tatoo.
PS: How do you explain to people that you are going to have a “minor” surgery without causing alarm? I was of the opinion I don’t let people know at all until I told my mum. Sigh.

Work, tendons and lots of Bile.

Disclaimer: This is a useless post and you will gain nothing from it because it’s a venting post. I know a lot of women will get me because this is why we live longer, we vent and let go.
So for about two years or so I have been nursing a shoulder ache, my right hand shoulder. At first it was just minor pain that would last a few minutes and after applying pain ointment it would go. But then it started getting serious, affecting my whole arm. At times when the pain hit I would find it impossible to move my fingers without flinching from pain.
These were the moments I wished I was ambidextrous and able to use both hands but alas am fully dependent on my right hand. I accepted that the pain wasn’t gonna go away by itself and sought medical attention. I was referred to an orthopaedic, yep, these are the doctors who deal with bones and joints. I was sent for an X-ray that did  showed everything to be normal. I was therefore scheduled for physiotherapy sessions and given medication that included a pain gel. The physio worked for me but my body reacted to the gel leaving my face swollen like I had just suffered from mob justice. I had to drop the gel since I did not have an antidote for it. As God would have it one of my long time customer gifted me a hand cleaver  to exercise with. Am forever grateful to this gentleman, Levi is his name. The cleaver served me for a while then broke down.

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Fast forward to 2017 and the problem persists. Being the Kenyan woman that I am I self medicate with Robb, massaging my shoulder blade every night. But come November the pain persists and I decide to go back to hospital and this is where it all starts. I inform my supervisor and my colleagues it is no longer business as usual because the job is taking a toll on my shoulder. In case you don’t remember am a cashier, my day involves signing, stamping and a lot of sorting. I start seeing the mask fall off, people pretending they don’t hear what you are saying. They look the other way pretending you don’t exist.
I continue working but the problem persists and finally I go back to hospital. Now, specialists are not people you’ll just find in their clinics seated waiting for you. These doctors are always busy and even when you book an appointment there is no guarantee you’ll see them depending on the emergencies or inpatients cases they have. So on this particular day I request to leave early for a 1.30pm appointment. My supervisor and my boss derail me for a whole hour doing something that should take at most ten minutes, I should know because I have held brief for the supervisor. But of course I was late for the appointment and I didn’t get daktari. On Tuesday evening this week I remind my boss that I’ll be going for the review on Wednesday, meaning I might report late for work or leave early. I did not get booked for the Wednesday appointment instead I get a Thursday appointment. Again they pull the same shit!!! And am thinking really? This time am not quite and I tell my boss if I miss my appointment again am definitely not reporting to work the next day. This jolts him to work and suddenly he can speak his mind.
“You need to inform us in advance so we can organise ourselves.” He says.
I am thinking I gave you my review appointment letter plus I am totally dependent on the doctor’s schedule. Anyway they let me go.
As daktari reads the MRI report he tells me we’ll need to have an arthroscopy, a keyhole surgery on my shoulder. They’ll need to perform an incision on the tendon and scrape the shoulder bone a bit, or something like that. The image below from Google should help.
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When I reach home it sinks in that this problem I have been shouldering, literally, isn’t as simple. It’s no small matter. And to think some people in the office were treating me like am faking it, playing hookie, pulling fragility games. Am feeling all levels of offense. That grown ass men will penalise me for being a woman, executing my job even better than some my male colleagues is to say the least traumatizing. I imagine the sacrifice I have put in, coming to work even when unwell.
At this point I decide to take stock of what this management has been doing to the women work force in our office and I digress. Someone wants one of our expectant colleagues to get herself other clothes, and am thinking has he ever been pregnant? Does he know how much effort a pregnant puts in just to wear that one favorite dress? If you asked me, given an option I’d stay naked in this coastal heat and humidity and am not pregnant.
But I know that the God that I serve is not a man and vengeance is surely his. It will come to pass and I will give testimony to the most high.

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 Always, this was because at that time not many people had been exposed to those things and pads were just being introduced to Kenya I suppose. The sanitary pads company would organise to hold a day’s seminar on reproductive science including talks on menstrual cycles, STIs and Aids, ABC of sex, abortion and more. By the end of the day they would give every pupil a free pack of Always sanitary pad and leave more in the school office for emergency. They did this not once but for about three to four consecutive years. In those years we looked forward to their coming because of the freebies and a free day off class.
Well despite this presentation nothing ever prepares a girl for her first period and the aftermath because it’s something that we don’t talk about. In Africa and particularly in Kenya this was an unheard of conversation unless your parents were reformed and don’t ask what I mean by that. The only thing you were told once you attain the age of puberty is to keep off boys or get pregnant. Worse still during our days AIDS and STIs were all the rage and the stigma associated with them was really bad.
Josephine must have been the first to be hit by the red ribbon epidemic. I remember her shouting that she was hurt down there. Hmmm…Josephine was luo and a typical one at that so you can imagine the wailing that went on and she was going round the school. She was calmed down by our English teacher if my memory serves me right and later sent home. That’s how we knew she had gotten her menses. I got my menses either in class seven or eight well after most of my classmates.
This is a time that some girls will not concentrate in class while others will have to skip class completely for three reasons, massive cramps, lack of sanitary towels or stigmatization. Cramps is a small and manageable issue since you either get used to it(not really) or use pain killers, whichever means work for you. They also say exercise, hot drinks and hot water bottles can relieve the cramps but I think it is on a case by case basis.
The major challenge was and still remains lack of sanitary towels. First and foremost no one ever teaches you how to use the sanitary towels or tampons they assume that the TV advert is good enough. This means that for the first few years of your menstruating life you will keep having accidents and soiling your clothes. I used to have a very heavy flow and because I didn’t know that I needed to use pads for the heavy flow the pads would leak in less than an hour. Fortunately, and I thank God for this everyday, I went to all-girls schools but I always made sure I had my sweater during these days. The sweater was to be used as a wrap around should an “accident” occur.
How do I say this without it sounding it uncouth and not tainting my parents’ image? I guess there isn’t if am to make my case understood. Coming from a modest family of about six girls at the time and only one income from the head of the house things like pads were luxuries. This meant that my sisters and I had to improvise during periods. I remember our mum would buy us cotton which we would sandwich inside a piece of  clothe or lesso. Walking was an uphill task let alone running if a teacher called you to do so because your makeshift pad might just fall off. Even sleeping was a nightmare for fear of soiling your bed. In high school we learned the hard way and we started saving our lunch money so we could afford to buy ourselves pads.

Once the other children knew you had started your menses, you were set apart because you could now get pregnant. Every time you spoke or played with boys you’d be looked at weirdly, like what were you up to. I suppose this is what informed early marriages which is still practiced in rural Kenya. Even teachers would treat you differently loudly calling you a woman even though you knew naught of what this entailed.
By the time I was completing my fourth year my mum had persuaded my dad to include our supplies in his budget since the adverts were more frequent and popular. At least now they had introduced thin pads that didn’t bulge your bootie like a kid wearing diapers.
I am forever grateful to both my primary and secondary school for ensuring that we could at least get a pad to sustain through the day as unhygienic as that is but I can’t help to wonder what other children in other schools are surviving. What about girls in schools that are struggling to provide shelter and pay teachers? This is exactly why I will always stand up to be counted in pad-a-girl initiatives because I know I helped keep a girl in school, I saved a girl’s self esteem, I gave her face to take on the big bad wolf. This is why am calling out to you to support and join hands with organizations like ihopee.org and KWEA in aiding to give our girls some sort of dignity during these seven days every month. You can give in kind by donating sanitary towels both disposable and reusable or you can send funds for the same.

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.
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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.

Absentee Fathers and Single Mothers.

“Mummy, when I grow up I will go to my father.” Sandbaby tells me as we head to church on Sunday. I smile and tell her that will be very nice.
“And then I’ll find an octopie costume so I can scare that wife of his.”
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Sandlady on Fears and Phobias

Somebody once asked me what’s my worst fear and I realised it was something I had never thought about. I know we are in this together because I can see you are frowning in deep thought and trying to rank your fears. There are different kinds of fears, some we are born with, others we acquire in the school of life yet there are those that are self imposed. This my dear is a philosophical thought or opinion and if I were you I’d give me a cookie or one of those honey coated nuts.

I am sitting at the driver’s seat in a matatu, not just any matatu, a Mtwapa mat(short for matatu), heading to town. The wind blows hard from across the Indian ocean as we cross the Nyali bridge, I reach out and roll my window up and roll it down once we have crossed into the island. Now I have been doing this for several years and it’s been a norm for me. This one time am with a colleague of mine, Linda, and as we approach the bridge just before Shimo La Tewa prison on Mombasa-Malindi road, I start to roll up the window and she stares. When I roll down the window she asks, “What was that about?”

“What?” I ask back.

She looks at me and I give in because I have been caught like a child with his hand in the cookie jar. The truth is am scared of the wind, be it just a normal strong wind or the whirlwind because in my world they are one and the same. I always imagine the wind sweeping across the ocean blowing so hard and carrying me out of the car like a bird’s feather. You are probably laughing just the way Linda laughed her ribs out but I forgive you for you do not know what you are doing. Well, it’s no empty fear. Sometime back as I was in town running some errands and walking along Digo road in Mombasa’s CBD a strong wind almost blew me away. Yes, just like those flaying sunflowers stalks you see in cartoons and I had to hold onto a building to stay put. Since that day am very weary of strong winds.

About two years ago while on vacation with my girls in Dar, Tanzania, we went shopping in Kariokor market as we always do. On this day we wanted diras for ourselves and our loved ones and located nice ones in some stalls. The stalls happened to be on a storey building and we had to take a flight of stairs down. It was an open winding staircase. I stood still. One of the girls, Christine, started descending then realised no one was following suit.

“Nyinyi nugu nini mbaya?” She asked. Emily started laughing then it hit her it wasn’t funny.

“Anna tushuke bana” She told me. I told her to lead the way and I would follow. Unfortunately I could only do two steps and they had to call a retreat. In their words I was really sweating and shaking, to their amusement. Emily had to tell Christine of my fear for open heights and had to find an alternative route down. So just know if we have to either use the stairs or those fancy glass elevators I will pick the stairs and yes you can laugh all you want.

But these are not even my fears they are just things I have not mastered control over. With time, nay, in my own time I will overcome them but for now there is no need to stretch myself. The one thing am truly afraid of is dying. Not because am afraid of death because that’s everybody’s journey. Am afraid of dying before my daughter is an adult. I always wonder who will take care of her, the way I do. Whenever I look at her or listen to her I see how difficult it will be for her to adjust into other people’s lives. Her culture is so different. She and I have conversations, like real conversations and she’s so inquisitive. You have to think on your feet, be creative but consistent and make sure your story will hold water if not just tell the truth because she will interrogate you and investigate if what you said was true or not.

It is a sad affair that am not sure I can trust my daughter with anyone, even my siblings, upon my demise. But I think at this point I need to set my hope and faith on Christ and the word of God because 366 times the Bible in different books says “Do not be afraid!”

Have a fearless October!

Me Before and Daft People Anonymous

Looking back at my before journey I am unable to reconcile that person with the person I am right now. I am not saying am a great perfect person but man I could have done better. I think am one of the daftest people to ever exist on this planet, this side of South Sahara and River Limpopo. Except for now that I have used that line about Sahara and River Limpopo, I have always wanted to do that since my first year in high school as it was a CRE teacher’s favorite saying. So I was saying, am daft, stupid and an idiot. I don’t even know how I have lived with myself all this while. Maybe it’s because I have been in denial or because I was just naive.

Remember me talking about the dude, Kedi, my first crush, in the post love is / Right, now I can boldly say that that guy had bebad me malenge (pumpkin) because I still don’t get why I entertained his sorry ass that long. I claim temporary insanity and that he probably went to Swaleh Mdoe’s babu and kaliad me chapati. So here I am, all graduated, armed with the power to read and write and do everything that pertains to my degree. I get my first job, a direct sales representative, a job that would get my introverted self out of my shell.

It doesn’t take long before Kedi locates me since am back to the hood staying with my parents. At this point I think it is only fair to also accept that I am full of myself and may at times overlook details, details that are important about others as you are about to see. Kedi has also finished college, and right now am really trying to think what he studied and I can’t remember having that conversation. Anyway I could tell for sure he didn’t have a job and didn’t mind it. So we catch up, talking about lots of nothing, I think I just liked to look at his smile. He had the sexiest smile ever, he kinda looked like RL the artist from the then all famous boy band Next, he represented the bad boy.

Now most if not all sales people will tell you that after a day or a week of great or whack sales all they think about is unwinding. For my team and I the perfect unwinding was hanging out partying at the clubs. It is during these random sessions that I bump into Kedi. Stupidly I was always so excited to see him I never once thought why he wasn’t out with me. Now this is where my daftness starts to pick momentum. Every time I was about to leave or he wanted to leave a joint he would make sure he bid me goodbye and with that ask me, “Si uniachie kitu basi?” Or “vipi fare?”. I never at any moment found this to be weird and of course would part with some cash. Looking back I realise I didn’t have expenses, staying at my parent’s and almost never paying for the bills in the night outs, I could afford to be philanthropic .

Whenever asked him about visiting him he’d find a way to evade, either he would be working or his phone would just go mteja. You must be wondering why I was still holding on to his ass despite this. Well for one he had once told me he liked me so much and wanted us to end up together but he was trying to get himself a proper job. In fact he even alluded that his mum kept asking when I was going to their rural home. You can now clearly see I was justified to be in my stupor.

I was technically single. Having called it quits with Frank and not in a defined relationship with Kedi I found myself lonely. Again I got carried away by my naivete and daftness. In what started as a mistake, a one night stand, I got into a relationship with another punk called Vince. Okay, another disclosure, I love me some eye candy and my friend Winnie will tell you I love them pleasant to my eyes. Now Vince was a mix between Morris Chestnut and Flex, tall dark and handsome(TDH).

When it comes to Vince I find consolation in numbers because am not the only one who fell for his charms. As if being TDH wasn’t bad enough, this guy was intelligent, both logically and emotionally. What drew me to him, apart from the obvious, was that we could actually hold substantive and intelligent conversations. He provoked my brain in a way Kedi could never attempt with topics varying from religion, politics, social and economic matters. But alas he was playing me a fool in a more complex way. What this man was offering me was….Nothing….nothing except he was ensuring he was going to be getting free sex.

He convinced me that there was no need to go public letting people know our business. He liked me and he wanted to spend as much time as possible with me. Charm is deceptive and even geniuses will stammer. He wined and dined me in places that I had never been to before, he for the better part developed the cynic in me with his conversations. From his lifestyle and the job he had I knew I wasn’t dealing with another hustler. Then he started something that I didn’t realise at the time, borrowing money from me to entertain me and the others. Yes I knew about the existence of the others because when you are young you think everyone is your friend and you go blabbering. Unfortunately I have been that person that people feel they should confide in and I sadly had to shoulder the agony of knowing he was hitting on all these girls in my circle. Then like most girls at that age I was more concerned about being in The list than about the list. Vince on his part lived up to the man code:Deny, deny, deny and then deny again. Just like Shaggy sung, even when caught butt naked, which i did by the way, even then ,”It wasn’t me” is your chorus. So here I was doing the same thing all over again but this time I would always be paid back and then borrowed again and cheated on though technically I was not being cheated on since our relationship was such that it was a secret. I think right now the most daft thing that I was doing at that time was sustaining his cheating ass and enabling his philandering. I wasn’t to date but he could date so that people wouldn’t suspect us.

How did I break off the two relationships? Well I broke up with both after having a eureka moment. It suddenly dawned on me that a man who is interested in you would never ask you for money, Never. Unless he’s your husband or friend but not a potential boyfriend. Instead the proper thing for him to do is borrow from his boys or family. The last stroke for Kedi was when he called me for a drink and on settling down to catch up he asks me to pay the bill. It was the last bill I paid and blocked his number. He didn’t believe I was walking away, something that’s common, people never think I can walk from anything I value with a straight face. He kept asking me to at least give him transport home, but I was very categorical, he called me and not the other way round which meant he should have been taking care of the expenses.

With Vince it was a bit tricky, as it was also a sort of an abusive relationship. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will get the courage to talk about it. But maybe meeting this other charmer, Sitati, did it. Best guy ever! Tall, dark, handsome and sexy. Sitati was a breath of fresh air, a gentleman. I didn’t date him because I was scared of what he represented, while I was ghetto he was everything classy. I would never fit in into his world. He is the kind of person who never looks at the price tag, the word expensive doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. While am a more practical person and prefer to plan a lot of things, Sitati is a guy of now, a guy living for the moment. It is him who taught me that women are to be respected and treated like the gem they are. He bought me two significant gifts. One was a Bible which he granted me for my birthday from a random wish list I made on Facebook. The other thing he got me was a watch. This was because I never kept time and he felt I needed to start respecting other people’s time. Oops! I was almost forgetting about the expensive box of chocolate and the bottle of lacquer. See, never an ordinary day or gift from him. Sitati, he thinks I friend zoned him while in reality I was always scared. Scared that with all his awesomeness he’d break my heart and walk away. He effortlessly commands attention from the womenfolk and he is as smooth as they come with them. I think this is the only time I wasn’t daft because for once I reasoned, used my brain to reach a decision. He probably knows me better than any of the guys I dated.

Well even after all that Mr. Person happened and proved that I definitely held the PhD for Daftness. Am still digesting this one so I can come back with a proper analysis. In the meantime if you hear about Daft Women Anonymous do holla at me I need a dose of some common sense.

Photo credit: Google, Las Vegas black image