All my life I have never been normal, maybe I was a normal child but I have never felt normal. I have been regular, plain, boring and okay but never normal. I was the skinny door post, yes I have been a skinny bitch for the better part of my not-so normal life.
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.
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.
PS: To receive alerts on when there are new posts up kindly subscribe to my blog. It’s pretty simple just click subscribe and look out for freebies very soon.
Lots of love from me and mine,
“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.”
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!
Hi!My name is Sandlady and am a drug junkie. Admitting my predicament publicly like this makes me feel so contaminated, like Nairobi river or the local sewage. Just like the other junkies I insist I have not done it intentionally and I am not sure I can quit.
A few years ago, after fourth form, I stayed with my uncle for quite some time before joining college. This is what used to happen those days, you either went upcountry to stay with your grandparents, visited an aunt or uncle as you figured out what to do after high school. Now while staying with my uncle I would see him taking pills almost every single day, I think five days in a week. I felt sorry for him, having to take medicine every day didnt sound like something anyone enjoyed. But I could see he had no choice, it was either that or he would not sleep.
I joined college, on your way out of Nairobi heading to Ruiru, Kenyatta University to be precise. If you have read my other pieces youll realise that I dont like disclosong my higher learning information. Compared to Mombasa where i grew up, Nairobi is pretty cold most of the time but KU(Kenyatta University-Main Campus) proved to be even colder. It is while pursuing higher learning that I found myself into drugs. I started light, taking a mild tablet say once a month or once a week.
During what we called Summer classes, which is really ironic since its the coldest period of the year, the situation would worsen even as I kept warm through out. I increased my dosage and changed drugs. But because money was scarce as solely on pocket money sent to me by my parents my intake was in check.
Fast forward to the present and I can not say it has gotten any better. I have a good job and am able to afford the best drugs for oral and inhaling. This is what allergies has turned me into, an anti-histamine junkie. I know most anti-histamine drugs in Kenya, from piriton, cezine, aerius, montana, zyncet, cetrizine and celastamine amongst many others. Some are the real deal while others are generic, in fact I get loyalty discounts whenever I go to buy in most chemists.
You are probably wondering why I can’t do without medication while the simple solution is to keep off the triggers. Believe me I really try but first to tell what exactly are my triggers, dust, smoke, perfumes, paraffin and most fuels. My reaction is a sneeze-a-thon out of this world, I can out-sneeze most people I know. My sneeze is so loud you would think my skinny self was going to crack in the next minute. To avoid smoke and paraffin I use gas, and it was the first thing I ever did for my parents, buying a gas cooker.
My main challenge lies in where I work and where I stay, a total dilemma, as both seem to be almost permanent, at least in the near future. I am a cashier, which means in the course of duty I receive cash from customers from all walks of life. From the office executives to mama mboga, from the petrol stations to the hardware dealers, from the Somali livestock trader to the Giriama charcoal dealers without discrimination. All these come bundled with dust and different scents that trigger my allergens. Most often I will be fine till the end of day when I arrive home and the sneeze kicks in while at times it’s instant. At home another challenge awaits, dust from the dusty road just next to my house. When I bought into the idea of getting the ideal corner house I had not taken into account how dry Mombasa is and that it gets dusty. To make matters worse construction of the estate is ongoing which means lorries carrying construction materials are always on the move throwing in dust at me and mine. So you see either way am doomed.
I have been in a complicated relationship with my doctor,an ENT specialist, whom I see when things get awry like yesterday. In fact after always being prescribed anti-histamines and anti-biotics i decided to seek professional help and I do not regret it. It is at this point that I learnt that all this time i had been treating the symptoms instead of dealing with the cause, I realised I had allergy issues. She,the ENT specialist, advised me to try to keep off the triggers and where a mask at work, she also prescribes some medication plus a nasal spray which I must say is a life saver. A puff and am as good as new, though I suppose this is how smokers feel at their first puff. About the mask, hmm I have been rather reluctant to put it on throughout because of stares and questions from clients. I always feel they’ll be offended, that I find their hard earned money smelly and not worth me touching it while others having asked me if am allergic to money.
So now I have resorted to accepting my smelly druggy self since even the mildest of perfumes doesn’t augur well with my nostrils it seems and wearing masks like I work in some factory and not a bank. I also never miss a tablet of celastamine and a nasal spray as I travel since I cannot control what other people do. My friends having experienced firsthand what i go through will double check and will endure the heat for fear that using the fan will cause me harm, which is the risk they run. I have learnt to love citrus fruits and you will see me buying oranges and ‘chenza’ whenever they are in season. I don’t take milk in my tea as am told dairy products increase…., instead I love black tea. I prefer lemon tea but am afraid of its slimming effect as am already skinny and slimming will reduce me to a walking stick. Honey, ginger and lemon concoction are my go-to home remedy.
Now I appreciate my uncle’s life better and I know it’s genetical, something I hope not to pass on to Sandbaby. In the meantime, Sandbaby keeps praying for me to get well and stop getting sick every now and again.
The other day I was talking to two friends and was trying to complement one of them, Judy, on how good she was looking in her new hair cut. Adelaide, the other friend, quickly cut me off,”Don’t listen to her. This one had long hair and just chopped it off. Who does that?” Then turning to me she asked, “Why did you really cut your hair?”
I smiled, you know that kind of smile you pull when you can’t truly answer a question. The smile that says I-can’t-get-into-that-right-now. But I did tell her to get over it, to move on since I had shaved my hair more four years ago and most of the people I now called colleagues could not imagine or believe I could keep let alone grow long hair.
You see, I went to a catholic primary school and the only hairstyle allowed was short and neat hair. I therefore got to start keeping my hair in high school. If you met me either in college or afterwards I would have sworn against all odds that I would never shave my hair. I was so sure that nothing and no one could convince me to let go of my beautiful long hair that i had nurtured to more than shoulder length.
That was until 2012, when fate would have me reconsider my hard stance. Most people think that women cut their hair at the spur of the moment. I’ll have you know that this is not the case, we actually spend a lot of time antagonising on the pros and cons of shaving. It is not an event my friend, its a process of thoughts, emotions and logic.
“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”~~~Coco Chanel
When a woman cuts her hair, it’s seldomly because of trends or the fact that short hair will flatter her. No, instead it marks a turning point in her life since it mostly involves something very emotional, unpleasant and most often than not will involve the man in her life. It is also true that the same woman will grow back her hair, healthier and voluminous as she grows into a new relationship and finds happiness. It therefore follows that women will cut their hair in times of strife and stress.
Consider this for a moment, how does hair and emotions relate? The simple answer is that hair represents the feminity and beauty of a woman. It also informs how a woman thinks of herself among other women,how she feels about herself. For doesn’t it say in the Bible that if a woman has long hair its glory to her? Even the woman you think is not beautiful will spend time and money to attain beautiful hair. Women all over the world invest time and money on the hair, in terms of products used and time taken to be styled. We spend on shampoos, conditioners, dyes and all sorts of hair accessories to attract attention from men. This is exactly why for a woman cutting her hair should come as a warning.
It may be explained as cutting off men, recoiling from being attractive, trying to camouflage oneself. Believing that you will become incognito and disappear from the face of the world. It may not be a conscious decision to do so and one may only come to realise it later on deep analysis.
A woman may also cut her hair in her attempt to reach out to her lover. The chop is a hint that something is not going so well in the relationship and a cry for attention. If you are sensible you will look beyond the hair cut and prod for more. If in luck you may be able to turn around your relationship. Rarely will you find women cutting their hair because it was falling of anyway or had suffered damage from over processing and the like. The first time I cut my hair it was because of two reasons. For one I thought if I cut my hair I would be less attractive and therefore command less attention from the menfolk. By extension I expected to afford my Person some reassurance of not being hit on by competition. I loathed long hair, blaming it for my misfortune not realising that my dear Person was insecure for his own reasons. It is true that a woman will withstand a lot of pain and abuse in a relationship but the minute she makes up her mind to walk away there’s no stopping her. This is how I chopped my hair, to signify a new beginning. As an African i should have buried that hair as a symbol of my new journey.
The other reason, that now seems unreal, was the lack of proper hairdressers in my new neighbourhood combined with my new calling of motherhood. When you are a working mother balancing between the self and motherhood can be tricky and most often you let yourself go. At the same time the convenience of short hair can be quite addictive, I should know because I always find myself at the barbershop.
As much as short hair is becoming trendy, what with having people like our very own Lupita Nyong’o donning it, as a man or a mother do not ignore that hair cut. At the very least she’ll be happy that you noticed her.
Every day I rise up,
I fall, dust myself and stand up,
Every number that I call up,
It’s for you.
Many times I make mistakes,
Most times I don’t bring steaks,
But am placing my stakes,
Just for you.
Every penny I make,
Every hustle I take,
Every investment I take,
Is for you.
Every dream I have,
Every memory I save,
Every time I leave,
Is for you.
I keep thinking of how to make things work so that you can get the best out of life. Sure, I have made my fair share of losses, in trying out new ventures. I won’t stop because I don’t like saying no to you, even though I may seem to have made a habit of it. Just as I experiment with recipes to churn excellent meals for you I am going to try lots of ideas until I find what works for us.
Just because I sometimes delay to come home and or get you what you want doesn’t mean I love you less, it just means am working around a perfect plan. Right now it doesn’t make sense and even if it does it still doesn’t change how you view things. I only have you to cater for, it’s my obligation,my responsibility, your right and my pleasure. Fortunately, I am confident of your love for me and this is why I continue to strive for the best for you always.