Dad, Deep and overstood, Life, Love, Prose

When the saints march out. Oh!


As I write this story, it is exactly 24 hours before the exact time I was born in 1987. If I do remember well, my mum told me I was born at 2AM, on a Sunday at the AIC Kijabe hospital. And since that day, my love for cold weather was born.

I say that because I showered with cold water since high school in Kikuyu, even in June, Kenya’s and especially Central Province’s coldest month. I would follow with the same routine in high school till I was diagnosed with pneumonia in the 3rd year of University and warm waters baths had to become my lifestyle after. It is safe to say that I never felt really clean for about a year after.

After university, I quickly moved from Buruburu, where I had had to mostly use just a bed-sheet to ward off the heat at night, to Kinoo. This was me following the cold and I would fall in love with it for the next 6 years. After the events of October 25th 2016, I had to move again in search of colder pastures. Because of exactly that I cannot feel safe revealing where I currently reside online but I can assure you that this new lover is the best of ice queens I have ever met. However this is not the reason we are all gathered here.

I am here writing because I feel I should write something as the elevator dings for me to get onto the third floor. I have been a poet all my life and hence misunderstood via grammar; misunderstood via my art. The stories of my life I have told in those words have been missed. Mostly by fans who don’t know me, disappointingly from other poets and expectedly by my family.

It is how then I found myself in Jackson Biko’s Master Class in writing last week. Yes he is also known as Bikozulu. That is like calling me edudivine but I digress. The classes were being held at the Nairobi Safari Club where I think I had a 3 day crush on our service staff manager for 3 days. Lucy (name changed to protect identity), if you are reading this, oh wait! How will she know it is her if I change her name? Dammit Edwin, you are such an idiot sometimes. Do I really call myself Edwin in my thoughts? No. I call myself nugu when I am doing or thinking something stupid. So please, take it affectionately when I call you nugu when you are being an idiot.

***

When you enter the Nairobi Safari Club, you feel like you just stepped back in time. Not in a bad way. The uniforms that the staff wears are immaculate and remind you of that greyish material that the once popular Kaunda suits were made of. There are antique wall hangings and paintings that line each wall including in the lifts as you would later find out. The rugged carpets on the floor bring on this sense of nostalgia, like you are at high tea with Tom Mboya discussing what next after the British ended their rule.

There are some sparsely thrown in parts of the decor that are very modern. I think they are inserted here so as to jolt you back to reality so your life can move on. But one thing is for sure. This hotel reminds me of my father.

***

On February 15th 2016, my father went to sleep after having had one last conversation about the cows and chickens. Some stuff about the weather was thrown in too. He never woke up. I still am yet to figure out whether it was a fortunate or sad thing that I might have talked to him last.

I wrote a tribute to him. In the best way I know how. I wrote a poem. One I could barely finish to read to the people gathered at his burial because yet again I was killing myself with my own words. However, that piece came nowhere close to saying how much I love/loved this man.

12744577_10153223113686627_5551263964911737918_n

In this lost train of thoughts, maybe I will do a better job.

2016 was a bad year. No, seriously, it was a bad year. I know some people go through worse daily or have gone through worse before and are still here. But I still find that losing my father, being robbed twice and then carjacked at gunpoint (And a bullet shot next to my head that ends up destroying the car’s exhaust I might add) then losing the love of a woman I never had to try at all to love as the lowest point of my life to date, to 30.

20161214_185556

Most people might sink into depression about this as I did. I was however sooner out of it than I had expected. One week I was booking to see a psychiatrist, the next I was up and away and continuing with life. I don’t know why but I peg it to the fact that I am too used to being depressed. And it is not even the clinical depression that I had suffered from nervous condition drugs some years back. It is what I could not describe before but finally found the word for. Existential depression.

aGVvr7X_700b

Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.

Death is an inevitable occurrence.

Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create.

Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone.

Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?

I lie up sometimes and question everything about life. About whom I am and who I am supposed to be. I resent materialism. Consider it the evil that fuels capitalism and thus a world where one person can hoard millions while their “brethren” die of hunger and diseases. An earth where most people need to eat, drink, make merry, line their pockets before they consider throwing out a morsel to those in need. It is a strange place, this one. We are running out of good enough land to be inhabited but we have golf courses ranging into thousands of hectares of great fertile land while some are doomed to be born homeless and die as squatters.

As such it is not completely surprising that I would find myself wishing for a simpler life. A life well lived rather than a life over loved.

These tiny seeds that waft into my mind and germinate on many a cold and moonless night are watered by all sorts of things. But art takes precedence. Be it the connoted themes of movies where they try to clean the earth and make love the only thing that leads again. Or the music that carries me to seas uncharted almost every single day.  I can effortlessly say that these 2 men in Kendrick and J Cole easily trigger such thoughts even with just their song titles.

Is it wickedness?
Is it weakness?
You decide
Are we gonna live or die?

While we remain united as humans, we will never have to tell our history as A TALE OF 2 CITIEZ or remember many we have lost to the FIRE SQUAD. We might have grown up with NO ROLE MODELZ. But APPARENTLY, it is healing and heartwarming to LOVE YOURZ. This would all work if we all made such a NOTE TO SELF.

It is in our BLOOD and DNA to be better than we act currently. This will not be us stepping out of our ELEMENT. We may first need to FEEL other people’s LOYALTY. Forget all our ego and PRIDE. In other words be HUMBLE. We need to forget LUST and embrace LOVE. Most of all we need to FEAR GOD. Only then will we know our “duck” WORTH.

My mother was happy to hear that I stopped drinking alcohol. I did it because I needed more time with a clear mind to think on these things. I also no longer saw the sense in adding a depressant to this already low hanging rug that life was trying to walk all over. It is good she is happy. She is one of the few little lights remaining in my life.

Just with that thought, I am now far-away in the land of the Passengers taking photos as per The Script wishing if he could see me now. When I try to remember the last time I hugged my father. I am reminded of his phone call one day when I was 24, my father said: “Don’t you worry, child.”

I hope heaven’s got a plan for me.

For Gianna & Pietro – the stars that never got to shine

Culture, Life, Prose

Una Noche Loca – Part 1 The Ascent


I knew I had the story to write about way before I had the title. The events of the past weekend but one will remain etched in my memory. There was fun, pain (caused by old age and other organisms), fear, hope, desperation and prayer. At the end of the less than 24 hour ordeal. We were all a bit stronger than we went in. We were tired but we (most of us that is) made a promise to face the demon again. All tools required for the exorcism at hand this time. I have an inclination to melodrama and hence the introduction might read like we were the cast of a real great movie. But no, this happened. and I will try to narrate the events to as much accuracy as I can remember.

That Saturday started in a very different way than most. Saturday 6 AM does not normally find me awake, dressed and calling people to plan for meeting points, items of clothing and wake other people up. I sleep at around 4 AM on Saturday mornings, wake up after midday and spend most of the day in boxers and a vest. So you see the difference, oh and we all know how much I hate phone calls. Yet I spend hours on calls with her. (We are not going to discuss this. I have spiked your interest I hope.)

About 3 hours later, having fought the Limuru mist where the 50KPH speed limit in Nairobi seems like Need For Speed kind of movement. We arrived at the foot of the Aberdares. We got lost..twice. Our rental van driver is not the best at directions but he’s a real good human being. You’ll know why later in the story or in the next one. We had only 7 hours to go up and back down Aberdares Elephant Hill. 4 hours to go up, 3 hours to go down.

We started at a slow pace, waiting for each other at certain points. But with time elapsing and with the Central province clouds gathering. We realised some people were here for a stroll, others for sight-seeing and then there was us who were here to conquer the hill, nature and some of our demons if possible. When you have a brain that keeps you awake for 48 hours sometimes without a wink of sleep. You’ll understand why, I needed the body to be fatigued in all kinds of ways. Just to get some beauty sleep that night. We gradually left the others behind and with the first ranger (There were 2, one at the front, the other at the back.) we set our sights on being at the peak before 6PM.

Soon after, hell’s fiery gates were becoming a bit loose at the hinges. We just didn’t know it. We laughed on the way. I was feeling the sweat on my brow and enjoying it. I love sweating for the right stuff, not like the current Nairobi sun in which you yawn and your palms become damp and have to take another liter of water. We had been walking for about an hour now. I could feel no fatigue. My lungs were working exceptionally well. I must be good at this cardio stuff. 😛 What I hadn’t counted on was the silly legs giving in.

I play football when I can, I walk to town almost everyday from Riverside and do squats with dumbbells every week day. So it was a complete surprise when passing through some bamboos, my right calf locked in a painful muscle cramp that had me on the ground in seconds. I was hurling cusses that would make milk curdle. 30 seconds later, the peeping hole in hell’s gates was open now. I was covered in Safari ants. Something tells me laughing at Wanja’s ordeal the week before or is it after? (My Karma might be a real mean b**** to see into the future) warranted this punishment. Yes she was attacked by Safari ants. 😀

This time, the cussing took an almost medieval turn. I think I was insulting those ants in Ogiek and high Neanderthalish. And these were not small ants, the ants in the Aberdares are either GymRats or Ninjas. With the bamboo cover, for an instance I felt like I was in Crouching Stupid Hidden Stubborn. My woes did not end there. As I stood up to run from them, mind you my other foot was still cramping so I was half walking, half crawling away. The left foot got the same cramp at the calf. I know, this is starting to seem far fetched. But nothing could be closer to the truth. At this time I let out a universal and forest wide “F***************************************************K!!”. It’s when I heard the echo and no person answering that I realised I was alone. Bollocks!!

In my struggle, I had been left too far behind by the pacesetters and was too far in front of the the second group. So here I was under cover of the bamboo trees closely knit together. No one in sight. Barely able to stand and slowly removing ants from hair. (Where’s a nice grooming monkey when you need one?) It’s at this particular moment that my aforementioned overactive brain decides to think of any eccentric wild animal that doesn’t follow rules and is not nocturnal like it should be. Like a leopard maybe. I grabbed a broken bamboo (seen below, we were to be companions for longer than I ever imagined) and now limping with both feet, (How possible that is only remains to be seen) trudged uphill, my cusses now reduced to whispers and whimpers with every step and now suffering from pain induced perspiration.

All Moses jokes aside. See my staff. :)
All Moses jokes aside. See my staff. 🙂

I did finally catch up with the team. They decided to wait for me. And boy was I happy to see them. I made grinning from ear to ear very literal.

How little I knew, the day would be getting worse. Because of the guy in red next to me.
How little I knew, the day would be getting worse. Because of the guy in red next to me.
DSC_0106
And here they waited for me. The Ranger having abandoned them and headed to the top.

My moods revived and a drink of water after. I was once again at the front. Leading the team to this goal that we were so intent on achieving. Do not ask me why they agreed to be led by a foul mouthed, injured and still ant infested Moses look alike. Oh the Moses part could have been it. Or maybe I just looked the most edible and of course the least capable of running away on the chance encounter with a wild animal. They’d take home a scapecoat of many colours to my mum if that happened. (Please, please tell me you got the genius of that statement 😛 )

If I fully describe the things we had to endure later on in the journey. These events might dilute the sincerity of the story. All I know is this. When the calves could no longer pain. Or my central nervous system just decided to ignore the pain. It was then that the cramps moved to my quadriceps (I can’t say thighs because for some reason that sounds lady-like. Worse in Swahili “Mapaja” Not a negative thing though). In the same order. My right quad then the left. At least no more ants then. But we would take a break every 1 minute, there was more rock than vegetation. Now with no more ability to lift my legs. I was wading through mud and water. The below is testament. Check the pants.

The thinking man pose was just to convince ourselves that we weren't idiots for having come this far.
The thinking man pose was just to convince ourselves that we weren’t idiots for having come this far.

I was the willpower despite the lack of the ability to walk normally anymore. And my friends had the strength to keep me up when I was almost falling down. And at 6.30PM, I stepped at that peak, as the first of 2 people in our group. The other being Cesar who had made sure I wasn’t left behind to be some animal’s dinner or an elephant’s rag doll.

We made it to the top. And with our perseverance as inspiration many more than we had expected made it too.  We smiled and laughed and lay on the grass exhausted. But a really cold fog covered us and we knew we had to get back down and soon. It would be a 2 hour descent. With heavy rain probably coming, animals waking up for the hunt and of course darkness and a very expansive bamboo forest to cross.

DSC_0017
It got cold quickly at the peak. Gloves came out fast.
DSC_0144
The A – Team
DSC_0035
People holding each other up for a photo.. This is a perfectly balanced symbiotic relationship. 😀
DSC_0124
Doesn’t this remind you of Munyao on that Independence Day moment?
DSC_0142
This photo has no filter, no flash was used and no it wasn’t sunny. We were surrounded by white, cold fog.

Join me on part 2 – The Descent

Deep and overstood, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Prose

Judas Iscariot: Stain or Saint?


It’s been a while since I did some prose work. The most weird part is that I barely noticed. When you have someone making your poetic juices flow. You just let your world drown in them. When you wake up dead, you swim in them and end up at the World’s End. It is when she becomes your Calypso, forgives you despite your drunkenness in her. Your scales and tentacles fall off. You’re free to play the piano and music once again soothes your cold cold soul. Now that I have written some non nonsensical purple prose that some might ask for an explanation to. I can go ahead and write about what the title and the entire post is about.

Before we go too far in the conversation. I will need to state this: I AM A CHRISTIAN, I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST AS MY PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR TILL THE END OF MY DAYS. I guess that will calm atheists down, I am not stepping over to your side and never will. With that said, let me indulge you in a topical discussion that I have had with some of Sanaa people before. At a religious level, people (meaning InSanaaNites) are always ready to indulge, without so much judgement. I believe that’s the way it was meant to be. The inspiration for this post came from a friend’s status update, and comical as it was. It got me thinking on some level of knowledge acquisition that most of us have learnt to suppress for fear of reprimand, “blasphemy” or being judged harshly. I will post the relevant part of the conversation that was had in the comments section of that update.

…………….

…………..

…………..

Oh, if you wonder why the spaces up there, it is because when we (My friend and I) looked for the update on which we had this quite hilariously intellectual rather intellectually hilarious discussion, we couldn’t find it. It seemed someone had decided to report it and have it removed from his Timeline. Bollocks!! It’s his TL. Like really who does that?? *Calm down Bandit, calm down*

Anyway, the content and the questions therein that I can remember were:

  • God knew Peter’s life before he was formed in his mother’s womb. That means Jesus knew Peter would deny Him and He told him rightfully so. So question was, if Peter was really to exercise his “freewill”. Was he going to not deny Jesus and prove the Son of God wrong?
  • Of course with the line above that refers to mother’s womb brings up the discussion. Adam and Eve were not born of man. So they came from no womb. So might they actually have been the ones with the only freewill and they messed up? And is it possible, even God had not foreseen that?
  • Finally, of course the titular character. Judas Iscariot whom we called Judas “muici wa karati” while growing up which translates to Carrot Thief. Without him, someone else would have been chosen to betray Jesus, probably even Peter who clearly easily denied him. Not forgetting the doubting Thomas who even after all those miracles he had witnessed did not believe Jesus was alive again. Like dude, you were there when He raised Lazarus, why would you not believe He could raise himself? Or finally Matthew the tax collector who was more into money, the olden day KRA. 🙂 All I’m saying is, without Judas, there’d be probably be no salvation for us. We’d have had to live with the original sin. So what does one classify him as?

With the above said, it does give you something to think about. Just last Sunday I asked at a family gathering, why there are some verses of the Bible I’ve never heard read in church. Isn’t the whole book supposed to be His Word? I’ve read of rape in the Bible, concubines, Solomon was a modern day literoticist (my own word). And yet when I pen such poems I am labelled a….nah that’s a discussion for another day.

The answer I got was that these were rules that kind of disappeared with the first coming of Jesus. He became the intercessor and we are saved by believing in Him and asking him to become our Saviour. Of course one has to try to stay righteous. I use the word try because I am not sure whether any one person can achieve 100% righteousness being as the stain of the original sin is supposed to stay with all of us.

In the end, my belief in God supersedes the things that certain religions have tried to impose on human beings. The Catholic church still fights with the Protestants while they read from the same book. Ok, I understand there are some differing or additional books somewhere.

The God I serve is in my being, I feel His Love. And when it comes to His Love, 1 Corinthians 13: 4 -7 holds true. Otherwise quoted and applied in how well I know my God. He is patient, kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He  is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs once you accept Him. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And I will say this as I have said before. The day I lost my religion, is the day I felt closest to God.

I’ll probably get some backlash for this but I always find it so weird. How harshly we as Christians judge. We judge the gay people, the alcoholics, the smokers etc yet commit the very engraved sins on the 10 commandments on a weekly or daily basis. And isn’t judging also a sin? Isn’t there a part in the Bible that alludes to one being judged as harshly as they judge others?

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I am a Christian via Jesus Christ not the worldwide conflicting definition of who Christians are.

And to the person who reported our discussion, a brief word from my friend:

“May the fleas of a thousand camels be with you.”

Life, Love, Manes, Prose

My hair says: “I am not his head.”


We shall skip the introductory hullabaloo on me having long hair, how long I have had it for etc. We all know I have long hair. We all know, some would wish I cut it. Others have a fetish for it. Others are jealous. Mostly girls. 🙂 I will skip directly to why I keep it and hopefully lay all those questions I have had to answer to rest. I will use a template as I did in my last blog post. I found it simple to follow and it does tone down my ADD. So here goes:

A0X5wTwU

WHY: I will pretend that it had something to do with Samson and having the Bible read to me at an early age but his ending was not so good now was it? I also sometimes mention one Frank Morgan from the old Home and Away, yes the 90s one. The one who was in love with Bobby. (I am that old) Him.

Home and Away
Home and Away

But those are all purported reasons. The real reason as I have told many before and was telling one Wanja this morning is that I have a fascination with hair. I like..wait love is the word.. love hair. I find it funny that this weirdly stringy and sometimes kinky tufts pierce through your skin for sometimes no reason at all. Point to note (toe and finger hair plus almost invisible arm hair). They say a man is supposed to keep his hair short. But then why does it grow? I have always asked. If I was meant to have short hair, should it just not grow? And I guess all the ladies would have hair flowing to their calves. And no horses would have to lose their manes lol. Fact of the matter is. As long as you’re not busy modifying who God made you to be by bleaching, tattooing etc. (not judging by the way). You can let your God given body parts stay as they are. Is hair a body part? I digress.

Since the argument above does not seem to hold water with most people (notwithstanding the fact that my African hair is allergic to water too 😀 ). I have decided to list some other benefits of long hair except the reins ability (If you get this, I like you already). I am going to go all scientific and evolutionary for the next few paragraphs.

Humans (and horses) are among the few species that may grow their head hair very long. Humans are believed to have lost their fur 2.5-3 million years ago when transiting from a forest habitat to the open savanna, as an effect of natural selection, since this development made it possible to run fast and hunt animals close to the equator without getting overheated. An exception was however head hair, which was kept to provide thermal insulation of the scalp from the sun, to protect against ultra-violet radiation exposure, and also to provide cooling (when sweat evaporates from soaked hair). 

The ability to grow long straight hair, has been observed among Homo sapiens sub-groups in less sunny regions further away from the equator. Relative to kinky Afro-textured hair, straight hair allows more UV light to pass to the scalp (which is essential for the production of vitamin D, that is important for bone development).10400682_27983481626_4938_n

Scientists also view the ability to grow very long hair as a result of sexual selection, since long and healthy hair is a sign of fertility and youth. Long lustrous female hair is rated attractive by both men and women across cultures. An evolutionary biology explanation for this attraction is that hair length and quality can act as a cue to youth and health, signifying a woman’s reproductive potential.

As hair grows slowly, long hair may reveal 2–3 years of a person’s health status, nutrition, age and reproductive fitness. Malnutrition and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins due to starvation causes loss of hair or changes in hair color (e.g. dark hair turning reddish). The prevalence of trichophilia (hair partialism or fetishism) is 7% in the population, and very long hair is a common subject of devotion in this group.

We are done here no?? It just goes to show that I am a sexy hors..I mean beast who needs no umbrella for UV protection. 😀

TILL WHEN: This is an easy one. I don’t plan to shave my hair. Ever! That is unless I get a head injury and have to be stitched or something. This might seem unlikely but when you had a big brother using you head as a javelin target when growing up. You can see how that might happen. (He is the original YouTube athlete. 😛 ) . I will wait till all of it falls off. I will have a grey ponytail if need be.

WHY NOT DREADLOCKS: This is a no-brainer. Girls would say styling. They need to look different once in a while. But no, my answer as my character is as weird. I like combing hair. So I have to be able to have it open once in a while for this. I however discovered some other benefits of having hair you can comb. See below:6Capture250173_10150201482291627_3700119_n

The various benefits of combing of hair and scalp daily are:

  • This activity cleanses your hair better than using any artificial shampoo
  • It eliminates waste materials from your hair including uric acid crystal deposits, catarrh and other acids and other impurities that gather and stick to the scalp
  • It helps in stimulating the blood capillaries, thereby increasing the blood circulation and transportation of nutrients and oxygen to the stem, root and bulb of the hair.
  • It helps in stimulating various oil and hormone producing glands. This helps in keeping the pores of the hair and scalp open, thereby activating breathing. It also helps hair in retaining their natural oils.
  • By combing your hair properly you add life, shine and volume to your hair.lkosl3gas

Now that I am done with this simple post that no one asked me to do. I just realised I had planned to have various photos of my hair in between various explanations but for now I’ll just place them haphazardly for your liking, envy, fetishes etc. 😀

252852_10150201482936627_2129491_n

Culture, Deep and overstood, Dionysus, Kenya, Life, Love, Lust, Prose, Travel

Monday..brrr….yawn…oh..a template… :)


Namaste bi…Wait that’s Kevin Mutua’s greeting on the Sanaa Whatsapp group. It’s been a cold 2 months and now we are on the 3rd one. Heed Eddard Starks words : “Winter is coming” and Ebola might be the Whitewalkers. Just thinking out loud.

I found it fun when I found this template. Seems people have direct answers for most of this stuff. But as usual my brain always reads too much into simple words so this is my version.

 

Making: Love? No? Ok, making time count. I am trying to get loads of things I have procrastinated on before done. Like editing my poetry script and hopefully publish the best 30.

Cooking: Way too many eggs!! I have them in everything. Rice, Toast, Spaghetti etc. But I am craving that protein and energy due to my new workout regime. Twice a day at 7 AM and 10 PM is hard work especially after a long day’s at work.

Drinking: Tusker. But that’s too common. So the new thing I’m drinking is Kate’s Organics Green Tea. I have had it in my work locker for a while now. It’s a great stress reliever, antioxidant and yes, that secret weight loss method I have used before. Dropped 5 kgs in a month. Now dropped 15 to date. Oh but don’t think that is the only thing you gotta do. I don’t take sugar at all and remember working out mentioned above.

Reading: Game of Thrones. Been at it on my phone for 3 months now. Had to find something to do once the series was done for the moment.

Wanting: To find a football pitch with a real organised team close to work. I am tired of my own where the pitch has so much gravel that every time I fall, I’m ruled out for 2 months. How will I ever manage to impress Wenger’s scouts??

Playing: I wanna say her but I am single so mmmhh let’s say Candy Crush but I got stuck at level 86 four months ago and I kind of gave up. I have therefore for the moment joined the bandwagon of hating on those who send requests on Facebook.

Wasting: Sleeping hours. I sleep for about 4 hours daily. Except on weekends when I overdo it. I need to sleep more. But that means I need to slow down my brain without using any drugs. Proving to be quite a feat.

Sewing: My vests?? I think I should just buy new ones or just stop working out. Or both. My biceps are 12 inches now. I think. I know brag brag brag…so my sleeved vests suffer.

Enjoying: Watching arsenal’s pre-season games. Sanogo is coming of age but that kid Bellerin is who I want to see more of. Damn that pace!!

Liking: My renewed OCD to clean up for myself. No more washing ladies and I have managed to do my washing and general cleaning 5 times now.

Loving: The fact that I found these bunch of misfits we met while in high school. All of them. There was Ann, Tracy and Nyambura. And all of us finally, all of us reconnected on Facebook. It has been a long 10 years.

Dreaming: Of Premier League glory. So close and possible I can almost taste it.

Hoping: That she understands my French. My words, my poetry, my only mastered language. 😀 Who is she? I have no idea.

Marveling: At these Dubai water fountains that dance to “I will always love you” in tribute to Whitney Houston. The science and the art that went into this is amazing.

Needing: 3 table spoons of codeine filled cough syrup so I can get some sleep. These coughing is making me lose so much sleep.

Smelling: Absolutely nothing. The almost 3 month cold spell has done well to work against my flu immunity and I get like a bout every 2 weeks. So now my nose is blocked. Food tastes like cardboard. (Don’t ask when I ever tasted it but I did.) But worst of all, I hate the coughing that makes girls shun you just at the moment when you need warmth and hugs. 😦 😛

Wearing: This awesome blazer. Well worth the price. Even the camera guys at the Heineken Desperado Launch could not stop taking photos of it. 😀  Thanks B.A.K.E for the invite again.

 

Photo Courtesy of Bundi Anassi Photography
Photo Courtesy of Bundi Anassi Photography

Following: @Jeanwandimi  of http://thewineandfoodreview.com/ and  of  http://theveon.wordpress.com/ One writes about wine and alcoholic events 😀 , the other about campus stories and puppy love poetry. 😛 Both read my blog. Great writers and great personalities.

Noticing: Despite my initial criticism of Instagram, 2 weeks without an android phone is killing me. I also miss Instant Twitter. Follow me at @TheDivineBandit and http://instagram.com/thedivinebandit I won’t follow back today or this week either but I will when I come back to a 100+ notifications.

Knowing: I’m like 3 years away before the nudges at family events to “get married” become full on body charges followed by a scrum down and a neighbour’s daughter as a try. That sounded mean but I had to clear the sports analogy.

Feeling: Happy despite the blocked nose, inflamed throat and erratic coughing. I am alive and so is all of my nuclear family and my best friends and friends. Most that I know of are in good health. Feeling a bit sad when I think of Robin Williams. A little is an understatement.

Eating: P….Pus…It’s spelled Pistachios damnit!! I like indulging in some exotic nuts..Ok this keeps sounding wrong. So I guess I’m done. 😀

#IAmKenyan, Culture, Deep and overstood, Kenya, Life, Love, Politricks, Prose, Travel, War

The Man in the Mirror needs to be Kenyan


I had a harder time coming up with a title for this post than I had writing it. This is because I always knew how I would tell the story. How I would pass the story across. How despite my Kiswahili influenced phrase translation, I knew most of my audience would get it. That’s because they are Kenyan. When they read this, they don’t apply a particular accent to it. No, they use that familiar pronunciation that most are accustomed to. Yes, that way Kenyans speak that makes people always question where I’m from every time I travel. They seem to easily recognize the Oga and other Western African accents, I have been told the Tanzanian’s English is more sing-song than we can tell. And of course in Omugurusi’s country, they are easy to identify and well popularised by the hilarious Anne Kansiime.

Most of us especially writers insist on writing British English despite the fact that it’s harder to speak in the same accent. We have “U’s” in humour, favourite and all our endeavours. See what I did there? We also have “S” in place of “Z” in the past participle of most verbs. I actually forcefully use the S in my posts no matter how many red lines appear under my words. If you have been on my blog before, you will realise that these first two paragraphs are what I use to get my mind to focus. ADD is a bitter gift and a sweet curse. But I have the hang of it now.

About 3 weeks ago, I was to do a post that would have started with the simple phrase: “I HATE KENYA!!” My reasons would have been justified. As far as my perspective was concerned. See, I had been in Angola for just over 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, I had to contend with knowing  blood was flowing back at home. My brothers and sisters were getting killed or maimed for life. And this had prompted quite an emotional post from the south side of Africa. Ironically, here I was in a country that had experienced civil war into the 21st century. They had obviously learnt their lesson from what I could see around. They all mostly speak Portuguese and marry without discrimination on tribe or colour bases. This is saying a lot. The country has a machete in its flag for Chrissake. And yes, I know that was not the intended meaning.

Cogs, Machetes and Stars. But still peace reigns.
Cogs, Machetes and Stars. But still peace reigns.

Back to why I hated Kenya at that particular moment. I landed on a Monday at 3 am. And I was still a bit sad from the news I had read while abroad. I was supposed to be off  work for the next 2 days due to travel and jet-lag. But I had a conference on Tuesday and so despite the fatigue, I was up by 6 am to pick up a Ugandan guest who was here to attend said conference. Long story short, by 8 am that day, I was not nodding off to sleep at Geographical Information Systems conference. I was standing in a stuffy, ammonia smelling, wall graffiti ridden room at Kibera Law Courts.

It’s still art no? #Scofield Moments

Yes, I had been arrested. For failing to use a pretty non-existent pedestrian crossing as I crossed Waiyaki way. Yes, I was at fault as long as the rule of law is concerned. But, yes I would do the same thing over and over as I told the cops as other guests at the back of the “Maria” tried to negotiate for their release. The thing is, on Waiyaki way, it does not matter where you cross the road, (that is unless you have a foot bridge close to you), you still have to rush across it like a demented oryx who learnt how to walk from Bambi to avoid getting hit by the onrushing traffic. See, no one slows down at the said pedestrian crossings. Some cars actually seem to speed up near them so as to avoid traffic that might be caused by people crossing. It does not help the case that the road is sometimes widest at these same points. I tried asking why not arrest the reckless drivers first who have made the pedestrian crossings unusable. I got comically stupid answers like “We will start with you today then we will move to the drivers.” Yes, you would have to use the Pedestrian crossing for the moment and if you got hit while following the law, they would make sure the driver paid heavily for your physiotherapy or your funeral. I had to pocket just to avoid slapping the tiny brain out of his ear.

But the arrest alone was not the reason I was so angry at the country. Neither the fact that I had to wait a whole day, standing till my old sports injured foot hurt like hell to pay a one thousand Kenya shillings fine. Nor was it the fact that some people charged the previous day with the same offence had been fined 20K or a month in jail. I thanked my stars I was not one of them. No, I was angry at the fact that in that one day, we were about 1000 people that were charged with such a minor traffic offence. I was angry as I saw a man arrested carrying business wares in a paper bag; weep at the fact that he could not afford the fine. Yes the poor would become more poor. But most of all I was angry at the fact the perpetrators of Mpeketoni attacks had gone through traffic blockades without getting arrested. I was angry that the grenade attackers had evaded these same cops. This great law enforcement order that could arrest 1000 people in one day for not crossing the road properly. Yes, they had missed an internationally re-known terrorist who would end up bringing terror and bloodshed at Westgate. Yes, my innate patriotism was gone. I could not afford to be loyal to this country. The next chance I got for better pastures, I would not even cross the border chewing cud. But that was 3 weeks ago.

My rationale is always too strong. So with time, love for my country has come back. As always we know who to blame. But we always forget about the man in the mirror. Yes, 26 years since the Michael Jackson hit. We still sing along without taking into account the lyrics. I will not adopt a holier than thou attitude and pretend I have not been in the least bit tribal before. But I have over time always worked to negate any history I might have had with that ugly attribute. I actually stopped using my actual second name so that one could not easily tell what tribe I was from. That way we could act with no prejudice. Be friends unconditionally. My 7 best friends are Kalenjin, Punjabi, Meru, Giriama, Luo, Kamba and Taita. I did not choose for them to be. No, their personalities are what makes them be accorded such honours. I have to state that I am Kikuyu otherwise this will not make sense. In that cell, my best friend was a Luo. Yes, in the eyes of our so-called leaders, we are supposed to be water and oil. They make jokes that never can you eat Omena with Githeri. Such shameless and archaic analogies.

We had been talking since the bumpy, overloaded, no-safety belt ride from Waiyaki way via Ngong road to Kibera. None was benefiting from the other. We just shared jokes and political quips. But by the end of the day, the relationship was forced to become symbiotic. He had no one to pay for his fine at the bank so I had my best friend do it for him. And with his knowledge of the Luo language he made sure he negotiated with the senior cop so we did not sleep in a cell. He was a brother in alms. (Yes I spelled that right). We even took the same cab to work from the hell in a cell. “Omera, Nyasaye ogwedhi”

I hope this is not the rapper, but it just might be..

I have written a post on how I was taught how to love growing up. One thing I was not taught is how to hate. I was actually taught of how evil that would be. How much of a sin that was. In later life when certain people have driven me to such an extent. i have only learnt of how consuming hate is on the person producing it than the one receiving it. It is a cancer. And its consequences are almost as deadly if not worse.

Yes, we called Luos, “Mera” growing up but that had loads to do with the repeated phrase; “Omera” . Which I later came to learn is one of the most endearing words in the language as it means “my brother”. I admired the Luo workers who used to live in Central Province then. This number has since significantly dwindled. They were hardworking, astute, muscular and if you know me then you would knowI kind of very much followed in these footsteps. (Just like being Luo, GymRat is a lifestyle 🙂 ) I have said before, I am a child of the world. I really do not care where my good qualities come from. All humans are my brothers and sisters. My enemies are those who try to oppress them or hurt them regardless of their creed, race or tribe.

Because whichever political rally you attend, whomever you vote for. It’s that neighbour you sell your wares too, that driver who drives your kids to school, that friend in your network who informs you of a vacancy at his workplace. That is your real friend. When in need, your wedding committees, your burial and funeral arrangements, your hospital bill Harambee does not have IDs being checked for tribal name tags. Yet, all and sundry who have known you, have respected you and have loved you will show up at your door.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children

We are the perfect generation to exact change in this country. We are not the leaders of tomorrow but those of today. We can change two generations at once. We can change our parents and make sure our kids never learn otherwise. They learn nothing but love. They never learn to be Luo, Kikuyu, Kamba or Kalenjin. Teach them to be Kenyan. Yes I know it will be not be easy. Nothing worth it ever is. You cannot give up on this. The whole country will depend on you. Your heroism will be unsung. Not a single verse will be written in your honour. But I will stand too. I am sure as hell that I am not alone. My brothers and sisters from all parts of Kenya already ride with me. Are you willing to join me? I am not a Kikuyu, I am not black. #IAmKenyan

This will not be poetic, this will not be prose.

And for some time the thorns will outshine the rose.

The book will not be written. The history not recorded.

The wise will understand for the message will be coded.

The blind will hear the message and communicate it to the deaf.

The couriers will be the dumb so the secret will never be known.

We will have not seen, heard or said anything evil.

The war will be fought by the crippled, master minded by the bald heads of cancer patients.

You see the battle will not need brute strength.

The lid on the jar is already open and the concern will be how to get it back on.

The man in the mirror will already be one with his reflection.

The step of the Boy Scouts will sound like the army, but we will not hear it.

The bubble wrap around this new world will sound like gunshots but we will not fear it.

Peace, love and unity will be tissue thin but we will not tear it.

The struggle will be real but we will bear it.  

THE DIVINE BANDIT October 17, 2013

Check out: http://iamkenyan.or.ke/

Kwani?, Life, Love, Njeri, Prose

Back to my cheating ways….


Hold up…hold up..hold up…

Do not kill the messenger before you get to read the message. The title is from a lengthy explanation given here by one Michael Ngigi. The kind of cheating described here is not one all the non loyal “jembes” and “mbwa kokos” might have in mind. It is a very artistic description of how to be true to oneself, your goals, your dreams etc. In real sense, it describes how to never let go of the person you were when someone else fell in love with you.

Last night I was at Arfa lounge. For the Kwani? Open Mic July 2014 edition. This was roughly 3 or 4 years since the last time I was at one. Like seriously, it had been so long I actually first went to the now non-existent Club Soundd where the show used to be before. The guard was almost hysterically laughing at the idea that I actually live in Nairobi. I did not dare correct him and tell him 87 is not Nairobi and I actually do see the “Kwaheri Nairobi” notice every evening as I head home.

That aside, I had to call one Ngarrrtia, he who possesses the shiniest of trophies according to Sanaa ladies. I wouldn’t know. He was able to give me the info I needed and 3 minutes later I was at the Arfa lounge entrance. Now 3 years makes quite a huge difference in Kenya or any other country for that matter. I used to pay 100 to get into Club Soundd before and now the charge is at 400 Kenya shillings. But I was here, I was ready to get back in the game. I was ready to cheat. Even if just on my multiple personalities.

See the background to this story is. I always loved poetry and have never really been afraid of standing and presenting in front of people. Since I was a kid. Yes, I do have stage fright just like any other person but I have too much of an ego to involve it in my performance. So yes I do breathe in deeply before I walk on stage but that’s just about it. I started performing poetry at Kwani? in 2007 and by 2009 I was so used to it I was the featured poet. In case you don’t believe me like most people. Find the event archive here. It’s then that I met Cindy Ogana who was still there this Tuesday, having not aged a single day since then. People say such things to be polite, but really she had the cutest baby boy since then whom I call King Arthur. And she still rocks those same locks, longer of course by now. This is my truth, I really can’t see any change from the person she was. She’s crazy, she’s nuts, she’s eccentric and had all of us in fits about the book from Kwanini? Series by the title “The Cock Thief” by Parselelo Kantai.

All in all, I lost my position in this love for performance, love for literature, love for writing. And all to what? Relationships! See I’m a last born of 7 and I’m 27. That can tell you that my family is not in the least bit the “a la mode” kind when it comes to doing things. Especially on love and relationships. You could say we blow things out of proportion so I guess we really are NUCLEAR. Anyway, the consequence of this is that I was not taught how to love. You learn ON THE GO. If they ask you whether YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT love. You clearly have no answer for it. Let me specify, the kind of love I am talking about here is the boy-girl relationship kind.

See, my mama taught me 2 kinds of love. To love God and to love my family. So in that department I was covered. But big mistake is when you apply that kind of teaching to this 3rd kind of love. The 2 former types of love are full of unshakable trust and they are very unconditional. So I was accustomed to applying this kind of teaching to my relationships. See, I would meet someone and they would become the apple of my eye then end up leaving me all beaten and blue like they threw an apple at my eye.

But  I am not  here to discuss that today. What this post is about is the fact that I lost my way. I lost my life goals, I started existing instead of living. See, doing the things you love and not just the one you love is the true measure of happiness. 😀 😛 I have done a lot of arts in my life. I have danced hip hop, taught salsa, acted, sang etc. But writing and performing my work is the epitome of the person I am. In and out. It is the one thing I can’t let go of, I shouldn’t let go of. Like my hair, it is my one man religion on my soul pavilion.

I wrote so little during the last 3 years. But since my last relationship, since the last 7 months, I have written enough to be back in the game. And last night was my first step on the renewed stage. Yes I might be way older. If being referred to as a veteran poet was not a sign enough then going there with my face looking like this did not help. I blame it on the Uhuru government though. I came back from Angola only to find that my barber had hiked the fee and now I have to wait for end of month to shave.

Bearder dan most!! hehe
Bearder dan most!! hehe

Still, I learn something new every day, every month and every year. This is a lesson I will keep ingrained in my mind. Never lose what you loved doing before meeting someone. Because that is what probably attracted them to you. Do not become a bore. That passion you had for screaming at a football match. Keep it. Never stop performing (I really mean on stage here). I’m not sure whether “stone throwing” for Gor fans applies. But you can throw something at her. Not HARD things though (ok, one) 🙂 Throw her a pillow, a kiss (blow but you get me), a rotten banana. You see that old guitar you used to strum only a few chords on and only knew one song on it? Keep at it. She might roll her eyes when you do but innately and probably sub consciously, it is one thing she likes about you. Not the lack of talent at playing the instrument. But your persistence. Your ability to keep trying.

A performer’s best attribute is his confidence, his charisma etc. A writer’s strong points are his creativity, his humour, his exposure to the world. Do not look for the best person to love, make and keep yourself lovable and the best person will find you.

Shihan has some crazy ideas on what love should be. That will be a discussion for another day but I will leave some excerpts here:

“I want a love like
Me thinking of you
Thinking of me thinking of you type love……….

…….I want to try counting the ways I love her
And lose count in the middle just so I have to start all over again
And I want to celebrate one of those one month anniversaries
Even though they ain’t really anniversaries
But doing it just ‘cause it make her happy type love……

……And I want a love that makes me st-st-st-st-stutter
Just thinking about how strong this love is type love
And I want a love that makes me want to cut off all my hair
Well, maybe not all of the hair
Maybe like I cut the split ends and trim my moustache
But it would still be a symbol of how strong my love for her….

………And check this, I kind of feel comfortable now
So I even be fantasizing about walking out on a green light
Just dying to get hit by a car
Just so I could lose my memory
Get transported to some third world country just to get treated
Then somehow meet up again with you so I can fall in love with you
In a different language and see if it still feels the same type love
I want a love that’s as unexplainable as she is”