~the greatest wars are won and lost in the heart; the only journey is the one within~

02 June, 2011

New Things!

My good people. Blogger has been good to me but like all things good, the end is never so far away. I have permanently moved to wordpress here. See you there! :)

16 May, 2011

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Ugly Babies!

Have you ever noticed the way girls and women gush at the sight of babies? All those sounds they make?

"Aaaaw! He's so sweet!" Then a soppy smile follows and sometimes I could swear balancing tears!

"He's so cute and chubby! He's got these cheeks you want to play with all the time!" Another very sheepish grin follows.

Don't get me wrong. I love babies! In fact, I want four or five - soccer mom ambitions. No seriously. I want five babies. A Nissan Navarra or Double Cab Ford Ranger to carry them in. A huge yellow kitchen to cook for them in. Dreams maketh a man. I dream big!

Anyway, I am sick and tired of seeing women lie to each other. Damn it! It is not a rule that you should/must say something about any baby you see. Not all babies are cute. Some are really something you would rather cover up. Lying about the looks of your friend's baby makes you an untrue friend. I am not saying you should tell them that their baby is ugly. Silence is better than lying. Just shut up. The other day while with my cousin, we boarded a matatu and there was this baby seated on his mother's lap. Healthy cheeks, clear eyes, full head of hair and wonderful skin. However, this baby did not elicit oohs and aahs. We just stared. And stared. And continued to stare. Too bad I did not have a camera with me. To say the baby was ugly is just mean and downright insensitive but that baby, that baby was really aesthetically challenged. What's worse? Everyone else thought so too.

Africans raise children communally. It is not uncommon to find strangers waving and making faces at your baby or flicking their cheeks hoping to elicit a smile or just a blank stare.Where the said baby is concerned, nobody was pulling these stunts. None at all. However his mother was cooing gibberish to him and to her, he was the best thing after the wonder that is the T.V. remote. By the way, that gibberish mothers "talk" to their babies in is called motherese. Bet you did not know that. It makes a kid dumber by the way. An ugly dumb baby - very sad affair!

Then it hit me. Nobody finds their offspring bad-looking. To you, that
baby is the best you could do. What, after 9 months of fluctuating hormones, inexplicable cravings and peeing every two minutes? You accept what you pop whole-heartedly. Even if it is a "sanamu"-that's what my mum calls ugly babies. I shall not go into how she coined that name. All I know is that when I see not-so-cute kids that name does a thorough jig in my head. Back to the issue at hand - it never really hits you that your kid could do with an aesthetic makeover until he/she mixes with other kids. Then you realise, there exists better genes, way better genes than what you got embedded in your DNA/RNA or whatever.

Is there a guide to having cute babies? Yes! At least, I think so. We humans are animals. Our baser instincts are very raw for lack of a better word. See the way a lioness pulls pice as she decides which lion is going to sire her cubs? The strongest takes the cake because she is assured her cubs have a better chance at survival. Female humans are just the same, but subconsciously. We are attracted to men with strong physiques. The triangular shape; broad shoulders, narrow hips and strong legs. That's why skinny and/or short guys can talk the pants out of you. They are very driven because they depend on intellect, cash and a smooth tongue to win fair lady. Their physiques won't get them anywhere. Having a hot sperm-donor does not guarantee a cute baby. Neither does being a gorgeous woman. Want to know how your kids will look? Look at your man's siblings, look at your woman's siblings. Then you have a rough idea whether your genes can neutralise or enhance the mess that is what you see. I have never seen two gorgeous people produce a gorgeous kid. So find a passably attractive partner, or if you think you are ugly, find an uglier partner! Trust me God is so merciful, He never gives an ugly pair ugly offspring.

That being said, I pray earnestly begging the good Lord to have mercy on me and hand me passably attractive babies. You think I am mean? Somebody had to urge you to speak the truth!
*Image from http://www.holytaco.com

10 May, 2011

Ten Rules for Being Human

Traipsing through the jungle of information and junk we fondly call the internet brought me to these rules. Quite on point I must say. I thought I should share. If you are into motivational books and all, you can read more here.

Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott
  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
  2.  You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
  4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
  6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
  7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all this.

Makes much sense, no?

03 May, 2011

The Inevitable

My parents live in a village; Miti-Kenda (Nine Trees), not far from Nairobi but still quite rural. Why, our local shopkeeper sells cooking fat at 5/- per tablespoon! My father ran over our neighbour’s chicken. He caused a such a fuss and erected a sky- high bump made of building stones and a thin layer of soil in protest! I’ve never really seen a road sign for “chicken crossing.” Anyway, it is a wonderful place. Once in every few weeks I go down there for a weekend and in the strong wind characteristic of the place, I am at peace. In the open and endless space, I take walks. I do some thinking. I make decisions. I let my emotions run loose. In the din of dogs barking, chicken squawking and cows lowing, I feel joy; joy that springs from the very pits of my soul and flows out in the form of a huge genuine smile. It always breaks my heart to leave but when I do, I feel re-energised and ready to face the bustle that is this Nairobi.

The space that the village provides
This time round, it was different. There was grief. My sixteen year old neighbour, Mary, committed suicide. She hung herself in her bedroom. She left a very brief note. “I am tired of life,” she had written. That was the second and successful attempt. She had tried to throw herself in front of a truck on the Eastern by-pass. She told her mother she had tried to kill herself but a voice called her name the two times she tried to catapult herself. Of course her mother did not believe her. For some reason, her death has hit me hard. I find myself thinking about her all the time. She was beautiful. That youthful beauty; glowing complexion, shining eyes, healthy cheeks, blossoming curves and long tresses. No, she was not denied permission to go out. I don’t believe she was a woman scorned either. She was not on drugs. Which begs the question, what would make one so young tired of life? Was she depressed? Was she being abused in school? She hated school by the way. Was she pregnant? She had survived two fatal bouts of illness in her childhood; did she survive so that she could later take her own life? I do not understand.

Her mother is still in denial, two weeks after the funeral. She is still in shock. How do I begin to comfort a woman I have never seen tremble for the ten years I have known her? Someone will tell me, “Be there for her.” Easier said than done. She asks me what she did wrong. She tells me she believes she has failed as a mother if she could not see her daughter’s sadness. Then she gets angry. She tells me children are the most ungrateful lot. Then she falls silent and her eyes glisten with tears which never fall beyond her eyelashes. Her lips tremble but she never lets go and breaks down. Tell me, how do I answer such questions? Please tell me, how such can be comforted.

I have always been a firm believer of learning from your experiences and those of your friends. This time round though, I haven’t learnt a thing. If I have, it is yet to become clear. Fact is God has a huge sense of humour. Morbid or funny, you choose. Not from Mary’s death, but over time I have learnt that no matter how painful a situation is, there is a bigger picture. While you fret and fuss over the finer details by asking Him rhetoric questions, He is painting the bigger picture which is always to your benefit. However, we never see it until it comes to pass.

Remember long ago when people used to queue at the hospital for injections? They would be boiled and the nurse would shout, “Next!” If one was scared, they would go to the back of the queue hoping to prolong time before the jab came. Death is pretty much the same. Just like in Final Destination 3, it has its design. It is an eventuality all of us must face. When it says “Next!” you haven’t the option of going to the back of the queue. It will find you. Even if it is suicide. Question is, are we ever ready? Does it ever find us at peace with the things that matter? With ourselves, our loved ones, our Maker? We should be prepared for it but we never are. Such is humanity.

How about those left behind? I like to think of grief and pain as a drum full of water. It is evaporated by heat, fetched cup by little cup, it leaks from the seams and finally it is empty. It is not as heavy as it was before. Only the drum is left and the memory that it was once filled with water. The pain fades with time and all that is left are memories.

I am angry at you Mary but you had your reasons. Death is an escape route very much like alcohol, but you never wake up. We will never see you again. Couldn’t you have at least thought of what your death will do to your mother? I guess you cannot answer these questions. I have the very hard job of forgiving you; it will take time as I try to understand why you did what you did. I hope that you find the peace and joy you were looking for wherever you are. Rest in peace young girl.

18 April, 2011

This Thing Called Forgiveness...

After a long break from church, I went for a service 'shingo-upande' because I had made a promise to my best friend that I would show up. Ah! The things we do for love! I was in for a pleasant surprise though, as the sermon was something I really needed to hear. It came at the right time and it inspired this post.


forgive/ fəˈgɪv/, v. to pardon: to overlook: stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

We are human. We have emotions and in our daily interactions we offend each other. We are never offended by inanimate objects, in fact I have never heard of anybody with a long standing feud against a tree, car, building etc. Anyway, these offences are pretty subjective and very much relative. What you may perceive to be offensive is what I will easily let slide or not find offensive at all. However there are those wrongs done to you that shake you to your very core. They cause hurt and anger/rage. They make you curse, lose appetite and suffer insomnia. In as much as people have different coping mechanisms, at the end of the day you have to choose whether to let go or dwell on whatever “crime” that was committed against you.

Forgiveness is one of the most painful emotional experiences a human being could ever go through. You oscillate between the relief and freedom that it brings you and the feeling that your offender will take you for a fool for choosing to accept their “crime” and overlooking it. You may feel that it is an indirect way of encouraging your offender to repeat his/her wrong because he/she believes you will forgive them after all.

It is more painful because you have to allow yourself to mourn. To relive what was done to you. To accept that what was done, was done and no matter what, cannot be undone. After this you have to let go; of the anger and to give room for an olive branch; if reconciliation is an option. All this is easier said than done...but it can be done. With time and with patience.

We always dwell on what is done to us by others. How about being on the receiving end of forgiveness? None of us is blameless; we also hurt others and ourselves too. That thing that you did that makes you feel stupid and disappointed in yourself. Those self-inflicted wounds. That thing you did that does not allow you to look at your friend in the eye. Your conscience will not let you sleep. Then you need to acknowledge that you did wrong and ask your aggrieved friend for forgiveness. If they do not give it quickly, give it time. If they do not give it, forgive yourself and move on. At least you tried.

Forgiving yourself is hard. You are left alone with your conscience to deal with in the dead of night. Those awkward moments when an unrelated statement is made and it resonates within you and you feel as if it is targeting you. A guilty conscience is a burden too heavy to bear. Don’t just chalk it up to simply being human though, even Enoch was but he was blameless. But humbly and with remorse, accept that you have tripped and that you have no choice but to stand, dust yourself off, regain balance and prove to yourself and your Maker that you are a better person.

My mum always tells me that happiness is a choice. I tend to think it is a function of the choices that we make. When you choose to forgive, you have not unnecessary baggage and thus a sunny disposition is something you cannot help.

Forgiveness is a work in progress. If you cannot run, walk, if you cannot walk, crawl. But keep moving...