Achika’s love

April 4, 2016

By Keya John, Shiro Marima and Eudiah Kamonjo.

NOTE: This was group work done during a writing workshop facilitated by Tanja Duckers at the Goethe Institut on April 1 2016. The task was to come up with a story that includes the words ‘sunglasses, a rat and beauty queen’.

sunglasses

It’s the year 2000. Achika is seated on her bed, going through her tattered album. The creaking of her bed would match the instrumentals of Kenny Roger’s ‘Listen to the Radio’. At the back of one of her oldest and most prized photos, she reads something she had scribbled years ago, ‘Life only allows us enough time and energy to connect with a limited number of people’. Her smile is priceless!

XXXXXX

The year is 1994.

She slides her sunglasses up and down her nose. She bought these heart-shaped sunglasses for three-hundred shillings during her first visit to Nairobi, but they had the feeling of making her feel like a beauty queen. They do not quite fit well, so she has to regularly adjust them so they sit nicely. Achika begins her nervous walk towards the river bank. The anticipation of the meeting makes her heart skip a thousand beats. She has only seen him once before-in church, playing the drums.

His name is Jones. He is on a bicycle, riding as fast as he can. His tall frame is bent over and there’s no stopping him. ‘Kwa mwendwa gutirme karima’ (On the way to one’s beloved, there is no hill).

All of a sudden, his bicycle comes to ma sudden stop. A rat has been caught in the spokes of his bicycle frantically trying to free itself. Threatening to interrupt this very precious moment of his life. From a distance, he can see Achika pacing up and down the river-bank, playing with flower petals. He picks up his bicycle, puts it on his shoulder and starts to ran. She senses a movement around her. She sees him; tall, sturdy, determined! Achika grabs her sunglasses and tosses them into the water. She races towards him and leaps into his arms as he abandons his beloved bicycle for his new beloved.

XXXXX

It’s the year 2000. “You surely cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to the person to realize your worth,” she continues to read her own words at the back of the old photograph.

“Achika, my love? Achika! Achika!”

She sits up, looking around, startled. He smiles and sits besides her on the bed.

The creaking intensifies.

Advertisements

What writing means to me

March 8, 2016

(Some free writing)

writing

Writing has always been a part of my life

Allowing me to dig deeper into my thoughts, soul and body

Allowing me to dream and to create

First my world, the way I’d like it

And then the world, the way I dream it.

 

Writing is an act of courage to me

Allowing me to talk about things or issues

In a way I wouldn’t speak them

Allowing me to listen

To the world around me, and in me

 

By writing, I go to places that

I ‘ve never been

Taste things I never have

Sing songs I’ve never heard

 

My writing allows me to seduce

To conjure up fantasies

To speak from the depths of the silent

To silence the uncalled for

And sooooo much more….

The 100 Questions Tag!

February 3, 2016

Its been a while since I did this, but its always so much fun… You should try it too-even just for yourself.

  1. Do you sleep with your closet doors opened, or closed? Closed.
  2. Do you take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? Yes, most times.
  3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in our out? Out!
  4. Have you stolen a street sign before? No
  5. Do you like to use post-it notes? Sometimes
  6. Do you cut coupons out and never use them? Yes.
  7. Would you rather be attacked my a big bear, or a swarm of bees? Big bear. I hate bugs.
  8. Do you have freckles? No.
  9. Do you always smile for pictures? No.
  10. What is your biggest pet peeve? Lies and the saying that ‘its never that serious!’
  11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No.
  12. Have you ever peed in the woods? Yes.
  13. Have you ever pooped in the woods? Yes.
  14. Do you ever dance even if there is no music playing? Yes.
  15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? Sometimes
  16. How many people have you slept with this past week? One
  17. What size is your bed? Queen-size.
  18. What is your song of the week? Jik’Izinto by Zonke.
  19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink? Absolutely.
  20. Do you still watch cartoons? Love them.
  21. What is your least favorite movie? Very hard to say. Sponge Bob the movie was a disappointment.
  22. Where would you hide buried treasure if you had some? Nowhere, I would share and trade it in or spend it (Assuming there’s gold and diamonds in there too)
  23. What do you drink with dinner? Water or red wine.
  24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Hot and sweet chilli sauce.
  25. What is your favorite food? Fish.
  26. What movie(s) could you watch over and over again and never get tired of it?  4321, The Usual Suspects,
  27. Last person you kissed/ kissed you? My daughter.
  28. Were you ever a girl/boy scout? No. But I was a Red Cross + St. John Ambulance First Aider back in the day.
  29. Would you pose inappropriately for a magazine? For a good cause, maybe.
  30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? Years ago.
  31. Can you change the oil on a car? No.
  32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? Not yet, its very likely though.
  33. Ever run out of gas? No.
  34. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich? Tuna.
  35. Best thing to eat for breakfast? Fruit salad mixed with nuts and yoghurt.
  36. What is your usual bedtime? After midnight.
  37. Are you lazy? Definitely not!
  38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? A bunny.
  39. What is your Chinese astrological sign? Rat…?
  40. How many languages can you speak? Three (Soon four).
  41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes (Online).
  42. Which are better, Legos or Lincoln Logs? Legos.
  43. Are you stubborn? Yes, I can be.
  44. Who is better, Leno or Letterman? Not sure.
  45. Ever watch soap operas? When I was younger and there was only one TV station.
  46. Are you afraid of heights? Yes.
  47. Do you sing in the car? Sometimes.
  48. Do you sing in the shower? Sometimes.
  49. Do you dance in the car? Yes. (Not sure that’s considered dancing though).
  50. Ever used a gun? Not yet.
  51. Last time you got a picture taken by a photographer? Last year, with my daughter.
  52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? Yes!
  53. Is Christmas stressful? Yes it can be. When you are not alone but you feel lonely.
  54. Ever eaten a pierogi? Nope.
  55. Favorite type of fruit pie? Apple pie.
  56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Poet and Writer. which I am.
  57. Do you believe in ghosts? No.
  58. Ever have a Deja-Vu feeling? Yes.
  59. Do you take vitamins daily? No.
  60. Do you wear slippers? Sometimes-but I tend to trip and fall when I wear them.
  61. Do you wear a bath robe? Nope.
  62. What do you wear to bed? Deeras.
  63. What was your first concert? I don’t even remember.
  64. Wal-Mart, Target, or Kmart? Never been to any of those.
  65. Nike or Adidas? So hard to choose. Love sportswear.
  66. Cheetos or Fritos? What now?
  67. Peanuts or sunflower seeds? Love both.
  68. Ever heard of the group Tres Bien? No.
  69. Ever taken dance lessons? No. I was born a dancer! I actually teach, sometmes.
  70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? Businessperson or artist or activist.
  71. Can you curl your tongue? Yes.
  72. Ever won a spelling bee? Yes.
  73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? No.
  74. Own any record albums? Yes, of course.
  75. Own a record player? No.
  76. Do you regularly burn incense?  Yes
  77. Ever been in love? Yes
  78. Who would you like to see in concert? More poets.
  79. What was the last concert you saw? Prefer Open Mics.
  80. Hot tea or cold tea? I don’t do tea.
  81. Tea or coffee? Coffee is better… and stronger.
  82. Sugar cookies or snicker doodles? Sugar cookies!
  83. Can you swim well? Relatively. 
  84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Yes, of course!
  85. Are you patient? Not really.
  86. DJ or band at a wedding? Love live bands.
  87. Ever won a contest? Yes.
  88. Have you ever had plastic surgery? No.
  89. Which are better black or green olives? Both.
  90. Can you knit or crochet? No.
  91. Best room for a fireplace? My bedroom.
  92. Do you want to get married? Maybe.
  93. If married how long have you been married? I’m not married.
  94. Who was your high school crush? My girlfriend Goldylocs aka Ras Kristy.
  95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? Sometimes.
  96. Do you have kids?  One brilliant daughter.
  97. Do you want kids?  Maybe one more.
  98. What is your favorite color? Black, red, purple and white. Love lots of colour.
  99. Do you miss anyone right now? My daughter.
  100. Who should answer these questions next? Goldylocs…. And anyone else reading this.

 

In support of the hijab

February 2, 2016

How about the hijab being liberating? How the touch of material can make a woman feel her own femininity, the pleasure of a love heightened -Yusra Warsama, Poet & Actor during her performance in Kenya.

hijab

Here’s my hijab

I actually heard about the World Hijab Day (February 1st) on Kenyan radio yesterday. After seeing the call to experience the hijab for a day, here’s what….

I am a spiritual woman, not religious and definitely not Muslim. I have Muslim family members though. And while we do not agree on everything Islam teaches, I support hijab-wearing. But not forced hijab-wearing-only by choice.

And here’s the thing, I like wearing the hijab occassionally too. For me, its more than just about religion, it is culture (Very similar to the head-scarves we have always worn as Africans but can’t wear to some places of work today). It is beautiful too, even fashionable (When you see all the different types and colours available).

Here is to letting them be who they are because #iamtolerant and the world needs their difference, their beauty, their mystique.

 

all the way

me going all the way 😉

 

 

Quote of the Week-Kicking up the dust with words

January 26, 2016

Human beings are creators. Its in our cellular make-up to make. We must follow the truest voice inside us. We must discover who we are by mining through layers of societal voices inorder to find the jewels of wisdom that await us in our internal landscapes.
Capitalism maybe hell-bent on keeping us from these gems, but be not the  cogs, be the wheels. Reinvent the wheels!
Lets kick up so much dust that everything shifts! Then we will be more like nature; changing, raging, bursting,  settling, circling and humming and taking up space.
Paper maybe cheap, but words, my dear coconspirators,  are not.
– Words by Bitch (on Spilling Ink-#Word Warriors

My 2015 highlights

January 11, 2016
baby Nanu

with the most amazing daughter

-Watching the most amazing daughter in the world transform before my eyes. She is already such a character; with every rising sun, she is always bringing a smile and awe to my life.

-Being named one of the top 10 female writers in Nairobi by UP Nairobi Magazine.

-This was the year I finally learnt how to ride a motorcycle and drive a car. Have to live with a few (motorbike) scars though ;(

-My sister’s graduation (law) and her birthday party at Kempinski.

kempinski

The Galz at Shiro’s birthday

-Attending the Storymoja Festival 2015. Though the turnout was not as good as was expected, we hope it continues to help Kenya (and Africa) evolve into a reading (And writing) nation.

storymoja festival 2015

chicks dig guys who read #storymojafest2015 #reading

-Here, I got my auto’d own copy of some three poetry collections published in Uganda, my best being ‘Bodaboda anthem.’ The meeting new people, catching up with old friends and learning is always A++. So lets keep attending, supporting and buying books.

It seems to be a creative writer, possession of truth is less important than emotional sincerity… A writer needs more than knowledge. a writer also needs talent. But talent is apparently a matter of being able to care, of really believing in your beliefs….TRUE OR FALSE?-shared by Raymond Antrobus during the StorymojaFest 2015

-Performing at the UBUNTU Bob Marley Tribute Concert at Kuona Trust in Nairobi. That was exceptional!

Performing at Bob Marley's Tribute Concert

Eudiah performing at Bob Marley’s Tribute Concert in May 2015

-My trip to Tanzania where I got to visit the Nafasi Art Space, the breathtaking Bagamoyo beach, meet reggae artist Jiko Man and experience the difference in night life, culture and Swahili language.

-Trying to get back on track on (ghost) co-writing that adventure memoir-in the night, as is my style!.

baby shower things

baby shower things

-My cousin’s TUZO’s baby shower was fabulous. (‘though I completely forgot about the dress code).

-I bet that ’First Draft ‘ book launch at Goethe Institut was eye-opening for my lil sister. Most interesting piece so far from this collection was ‘Forgive me father for I have seen’.

-As a journalist, I loved covering the Day of the African Child celebrations in Migori, the music festivals in TharakaNithi County, the Global Handwashing Day in Juja, interviewing the young Dandora Music group and attending a book launch of thirteen-year-old fantasy fiction writer Joseph Bokea. Children (and artists) are always such a breathe of fresh air 😉

young musicians

I am a fan of Dandora Music

-One of the poems I liked this year was ‘Someone in Africa loves you’ by Kenyan writer Alexander Nderitu.

someone in africa loves youThis piece was even selected by the BBC for their Poetry PostCards.

-The Bodies Unbound Art Exhibition & Auction (for ITGNC people) was interesting and as always Kawira’s work is as off the hook as her Les colouring book.

bodies unbound art

Kawira’s art

-And when was the last time you saw a peacock in Nairobi? In all its majesty, it was quite a sight!!!

A peacock in Nairobi

A peacock in all its majesty

What were your 2015 highlights?

 

Quote of the week-Mad

December 4, 2015

burn

Back in the middle ages

They burned unruly women at the stake

And out of the ashes of their bones

And flesh

Rose the Enlightenment and Reason fresh

 

And the white men declared

There’s no such thing as witches

They’re just crazy psycho—bitches

But we certainly can’t let them run free

Lock ‘em up and throw way the key

Yeah they said; lock ‘em up and

Throw away the key

 

Cause there’s nothing scarier than a woman mad/or

Aware of her own magic

Tragic how much violence is done

In the name of science

To ensure our silence

An excerpt from the poem ‘Revenge’ by Leah Harris

Escape to freedom. Bringing a Syrian family to safety

September 8, 2015

Russell Chapman

The events in this article took place in the first two weeks of August 2015

This is the story of a Syrian family’s journey to freedom in Europe and the small part I played in helping them. Along the way I saw and learnt a lot about what refugees face as they escape from war-torn countries and political oppression.

Fadl and his family were introduced to me through Muhannad, a mutual friend. He asked me if I would be prepared to help Fadl and his family get from Greece to a particular European country. After some consideration, I decided to try and help them. The family is from the Aleppo region of Syria and before the war they had their own restaurant, they were a middle class family. His wife Majelina, who had to stay behind to look after ageing grandparents, was a university professor of English literature. Then, because…

View original post 2,872 more words

Quote of the week-by Chimamanda

May 28, 2015
on likeability by chimamanda

on likeability by chimamanda

Gorilla Trekking In Uganda with Africa Adventure Safaris

May 23, 2015

Gorilla Trekking In Uganda with Africa Adventure Safaris.


%d bloggers like this: