I am so tired, but somehow I had to do this. October was just a few minutes past and I promised myself I would share lessons I have learnt from the month with you. It has been one interesting month.
You know advertising is powerful when you walk into the ladies and hope there is tissue paper and then when you see it, you think, “Tissue si tissue, tissue ni Hanan.” Epic fail. I hate that advert. Nevertheless it is engrained in my head. In fact, come to think of it, if I was responsible for buying tissue in the house, I’d actually try it out. I will try you out when I move out, Hanan. You can go ahead and thank that guy. What’s his name again? I know it’s not Otoyo. Wait. Think, Shiku, think. Colourful clothes. Luo accent. I give up.
Anyway, who goes into a public facility and makes away with an entire roll of tissue paper?
If you have met me, you know I am small. Very small, or rather, small for my age. I did not even know I was small until around high school. For one, my younger brother just shot up overnight. Today, he looks like the first born in the family. Secondly I bumped into my frenemy one afternoon in the green city in the sun. He probably thought I was tall and all because my status updates on Facebook back then probably gave a sense of height. Lofty and high. Ahem. Anyway, he could not shut up about how small I was after that. Since then, 2009, to date, he has never shut up about it. He digs up blog articles on short girls on sites like Thought Catalog or funny pics and drops them on my Facebook wall. And since he has some strange influence among our Facebook circle of friends, he roped other friends in in re-emphasizing my height.
I laugh out loud at the jokes. Initially, back when I was too serious for life, I’d hate the taunting. But we grow up. Even if it is not obvious on the outside. Lol. I love being short. I love it so much, I will tell you why.
You know that bout of unwanted thoughts that invade you from out of the blue? That annoying urge to go far away from everything and just be alone. I have a lot of those. Especially on Monday mornings. I have nothing against Mondays. Actually, I kinda look forward to them. Mondays always breathe a new sense of being into me. Because you never know what will happen that week. You don’t know what weird man will honk at you as you take your routine 15 minute walk up that suburban Westlands road. You have no idea who you will bump into in the bus or on the street. Your employer may come up with a whole new way of doing things. You might even end up writing a post you had no idea you could in here. Your computer could decide this is the week it freezes a gazillion times between 9 and 5. The possibilities are limitless.
Today, I am feeling bad because I am still single. Yes. It happens.
By Okaka Felix
2009 was a year of firsts.
It was the first ever Valentine’s Day that caught me with a Tortoise si Toto. Let it be well noted that by then I was on girlfriend number 3. Maybe, just maybe, I was a serial dater. 2009 was also the year I broke my tradition of courting a desktop girlfriend. You see, research by Synovate, Infotrak et al has shown that I have always had an affinity for laptops. I swear it was true love.
The day is finally here with us. I graduate from the unparalleled Moi University on the 17th of December 2013. Let us all breathe a sigh of relief. My endless posts on my dissatisfaction in the institution are almost over now. It has been an interesting journey. If it was not for Moi University, I probably would not have started this blog. We owe it that, if not anything else. I travelled to Moi this Wednesday the 11th to collect my ‘academic attire’ or, in layman’s terms, graduation gown (pictures coming soon). During the journey, I jotted this down:
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER: Moi University wishes to inform all students that the double intake was too much for the institution to handle and therefore has not scheduled opening dates.
Is there something wrong with speaking in your vernacular in a public place? What exactly makes it wrong? It is a language like any other. Personally, Kikuyu is the first language I learnt so I know it better. I love it.
I will even write in Kikuyu, which most people my age cannot for some reason. I will write it on social media. There those that get offended when this happens. I still do not get why they get offended. I am not speaking ill of anyone when I do.
In fact, that is where the problem lies. We tend to assume that when someone speaks in their vernacular, they are trying to hide something. The assumption is actually valid since there are many who do it to hide insults aimed at other citizens who will not understand them.
But we have to understand one thing, this is Kenya. It is a country where English is a second or even third language to majority of its occupants. It is not like some other countries where only one or two languages are known across its boundaries. We, therefore, cannot carry out communication like we live in one of those countries. Kenya is made up of over forty tribes which come with their own distinct language. I would like to believe that each of them is proud of their mother tongue and would not want to extinguish it in favour of another.
Loving your language is not being tribal. I am not saying that one should walk into a public office and speak to the receptionist in their mother tongue. First of all, there is no guarantee that she or he will understand you. Second of all, it is shows how narrow-minded you are. It is a shame to go speaking to everyone in the country in your language just because you think it is ‘the third national language’.
Coming from Kikuyu, I know first-hand how everyone assumes everyone in the place is Kikuyu. I would understand an elderly man or woman talking to me in their first language but not any other person. In the market, shops, churches there will always be that Kikuyu cropping up to pass the message better. I imagine how it feels like for another person who does not understand the language.
I quit imagining how it feels like to that person when I began my studies in Eldoret. Here, Kalenjin is predominant. There are times I sit in a matatu and feel totally lost because the radio is blasting out things I do not know and locals around are engaged in conversation I cannot understand. Even in the office scenario, I have experienced this. At the beginning, I used to get very uncomfortable and mad.
Then I remembered where I come from. This is exactly what goes on and since I am on the side that comprehends everything, I never find it awkward.
It is no longer 1800 where our forefathers spoke in their language because they lived in tribal villages with the occasional interaction with another community through the silent trade and such. It is the year 2012, where a lot of us have gone to school and have been taught that Swahili is the national language as well as the official one alongside English.
It is not wrong to talk to someone who understands what you are saying in whatever language. It is, however, wrong to use your tongue to harass another, just because you feel untouchable in the reality of their not knowing what it means until they source for translators.
It is not wrong to be proud of your language; it is, after all, part of your heritage. There is nothing wrong with updating your status or tweeting in it. It only becomes a problem when you realize that translating it to someone will unearth something you want to hide.
There are so many things that only come out best in your native language. That is something that will never change.
In this same nation, there are those of us who were born by two parents who speak two different languages and hence know neither or both. How beautiful, a mash-up of two native languages, right? Yes, it is 2012 and a child can live in a community without necessarily speaking their language because there are national languages to enhance interaction. (I smile when I think of my future children. I will certainly not let language, and more specifically tribe, dictate who their father will be.)
Unity in diversity is beautiful. That is what Kenya is. Beautiful because even in the midst of all those languages, we still interact peacefully and even learn other languages in the process. I know a few words in Kalenjin. It feels so nice because you realize that a language is not necessarily a barrier if you embrace it with a learning attitude.
I love my language. I love songs sang in my language. Songs are powerful. A song made me write this post. A song I found hilarious at first and laughed so hard because I thought it was stupid.
Then I remembered that music is powerful and there are specific people who listen to the song and continue keeping grudges because a musician they respect says they should. And let us not forget the politician who stands on a podium and insults a rival in his or her language when the rest of the speech had been made in Swahili.
They could do it to connect with the crowd, which is human. But misusing that connection is downright shameful.
Use whatever language you choose wisely. In any case, an insult in English is still an insult in Kikuyu. Mind your language.
The last time I posted something was over a month ago…shame on me. Anyway, as usual, I have been thinking. Clearly I do that a lot. This time I have been thinking about stuff in my little world that appears somewhere in the middle.
The very first thing that made do this is the song by Casting Crowns with a similar title. I sort of owe them that piece of creativity, slightly on the brink of plagiarism. Anyway, somewhere in the middle…
I thought about this a few hours ago when I was in the outside kitchen lighting up the firewood to place some heavy black sufuria on the stones. Yes, we have one of those at home, your typical Kikuyu family. Somehow, the home is not complete without it. That is why I thought about this. You see, I live in Kikuyu. (I was shocked to find out that some people in this country have no idea Kikuyu is a place. That is why I support the county edition through and through for educating the masses). Anyway, Kikuyu is neither rural or urban, it is just…somewhere in the middle.
Somewhere in this middle is a girl who has a lot of decisions to make every day, just like you and everyone else on earth. For instance, I am supposed to be in school as we speak. But I am not because I decided I would rather waste time at home than 310km away. That aside, I have been having serious pains around my head and teeth.
Funny thing is, this began when I got to school a few days ago. Believe it or not, even my closest friends claim it is a psychological condition. Sometimes, I think so too. But hey, I am the one in pain. Why would I make up pain? To come home? To get myself out of certain tasks? Come on, that is a stunt we all pulled in lower primary. When it was the only way we thought mum and dad would hear us out. As I suffer this little pain, I am torn between waiting for it to subside on its own or visiting a doctor or a dentist. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle…
In the middle of the 310km journey is Nakuru, the town that is growing rapidly. Right in the middle of the very smooth A104 road; somewhere between Eldoret and Nairobi, Nakuru is perfect. It is beautiful and not too far or too near the capital. There is the lake and breathtaking sites all round. An appealing residence for many, somewhere in the middle…
On the other hand, some other issues I had rather not mention here have put me at a crossroads. I do not know what to do because either way, the risks are high. Seating on the fence is safe, right? Maybe if you do it at the beginning stages of a potential relationship, it saves you a lot of misery. You want to know what you are getting into after all. But if it takes too long, you are doomed. Someone will go looking elsewhere, you will be left mumbling about how he or she was not meant to be yours. But how do you know if you did not give them a chance while you were stuck in the middle?
So what is the point of being stuck somewhere in the middle if I do not enjoy a benefit? From my analysis it seems the only things that are perfect in the middle are places, like Kikuyu and Nakuru. Period.
Somewhere in the middle, you will find me, but not for long. Because I have made up my mind, I will go see a doctor. I will take a stand when I feel something is not right. I will do this even when it makes me lose friends or followers (the Twitter phenomenon that has become a circus. No offence). I will make up my mind about who I will love.
Somewhere in the middle…you will not find me.
First of all, I want to update my blog. So that is exactly what I will do. It has been long since I did anyway. And since that is all I want to do, I also want to be brief. Here goes.
It is freezing. On top of that, it is raining. That is your typical Eldoret weather around this time of year. Almost every afternoon. If you live here long enough you acquire the basic survival mechanism of working your way out of the rain’s trap. If you had laundry to do, you attend to it at a calculated point in time such that by the time the rain descends, your clothes are clean and dry. You get to know when to carry an umbrella and when to wear shoes that will combat the mud mano-a-mano.
When it rains we complain. When it is too hot, we complain. That then begs the question, what is it that we want. The same thing happens, say, when we open school and classes take forever to start. Then immediately they start, we can’t wait for them to be over. Human beings! That is what is happening now. I am having a ball because our lecturer could not make it this afternoon. Yet I was the same one complaining when we spent weeks bumming around in July.
I guess we can never be too sure what we want. Someone once said, be careful what you wish for, because it might come true.
Do you know what you want right now? Do you know what you want in the future? Are you willing to deal with the consequences when you get it?
I know what I want right now. Something warm to either ingest or wrap myself around. What do I want later? We’ll see.