Mother will never know

Mother does not know where I am going, and she never will.

All she ever does is make me work. Before sunrise, I mop the house and polish the floor. I dust the seats and sweep the carpet. When the sun rises, I fetch water from the village well and wash clothes. I clean and clean and clean. By the time the sun is overhead, I go with Mother to the market, and then I get dinner ready, as Mother sits on the verandah, waving to the neighbours and beaming with pride when they tell her what a good daughter she has. Let her think I am still her good girl. Continue reading

Adam influenced the vote

I wanted an improvement in my living conditions. I figured electing an effective chairman to head our resident’s association would be a good place to start.

I studied the candidates’ profiles and made a neat little table: pros and cons on one side, a tally of points on the other. I was on my way to an objective decision.

Then that little ‘unmentionable’ Adam happened. I don’t know how he talked me into it. Before I knew it, my list was forgotten, the vote was blindly cast, and now I fear I have to endure another year of poor living.

I wish the neighbours would fight

Last night was peaceful. You’d get my meaning if you knew my neighbours. They fight. They fight often. It’s loud. It’s ugly. It keeps everyone up.

Last night we all took the night off. I was happy to hear my own heartbeat again. I drew the blinds. I dimmed the lights. I got my bowl of popcorn. I burrowed into the couch and started the film.

And then I heard that eerie sound again: the kitchen door opening, distinct footsteps slowly coming my way. I froze. My pounding heart rose to my throat. How I wished the neighbours would fight.

See me as you wish, and I’ll see myself for what I really am

A slender, dark-skinned, seemingly exhausted policemen stops our car somewhere along the Mombasa – Nairobi highway. He asks to see my driving license. I reach for my handbag, pull out my wallet, extract the document and hand it over to him. He flips it open, gives it a cursory glance and says, “I want you to give me your own licence.” Continue reading

Running for our money

How many times have I had to explain sheepishly that even though I’m Kenyan, I don’t run marathons with the ease of those gold and silver and bronze medal winning men and women who have carried our flag high for so many decades, and whose image is now getting tarnished by that phrase ‘performance enhancing drugs?’ Continue reading

Taking flight – Please not through the window

Quotation mark copyHere are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing.

– Chuck Wending (Terrible Minds)

There I am, sitting in the back row of a cramped meeting room on the upper floor of the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi with a group of young Kenyans, their faces full of enthusiasm, their bodies pulsating with vibrant energy. The ideas are not in short supply. They range from the ambitious ‘change-the mainstream-thinking’ to the usual ‘I just want to tell people about what makes me tick’.  Some have discovered curious treasures,  archives just waiting to be burst open to take the public on mystical journeys to the past. No, there is no shortage of ideas. There I sit, in the back row, next to the window, hoping that I, and my jaded and uninspired soul, can take flight when the opportunity presents itself. Continue reading

Vegetarian for a day

A distant vibrating sound rouses me from my deep slumber. For a few seconds, I think I’m dreaming. And then I hear it. The hooves of a herd of cattle, pounding the stony earth road, the whoosh of a whip cutting through the still air, the deep bellow of a full-grown  bull. My sleep disappears with the moon. The herd disappears through the gate to oblivion. Onward to the slaughterhouse that supplies the city with fresh beef every morning.

I drag myself out of bed and through the day in a sleepy daze. On my way home, as I wait to be served at the local butchery, my thoughts are drowned by that staccato sound of hooves, and I walk away in a stupor, to my dinner of salad and fruits.