My last coin of hope

“I lived there and it was beautiful in my eyes but I don’t feel I belonged.” This will probably be my exact last words when I die.

My search for peace has become an obsession and for this case a deadly one. Peace for me is to be able to live comfortably without fear of tomorrow. All these living doesn’t allow for that. You are always worried about something and unfortunately most of all these worries are money related. What will I eat? How will I pay my rent? I need more money for my health insurance,my salary is not enough, my children need an education, the list is endless. Bad economic times are hitting the country leading to huge numbers of lay offs . Everyday a company closes causing more unemployment and what’s worse even people who had their own businesses,are closing down. The taxes are killing wanainchi the stress and pressure is unbearable. That’s why the suicide rates are going up. A man wakes up one day,with no means to feed his family he decides, I will end all these sorrow for you and for me,he sets the house on fire to kill him and his family…be together until in death.

I have lived with the fear if death for so long and blocked out the imagination out of my head. After I lost my friend and all I could see is his body in a box buried 6feet under I began embracing the idea of dying. The life leaves the body ,your loved ones mourn but the lifeless body lays there without knowledge of the happenings around it,totally unbothered and peaceful. The peace is what I envy the most. Although we can tell for sure if a dead body is at peace with its surroundings maybe someone is just paralyzed and thats why they can’t move yet they feel every emotion and pain, I don’t know.

I am so sorry for anyone who loved me. I am sorry for my mother that I had to make some thought decisions that will break your heart. My life has become a burden to me. It has its hands on my neck,squeezing tighter every dawn. The life that gave me strength now weakens me. Life itself sucks the life out of me. If I said I want it out of me, I would not be bluffing. I am tired of fighting for a future that does not exist. Call me weak for taking my own life but it took me a lot of courage to finally take this step. It’s not cowardice that I could not face my struggles, I tried many a times that it’s not worth trying anymore .

I will miss seeing the sun,the blue skies and the green grass and trees. More than anything I will miss feeling the cold morning fresh breeze against my face, I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful I experienced while living like that. Oh my family, my poor loving family,I caused pain to your hearts I can’t be more sorry. Think of this like my final step to the freedom and peace that I talked so fondly about. I hope the other side, they’ll be no judgement because if this will take me to hell then it’s such a shame that such harsh judgement should be passed to an innocent person who only wanted to experience happiness. I want to appreciate everyone who was close to me and shown me their unconditional love and support. I’ll take that with me. You won my heart and it saddens me I can’t take you with me on this journey. You belong where you are .

PS,This is not goodbye.

Is settling for less a solution?

I was woken up by a phone call distracting my peaceful morning sleep. Through my squinting eyes I saw it was my long lost friend who I probably talked to two years ago.

“Hallo”, I said in a husky morning voice

“What? You are still in bed at 7am ,I’m sorry to wake you up Princess of Egypt!”

I was in no mood for sarcasm and already annoyed by that comment but decided to ignore any kind of bad morning vibe sent by the devil. That’s being a responsible adult.

“I am doing ok thank you. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

” There’s a job in town ,a shop attendant is needed,be here at 8:30. I know it’s not the kind of thing you want but please take this job to get out of the house. I’m getting worried about you, I don’t want you to throw away your life just because you can’t get what you want. Small steps…ok see you in an hour,” and she hanged up.

Wow! How could anyone talk so much in the morning? I thought to myself. The truth is I have accepted jobs that I wasn’t even happy with for a long time but I had reached a point where I don’t have the patience for mediocre work anymore. I want my dream job I want a better paying job but this was just another of the lame jobs I was avoiding. Do I have some kind of attraction to small things?

I sat on my bed for a minute debating whether I should go or not but because of the respect and care that she had shown, I decided to go. I got there,the employer accepted me immediately no CV needed ,he must have been desperate. They explained to me what I needed to know and to be honest there was no need to explain anything, I began immediately.

The first two months went ok, I made new friends, everyone liked me which is no surprise because I’m very likable and charming. The profit margin increased in six months but not the peanut of a salary I was getting there. Everything I got paid for my transportation,from hand to mouth. This is when my frustration rose again. The pain and hurt of not getting what I deserve .Little by little I hated the job more and became dull. I opened late even forced myself to get out of bed. My big dreams and ambition tortured me reminding me I don’t belong in such a small place. I was pitiful to person I wanted to be. I should be a scientist or a great physicist. I should be in the lab inventing something I belong to the class of Albert Einstein. This is what I used to think back in high school, in a physics lesson when I discovered that electrostatic attracts insects, a solution to stop pesticides finally, well jokes on me. I made the bold step again to quit the job. The boss was sad to loose such an impeccable talent ,an honest,reliable and humble employee whose only fault was being a latecomer which he didn’t really mind.

Fast forward, seven months later, Iam here under a tree writing this wondering wether I made a mistake for wanting more. I hope there’s a window of opportunity for me to especially go back to acquire new skills for my new found interest. I know a lot of people who took up a job they don’t like because they needed a source of income. My desire for financial freedom has led me to be more proud. I want to spend without worrying, to experience life once in a while without fear of my money is not enough. Taking up mediocre jobs have slowed me down. I don’t feel as ambitious,aggressive as I was 7years ago. My zeal for life has gone down. It’s scaring me that I’m truly getting to the point of giving up on my dreams. Applying for jobs in companies that will never get back to you, unfriendly HR managers and strange receptionists who would never submit your papers to the managers.

I admire the people who have their own thing running. They began small business which picked successfully. Some joined the digital platforms, share their content and get paid for the views while others would do the same and never get any kind of recognition.The government urges young people to take this path, try agri-business ,they say;but not everyone is designed for these. Farming is difficult if you can’t afford to pay for labour and you can’t do the work yourself. Not all humans are enlightened this way . We have no one to blame but ourselves but as I wait for that breakthrough I fantasize of what I should have been by now.

Cholera symptoms?

I didn’t think I’ll be up at midnight,looking up signs of Cholera on Google. Someone like me who constantly has a running stomach for eating literally anything,is not easy to tell the signs of Cholera.

I don’t know how I’d be surviving if I was born in the early days where people didn’t have toilets in the houses. I’d probably be dead right now from a snake bite at the butt. I can picture myself at little shrubs close to mud and grass thatched houses , crouching in the darkness of the night,then I hear a slithering sound before I jump pow! The ugly snake fang is on my butt! God forbid!

Back to Cholera. Im here like ” no I don’t have abdominal pain, yes watery stool but not like rice water, oh! no I have the muscle cramps ,nausea…yes yes I’m vomiting!”

I have gone through this countless times and I had visited a doctor 3years ago who decided my tummy is full of gas and prescribed antacid which obviously did not work!

With the rising number of Cholera cases in the country, it’s important to stay safe,maintain hygiene and especially watch out for the signs. I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow to put a stop to this sleepless diarrhea nights.

If you are experiencing these stomach discomfort please stay at home! If you are unlucky and your are being hosted somewhere here are some safety precautions:

1. Make sure your Host’s bathroom has air freshener if not my friend you are in trouble (use harpic or Omo or anything that has perfume lol) You don’t want your host to start saying “sijawahi ona nzi uku sijui zinatoka wapi” about the killer stench you left in his bathroom.

2. You can’t trust this county council water,fill buckets with water for flushing the toilet,you better be safe you don’t want to annoy your host

3. Don’t pass gas,its a trap. There’s nothing as dangerous passing gas during stomach upset. The devil is a liar,the gas might be unusual. When you feel the urge,my friend,rush to the washroom.

4. Finally, drink plenty of water and always carry your antidiarrhea drugs;you’d rather be prepared if you have a sensitive stomach like mine.

Now friends,thank me later for being a good friend to share with you this information.

The picture I can’t paint

I’m standing with my mother at the headmaster’s office. I’m carrying a small plastic dish with a few snacks in my new bag dressed in blue school uniform . Looking around,school appeared huge,gloomy,unfriendly and very noisy.I hated noise and I knew at that point,school is not what I had imagined.
A tall middle aged woman comes, introduces herself as my teacher,madam Wanjiru(but we all called her mama shungu or madam shungu.Shungu was her daughter but that was her nickname. I still don’t know why she was called shungu such a weird name, could be it was a name she said often when she was learning her first words as a toddler).Madam Wanjiru was friendly with my mother so I felt comfortable with her when my mother leans forward to tell me she will leave me there with her and will pick me up later,bids me goodbye and reminds me to be good (I was a very difficult kid at home as you will see). The classroom was packed with children sitted on benches and long tables. I remember they had big white eyes and you know it’s not a joke when a pair of big eyes multiplied by fifty are staring at you. This was the first time I see so many kids in one room,they looked like little aliens,I felt my hairs standing and I could bet I wet my pants.It was a scary experience. I’m made to say my name loudly as if addressing a press but I can hardly get a voice so I had to repeat my name thrice as if twice wasn’t enough because the kids at the back could not hear me. I immediately hated all those kids for making me feel humiliated.
Madam Wanjiru introduced me to two girls,Wangui and Jenny, she said they were my neighbors(I had never seen them).They were friendly and I felt at ease and I thought oh I have new friends now, it’s not that bad.They were to help me get home, because there were cases of children getting lost for they could not remember their home; so it was important to walk in groups with children of the same neighborhood.
At the playground,the kids were happily playing, laughing and screaming.Little girls were on the merry-go-round and boys playing football and others running around chasing each other. I stood at the classroom door by myself,looking at them, I felt envious,I wanted to play with them but I was a shy kid who preferred to be alone. I found more amusement in watching than participating. Teacher had noticed this and she would take me to the merry-go-round,told the children to play with me.She told me to sit beside one girl, and that mean girl had shouted “asikae hapa”.Madam had scolded her and that little devil of girl walks out saying she is not playing anymore. I felt hated and if she thought she was the only one hating, she was wrong because I hated her much more. We sang a song going round and round ,it went something like “ibilisi bye bye byeeeee” so I ask Wangoi who Ibilisi was,she said she doesn’t know but he was someone bad, who ate children (I later found out that ibilisi was Satan). You should also know that Shungu made our lives hell,beating kids and snatching them their snacks. Everyday was Shungu this Shungu that, and when you run to tell the teacher, wrong move because she was her mother and now that meant you have a new problem with Shungu for telling on her.

The learning part is not very interesting except that sometimes we scribbled on the ground instead of notebooks. I also had problems with letter O and D. I always wrote my middle name with D instead of O and it could not make any sense. I had argued with the teacher that’s how my mother wrote my name.She had given up because I was inconvisible. Later when I had learnt the whole alphabet and the “a e i o u’s “I learnt to write my name with the O.

I wanted to write about my whole primary school level experience but I just realized I can’t,because I have bad memories of it. I recently met online,a writer who calls himself something like “the boy who was bullied” who I was discussing with him about the whole bullying in schools,he said it is not easy to write about things that hurt you and darkest times of your life.He was right . Just to give you an idea, I had a rough time especially with the boys.Girls were a little nicer but most of them also disliked me even the ones who pretended to be my friends. I had to put up with my books getting thrown away or water poured on them or hiding my bag and as if not enough getting hit around all the time.They called me names and write that name on my desks my books.It was a name making fun of how skinny I was. I don’t even like to remember that name because it crushed my confidence. I remember I had begged my mother to transfer me to another school but she ignored me. I would wake up late and walk very slowly to school because I didn’t want to go,so I was punished for always being late. They called me lazy and punished me and I suffered both at school and home. When I once decided to open up to my mother because she complained my uniform was always dirty.I told her some boys were always hitting me and her advice was I should hit and fight them too(the only fight I ever been in was with my sisters up to date) . At that time ,I was crashed and broken and cowardice was my adornment. You can never fight back. I grew up hating boys and I had a difficult time interacting with them because of my experience.
I have to change the subject but in conclusion to this part of my life, school had been hell and I hated it. I also found out later in my teenage years that the bullies, did all that because they had a crush on me and they even dared to look for me and admit that to my face but I was far much destroyed and sadly up to date I feel hate towards them.

Growing up in Africa: Childhood pt.2

It’s 2000 at 5pm on a weekday,im at the road waiting for my father to come home from work. My big sister is beside me making patterns on sand with her bare feet. There, I see my father walking down the valley,across the stream towards his two youngest daughters. I can’t remember if he ever smiled at us. We would run to meet him,hug him and I would swing with his right arm and make him carry me up to the gate. It didn’t matter to us if he had not brought us sweets because he said sweets were bad for our teeth. I can’t tell wether we ran upto to him out of our own will, for love or for competition or just to win his love ,Im not sure,because I have a vague memory of our mother asking us to go meet our Father at the gate.

In the house after he changed into more loose clothes he would lift me up, tease and tickle me with his beards on my soft tender cheeks, I’d laugh so much.

My parents,were the typical African parents .Harsh and hardly ever showed affection. Rod was not spared. And rod here means cypress twigs,belt,slippers and hands (spanks and pinchings). I have so many memories of the times I was punished to the point of doubting they were my biological parents .
My father was a stern man,a disciplinarian,quiet and very religious. I had only heard him laugh once. He had the “hohoho” kind of laugh. When he came home,the atmosphere changed ,if we were laughing we stopped and everyone would began leaving one by one to hide in the bedrooms. My mother would prepare his bathing water and ask me to go tell my father his water is ready ,

“papa maji yako imetairishwa”

“Sema maji yako tayari”he corrected me, but I would repeat the same mistake and we would just walk to the bathroom .

After supper,he watched Wrestling,he loved the Rock and Stone cold. If it’s not that he liked Vitimbi and Mr Bean,and still no matter how funny Mzee Ojwang could be or Mr Bean my father would just give a small smile. He would later read us a Bible verse and pray then we would leave my mum watching her program “The Bold and the Beautiful”. There was a time I would sneak out of bed and go peep this program and that must have been the first time I saw people kissing . Unfortunately my dad had found me and whipped me with his belt and ruined my little fun.
My mother was the mother of rules . The rules she imposed on us were so tough made home feel like prison. I look at it now and I understand her . She had two cupboards one,she kept utensils she used at home and the other was special utensils for visitors, she said “vyombo za wageni “. You should never be seen around that cupboard or you will get serious pinching on your thighs .When a visitor came,she chased us and locks us in the bedroom because she said kids who played around visitors have no discipline and they can bring embarrassment. Before I was born,my brother had picked pieces of meat from a visitors plate and my sister once began telling family affairs. So these two brats made the rest of us suffer the consequences.This has affected me to date,made me dislike visitors.
My mother had warned us not to go to play with other kids,we played by ourselves but on Sundays she allowed us to go to her friend’s and play with other kids and the next Sunday they will visit us. On rainy days,we were not allowed to shelter at people’s home if say we were coming from school and it rained before we got home . She said we should stay in school or shelter on verandas of shops. If you went home wet you would get good slaps and pinchings.
Saturdays were chill days. We slept upto 9am because there was no school and also this was bathing day. Oh yes yes. This was full body bathing day. To explain this so that you don’t get it wrong, weekdays were school days we washed our faces hands and legs only. On Wednesday was half bath day ,from the waist down,we called this “kuoga under half”. This is not odd because our friends also had the same bathing schedule. My dad would be out fixing the fence and whatever else and I was always there with him incase he needed anything. I enjoyed more to see what he did with the hammer than what my mama did with the cooking pots. Oh! Don’t doubt my sexuality. I had a thing for complexity. I remember one day our TV had had a short circuit and when the guy who repaired it,i asked him a million questions about those tiny wires in there when my sisters were out playing “kati”.
Sunday was the best day for me and every other kid . Apart from church it was also “chapati day”. I honestly don’t think I got excited about church because I would be taught about Jesus but rather because was I will get to wear my favorite outfit popular as “Sunday best” . I feel church failed to capture kids attention. The Sunday school teachers failed because instead of making us love and respect the word of God, they instilled fear. It was always about “moto itakuchoma. Ukiiba mungu atakuchoma”.How is a 5 year old supposed to love the same God who burns people? I will talk about this on my next publish.
Growing up in Africa,kids don’t have a say. Your duty is to respect your parents and help them with duties and it’s not by choice .this is the beauty of growing up in an African family .
I didn’t like many things that my parents made me do or wear . My mum bought us oversized clothes because we would grow in them. She made us wear Reebok and socks when I preferred sandals. I forgot to mention she was a tailor and made the clothes herself for us and when we hated them she said “hii nguo ni mzuri unajua wamama huniuliza huwa natolea watoto wangu manguo smart” yeah yeah mama keep preaching. But these words made us have confident. If the shoe was oversize she stuffed some things inside. My sisters hated this so much and always had funny walking styles and faces about to explode .
Town was a dream place to visit but you wouldn’t go there unless you were sick. Sick because you will be taken to hospital which was in town . My elders liked going with my father because he bought them chips after hospital. But if you went with my mum she will only buy you Fanta at Rajani and go home after.
Maybe this is the little I can remember from my childhood when my father was still around . I hold these fond memories in a special place. I have grown up to be responsible and a disciplined fella all thanks to my tough Parents.

Lifeless dreams of a looser : childhood pt.1

I would look out of the window as the rain pours and hits the soil. The smell of soil made me want to sneak out and eat “eat the ground “. I wanted to play out in the rain but my tough African mum would whip my ass so bad I wouldn’t go out when it rained. She would say sternly ” ingieni kwa nyumba hatakangi msinyeshewe mtagonjeka malaria” . I later learned,that malaria was caused by a certain mosquito and it was never the rain. I felt so stupid.

My mother forced us to sleep but instead, me and my sisters would sit on our beds and press our ears and release to create a ryhthm from the sound of rain hitting the roof. We would later run outside barefoot and play with the water on little depressions on the ground,chasing “kumbekumbes” and fighting about whose feet got cleanest. We loved to see the the dirty water on our muddy roads commonly called “mariia” .

These were simple things we would do for fun as kids. But this was not the ultimate point of excitement.

Aeroplanes. Planes excited us, no-no, not just me, everybody in the village. The sound of an aeroplane was like the homecoming of a loved king . Sometimes I would compare it to the triumphant entry of Jesus on a…. was it a horse or a donkey?

If we are at home, I remember, when my dad was still alive, he would call us quickly to see a plane high up in the sky.

At school, if a teacher was teaching, we would cause some noise and he would let us go outside to see it. It’s funny, public schools of rural areas are so much fun now that I think of it. Kids would shout “ndio ileeeeee… Ndegeee” waving and those who couldn’t spot it, would be be shown by pointing small fingers on the blue sky . We sang “ndege salimia moi” repeating until it dissappered. Moi was our president at that time. We must have loved him because of the “maziwa ya nyayo” I don’t know but that’s a story for another day. Even though the plane appeared like a small white dot, the kind of joy and happiness it gave us, can’t be compared to anything. We had wild thoughts about planes, I wanted it to fall, I can’t tell you the number of times I wished that. I just wanted to see it closely I didn’t the dangers. It might explode and people to loose their live. Some said that the big bird carried lots of money and if it fell we would steal the money and be rich. Others thought it flew by itself because it’s so small. All these misconceptions and stories were told. Nobody knew how big it actually is. I still haven’t seen it up close but thanks to television and phones, well I can say I know now .isnt technology such a beautiful thing?

My dream and everyone else was to once be on a plane and experience how it would be to be high up there just like birds. Other kids wanted to be pilots. One time my mother told me, “nataka usome unipandishe ndege”. It’s sad that upto now, none of the kids I went to school with, is a pilot, some are married others became drunkards, and well the rest of us are either working or jobless. All the dreams of our childhood died just like that.

Plane tickets are expensive but sometimes I think if it weren’t for joblessness, it’s affordable. Thank God for the local flights, Jambo jet and Sax and maybe others that I don’t know .

The notion of planes is only for the rich is surely still what most people think but if it were up to me I would give a ride (or should I say a fly…a flight… I’m not so familiar with terms used with planes ) to my mama one day.