Storymoja Hay Festival Kenya 2010 – Diversity


Kathy Vaughan presents ‘Management Proverbs’

Sunday 3rd October 4pm to 5:30pm at the SHFK 2010

Growing up, everyone learns lessons about life through direct instruction and through our social environments.  Some are positive, some negative, some unexplored.  This session will engage the audience in thinking about proverbs as a tool for the modern workplace.  The audience will have a chance to discuss and interpret chosen proverbs related to work, as well as create their own proverbs.

Bio:

Kathleen M. Vaughan is an experienced trainer and consultant specializing in leadership, collaboration and conflict management.  She holds a Masters in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelors degree from Dartmouth College, USA. As a third culture kid and a seasoned mediator, she enjoys using language and the word as a tool to generate understanding, perspective-taking and motivation.

The Indian Black Butterfly invites you to her join her Transformation CirQle.

Friday 1st October 2pm to 3:30pm

Tazim Elkington – The Indian Black Butterfly – has a mysterious sense of ‘knowing’ how to tap into the spaces people are unsure of stepping into. Her sessions are unique and rare as they take a life of their own as moments unfold. She challenges limitations, norms, comfort zones and most of all that which we may consider a done deal however might be the biggest setbacks in our lives. This is not an experience where you buy 1 and get 1 free.. come   join Tazim and find out more for and about life and where we function from and why. Lets discuss ‘WHAT IS POWER’ – and its allies and foes! This session will be held on Friday 2-3.30pm at the ‘Transformation CirQle’. This session is not to be missed!!

“Verse of Fire”: A Conversation with Benjamin Zephaniah

Sunday 3rd October 4pm to 6pm

In “Bought and Sold,” Benjamin Zephaniah asks, “What happened to the verse of fire”? “Smart big awards and prize money,” he warns, are “killing off black poetry.” Poets who seek commercial approval risk losing their ability to find what Zephaniah terms “de magic poem,” a poem that “can ease our sorrows” and celebrate “our tomorrows.” A poet of the heart and of the head, Benjamin Zephaniah writes and performs socially engaged poetry, a poetry that makes audiences laugh and cry, feel and care, think and plan, engage the world in its possibilities and its obstacles.

Deeply committed to an ethical vision of the world, an expansive ethics that ranges from veganism to anti-racist activism, Zephaniah works on and off the page. He has championed a poetry that speaks to publics, eschewing the model of the isolated genius artist intent on writing in cryptic codes. His commitment to a democratic poetics is perhaps most evident in his writing for children in the volumes Funky ChickensWicked World, and School’s Out: Poems Not for School. Zephaniah is deeply committed to the future of a risk-taking poetry that pursues social and political utopias. In “Protest Poets,” he urges “human poets” to “unite,” “Lest we pass on to future poets / a world in which, poets do not fall in love / or mek mistakes.”

On this “Verse of Fire” panel, Benjamin Zephaniah is joined by Kenyan poets Tony “Smitta” Mochama and Njeri Wangari, in a wide-ranging discussion about the present and future of poetry, the relationship between art and activism, and how to engage multiple audiences through innovative performances. The panel will be moderated by poet and literary critic Keguro Macharia.

Bio:

Keguro is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park.  he belongs to the Koroga Collaborative and to the Concerned Kenyan Writers Collective. His writing can be found at http://gukira.wordpress.com

Bio:

Tony ‘Smitta’ Mochama is a successful journalist, and popular performance poet in Nairobi, with two published works of poetry to his name – ‘What if I Am a Literary Gangster’, and its sequel, ‘The Literary Gangsta – II.’ A third work of poetry ‘Evanescence’ is on the way … Mochama has also lectured on creative writing and poetry, most recently as a guest speaker in June at Concordia University, in Montreal. A self-confessed vodka aficionado (no lemons, no avocado), the dread-locked poet also did Law at UoN, but sez: “Don’t practice. Just preach!”

Bio:

Njeri Wangari is well known local poet/ spoken word performer, blogger and literary activist. Her first book of poetry was launched last month, Mind and Mind Fields: My Spoken Words. Check out her blog http://kenyanpoet.blogspot.com/

Paul Sullivan presents his book ‘Kikuyu District’

Friday 1st October 4pm to 5:30pm

Kikuyu District contains the edited letters of Francis Hall (Fort Hall) who lived in Kenya from 1892 – 1901 when he died from blackwater fever aged 40. His letters are among the earliest colonial records of daily life in British East Africa. He commanded Fort Smith near present day Nairobi with orders to keep the peace between the Kikuyu and the Maasai and to re-supply caravans traveling between the coast and Uganda. It was a hard life in dangerous conditions and every day was an adventure. He was lucky to survive a goring by a rhino and was later mauled by a wounded leopard that he strangled with his rifle. As the railway approached Kikuyuland Hall was moved to Mbirri (Muranga) to establish a new fort. Six months later he was dead.Kikuyu District is a unique and fascinating account of the life of an early colonial administrator and settler.

Bio:

Born in Wales, educated in England and the USA, Paul Sullivan chose a copywriting career in advertising that led to work in ten countries in Asia and Africa. A thirty year resident of Kenya, he is now retired on the Kenyan coast working on his second book about Kenyan colonial history.

For More Details About the SHFK 2010 visit the Storymoja Website or write toinfo@storymojaafrica.co.ke

Advertisements

Fear


The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable.  What he wants above everything else is safety – Henry Louis Mencken


At one point in our lives we will encounter something that will make us afraid. I mean, who are we not to be afraid if our very own Superman is afraid of Kryptonite, something that cannot even harm us? (I bet the Martians always laugh at us that our Super hero can be killed by a green stone and you do not even have to throw it at him!) Who are we not to be afraid when the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, was afraid of the cup of suffering that was ahead of him that He pleaded with God to remove it? Of course we know God was like, (said in American accent) “nope son, nat happening! Lets see if yo a men! Good luck, call me when yo on tha cross!”

Death is one of the three most feared things on Earth. I do not known why people fear death as it is a certain event. Maybe that is why people fear it, anyway. (I just discovered that as I wrote this, how Einstein can that be? Einstein must be one lucky chap I did not live in his time. All bullcraps about relativity and the Emancipation = Mariah Carey Squared (E=MC^2) formula would have me as the discoverer as I will have waited for him to discover them, kill him before he publishes them and then I finally publish them. How genius is that?) The sun rising in the East is a certain event and we do not fear it. The expectation of the sun not rising one morning is the same as someone living for ever (theory by Prof. greatrnk) I think people have a fear for uncertainties and so not knowing the next stage after death makes people afraid of the event. People, especially those who watch these crap things from South America where there is always a girl called Maria and a guy called Alehandro and the two will end up getting married , also fear scorpions, lizards, snakes and other harmless insects and reptiles. The greatest fear of all is……..public speaking! I was also shocked when I found out.

I once had acrophobia (fear of lifts) until I sat myself down and gave myself a man-to-man talk about this phobia issht. There are some things that ought to be punishable by law if an African is found guilty of possessing. Phobias, this Audrey bullcrap of transgender thingy and this serial killing thingy of Onyancha top the list. And I propose a punishment of 10 years of marriage to Conjestina or Semenya or both regardless of whether you are female or male, to be a lesson to people of similar behaviour.

One of the things I am afraid of is for one day my boss to, out of curiosity, google my name, upon which he will get my facebook page or my twitter page or worse, this blog or even worse all three. I will get that call telling me to report to his office immediately where the outcome is one of two things: Me getting fired or a pay rise. And on that note, someone please remind me to quit linkedin, my boss joined the other day!

The other bad thing that can happen is for me to wake up one day and realise I am in standard six! All this growing up and issht things I have been doing has all been a great dream. That will probably mean that my relationship with God has not suffered the ups, downs and more downs plus I will still be bright since campus will not have killed my brightest brain cells. But it will mean I am eleven, the age at which I had a crush on this stupid chick in primary who made me fail my end of year exams. (Go check the records at Rhino Academy on the only time I did not score atleast half a thousand marks)

So I wake up and I am eleven, and it happens to be the day I was suspended for ALLEGEDLY putting a cricket (the insect not the sport, dummy) in a girl’s maternity dress that also acted as the uniform in primary schools those days. (The teacher actually heard dress instead of desk, but I was innocent, I could not, and still cannot, touch an insect and I must have been busy studying or thinking about the girl). Anyway, later on I head to the CBD and the horror continues! I see my boys and the cute girls (who were in my dream) but they are all grown up and do not even recognise/know me. That, my friends, is the time you pull a huri moment. A huri moment is where you look for a tree, sit under it and let your lacrimal glands do their thing as you watch your lovely dreams turn into nightmares without ghosts. Named after the guy who first did that after he completed his KCSE Physics practical and he realised his dream of being a doctor was now a nightmare.

All said and done, there has to be fear, so that we can know courage. Death, so that we can know life,  hate, so that we can know love <—– I have no idea how this last statement got here!???

THE DAY’S

Quote: I overheard my girlfriend on the phone to her pal saying she wants to get engaged on Valentine’s Day. I hope she finds someone nice.

Thought:

It is irrational to fear an event if when that event occurs we are not in existence
and since when death is, we are not
and when we are, death is not
Then it is irrational to fear death
One might just as well as the philosopher argue fear of birth
So live your life in your own terms,create your own rules in life
indifferent to fear either your own or those of others.
Then you will be free and happy;
but remember when you stop fearing, you stop living.

Apology: To Huri

The Harsh Reality Finally Sinks.


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away – Philip K. Dick

(continuation/part two of this story)


It was silent, calm and peaceful. The three things I sometimes yearn for when I am with my boys even though I have always suspected when I finally get them, we will be in deep trouble. That was an understatement! The sounds that we could hear were snores from other inmates who were not in our cell. I finally let go of the cell bars I had been firmly holding for sometime now. My fingers hurt. I was met with discouraged faces as I looked back at everyone else. Reality had sunk and sobriety resumed. Tall Guy, who hardly says anything unless he is very high was first to break the silence, in a somewhat shrill voice,

Yaani tuko ndani for real!

I was heading towards him with the intention of beating the hell out of him then I changed my mind when I remembered he was 6 foot 5 and had visited the gym on few accounts. I still do not understand how he still believed we were not in jail for real. I stopped a few metres from where he was now sitting down and made the “We will be OK speech” much like the “Yes we can speech” by Obama. No one seemed interested. And you would think that having known people for about five years, you now know them well. What happened next was beyond what my eyes was ever meant to comprehend. At the corner was one of us, the one we all thought was the hardcore, crying like he had just been introduced to this harsh world from his mom’s womb. (I have not mentioned his name thus far because of the damage it will do him if people were to realise that he cried as late as a few years ago in a jail somewhere in Nairobi).

Everyone was now seated, apart from me. I preferred to lean on the wall. We stared at each other for eternity. The guy I should not mention his name finished crying, and I could tell that Jigger had found something/one to make fun of for the next decade, provided we left the cell. Boss, who is usually calm and the most built of us all, suddenly rose to his feet with such vigour that I became concerned. He headed for the bars and with all his might shook them while shouting “Mtatutoa ama nitavunja!” He did this for about five minutes and I could see him wearing out. The ‘Paul and Silas’ story was not going to be repeated here.  I was walking towards him to tell him he was wasting time, when I realized he was about to give up. Just then, a female guard appeared and it was the best thing after sliced bread.

I just realized that I was the only one not moving towards the cell bars with a speed to rival that of light. I looked at the bars (which also acted as the doors) thinking a Silas and Paul moment had happened but it was still unmoved from Boss’ shaking. The whole lot was now pleading with the female guard. The cry baby was knelling. I did not join them for two main reasons: I had done most of the thinking till that point and more so, I could not stoop low as to do what my friends were now doing just to get a phone that might be low on credit, or worse, without any.

There is a thing with women who have had children. They will treat anyone the age of their kids who is in trouble, as theirs. There was mercy in the eyes of this guard. She looked around to see whether anyone else was watching and removed her Motorola C118 phone. As she did, there was a scuffle as everyone wanted to be first to call. This prompted her to return it back and whisper, “One person at a time or none of you will call.” She pointed at me. I had not yet moved from where I was. “Yule ndiye anaanza!” I am told that I ran towards the bars but in all honesty, the cell was not a big a place for anyone to run, and knowing my boys, it cannot be true.

The guard kept reminding us to whisper and be as brief as possible. She was more concerned of what would happen if she had been caught than the credit we were using. Luckily for us, her credit was just enough for everyone to get a message to someone. She cautioned us neither to tell anyone she had given us a phone nor even tell anyone we had seen anyone like her before finally walking briskly . It mattered less to us. In no time, we would be found. We could not thank her enough. There was renewed energy on everyone’s face. We would be out in no time. Maa Nigga even started taunting Polo that he would never step foot in his place again!

I am the complete opposite of my friends. More often than not, I have asked God what I did wrong to meet these guys. And just as a warning to everyone, if in your next life you meet the guys I have named in this story, run for your life! Oh, and the seventh guy, the one who was crying is called Onyi. I should have charged you for that advice.  Within an hour, everything in our cell was “back to normal.” Maa Nigga talking about a famous inventor, Jigger making fun of Onyi for crying (when I was thinking this would wait till we were out) etc. I on the other hand was not comfortable as everyone else. There was that feeling that something was still not right. I could not, however, put a finger to it. I tried telling myself to be a little bit optimistic, but it did not work.

It was now towards early morning and my fears were being confirmed with every passing minute. The others seemed less concerned and more comfortable. Our bladders sms-ed each other and suddenly we all needed to take a leak. Boss, had been successful in calling a guard once, and so he was mandated in calling another one, preferably the same one who had given us her phone. In no time, a guard came and after we explained that our bladders were almost bursting, he came back with an empty metal bucket, carefully opened the bars/door and gave us our state of the art water closet. As he made to leave, he made this statement as a by the way, “Your parents were here a while ago, but technically, you are not! Majina yenu hata hayako kwa OB. Tuliwaambia waangalie Kamukunji!

And suddenly no one was interested in emptying his bladder!

…to be continued…

THE DAY’S

Quote: One useless man is called a disgrace, two become a law firm, and three or more make up our MPigs.

Definition: Tragedy (verb) – Marrying someone for love and then finding out they have no money.

The Princess Project: Bad Dreams


I wake up, it’s a bad dream

No one on my side

I was fighting

But I just feel too tired

To be fighting

Guess I’m not the fighting kind

2nd Stanza of Bad Dreams by Keane

Sometimes, you wake up, and you just can’t get out of the bad dream. Most of the time, you just need to hold on just a little longer, and things get better. That does not mean you should stay in a bad place hoping it will get better. You have the power and the ability to make your world a better place. And if the axis it is stuck on just cannot change, you need to remind yourself what a unique and talented person you are, and then head out and find a world that is just right for who you are. Whatever the case, remember :

Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.

This week on The Princess Project we made a stop at in Nandi with a review of The shrunken dream by Jane Tapsubei Creider.

Then we sipped at some poetry with Poetic Wednesday: The Lost Tear.

We have had some quiet in the Queen Stories. We need your help. If you know an extraordinary lady who derserves to be acknowledged please feel free to nominate them by sending an email to us at thequeenstories@gmail.com. Don’t let those special women go on without knowing just how special they are.

And to what you have been waiting for; this week’s episode of  Creekside Princess – The Big City!

Sherlock Holmes

Gaby grinned, hoped that Chris wouldn’t tell how fake that grin was, either. “Yes, I can. I thought Mombasa was the only place where crazy things happen.”

Gaby sighed, and started to get the chairs up on tables in the lounge area. It was routine. Sometime after midnight on weekdays, the clientele would dwindle out. Chris would probably have to get the odd plastered customer out and get a taxi cab for him. And Gaby would be getting cleaning up at the bar. Then Chris would come in to help put the chairs up so that the cleaning crew would have it easy to go over the floor as fast as possible.

He was looking at her with a curious expression. Gaby knew that no matter how tough he acted, what had happened last night had jarred him. But he did not have a choice. His reason for lack of choice was different from hers. He simply had no choice, because this was his life. Read the rest…

Thank you so much for stopping by and have a superb weekend.

Do you have something to tell the Princess out there? We welcome Mzee Articles: Pieces on personal experience overcoming trial or going through the staircase of life. We would also welcome Girl Royal Articles: How to and Skills from a personal perspective. Please drop us a line at theprincessprojectafrica@gmail.com.

Kapenguria 6….Sorry, I mean, Buru 7


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison – Henry David Thoreau


Everything was spontaneous, though subconsciously pre-thought. On most Fridays, when we did not have enough money to rave, we would go either to Polo’s or Boss’ house. Money was a determining factor as we had just completed high school and none of us had a job. It was Polo’s house because her mom lived somewhere in this planet where so as to go to that place, a Kenyan would need something called a visa and something else called a passport plus other documentation. I do not know why it was Boss’ house but rumour has it that….OK, the rumour involves some secrets in the family and if Boss reads them here, he will be arrested for murder while I will be buried a few days later. (I atleast want him present at my funeral). The most preferred place was at Polo’s because it was in a posh area, the mats to that place operate 247 (Economic resources were limited and instead of wasting money on cabs, that money could be used to uplift the economy in another sector e.g buying more intoxicating drinks etc) etc.

I am not supposed to disclose what we did at Polo’s mainly because that might land us behind bars again. Most of the things we did were legal anyway (listening to loud music had not yet been outlawed) and those that were illegal did not involve children (a la M.J)…….which reminds me that all of us had only utmost two documents issued by the state (a birth certificate and the KCPE certificate) so technically, without IDs, we were all children. On this particular day, Polo’s neighbour came to warn us that we were too noisy. She had done that everytime we were at Polo’s, and the warning always involved her threatening us that she was the wife of the Nairobi CID Boss (not the other Boss I talked about earlier). There were valid reasons for us to dispute that CID Boss theory namely her kids were still toddlers while she did not look anything above 32. You would expect the CID Boss’ wife to be with grown up kids and not so young. Polo had told us on many a times that he had seen a GK-plated Land Rover on numerous accounts while there was that rumour that she was the fourth (or fifth) wife (and her second born was not even the CID’s child. This is what made the rumour closer to fact than fiction.)

Right about the time when everyone is intoxicated and Maa Nigga has started formulating several theories about Galileo, the leaning tower of Pisa and other useless facts that can make you fail your exams because they occupy too much RAM on your brain, the door was flung open and there before us were the guys entitled by the state to harass all citizens (law and non-law abiding). Crucially is that they had missed the only illegal activity we had done that night by an hour and we did not hesitate getting on to the mariamu just incase they decided to search the house and evidence/a remainder/a surprise package of what had just been ingested is discovered. (The surprise package happened when one of us intended to kill the others by hidding part of the thing that we normally ingest so that when everyone feels wasted, he can unleash it.)

In no time, we found ourselves in (a surprisingly) clean and empty Buruburu Police Station cell. At first, I thought it was all a dream and so would you had you been in that position. A clean empty police station is something that existed just before dinosaurs and everything else extinct. The other guys that we found at the station kept asking us what we were in for and by the look of their voices, they seemed scared and later very concerned when we told them we had done nothing. The guards were also scared of us, it seemed, and it is like they had been trained on saying just one phrase, “Nyinyi hamna bahati!” None of us was harassed, and in all honesty, we thought that this was the effect of the thing we had ingested.

As usual, I am normally the first person to sober up/come back to my senses because my IQ is just 6 points short of Hitler, Einstein and Newton combined (then raised to the power of a third). I think Maa Nigga was talking about Alexander Graham when that einstein moment came. I should have mentioned that, since this all looked like a dream or the effects of something or both, we decided to play along and see the worst that could happen if we continued from where we left off, but now at the police station. Polo was busy singing in his bad voice some Toni Braxton song, Maa Nigga was telling his tales of how he helped who come up with what invention, the others were laughing at Maa Nigga (because they thought he was more intoxicated than them) while I was trying to prove to myself that everything (the guards being afraid of seven young boys who considered themselves to be men, a clean empty cell just for us etc)  was not a dream. That is when I had the Einstein moment.

“Let us call one of the guards, and ask him to call our parents,” I interrupted Maa Nigga.

Ngoja nimalize story,” he chipped.

Then there was silence for three plus one and a half seconds (maybe more) as everyone seemed to consider the genius statement I had made. I on the other hand swam in the glory of making Maa Nigga (finally) shut up and think about what I had said. I waited for the first response, and even noticed Polo had stopped singing. Just when I was going to say something less intelligent, (I think I would have begun by saying “Guys we have been here for two hours now and no one knows where we are”), there was a thunderous laborious laughter that lasted a whole minute from everyone. Then the self proclaimed Jiggah/Jay-Z/Hover tried to put some sense into me.

“rnk, hatujashikwa. Hizi ni effects za *&%$! Unadhani wapi utapata jela safi hivi?”

He had a point that was dead on arrival. I had pinched myself a million times and on each time, felt pain. This had to be real, even though I had been waiting for something to go wrong to prove it. After arguing for sometime, I realised that I could not win the argument with them, so I decided to call one of the guards and ask him if he could call our parents without the support of the other six useless boys. (actually, he will only have to call my parents).

Afande!” I shouted, amid laughter from the rest of the crew. A timid looking guard came.

Nini Mbaya?” He asked. I searched for the harshness in his tone but I could find none. It was more of pity than of fear. Everyone else was quiet.

Tafadhali nisaidie simu nipigie mzazi” I said.

Hardly had I finished saying this than the guard took off saying, “Sitaki kumwaga unga!” That was enough to convince us we were in a pot of hot soup, the pot was still on the fire and someone was still adding more firewood to the fire!

…to be continued…

THE DAY’S

Note: The above is a work of fiction and any reference to a person or place that resembles a real person or place is purely coincidental.

Quote – You know you are all grown up when you congratulate your friend now that she is pregnant instead of asking, “issht! what the hell happened?” – Switcheeks

As my mentor did for me sometime back, I would (also) like to officially welcome Yiembo and beenduta, who are new to the world of blogging. You can find their work at Dyiembo’s Blog and Bee illustrated respectively.

The Princess Project: Arranging Your Bags of Gold


Everybody wants money. All of us want to have financial security and some of us have this need for exaggerated wealth. That is why from the moment we reach the age of majority we start thinking about the future and how we can make it sunny by earning money, investing it and saving it as well. This week the Marvin Tumbo, an economics wizard, gives us some insight on financial planning and the importance of getting the right information from the right people.

Financial Industry Blogging

I would like to see a Kenyan blog on unit trusts, on hedge funding, on futures and options, on mortgage financing and how not to buy a house on a road reserve, on banking in general, on the NSE and CMA, on financial ethics, on insurance – all types of insurance, on financial advice, on how-to’s like how to choose one bank over another based on your financial needs and how to make online transactions safely etc. A blog taking apart the accounts being ran by the various banks – the charges, hidden charges, benefits, loopholes etc, basically, a blog on everything finance – from simple to complex concepts. Read the rest here.

This week the book review is on A Durable Fire by Barbara and Stephanie Keating. The book tells a very interesting story of loss, revenge and love that reminds me of Gaby’s story in the Creekside Series. The review by Stella Riunga gives a thorough insight on the book that you would not want to miss out on.

Don’t forget to check out Poetic Wednesday on Poetic License and comment and vote for your favorite poem.

Webisode 7 of Creekside Princess- The Big City will be ready for you next week and Gaby will be playing detective after the fiasco that harassed her in A Mystery.

Thank you so much for stopping by and have a superb weekend.

Do you have something to tell the Princess out there? We welcome Mzee Articles: Pieces on personal experience overcoming trial or going through the staircase of life. We would also welcome Girl Royal Articles: How to and Skills from a personal perspective. Please drop us a line at theprincessprojectafrica@gmail.com.

Visit to Morgue A Dish You


Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow (in Kenya) – Barrack Obama. (parenthesis mine)

A few months ago, my mom did a huge favour for me and (as I suspected), it was so that I could do her a bigger favour. The next day, being a Sunday, I was to accompany her to Garissa Lodge after church. I accepted, not because of the favour she had done but because I am a good son like that! I must add that this was when the kadhi courts were still a contentious issue in the then proposed constitution that was passed when Kenya Decided. This was before the grenades of Uhuru Park or before the Kampala bombings. I think a ship had just been hijacked by the Somali dimwits aka pirates.

The first thing that hit me when I alighted from the mat at sixth street was the bad polluted air. I quickly forgave multi talented dancer, singer, child molester M.J for coming to a certain African country and covering his nose just after smelling the beautiful air at the airport. We walked the entire sixth street without hearing Kiswahili, the National language. The language that is spoken here is Somali and/or spitting! It is then that I knew we were in kenya’s Somali capital Mogadishu Eastleigh!

At the other end of sixth Street, I saw the first traders of Kenyan origin. I was so happy I would have bought something from them, only that they were selling fake belts (Trust Kenyans to be mischievous like that!) and NO, I am not buying fake things, not even from my brother! Oh, well, I could if the person selling is a hot girl and she gives me her number…..could (but I will have to throw away the fake things all the same). One thing is certain in Eastleigh is that if you are a Kenyan of Kenyan origin, you DO NOT FEEL AS A MINORITY, YOU DAMN ARE!! 9/10 of the population is either made up of Somalis of Kenyan origin or Somalis of Somali origin (and there is no way to tell the bloody difference!)

Every building is a mall or an upcoming one, with an Arabic name. There is a rumour that Eistleigh makes more money than the CBD. Even if the rumour is not true, the heavy presence of funny banks in the area confirms that it is not far off. The first bank I see is the Gulf African Bank. Then Dubai Bank. (FYI, there are only two Dubai Banks in Kenya. One in Eastleigh and the other one in the CBD). I spot something like Community Bank (do not be fooled by the name, it is an Arabic bank!) After much walking, I finally spot Cooperative Bank of Kenya. This was like the greatest discovery since Sir Albert Einstein discovered The Law of Gravity (You are a fool if you read that line without taking note that it was Newton who discovered gravity and Einstein was not a sir, but you get the drift, dont you?) When I saw Kenya Commercial Bank, I finally convinced myself that I was in Kenya!

My mom and I parted ways temporarily and we agreed that we would meet outside Co-op Bank. I decided to get a hair cut (I still do not know what I was thinking. Hair cut in a foreign land???) I located a kinyozi that looked classy and stepped in. The barbers were non Somalis (of whatever origin) but as I was being shaved, the owner (a Somali) came to take some money and made sure we knew she was the owner by the abusive (broken Swahili) language she used towards the barbers. I made sure the barbers put enough spirit on the machine like three times before they began anything on me! Prevention is better than cure and in some cases, the only cure!

After the hair cut, I went to wait for mom at the Co-op Bank. While at Co-op Bank, some scuffle had people running for cover and I have never been scared my whole life. Men, this is Somaliland and anything can happen! I immediately thought BOMB and my brain could not download the BAD MAM (Bombs And other Disaster Management & Action Manual!) I temporarily saw parts of my life flash before me in slow mo, and that is when I knew I was going to die another day. I always know that if your whole life flashes in a sec, know that is the last 3D movie you are watching! Just as I was coming to my senses, suddenly my brain got an Einstein moment: “Get Down,” it said. I then realised that it is kids who were running but I could have sworn I saw adults running.

Mom called. A little hesitation before picking the phone because my phone is expensive, uninsured and half of these people look like Osama bin Laden! My mom was at Co-op Bank, I was not! ‘What do you mean? I am here,’ I tried to explain……..just before I realised Co-op Bank was nowhere in sight and I had no idea where I was! I must have ran when the scuffle erupted, but I do not remember that part. I start looking for Co-op Bank and I easily spot mom. Its easy when every woman has a veil and mom does not! She confirms that there was a scuffle a few minutes ago.

As we head home, I realise I have not seen a church. I look every direction and spot two churches. The huge one must be Catholic, I say to myself. As we alight, I thank God for the beautiful fresh air that I normally take for granted and buy a bar of chocolate for my mom, whom I also thank God for!

THE DAY’S

Disclaimer:

This post was inspired by two hot girls who discovered that I “do not do personal posts and ishts“. Here is to them. An apology to another hot girl who found this post offensive. If you find anything offensive, please let me know at greatrnk@gmail.com or @greatrnk. I do not promise not to write an offensive post, but I might apologise.

The reason why there are no photos is simply because I am sure some terrorist hiding in the area would not take it too kindly if a random stranger starts taking photos of the building he is living in!

Quote: Introducing ‘Lite’: the new way to spell ‘Light’; but with twenty per cent fewer letters – Jerry Seinfield.