An Open Letter to All Parents… (The Epistles #9)

It takes a village to raise a child.
-African proverb.


Dear Parents,

You know those things that you just can’t let go of? They keep nagging away at your conscience. Why an open letter? Because, some may not like what I have to say (plus, I want people to rant *evil grin*). The reason for the letter? A discussion (some will call it an argument. It is all about perspective) with my mom. You heard right. At the end, I realized that someone had to serve it to the parents really cold.

I see the guns already drawn. If I am going to get shot could I at least get a second to plead my case? Landmines. You have heard of them. Right? Explosives ready to go off. A bad situation just waiting to turn worse. We are sitting ducks. That is why I seem to have taken issue with parents. Just to clear the air. This is not a personal attack on any particular parent. Actually, my issue is with parenting (kindly get your dictionary. Heck! A man about to be killed cannot possibly be expected to do all the work). Who are you? What authority do you have to address us parents? Who gave you the right? You think I don’t know that you will question my credibility. I am speaking from the position of being someone’s child and on top of that from my post To New Beginnings you can clearly fathom that I am a new uncle. Let us call it a situation of the wearer of the shoe knows where it pinches most.

Allow me to jump right into it. The sex talk. I told you I was going to be blunt. It is almost non-existent, either it is not being done at all or it is being done wrongly. Why is this? It seems that no one really wants to take it upon themselves to do it. We have all witnessed the blame games. The parents at home claim that it is the work of the teachers to teach the kids on these things. The teachers in turn are like why can’t the church do it? The church quickly hides behind religious ideologies that limit their scope on the issue. Back and forth the blame is thrown. Funny thing all these groups of people in one way or the other are parents. 

What should be done? Who will save the situation? I also have questions. Something surely needs to change. Gamblers. I think little by little without their knowledge parents have been sucked into this gambling menace. Why? How? You ask. Conduct a survey. Get people to answer a questionnaire. I am willing to bet that the findings will show that most parents are gambling with their kids’ lives when it comes to this issue. They send them out to the world (having taught them zilch) praying and hoping that the kid learns whatever it is on their own and betting that they don’t fall into any pitfalls. Gambling on another level I tell you. At the end of the day if the kid survives the parents are stoked like they just won the lottery.

I am not a parent. How am I to blame? The self-righteous trying to absolve themselves. The times have changed. Things are not how they used to be before. The really clever ones have already seen the twist I want to bring and they are already mounting a defence. I get it. Today, it’s not like before when kids were literally raised by the whole community. You were caught by a senior on the wrong and they administered punishment there and then with paternity and maternity being a non-issue. Don’t get comfortable. Just because things are different I don’t think parenting stopped being a societal responsibility. Adopt to the change and get back to carrying out your duty.

To my second issue. Recently, parents were up in arms. A news report apparently painted the picture that they were to blame for the rising numbers of abortions. How are we to blame? They are beyond themselves in disbelief. First of all, parents nobody said the blame falls squarely on you but a big chunk of it does. How? Why? Your personal views on early pregnancies to start with. The society’s views. Have you felt the stigma out there? Now, for a second put yourself in their shoes (pardon me I know am asking too much of you). Do you feel like you have much of a choice? In some unseen way I feel that you force their hands into taking action (‘it is outright murder!’ Mom said. ‘That is debatable,’ was all I could come up with. A debate for another day for sure).

Are you in anyway trying to justify immorality? Remember the gun wielders? They really want to be done with me. I am not justifying anything. I accept that sometimes we can be stupid. We engage in acts (that some were left to discover on their own) that for the most part land us in a mess. Hold up. So I find myself in the mess. Maji yamemwagika na hayazoleki. If I had an assurance of redemption (currently, there is not even a glimmer) don’t you think things would be different? No one is perfect. Most of us have come this far due to second chances that were afforded to us.

Enigma. Growing up there is this statement that was peddled around, ‘This is not the right time.’ Lately it seems it is never the right time. To get into a relationship. To start a family. To get into marriage. To chase after your dreams. To start living the life you want. When is the right time? Anyone with the answer kindly tell us.

In conclusion, I will echo my earlier point that parenting is a societal responsibility. Anyone still want to pull that trigger? Cheers.

Teiya Oloilole.

Teiya Oloilole


The Mystery Hidden behind the Black Covering

***This post is fourth in a series. Kindly, work your way backwards (by clicking on the link) to get the who gist of the Rayya Series.

“Being confused is how you know there is something there”


‘Boss nunua credit na vitabu…’

The voice calling out for a plea to buy disrupts my thoughts. I hesitate. The feeling of the sun on my face is too sweet, and besides I am in no mood to buy anything. I slowly turn to look at the hawker. He is holding his merchandise in both hands. On seeing that he has caught my attention he continues.

‘Nina mpaka Jicho Pevu ya jana.’

He says this proudly, a sly grin plastered on his face. He stretches the hand that has the DVDs through the open matatu door. He inches forward. Expectation now written on his face.

Damn these guys are good. A show that just aired yesterday and they are already peddling it on the streets less than 24 hours later. Talk of grabbing the bull by the horns. Truly, opportunities only come once. I shake my head slightly to show my disinterest. As he turns and walks away, I cannot help but slightly smile in admiration to (We all have to get by one way or another). The hustle is real in the streets of Nairobi.

Which is the right side of the bed to wake up on? Anyone? For me the answer to that question was not important. My day was on the right track even before I got out of bed. Why? An early morning text.

Michael I will be seeing you later in the day. Love.

Forget the almost commanding tone. I didn’t even need to check the sender. When she calls me love, how my lucky stars are aligned is the least of my worries. I was beyond stoked (let me not even bore with cliches).  

‘At some point we will have to make sacrifices,’ she said trying hard not to smile.

Confusion. The brown complexion of her well rounded face had already hit me. Then there was the mystery of what lay hidden underneath the black hijab with white floral patterns. This only served to make things worse. Her smile revealed a perfect set of white teeth. I can’t help but stare. The sheer beauty of her smile can stop heartbeats (forget the skipped ones). Her lower lip is a light shade of red. She does this thing where she bites her lower lip for the tiniest of moments as she talks and laughs (the most sinister of thoughts crosses my mind). I try to look away.

I have been observing her for a while now. The stripes on her buibui have me following them with my eyes. They flow all the way down to her feet. What could be worse than to give an explorer a treasure map? Could they possibly resist the temptation? There is a certain grace with which she grabs her buibui with as she walks to prevent it from touching the ground. Makes me want to shout from rooftops.

‘Rayya, you are more than a dream come true for me,’ I play with the words in my head, trying to make out how they would sound when said out loud. I will hold her in my arms and look straight into her eyes as I lightly utter the words. Foolish man. The rational part of me comes to my rescue. What do you stand to lose? You will never know until you have done it. The turmoil has me even more confused (truly there is good and evil in all of us).

I clench my fist to stop myself. Deep within I go all the way back to the beginning of time. To Adam and Eve. They must have had some real resolve. For those few hours or days they went past the tree with the forbidden fruit without touching it. To also think that it stood right there at the middle of the garden. Too bad the devil happened. Maybe today I would not be in this predicament if they had stood their ground. We all have been told of the sweetness of the forbidden fruit (had someone else told them of this before the serpent? Surely, even cities under siege don’t fall in a single day).

Fleeting thoughts. One moment, I am fine in this messed up (for lack of a better term) situation we have found ourselves in. Some unknown person(s) seated somewhere saw it fit to decide on my behalf on matters of the heart. Who did they consult? I do not remember being asked for my input. Or did hearts go rogue a long time ago? Did they see a need to tame them before the world was filled with true love? Or what was their logic?

The next moment, I want to experience passion like in the movies. Word is that it is the ultimate expression of love. Or is it now? Does it really happen in real life? I heard coordination can be a challenge. Life is an unscripted film after all.

So what if the world will not approve of the two of you? I suddenly don’t know which part of me is talking. I feel like I am ready for any consequence. What if they treat you like an outcast? A lost soul? The rational part in me mounting a defence. I will be ready for whatever. Even if they banish me to wander the world without ever belonging. People lose themselves just to find themselves.

‘I have to go now.’

The words echo in my mind. I always want her to stay just a while longer. Standing there it had been painful to watch her leave.

I adjust my earphones. I close my eyes and try to fight this awful feeling that it was the last time I was seeing you. It was like some forces of nature were conspiring to ensure we do not end up together. Is this a conspiracy? Or is it a sign of impending doom?

Where am I headed to? What is my destination? I am not sure anymore. A light tap on my window wakes me up from my reverie. Another hawker. Damn, why can’t they just leave me in peace? Among other things he is selling torches. Could it be that all is not lost? That torch will surely come in handy during the dark times.

The illicit bond is growing stronger.

Teiya Oloilole

To New Beginnings… (The Epistles #8)

” And they say that it is difficult to know when a writer falls in love, why, maybe it’s because we always express something to our readers.”
-Salma K. Abdulatif

Dear Nemama,

One millisecond…One second…One minute…One hour…One day. Let me start with congratulations for making it to the world. The journey has been long and there are some who were not fortunate enough to make it. How do you like in this new world? Is it what you expected? Is there anything that has fallen short of your expectations? Apologies in advance are due. For what? If your first breaths in this world you found them stale. There are these heartless humans going around destroying the environment for everyone. Hearts of stone those ones. They have no love like the one you are currently getting. You will just have to bear with us.

Telling stories is my passion. I will get right into it with introductions. In the beginning you had no first name. Actually, none of us is born with a name. Yours was a somewhat funny scenario. Your dad all he cared about beside the joy of you was that you were going to get his name and his mother’s name (one day I’ll tell you of boys and their mothers). Where was my mum? You ask. Well, she was beyond herself. She had you and nothing else mattered (I also hear there is no greater joy than that of a new mother). If you were nameless that was the least of her worries. One day it will make sense.

Luckily, all was not lost. Your aunt and I came to the rescue. We worked our magic. We ensured you got a first name that suits you. Are names that important? Depends. Some of us our names are everything. Our works are pegged to our names. Did you notice the plurals? Your aunt and I come as a package. Simply put the two of us together make one (they call us twins).

Your grandpa is one of the coolest people you will ever come across (the rest of the picture you will form for yourself when you meet). Grandma on the other hand is everything mothers are supposed to be and more. I feel that even the word love falls short when describing her. You are named after her. To put it literally in more ways than one it will be her legacy that you will be carrying on with.

It is a new age this one you have been born into. Heck! You are a new born. What is new? I don’t really know or probably it is just that someone said so. There must be something new, right? You still insist. The other day I noticed something peculiar in the house. A digital thermometer. Apparently to monitor your temperature. Back in the day the back of our mothers hands were enough. They did not need figures to know whether our body temperatures were okay.

It is also a digital age. What is that you ask? The age of the internet. Almost everyone is online these days. This piece right here is going online after it is done. Why? Word on the street is that the internet never forgets. Then there is Google. Some say the world runs on fuel, I say it runs on Google. Everything is on Google these days. I mean everything. Today, you could raise yourself using it. There is also social media. Another realm altogether. Forget how right now everyone wants to hold you in their arms. That kind of thing does not cut it when you consider social media. On Facebook and Twitter and, the likes it is all about likes and followers. Some have called it the devil’s handiwork. To others it is the next best thing after the invention of the wheel (One man’s meat, another man’s poison).

Allow me to iron out some issues. One day you will have questions. Some will have ready answers. Others. Where did I come from? You will ask. Watch out for the irony. It will be all about imagery. The nice ones will tell you kids are bought from a supermarket. This big shop with kids lining the shelves all crying their hearts out to get noticed. The mean ones will tell you of pet shops. Little kids in glass cages all distraught waiting for their day. It is not like we want to lie to you. We just cannot fathom how your young minds will take truth. Allow me to elaborate. Growing up you will notice your mother use a knife in the kitchen. You will know it only as cutlery used in the preparation of meals. Now imagine the horror when you learn that the same knife can also be used as a murder weapon. Some necessary evils I tell.

Stories. There will be those of foxes and hyenas, and ogres. They devour whole communities. Tear people from limb to limb. Make broth out of others. You will marvel at this stories. Then you will grow up and learn that they were presentations of real people. Heartless souls. We are in dire need of saviours. The ones we have right now are just wolves in sheep’s clothing. They only want to get their turn to eat. Right now, we will even do with a hero.

In conclusion, I will tell you of your late aunt. A dime piece she would have grown up to be. She had one dimple on her left cheek. The two of you would have been great friends. Pardon the presumption.

May you grow up and actually and truly live.

Teiya Oloilole.   

Teiya Oloilole

RENS Book Club (Sharing the love #2)

On the second round of sharing the love at Rens’ book club, Kelvin and I will do a personal dance for each member. This is to illustrate that the club is more than just books. Each one of them is special in their own way.

The Cake Of Friendship

Preheat the oven of love
With plenty of secrets and hugs

Mix in giggles and laughs
That make your sides split in half

Bake with the love and care
And all the things you both should share

Decorate with the frosting of trust
This is really a must

Enjoy the cake do not eat it fast
Just like your new friendship make it last.

~Michelle Flores~




She is a student at Nairobi University, a fashion blogger and the “feminist” (though she is undecided on the whole issue) in the group. We call her Cera. We appreciate her for the audacity to dream the book club. Her warm nature makes her a perfect target to be roasted, which we enjoy but you can never win. She is that good. Her fashion blog page is: –Cera Kieha



We call her Tina. She is an unpublished African contemporary writer. She carries the title of the roaster. (Not coffee though). She has several drafts of her creativeness in her house awaiting consumption and others have not been put on paper. (We shall wait for the first publish Tina). She is an accountant by profession.



Notice how Joseph is written. We call him Mwaura. He is one man who has been able to professionalize his writing skills. He is a brilliant mind, and he happens to have been Cera’s peer teacher when she was in high school. “Chop a knuckle mwaura”. You can find Mwaura’s works here: Mwaura Mswati




Yes, a unique name like that. This lady is bright reloaded. They say, sarcastic people have a higher IQ, yes its true with Kanja. She warmed into our hearts swiftly and we called her the club’s “Cartoon”. Kanja asks the hard questions when we are debating. A proof that “why not” is important in an education system where the teacher’s locution has always been the law.



This man is the groups quota master. The moderator, the disciplinary master, the critic and the man with a second opinion. His importance cannot be understated. He coordinates reviews, critics writers work in the club to become better and brings us in line when we get lost. As a man with a second opinion he did the noble task of teaching us the fine art of book reviews when we were still learning how to walk. Proof of why “second opinion” is so important.



We call her Wamby. She is a blogger who doesn’t stammer. Her mantra is “it needs to be said? Well let’s say it” Sugar coating is for the birds for her. She comes across as a deep thinker. Here is how she describes herself “Treat me like a joke and I will leave you like it’s funny”. Her blog is Lauramauteur



You can call him pink lips. (His words). Ladies in the club love the name Teiya for some reason. He keeps repeating to them that he is a man not a girl, well, let’s blame the name. Teiya is a writer, and a brilliant mind. He may call himself a budding writer but we dispute, He is that good. He is also the brains behind coming up with this post.  His writers room is here-: Teiya Oloilole



A.K.A Miss Mathira. This lady has culturalism in her system. A staunch advocator of traditions and a voice to what ails her community in Mathira. Community service is what she lives for. Ever wondered how independence war was won? Millicent is the lady to ask. She knows more about Kenyan history than some of our political leaders.



We call him Thuol. A name that he very much treasures. He is a spoken word master and a student at University of Nairobi. His talent in spoken word cannot be exaggerated. The club is really blessed to have him. Once in a while we get performances, for free of course because that is how we grind. His blog is here: Thuol




We call her Salu, Salma, Master Chef or Mrs Karanja. She has several names just like her many titles. She is a student at Moi university and the editor in chief of the university’s magazine. Salma is a poet on the theme of love. She writes love on the purest form there can be: Her poem lounge is Salma Abdulatif Yusuf

She is also a writer and her corner is Salummy

She is not married. Mrs Karanja title is witticism on a beautiful level. We suspect she has other titles, one of them being a great cook. But until we taste her food, lets simply call her Master. Chef can take a chill pill.




If you ask him to describe himself he will tell you he is a coffee enthusiast but personally I like to refer to him as ‘a coffee addict.’ He lights up when you mention coffee (that is how bad it is). He compares coffee to a girl that can never say no to a boy. He is a poet when the coffee gets to his head. You cannot come up with a sentence with his name and leave out coffee.

His poem lounge isKelvin Karanja

And his coffee conversation goes on here: Nairobi Caffeine



He is the newest kid on the block. Mike welcome to the club. We are getting to know him. We have discovered that he is also a writer. His writing style is awesome. To attest, check out his work here:Thesputnik


Clement 20160517_174240

Clement is a farmer, a reader, a web developer and generally an IT person. He is rather suspiciously missing in action. He is what we can call “a silent consumer”. When passionate enough, he participates in book reviews. Clement is the biggest fan of e-books.


“In a world where everyone is exposed, the coolest thing you can do is maintain your mystery”.  Said anonymous.

Yes. That’s how little we know about Eric. He reviews though. As the man without a face, he is a true asset.


RENS book club, our parting shot will be in form of a quote-:

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It then bursts into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
– Albert Schweitzer

For us, the purpose of this post can only be described as follows-:

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
– Anais Nin

Cheers to RENS Book Club.

RENS Book Club (Sharing the Love)


‘Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are’

-Mason Cooley

What is love? What is friendship? How do you express love? Do you believe that…


Yes love has a face. Kelvin and I decided to share our love for the RENS book club. A club that has shown us the face of love. The book club was formed three and a half months ago when the lovely Cera Kieha came up with the idea of bringing together book lovers (who we shall profile later in another post). The objectives of the book club are :

  1. R – Reading
  2. E – Exchanging books
  3. N – Networking
  4. S – Sharing Experiences.

Recently, we came together for a picnic as an opportunity for members to meet for what the club calls ‘Books, Nature, and Wine Picnic.’ We will tell the story of the day through the pictures below :

Every picnic starts with shopping for books. … well, window shopping comes close.



Arriving; there were some two guys at the back who didn’t know how to picnic.  (David and Soi)


Christine got a special greeting from Vinny. (Now that’s how you greet a lady).


When you are out in nature you do what you have to survive (traditional wine opening).


And the wine was finally opened. Kev busy dictating who gets to go first.


A tongue selfie moment.


Kev had some explaining to do.


Vinny did his best to drive his point home.


Christine was more than fascinated with what Kev was saying.


‘I fell in love with you in advance,’ Vinny said. Milly burst out laughing.


I finally sat down to gobble down a drink (I am in the black T-shirt).


A selfie moment.


The debate got so heated. No one was willing to take it seated down.


As it is said even a perfect day can end in rain.


The day was perfectly spent, we had fun (at some point we had to establish whether some members were under the influence *wink* #Wine). The heated debates on various topics and the company of each other was awesome. Not every member of the club managed to avail themselves, however, we shall salute them individually on the next post.

What is love? You are still wondering. For us, as RENS members that is our own definition of love and the face we give it.



The Funeral Committee

This post was inspired by Mwaura Mswati’s post Mwaura Is Dead.
“I will not accept this,” Mike says.

The somber mood on the round table was now slowly getting tense. Ivy, the chairperson, now had a confused look. Hesitant even. She seemed unsure of who to assign to speak after that comment by the father of the deceased.

“Actually we will not accept this,” John says. He chimes in without an invite to speak. Whether he does it out of loyalty for them being age mates, no one is certain.

“It was the man’s last wish,” James, the best friend to the deceased, says. “Don’t you think we should honor his wish?”

“To be cremated?” John asks almost immediately. “Never, this is not acceptable.”

“He specifically asked not to be buried,” Samantha tries to come to the rescue.

“Why didn’t he inform us of this before he breathed his last?” Mike poses the question.

A brief moment of silence.

“If he had, we would have drummed some sense into his head,” John says. “This is not acceptable in our culture leave alone religion.”

Damn that old man. He was proving to be a menace. The thorn in a rose flower that almost makes you forget of its beauty.

“A lot of cultures and religions around the world are accepting the practice,” Mark says.

“True, world over it is slowly picking up pace,” Jane says.

“That is the problem with this so called new generation,” Mike says. A little agitation in his voice.

“You are all but to quick to abandon your ways,” John adds. “You are going around picking up new cultures without even the bat of an eyelid.”


“But nothing,” Mike cuts James short. “You do not want to simply follow the rules.”

“Do you think we wrote them?” John asks.

“We found them like that and followed them without raising questions,” Mike says.

The young members of the committee are all mum. It was supposed to be a simple meeting to plan the send off of their friend. Now their whole existence was being questioned.

“Why don’t you just live by your cultures?” Mike asks the question.

On top of the confusion there is some resistance in the air. No one likes to be put on the spot.

“It is a new world,” Ivy says, “things are changing.”

“They are not as they used to be,” Jane adds.

The others are seen shaking their heads in agreement.

“Bollocks,” John says.

He does not even let them bask in their misguided victory.

“This has always been a new world,” John says, “a hundred years ago it was a new world.”

“Even yesterday it was a new world,” Mike says, “and we have always stuck to our cultures.”

“Does this mean that my son will be burnt to ashes in a fire?” Maureen asks. She is speaking for the first time. A mother’s agony for losing a child can be felt in her voice.

“Technically someone is not burnt using a fire…” James starts to explain.

“What else can be used to burn?” Mike says stopping him mid-sentence.

“You will also not receive ashes per se,” Jane says. She ignores the question asked by the father.

“But doesn’t…,” Maureen says. She stops herself and slumps hopelessly in her chair. Mike rubs softly on her hand reassuringly.

They all stare at each other unsure of what to say.

“What will be the way forward?” Ivy asks.

Teiya Oloilole

8 Lessons I Learned from Blue Collar Millionaires

“Passion makes you dangerous.”


Anyone who doesn’t love success stories? A show of hands. No one. I figured. We all love them. I just finished watching the TV series Blue Collar Millionaires. It is a one of a kind documentary. The stories are of men and women who have made it in fields that would make most cringe. Rearing worms. See you cringed.

I especially loved a line the commentator used, “these men and women have found ways of turning DIYs into ROIs”. Let me get down to it. The following are the lessons I took away from the series :

1. Just start.

I know we have all heard of this line at some point in our lives. It cannot be over emphasized. In anything that you plan on doing. Be it to start a business. A blog. That novel you have always wanted to write. The most important thing will be to start. Even if you have no clear plan of the future. Just start.

2. It won’t happen overnight.

On a daily basis in whatever endeavour we are involved in we strive to be successful at it. Being successful in many ways reaffirms that our sweat and tears were not in vain. There are those nonetheless who want it immediately. It just doesn’t work like that. Sometimes, you will have to even wait for decades before finally attaining success. It all boils down to whether you can be tenacious at what you do.

3. See opportunity where others do not.

The men and women in the series did not become millionaires by just doing what everyone else was doing. They saw opportunities in the most unlikely of places. One of the guys kills bugs for a living. Weird. I know right. Another one dropped out of med school to hurl junk. Now, I am not saying you drop out of school. The most important thing is to spot that opportunity and seize it.

4. Take that leap of faith (gamble).

The one thing that ultimately defines the successful ones from the rest, are those who are willing to risk it all. Would you be willing to take that gamble? Do not forget that it could be that that is the only card you have on you. That one and only chance to roll the dice.

5. You will do with some inspiration.

On your walk to success you will do with some inspiration. It is this that will keep that fire in your belly  burning. Also it helps to keep you focused. It might be from your parents. It could be from your spouse. It could be from that situation in your life that you are running away from. Get you some inspiration to keep you going no matter the circumstances.

6. Always strive to be better.

This is one factor that contributed most to their success. They strived to not only outdo their competition, but to always be better. That made sure that at any one time they were a step ahead.

7. Adapt to change.

The road to success is not a straight path. It is a long winding road full of obstacles. To get to the end of that road you will have to constantly keep adapting to the challenges that come your way. You have to keep moving forward no matter what. At the end of the day that will make all the difference in the world.

8. Always think of the progeny.

As you work on that business to get to the top, it is important to have a vision. Also strive to ensure that your posterity gets to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Have a vision of establishing a dynasty that will last many generations.

If you have watched the series, kindly leave a comment of other lessons you learnt.

If you like this post, I’d love if you share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Labour Day.

Image source : click here

Teiya Oloilole

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: