Category Archives: Life

Our days on this earth

Worry no more

friends

I know it’s been a while,
Since we sat side by side,
I guess I was too caught up on living life,
Trying so hard to soar and take flight,
But worry no more dear friend, am here now.

I travelled many a place,
Saw different faces,
But none gave me your kind of stir,
The kind that gives my heart a roar,
Worry no more dear friend, am here now.

Today, let’s break bread,
Under the yellow sun, our feet spread,
My tired feet walked a thousand miles,
But my soul was all smiles,
I was coming back home,
So worry no more, dear friend, am here now.

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We do this for ‘Liz’

Life can be cruel. The kind of cruelty that no words can describe.  Cruelty that stems from individuals who are akin to savage beasts. Imagine having to endure gang rape by six of these beasts on your way from your grandfathers funeral. Never mind that your emotions are already battling with the loss of your granddad, the beasts decide to rape you until you lose consciousness. After which they throw you into a pit latrine.

This is what happened to 16-year-old ‘Liz’ (not her real name) from Busia, Western Kenya.  She had to endure what I can imagine were the darkest hours of her life in the latrine until she was found the following morning. Never mind that when she went to report to the police station, they asked her to take a shower.  And just like that, critical evidence to put the beasts behind bars was lost. ‘Liz’ was sexually assaulted, beaten and as a result suffered spinal injuries and obstetric fistula.

wicked11Punishment for the savage beasts you ask? Well, all they did was cut grass at the police station and walked home scott free. Both local and international media has been awash with condemnationof the  atrocity that was committed against this girl. And rightly so, because this girl must have wondered how cruel this world can get.

It got me thinking how people often feel that civil society groups and like-minded advocates “are always making too much noise” about the injustices that women go through. Isn’t it enough? some will ask. And the answer lies therein in Liz’s traumatising ordeal. It clearly is not near enough. We live in a system where most of the structures and systems that are supposed to give us refuge don’t. Somewhere in Busia,  western Kenya, is a police officer who believes that cutting grass is befitting for a rape crime.  These systems are comprised of some individuals who do not have an inkling on the kind of effect these crimes have on the lives of women that have to go through them.

So we cannot make enough noise, we will blare the horn ever so loudly until beasts that perpetrate these acts are give sentences so punitive that they think twice about committing these crimes . We do this for future generations who will not need to have protests to highlight such brutality to the powers that be. We do this because even if the world shows its cruel side through such senseless beasts, we show that it has its beautiful side that offers refuge to those that need it the most. We do this for ‘Liz’.

We loved her even before we met…

This July 19th 2013, our baby girl turned one. You should have seen us, all excited and marveling at how fast the months had gone by. Funny, because when she was days old, one hour with her felt like an eternity. She would wail until her poor lungs couldn’t take it anymore, while we, with the hope of getting a quick one hour nap, would hopelessly try to rock her to calm down to no avail. Everybody told us that this was just a phase and that they grow up pretty fast, I couldn’t fathom that then. Now we do. Yes, they do grow up pretty fast. We still have our rough days, when she simply won’t relent, but we couldn’t care less because this tiny thing changed our lives from the day she landed here.

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Any mother will tell you how those nine grueling months can be. The constant fatigue, the myriad of emotions, the awkward sleeping positions, the weight gain. You go around carrying this little human who wrecks havoc on your body and the only thing that keeps you going is the immense love you have for them. And God in his perfect and divine order ensures that this love abounds during these months and sometimes it is all that keeps you going. It is this same love that gives single mothers whose boyfriends have deserted them at their most vulnerable the strength to carry on. The same love takes some mothers through pregnancy related complications that would otherwise have bogged them down. This love takes both mom and dad through the rough patches once the baby is born. Such is the power of this love.

And so through it all, you learn how strong parents can be, and more so the new ones like us who navigate through the first year without an instruction manual. You also realize that this is just the beginning of the journey and that you will wear your heart on your sleeve for the rest of your life and you can’t help it either.

So I baked a cake, never mind the fact that I hadn’t pretty much baked anything my entire life. We put balloons all around; we fussed over what we’d eat and how we were going to serve the cake, the colour of the forks. We had to because we loved her even before we met her…

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Happy birthday doll!

Happy father’s day to the men who have dared to try….

This weekend the social media pages were awash with ‘Happy father’s day’ messages. Quite nice to see that people now appreciate the role that fathers play in the family.  In particular, I quite enjoyed reading the heartwarming feature that Time magazine had of celebrity dads’ letters to their daughters.

Also hail the African dads who are famous for being disciplinarians as well as being devoid of any emotions. Speaking of emotions, I have never in all my life seen my dad cry, not even in the most difficult of circumstances.  And that is the fabric with which we describe our African dads, masculine manly men who can tackle anything and everything.

My dad is of course one of these manly men. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I no longer live under his roof. There were times in my childhood when all I wanted to do was get out of that roof, and now that I am trying to make it on my own, I constantly wish I’d have more time to talk and to spend time with my old man. Growing up, my dad’s word was law that could not be contested; you either conformed to the rules or faced the consequences.  Looking back now, I understand that in his own wisdom he was trying to teach us vital lessons about life. Every now and then something happens and  I remember dad’s advice.  As an adult, lessons from parents come to us ever so gently in our everyday experiences and we realize our parents knew we had it coming.

fathers-day-4Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad.  ~Author Unknown

I have fond memories of my childhood with dad, him teaching me how to drive, him taking me to school and picking me up in the evenings, him teaching me to always speak up when it mattered, him buying me my favorite treat of fries and a fried egg, him taking us on long road trips, him spanking us…..

But most importantly, my dad has always been there for me, unconditionally. Quite a task, bearing in mind that we live in a world where most people love you on condition.

There are girls as well that have been in unhealthy relationships and their dads are the only men in their lives who have cherished them, and that counts for something. I also realize now that dad is the most liberal man I know. I got a tattoo a couple of years ago, and while everyone questioned the move, he gave it one look and decided it was no big of a deal! I also had my nose pierced around the same time and voila…same indifference on his part! Very shocking on the manly masculine African Man I know…. 🙂

He dared to try since I was born and that’s all that matters. Happy father’s day dad!