Rain, rain go away

Everybody likes the rain. Well, not me. As soon as the water hits the ground, I’m racked by uncontrollable coughing fits. I don’t know why people say the smell of wet soil is like perfume to the senses. It’s excruciating.

I don’t like wet, sticky, brown mud. Children play in it. Piglets wallow in it. I’d rather jump over it and move on to cleaner things.

Some say that the sound of rain on the rooftop is like a gentle lullaby. I disagree. Water drops on the palm fronds outside my window keep me awake with worries of intruders.

Tribe, ethnic group, diversity, Kenya!

I wrote this post  in 2008, just after the post-election violence – my first attempts at making sense of ethnicity and what we’re always on about in this country. Reading through it now, I feel we’re on a treadmill – running, running, running, and not moving an inch. Plus I never knew the phrase ‘people from a certain community’ could have such a negative connotation! Continue reading

The hell I created

I kept my mouth shut because I was afraid of what would come out if I dared to speak. I thought I would explode from the pressure of trying to keep the seal tight for all those years. But for every year that I had said nothing, the poison had seeped unnoticeably and now permeated every pore of my body.

I oozed green and red with anger and despair and indifference and everything in between. It was a roller-coaster ride between the hottest points in hell, and I dwelled there, in this self-imposed prison that I was unwilling to leave.

The power of a single cockroach

I give my landlord notice to vacate the flat. He arranges his bull-dog face into something that I assume should be concern.

Is it the leaking pipes, he asks. I tell him, no, the last time my carpet got soaked, it was sunny, I hung it out in the sun to dry. Is it the overflowing sewage outside my kitchen window? I say no, the smell of shit  chased my appetite away, and I’m now six kilos lighter for it.

I don’t tell him that  I’m being driven out by the cockroach I found this morning, comfortably ensconced in my underwear drawer.

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

Quotation mark copyStereotype – a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

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.” I reply, “That is my driving license, would you like me to show you my identity card so that you can confirm?” He responds in the affirmative and I oblige. He looks at my identity card, and repeats that he wants to see my own documents. I’m confused. I start to explain, “See… I am the exact same person in those documents. I was 18 years old when I got those. I also cut my hair.” Continue reading