PEACE! I’LL PASS

I have been having an itch lately. Scratch it off. Very funny of you. But it’s one of those itches that just won’t go away. A constant nag beneath the skin, you scratch and scratch but nothing. You want to peel off your skin and scratch the itchy spot.

Lately, with the looming Election Day fast approaching there has been a lot of peace talk. Peace this. Peace that. Suddenly we all understand our Anthem’s lines, “May we dwell in unity, Peace and liberty.” To some extent I say to hell with it. To hell with me too. Okay. Okay. Can I at least pack a bag on my way out?

Hear me out. One minute. Tick tock. I will be fast. Fifty-eight seconds remaining. How old is this country? Over fifty years. Damn we are getting old. And we are a proud nation. We shout from the rooftops our diversity as a people. A nation of over forty tribes.

Fifty seconds. Stereotypes aside. We are a proud people. That cannot be over emphasized. Our differences are our bonds. Talk of a paradox.

Forty-five seconds. Now, imagine fifty-year-old neighbors who apparently cannot get along. Childish, right? And we are funny neighbors. We started off by borrowing knowledge from each other. You know, how to cure some disease. How to farm. How to fight wars. Then times got tough. We barter traded. My cow for some of your maize. Then the guys with their metal snake came along. They infringed too much. We stood up and demanded our freedom. Along the way some foolish youth, without their knowledge crossed the lines drawn on the sand. New bloodlines were formed. A people of mixed blood.

Thirty-five seconds. What? Is your watch accurate? Couldn’t you use a Rolex? I hear it doesn’t even tick. Why am I vehemently against this peace preaching especially during the electioneering period? You are wondering. Because I think we are missing the point. The big picture. This is the time we should be looking at track records. Promises. Lies. The visions we have for the country. Our way forward. Instead we are all caught up in this peace rhetoric. We are missing the big picture.

Twenty seconds. Do you want to tell me for a people that have been together that long we can’t tolerate each other for a single date on some calendar? Why is it that suddenly we must be reminded of peace? I agree that some of us have been living in the piss and things are not looking up. But we have been living in peace. It is a sort of diversionary tactic. Our focus is off.

Nine seconds. Come the eighth of August we will be so glad that we voted peacefully that the leaders we _actually-vote for _will be second fiddle. And for the next five years we will have been short changed. The piss will continue stinking our lives. And the peace? You decide.

Five seconds. Have I at least made my point? We are a peaceful people. Period.

One second. Let me stop talking now.

The Accusation

We are all guilty of sin, error, and moments of sheer stupidity; none of us should be casting stones. The occasional arced pebble might be overlooked.
-Richelle E. Goodrich

‘Mwizi! Mwizi!’

The cry tears the early Saturday morning air. A battle cry. A victory cry. The beginning of a dirge song. A call to action. It is all about perspective. Even a man standing at the back of a mirror can imagine what his reflection looks like.

**********
I hear the cry loud and clear. It sends chills through my entire body. The light from my phone screen is almost blinding as I stare at the clock. 3 am. Even the birds have not begun their rehearsals. Only crickets and evil can be found at this ungodly hour of the night.

It can only mean one thing. My skin is becoming numb from the cold and the uncertainty only works to make it worse. The commotion is getting closer to where I am. I stare up at the cloudless sky. The stars seem dim. Reluctantly like a moth attracted to the light I start walking towards the commotion. Are you nuts? What are you thinking? We will be fine. What assurance do you have?

A small crowd has already built up. I stand a safe distance. The death penalty.

*****
I am heaving. I have no clear plan or destination. The air feels heavier and I feel as if I am wading. I am certain my legs have conspired to betray me. They are not carrying my weight as fast as they are supposed to. Choices. Life serves you bitter pills and the only option you have is to swallow.

I hit the ground with a thud. The heavy blow on my forehead spins me back to the ground as I struggle to get back on my feet. Confusion. I cry out. My chasers also cry out. Pain, and mercy. Victory.

Someone roughly picks me up from the ground and shoves me forward. I can taste soil on my tongue. I implore them to spare me. I want to speak to their humanity. Sell them my plea. For a second I wish I had taken up a Marketing course in school(skills to sell ice to an Eskimo. Cliche).

My body is working on overdrive now and the kicks and blows seem to be doing no harm. There is no escape for me. I wish the ground opens up and swallows me whole. Deaf ears. I want to tell them the reasons why. Negotiate on behalf of my beating heart. They can have my stupid brain and burn it at the stake. My captors are oblivious to my pleas and are hell bent on marching me to my death.

The heavy object dropped on my chest has me gasping for air. From the noise I can tell the crowd is growing. I writhe as whips land all over my body. I hit another lifeless body near me. They have caught a counterpart. Who could it be? I cannot make out who it is. Even the Lord was not crucified on his own.

*****
We have to rid the streets of such pests who only steal what is not theirs. Have you considered their rights? Let us be done with them once and for all. Who made you the judge and jury? But they… Who gave you the authority? Dilemma. My conscience is divided. One part stands as the accuser, the other inclines towards the accused. The latter dominating as I watch the whips mercilessly land on them.

Where did all this people come from at this time of the morning? Majority of them are wielding crude weapons. I could almost swear I had seen a knife. Are they always this armed for war? One faction is now asking for building stones. For what purpose? Towards the building of what? They are currently tearing down lives piece by piece. Apparently, if you drop it on a person’s head you blow their heads and be done with them.

Another faction is opposed to that. Sweet. Hooray!. Wait up! There is no party yet. You thought there is one? Hold your horse. Their only interest is the location of the stolen merchandise and the other gang members. I clench my fist as all the muscles tense imagining the pain they are going through as the anger choking the air is meted out on them.

*****
I slither. The pain is too much. Make it stop. Anyone. I heard them ask for our secret hideaway. I would lead them to the gates of heaven at the time if I was the custodian of that secret. The blows and whips seem to be coming from all directions.

I protectively hold my hands over my head. Someone grabs at my pants. Oh Lord let them not strip me. I try to hold on to it. The ringing pain paralyses me for a second. A stone had hit right at my temple. The cold water on my naked body is the most brief moment of reprieve, deep down I know my agonies are about to get worse.

The cry for petrol sends utter terror throughout my whole body.

*****
Pilate himself asked to wash his hands when his people crossed the line. I was now ready to also wash mine. The crowd is asking to burn them. Is this the right step to take? Don’t they know after crossing some lines there is not coming back?

I want to reach out and speak to them. Implore them to now stop this madness. Is this the only way to solve the issue? Do they know that life is precious? I see no humanity written on their faces. They had suddenly all turned to beasts. They had lost all compassion.

The crowd is growing bit by bit. The people seem to just keep coming. Most are more than ready to grab the whips and join in. The words of the savior play my mind, ‘Let he with no sin cast the first stone.’ I am a sinner. They are probably all sinners. I cannot see an end in sight.

*****
I had always been told that when something happens over and over you become numb. Those liars. The pain is unbearable. I feel my whole body is on fire. Is this what hell will be like? I can feel blood oozing from open wounds on parts of my body. How long can I bare this? There is only so much that any man can take.

I want to beg for mercy. I want them to spare me. I only manage a howl. My voice is failing. A cry for help. The beating gets worse. They have not asked for my reasons. I want to tell them of my allure to quick cash that had led me to this life. Who judged my case? When was the verdict passed? Hypocrites.

*****
Seconds. Minutes. Hours. I have completely lost my sense of time. The crowd is still baying for their blood. The disgust rising within has made me oblivious to the cold. They have almost become lifeless. Occasionally they wince out in pain and this seems to rejuvenate the crowd. Heartless souls.

Madmen. Every market was said to have its own. Someone grabs a whip and wants to attack the crowd. He is screaming for them to stop. They want to turn their anger on him.

‘He is one of us haven’t you noticed that?’

*****
Divide. I am floating between the land of the living and the dead. In and out of consciousness. The whipping and blows abruptly stop. The cold wind on my open wounds send a painful(almost pleasurable) sensation through my body.

The ringing in my ears prevents me from making out what is going on. From the movements I can tell there is a scuffle that is ongoing. The calm before the storm. I brace myself for the worst.

*****
Shame. Guilt. The crowd has scattered miraculously. They heard it was one of theirs and they all ran for the hills. Cowards. Suddenly they got some sense. They got their humanity back and cowered in light of their actions.

The ambulance is on its way. I cross my fingers that it makes it here in time.

*****
I am being dragged by the legs. My sore back drags along the changing surface beneath. The pain is immense. I am not sure I could even walk either way. I feel numb allover.

I try to open my eyes. They are bloody and sore. Have I been blinded? What is the last thing I saw? What will it be like living in darkness? In the stillness I can make out sounds of what seems to be singing birds from afar. Hope.

*****
I watch in awe. The small crowd is now angry. They want to know why the ambulance is taking too long. I see some of them have grabbed whips and are demanding vengeance against those that ruthlessly attacked their friends. They want to attack the purported masterminds.

The door to the ambulance is flung open. I want to scream out in horror. The guy at the door only a moment ago I had spotted him with a whip among the beasts that were baying for blood. How is he at the front line to help. Atoning for sins. What has the world come to?

**********
I can feel my heart almost failing me. I have to be really still just to feel it beat. Don’t give up on me. Is this the end? Maybe help is coming. Or have we been left out in the cold to die like stray dogs? Or have they gone to get the petrol?

‘Dear Lord, forgive m…’ 

Teiya Oloilole

The Process of Art

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Life is funny. A frown? A nod? The other day a close friend (I call her Daktari) of mine, texts me like, ‘I have a female writer friend of mine would you like to say hi.’ I love writers. I would never say no to a writer *wink.* So mama raised me right. I say hi and ask for an introduction. You will not guess what I got. Anyone? ‘A struggling writer.’ I screamed at my phone. I know writers are modest. But struggling is not a definition of modesty. She gave some excuses for the description but I was buying none of it. I did a small piece for her for my writing process just to show her that we all struggle but it is not a description we use on ourselves. Jane this is for you:

Nice…kesho I am expecting your piece but kesho starts from midnight right…but keep me posted as I also tell you about my writing process it is a funny story actually.

So I am usually seated somewhere (or just sleeping)…no one is really counting…then an epiphany moment occurs.

I get this crazy idea (I also write or get ideas when I listen to music. So we got something similar)…in my mind I play with it and how I can transform it into words and the good angel in my head is dancing praising me for being a genius…

So I plan how it is all going to be…the layout of the post (don’t forget all this while I am this genius writer…getting all this praise from the guy in my head)…I write down on paper or on my phone this pointers (call it a rough draft of sorts).

This process doesn’t necessarily take like a span of one day (sometimes it even goes to months)…now the genius me (hope you haven’t forgotten. Just in case) starts planning on how the grand idea will be written down and sent out into the world and wow everyone…so after some push n pull I get around to writing it out…don’t you hate disasters? You do? I thought as much. So I sit down..music check…pen n paper check…computer or tablet check…I start writing and then boom out of nowhere…

The devil in me rises from the ashes…I am only five words in and what does he tell me, ‘that is crap you are writing,’ I want to fight it…Ignore the bastard I tell myself. Three more words and I am stuck. Does he have a point? Will it be any good really? I delete everything I had written and stare blankly into space. What am I trying to achieve? To wow hearts and probably touch some lives. Who told you you could do that? But I love writing? And some people love my writing? Yah they loved your previous works, what makes you think they will fancy this one you want to write? But? No buts? The turmoil in my mind is real. I am stuck. Hopelessness. Defeat. My inner demons are hell bent on winning. The prospects for my angelic side are anything but slim…

Guns blazing. The battle is fought. Tired and bloodied my angelic side manages somehow to win. Let us just produce whatever? If they love it or hate, at least we won one battle already. Hope they like it? Fingers crossed. Wait!!!..Before you hit the publish button. Are you sure that is your best? How do I know if it my best? At least I gave it my all. Fine then, if they hate it, that is on you. Here goes nothing. The wait. A little while longer never hurt anyone. They love it. Hooray! Hooray! We can party now. Where is the wine? Where are the glasses? Don’t forget the dancing shoes. A party you said? Are you sure? (The devil in me always asking the wrong questions at the wrong time. This guy needs a course on time. The concept seems to completely escape him). What now? You are here celebrating instead of planning your next post. Are you sure you will meet their expectations? Damn. He has a point. Nervousness. Doubt. Party cancelled. The cycle of being a writer. The end.

Teiya Oloilole

The Old Never Go Wrong

‘Let men be wise by instinct if they can, but when this fails be wise by good advice.’
-SOPHOCLES

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March 2006,

The inside of the rickety matatu is sweltering. Passengers are trickling in slowly. James shifts for the umpteenth time in his seat. He can feel his armpits soak in sweat. It does not help that the fastened seatbelt is restricting his movement.

‘Damn this matatu, why is it taking forever,’ he mutters angrily to himself. The Michuki rules. All PSVs have now been fitted with seatbelts and speed governors as required by the new law. He imagines the prolonged journey to Murang’a. This half full matatu will probably stop at every terminus along the way. He pulls at the seatbelt.

‘Dad, do I really have to use this thing?’ he turns to face his dad who is busy reading the paper.

‘Why do you ask that?’

‘Because it is uncomfortable. Plus, I could just fasten the belt when we come across a police check point.’

‘My son,’ he looks up from the paper, ‘the seatbelt is not for the police, it has been put there for your own safety.’

James shrugs his shoulders and turns to stare outside his window.

**********
23rd December, 2006,

Festivities. James is stoked. Christmas is only one day away. Even the air seems charged with excitement. Everyone looks happy and full of smiles. Christmas cheer he had recently had someone call it that. Who wouldn’t be excited about the birth of a child? And not just any child, but the savior of mankind.

He playfully strides back home with the paper bag in his hand fluttering in the wind. Kariba Estate in South B is now almost deserted. Everyone has travelled to the countryside for the holidays. The prospect of them going to Chuka to spend Christmas with the dad is beyond exciting. Packing is in full gear when he gets back home from the shops. They are to leave in the late afternoon.

The weather outside is confusing. There is a mix of dark clouds and blue skies. Uncertainty. You cannot make out whether the sun is about to shine or if there will be a downpour. The sun sometimes shines for the tiniest of moments, and even then on the skin surface you feel the heat but from within this cold rises and makes you shiver. Confusion.

He is the man of the house. James feels like thumping his chest. This mere fact warrants him the chance to ride shotgun. He gladly helps to load the luggage. It is now seriously threatening to rain.

The driver is struggling to switch on the engine. The car has come to a sudden stop at a junction as they are about to join the main highway. They are in a bad position since the front of the car is already on the highway. The drivers behind them are hooting furiously. The driver frantically turns the key on the ignition stepping on the accelerator. James turns to his right. He looks out the driver’s window and through the rain he makes out a matatu that has just turned the corner and is coming straight towards them at full speed. Panic.

‘Watch out!!!’

Split second. Lives have been changed. Wars have been lost. History has been rewritten. Hearts have been won and others shattered. Sound and light. One travels faster than the other. Or does it? The impact. Breaking glass. The car spinning and scratching the car on their left side. Landing in a ditch.

Slow motion. In a movie the purposefully serve to prolong the effect of a scene. This was no movie. In that instant as the car spun, James stares at the tarmac and holds on to the seatbelt that is holding him back from being thrown out through the windscreen. The words of his dad ring through his mind.

BE SAFE ON THE ROADS.
ALWAYS FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT.
REMEMBER SPEED KILLS.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!

Image courtesy of Dr. Berenblit’s site

**Inspired by true events.

Teiya Oloilole

5 Life Lessons from the Geese on Teamwork

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
–Andrew Carnegie

“That exam screwed me over.” Is that a nod? A grin, from the familiarity. The feeling is mutual. At some point through our school life we have all used that phrase. Even the geniuses (you in doubt? There are Maths questions that are yet to be solved. Think they are smiling about it?).

Let me digress. I am in Molo (the place is an icebox. What are up to over there? That is a story for another day). We have a host mum (the world will never get enough of them. Is that a smile? I know, their love just melts away hearts). Now imagine those words (in a more modest language) came from her. Wait! Don’t jump the gun yet. She is a teacher. I see you. I also had this evil grin. I was going on in my mind like “Yah! Serves you right” (Father forgive me for my evil thoughts. Amen! Don’t laugh say the prayer also to save your soul). She even brought out the papers just to prove it.

Even in the desert you still find an oasis. Life among the lifeless. In the paper she did there was a question that had Milton Olson’s lessons on the geese. They made so much sense because currently we are working as a team. The following are the five lessons that you can use to improve your teamwork :

1. Lesson one.
By flying in a V formation, a flock of geese add 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. Thus, people who share a common vision and direction can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

2. Lesson two.
When a goose falls from formation; it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. Hence, if we have such a sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we are going. We should be willing to accept and give help to others.

3. Lesson three.
When a goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose takes the front position. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing responsibilities. Just as with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts and resources.

4. Lesson four.
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those upfront to keep up the speed. We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement allows one to stand by one’s core values and encourage the core values of others.

5. Lesson five.
When a goose falls sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation to help and protect until it dies or flies again. They launch another V formation to catch up with the flock. If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Teiya Oloilole

3 Life Lessons I Learned from a 3 year-old.

“The great mystery of the world is not where we come from but where we are going.”
-Unknown.

Nakuru. If you are already thinking about a party (I see you. Yes you. Seriously, how many times must this statement be repeated, ‘don’t drink and drive!’). Unfortunately, I was not there for a party. Official business (makes me feel old). I met this amazing lady, Rachel, she even promised to join the blogosphere soon (be sure I will inform you of it. The more, the merrier. Right? Besides, diversity would solve a lot of world problems *wink*).

Gilgil. One word I think would come in handy when describing the place is ‘The Army.’ They literally fill the town (there is even a whole area named ‘Sierra Leone’ after some war the army fought there). I met this little princess, Lucy (funny how all kids are royalty). On first encounter you would be pardoned for thinking she is a quiet being. I hear ladies do about 7,000 words a day, she easily does that in just one night. She is the perfect example of a chatterbox that you don’t want to smother to silence.

Who knew a three year-old could teach on life? Who even knows about half of the things that happen in this life? She taught me three life lessons :

1. It is never that serious.
One minute she will be happy and grinning. The next minute she is crying and wailing with tears rolling down her cheeks. You will make her cry and in between the tears she will still give you a grin. Think of life in that way. There are happy moments. Then there are the sad times. Both don’t last forever.

2. If life gives you a lemon…  
She scours the whole house for anything she can use to play with. When she comes across something she can use, you never hear her complain that it is not suited for what she intended to use it for. She makes it work. In life strive to make whatever is handed to you work. Make lemonade (but I find that ending to be somewhat socialist. How about if given a lemon, plant the seeds and start a plantation, and sell the lemons for a profit. Capitalist mindset).

3. Life is messed up, but in the end it’s still worth it.
She laughs. She cries. She walks. She crawls. She jumps on tables. She speaks in gibberish. At the end of the day thinking back if given another chance I would not have it any other way. Life can be a bitch (sorry for the explicit word). Today, it is smiling on you. Tomorrow, it gives you a cold shoulder. You wake up each day uncertain of what life has in store for you. In the end, if given a second chance, a big chunk of your life you would not do it any different. 

The best part. She will be all over the place like she is possessed. Five minutes on her mother’s lap she is out cold. Sleeping beauty. Reminded me of knockouts. This week the world lost one of the greatest to ever live. #R.I.P Ali.

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”
-Unknown.

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‘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.

Regards,
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~

 

WACERA KIEHA.

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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

CHRISTINE NYAMBURA

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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.

MWAURA JO SEPH.

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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

 

WANJIKU WA KANJA.

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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.

DAVID KENE

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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.

LAURA WAMBI

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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

TEIYA OLOILOLE.

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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

MILLICENT WAITHIRA.

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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.

VINNY OTIENO.

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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

 

SALMA ABDULATIFF YUSUF.

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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.

 

KELVIN KARANJA.

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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

MIKE

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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 ONGERA.

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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.

ERIC MBUGUA.

“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.

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