Pink bodied and bald headed…

Have you ever received that patronizing email from your old no-nonsense BOSS? A three character email,’???!’?. Well four.
You know cell phones can be really mischievous. Like that one child that you’ve always suspected to have been a nurse’s mistake. Or simply someone who was tipped to deliberately but accidentally make the mistake for God knows why. That one kid that you sometimes vaguely remember not seeing the nurse chop off the umbilical cord. And if you remember too well, you kind of saw a fully haired head with a pink body and then all over sudden the head is bald and the body at least still pink. I am, or rather I was that baby by the way, although my body wasn’t PINK for obvious reasons. So cell phones can be mischievous like that.
On a very normal day you just wake up to resume work after the Christmas holidays, that short period that leaves your mind completely shattered and delusional without a trace of dates, months or even the rest of yourself as a whole. Thanks to the reminder on that same phone. The only date you can confidently defend or talk about and refer to, is the School opening day. First days after holidays by the way are the longest. So you start off the day by literally trying to remember the direction all the way to trying to remember your students’ names. The only name that seems to cross your mind is the naughtiest of the all.
Then during that moment, when you busy minding your own business,in cloud nine very confident that you will also remember the school email password, your cell phone inside the pocket decides that this is the perfect moment to pull a scary prank. It draws the pattern. Yes, that ‘Draw pattern to unblock’ thingy. Also, it decides, WhatsApp, not today, Instagram, not today, Calendar, not today, Twitter not today and Quora, which has at least Red and White and could easily be mistaken for Gmail, not today either. Goes all the way to Gmail and selects out of 2,897 emails, that one email you once sent to Amazon ages ago, when you first discovered it, begging them to stop the$6.00 monthly subscription fee on Audible , that you had no idea what is does. Explaining to them how broke and miserable your life has been because of that subscription, that you subscribed to without even knowing,or you even suspect they subscribed you themselves to rob you, how you regret knowing them and how much you prefer physical shops because online shops are a mere scam and ILLUMINATI!
That is the exact email that your cell phone decides would be best for this moment, for your old no-nonsense boss! And just like that your first day of school is ruined and also your old no-nonsense boss now thinks otherwise of you after quitting without a notice and walking out of the office like a boss simply because he loudly asked you to make him coffee in the middle of a meeting!
Cell phones were sent straight outer hell.

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Where I come from…

I wouldn’t say that I have experienced racial segregation so far, neither would I say that I have never felt unwelcome and out of place.Well, being in a foreign country is one thing and being in a foreign country with a foreign language is definitely another thing altogether. When I decided to come here, nope scratch that. When it happened that I was going to move here, It is not funny how I didn’t even know where on the map where I am right now was. This is a confession actually. And what makes me feel so comfortable confessing this is that I know we are many. Is United States of Mexico in South America or North America? Find out. Did you ever know that it is the fourteenth largest country in the world? Now you know.
So when my friend and I decided that it is the high time we did things differently for a change, it was definitely the high time. This is how I landed my Job in Mexico. I applied for jobs online, prayed and waited.I got responses from Japan, Italy, Germany, Korea and Mexico, or and China too. I do not know why I chose Mexico and not China. Maybe it was much easier than the rest to process or maybe not. Somehow I am in Mexico and not Japan or Korea or even China itself, which is still okay. Mexico is actually beautiful than I initially thought. Despite all the challenges that I have had to go through from pecking instead of a handshake to the language barrier, I have survived. Mid-August 2018 I will be celebrating, [no commemorating would be the best word. Celebrating means a lot more to me, like a lot of good food, laughter red wine and friends for two days in a row without sleep]my second “Mexiverssary”. I am excited and so proud of myself that I made it throughout the past one year and definitely this other one year(which will make them two) I will be looking forward to many more years here and maybe in other countries! Somebody say Amen!
The language barrier. I have never experienced language barrier in my life. All foreign places I have ever visited at least language has never been a problem.So here I am without even a single Spanish word in My vocabulary. Maybe ADIOS a word I once overheard from Kennedy, a colleague back in Kenya but I never actually knew it was a Spanish word.
At first, I found it intriguing trying to express myself with self-proclaimed sign language until this one time that I really wanted to use the bathroom so bad but I had no way of saying how badly I needed one. This is when you try all languages you could possibly remember and see which one would work magic and finally end up having to call someone who speaks both Spanish and English and put them through someone who can help you find a bathroom. How embarrassing!

Then moving around. There is nothing in this generation that I could appreciate more than Uber services.With uber I just need to request my ride and enter the address and here we go. Woe unto you if you mistake the address! This one time I did. The driver kept on driving and I kept on signaling him to stop. He finally did and asked me “Qeu pasa?”,What’s up? “Este no es la direccion correcta”, this is, of course, the wrong way of saying that that wasn’t the correct direction.He had to understand though.So he asked me “A donde vas?” which means where are you going. So I told him Kenya. Then he gave me one startled look and I asked him “Qeu pasa” Apart from “Adios” I now knew this one too. Well, there is a reason why I said Kenya when He asked me where I was going. I was not being rude as I would be sometimes with other drivers who were not very handsome. By the not all Alejandros are handsome. I said this very innocently. This is why. Every time I used Uber, The driver would ask me “De donde eres”, where are you from. And these two phrases confused me. They actually were the same to me.So every time a driver asked anything, I knew the answer was Kenya, apart from those few day something told me to lie that I am from Honduras, because they all wanted to know where I was from. So my driver here looking so confused and wondering where exactly Kenya is on the google maps, How much fuel he would need, How many Pesos he would charge for the trip, if there was a possibility of getting another rider back to Mexico from Kenya, why this lady chose uber instead of a plane and obviously if this lady is “loco”, crazy.
Well, finally I got where I was going 2 hours later after putting a friend through to the driver to explain to him that I wasn’t going to Kenya while at the airport where the driver felt it was closer to Kenya. This driver was also “Loco”. Who shows up at the airport like that for a long flight like one from Mexico to Kenya. SMH…

DEAR HOUSE HELPS…

Babysitting can be fun. But this is what most of us have never noticed. It is both Fun(when doing it with company) and laborious. This is what all of us believe in. House helps snatch husbands. House helps break utensils. House helps misuse stuff in the house. House helps eat too much. House helps sneak to meet their boyfriends.House helps do all these negative things that one can stand at times. Well yeah.
A while back I happened to babysit my one-year old nephew. Booy! kids can be needy!Kids need a hand in literary everything they do. Everything! From eating, to playing, to pooing, to peeing to even sleeping.Gosh! Even sleeping. I mean, who cries simply because they are sleepy? Kids can be hilarious anyway.
So I babysat my nephew for two freaking days. And now let me give you a break down of what house helps do apart from snatching neglected husbands, breaking utensils, misusing stuff in the house, sneaking out to see their boyfriends and eating too much. They manage time in that house of yours that you can’t manage on your own. That is why they are domestic managers and not house helps. They just don’t help but play the greatest role of managing the house (Which extends to managing under managed husbands. haha)
So as usual everybody wakes up and gets busy with their preparation for work. The domestic manager is away for a while due to unavoidable circumstances.(That most of you think are lame excuses)And I’m thinking, since I’m on a short leave(midterm break) I can lay longer.And then I’m told if the baby wakes up i wont be able to do a thing. But why? I will just lay him on the bed and attend to the other chores in the house. My bad, My nephew wakes me, we play a bit, he starts nagging, that´s how they say they are hungry, sleepy, tired or just want to annoy. It´s you to figure it out and respond accordingly!I improvise the game and become very creative, as in, I stand upside-down on the bed, I meow, I try mooing and a bit of barking, Literary like a dog. All this does not work at all. I dance kanungo but he wont give up hissing and fidgeting. I Give up. Two hour later after my creativity is in vain I decide may be he is hungry. I grind some fruits for him and we are all good with the first and second spoon. The third one he decides to feed me himself from all corners of my face, nose to eardrum. It is okay. May be he pooed and he needs a diaper change. Well, not pooed yet but either way I change him just to make sure he is dry. He fidgets even more and rolls on the floor like a possessed caterpillar. It is mid day and I´m still trying to figure out what is bothering this boy.
Damn! I haven´t cooked for him. I tie him on my back so that I cook for him, but he too wants to peel the potatoes and stir the onions at the same time.I let him. Because I think he is a responsible guy in the making, He spills the entire basin of the water and the potatoes. I decided to dry it up and clean the mess but again He decides to use his fingers to stir the onions for his own known reasons.So now it´s about calming him down and telling him to use the mwiko next time because he will burn himself. This goes for an hour and a few minutes. Pwewks! He sleeps. I decide to nap too for at least 7 minute, it has been a long morning. One of his friends wakes me up with a knock at the door. I crawl out of the bed not wake him up. By the time I´m getting to the door to signal his friend away, He is right behind me!
So now we have to play outside unless the fuss continues. We play for a while and all over sudden he gets bored and he wants to be carried on my back. I oblige. Who am I to say no anyway. So we get back to the house to finish all the unfinished chores. The fuss starts again and then I realize it is actually six pm and nothing has been done. On the contrary, I am supper tired and I just want a one vacation to Dubai or at least somewhere far away from my dear nephew. And then the mother shows up and I feel like she is the end of all my troubles I have ever had in my life. Then just then, my nephew is the cutest thing in the world and I just want to hold him for ever. But not while it´s just the two of us.
So finally I restart the day normally and 7.30 pm and wonder how do actually house managers manage to have all the chores done while still babysitting and manage to shower and afford a smile at the end f the day? How on EARTH?

Who would have thought?

I want to echo John O. Ndar’s article appearing in the Saturday Nation of July 25, 2015, Encourage students to love writing. In the last four months I have had the most amazing experience in my life. Courtesy of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Kenya youth empowerment project (KYEP) cycle six, I managed to get a chance to intern at Storymoja Africa, working closely with the Storymoja festival. This book fete has been happening annually since 2007 in Nairobi. I attended the first regional festival in Nakuru in May, and it was such a mind blowing experience for me.
First I had a chance to interact with the Storymoja Festival Patron Dr. Auma Obama, Barack Obama’s sister who is the Author of, And Then Life Happens. That was not all; I also interacted with other great writers like Kinyanjui Kombani of the great piece of The Last Villains of Molo who inspired me into writing and prominent Swahili writers such as Wallah Bin Wallah and Ken Walibora. My encounter with such great writers was like a wake up call for me as far as writing is concerned. So should it be to our students who are still in school and have the ability and passion to venture into writing careers. The Storymoja literary Festival provides these opportunities to the students and everybody else out there.
As usual, books were brought to life through poetry, storytelling, lively discussions with local and international artists, music, workshops, film and much more. I am looking forward to yet another exciting involvement in the upcoming Storymoja Festival from 16th to 20th September 2015 at the Nairobi National Park. Amongst the thrilling personalities that I can not wait to meet is Makadem, a musician and dancer with excellent musical sense, charm and humor who commands any stage with an amazing ease. Tetu Shani a percussionist and guitarist, Joanne Ball-Burgess the dancer, singer and author, an expert at fusing the arts and writing into curricula, Dr. Tanya Pergola the author of Time is Cows: Timeless Wisdom of the Maasai and the producer of the DVD Maasai Yoga & Meditation, Jalada which comprises of young writers from all over the continent and abroad, of African origin and Joyce Mbaya the founder of GIBEBE among others.
The green and natural atmosphere at the Arboretum Park makes this year’s festival more real and super exciting. Interacting with the green nature and great minds at the same time is something one cannot afford to miss. Join us as we celebrate books, talents and writers this year. There will be something for everyone!promise

La Slug!

Ideally, everything in the ecosystem has its own purpose. Even a slug has. First of all I did not know that slugs and snails are two different living things altogether. In case you did not know one is naked. Find out. In my world, one was the formal name and the other one was informal until recently.
Waking up all excited and ready for a new day. Dress up. Take breakfast. Play a little with my nephew. Ready to chuck. I kiss him good bye.
Outside the door I put on my cologne. (I have to do it outside the house because him, he doesn’t like it very much.) Final touches, my shoes now. I put on my right leg shoe, adjust it a bit. Then it is fine. My very final final final touches now. My other shoe. I slide my leg as usual. I adjust it a bit but it doesn’t fit me anymore. Yaani to suggest that my toes decided to lengthen overnight. It’s okay. I can do it. I can still push a little more and may be I won’t mind much about folded toes for an entire day. Sitting in the offices for an entire day with folded toes doesn’t hurt much.
I push again. Now I feel strange inside the shoes. The feeling is I think pleasant and irritating at the same time. What do we call that feeling by the way? Off my shoe. I need to understand this feeling. I slide the leg out of the shoe to see what is going on. Because clearly, my toes are just fine. Then… oh shit! Something slimy slithers from my shoe. Damn! SLUG!
That’s obviously my worst day ever. What do you do to a slug that decides to get inside your shoe and get so comfortable just to freak you out on a beautifully started day? Stupid slug! My mother once said that these things cause bilharzia. What are the symptoms of bilharzia? I’ve been feeling bilharzia-ish since then and I am not sure about it.
Better still, could somebody please make me understand what exactly these things do in the ecosystem apart from causing bilharzia and giving me an adrenaline rush?

PRESS RELEASE: STORYMOJA READ ALOUD BREAKS THE WORLD RECORD!

We juuuuuust did it!

Storymoja

The Storymoja Read Aloud final official tally has unofficially broken the World Record for Most People Reading Aloud from the Same Text at the Same Time from Different Venues!

The Storymoja Read Aloud held on June 15, 2015 managed to rally together 229,043 children from 1,097 schools across 44 counties. This number does not take into account the number of teachers, volunteers and reading ambassadors who joined up with the children to read aloud from the text of ‘Attack of the Shidas’. [Photos from the June 15 Read Aloud]

The current world record is held by the USA with 223,363 people in 909 venues.

The previous Storymoja Read Aloud Tally for the event held on January 30, 2015 was 160,190 children from 422 schools in 12 counties.

The Storymoja Read Aloud is part of activities held by Storymoja and Start-a-Library to excite children about reading…

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True story!

Kriiir… kriiir… kriiir…
I wasn’t dreaming. I could clearly tell that it was my mobile phone calling now for the third time. My roommate Debra used to have two of them. She used one during the day and the other one at night which she often left in her closet when she left for lectures. It was exactly 9.29 pm from my wrist watch. I had had a series of exams since morning. After my last exams that evening I dashed back to the hostels to take a nap. I had been sleeping for about three hours or so. My mom’s habit of calling me every night at exactly 9.30 pm wasn’t going to die even after proving her that I was now a big girl and that I could take care of myself. I wasn’t going to pick up my mom’s call for the same old questions of how my day had been and if I had attended all my lectures. Deep inside me I really wanted to get out of the bed and pick it up though. He had the same habit as mom’s. Having met him at the bus park a fortnight ago in a queue waiting to be picked up by the university bus to be ferried back to Betwil hostels as usual, for a week now, his number would appear on my phone’s screen fifteen minutes before or after my mom’s call every day. I was going to save his number in my contacts list when his name slipped off my mind out of excitement. We would also exchange text messages till late in the night but I was going to type this… “What was your name again?” Of course not! So there was a likelihood of the phone call being his if not mom’s. He was tall and handsome, he smelled of divine and he had white intimidating eyes. When my phone rung for the fourth time now, my heart skipped a beat and I did not hesitate. I quickly sprang out of my now warm bed which I wasn’t planning to leave even if my roommate came up with her usual insane ideas which I so easily gave in to. She too had exams. She hadn’t arrived yet though it wasn’t unusual. She was always this late whenever it was her turn to prepare super.
I had a soft spot for my roommate Debra ever since. She had joined campus as a fresher a year after me. My friends and I used to bully and make fun out of first years especially when we wanted things done for us. Personally I used to enjoy making it difficult for them in revenge to what was my case when I was new apart from her. When she joined campus, her father brought her to the same hostel I used to stay. I did not see her on her first days. Our hostel was the most posh off-campus hostel. It was sandwiched between a super highway and a main road that led to the nearby town. It was a three-floored storey building with pink roofing and several plastic tanks on top of the roof that served as our water reservoirs when the taps ran dry as they would sometimes. The hostel was surrounded with a brick fence and a huge blue gate which served as the only entrance. Security was sure. Just before the second gate was a cafeteria. Drinks, snacks fries and real foods were always available though at a hiked prize. Inside Betwil hostels, all the walls were cream-ish, the floor was beautiful with flowered tiles which looked similar both inside the rooms and outside. Ground floor was mainly occupied by men and first and second floor were meant for the ladies. The entire hostel was divided into block A and block B. I used to stay in block A. Debra was now on the second floor like me but on the opposite block. Our rooms faced each other such that, when the door was open one could see what was going on in the opposite room. We would now borrow all sorts of things including frying pans from the other room. Debra and I became close with time and we eventually became the best of friends. We later moved to the third floor block A where rooms were shared by two. They were the best and the most expensive. My mom once came to visit and ended up spending the night in our room. That’s how good the rooms were. And that is how Debra and I ended up as roommates and best friends as well.
I reached for my mobile phone in my closet in seconds. I picked the call. As usual my mouth went dry for a couple of seconds before I could reply. I was panting like a stray dog. It was definitely not my mom. My mother never made my mouth go dry and pant out of a mere phone call…

But there I was all panting and wanting to sweat. It was him. I just don’t like it very much when people make me sweat and pant like that. Damn!