It’s been a couple of years since high school. Well, not a couple…few, maybe? A couple sounds like a number you don’t want to disclose…plus, I’ve been told ladies do not disclose their age and I might actually consider myself a lady, so to speak. I am also aware that immediately I state the year I left high school, ye undiscovered math geniuses will resort to work finding x. but I am not old, except for the aged woman who lives inside me and gives me constant insight on how to live my life, among other things. Ah, just know, it hasn’t been 10 years, and I didn’t join campus last year. That works, right?
The reason I bring up leaving high school is because I have not spoken to more than three quarters of my classmates in those few years, but I have heard about them. Social media is a magical world. We keep tabs on people we would never even speak to if the chance presented itself. We wave these mystical phones and in a heartbeat, one knows where someone is, has been and where they plan to be. We have information on spouses (if any) and get to be involved in the lives of people we only knew by name. Isn’t that great? So great. PS, I have no spouse.
So I was scrolling through Instagram recently and found that another of my former schoolmates is expectant. This, together with the conversations I have had with most of the people I know, like say 7, has me convinced that most of us are having children pretty young now. Before you bash me and say I am being childish, let me say that I have nothing against preggers women. It’s amazing that one can grow another human being in their body and have them breathe and eat and make you feel this progress for 9 months. The process is divine. Children are wonderful and I totally would like tiny versions of me running around here someday, if I get sane enough that is. That said, dont you feel like everyone is getting pregnant? Not you boys, relax a little, damn!
But seriously, everyone knows someone under 25 who has a kid, or is expecting one or plans to trap a poor unsuspecting soul into giving them one. If you don’t know such a person, you probably are the one. We have had this conversation a million times. Of how Nani has a baby or Nani Two is to have one soon. Kindergarten and Nursery buses plague our roads on a daily, filled with elated screams of children going home from school. Children are having children like it is a contest. The number of baby showers I have heard about and been invited to is well near Ridiculous! (Remember that show? Yeah? Let’s move on).
This has made a new almost extinct species come to life. 20 somethings without kids. Young adults who are not moms and do not plan to be any time soon. Boys who are not crippled with the fear of getting the dreaded late night text to give them the news.
/Can we talk/
/Sure, what’s up/ Blood now pumping.
/I think I’m late/
/You think or you are?/
/I don’t know Sweetie/ Because the deal has to be sweetened and you lured in with sugary name-calling. But now, the antennas are up. Not because of the time passed (Ha-ha, get it)but because you have never been Sweetied or Babed or Darlinged in the time you have known each other. The aerial shoots up because you do not know how to react to names you have never heard from them.
/Are you sure its me? / Now, this…this could mean a number of things.
Are you sure you have the right number?
Are you sure I am the father?
Are you sure I am the one who took your watch. See? A great number of things. Yes, I know I repeated a joke.
/Brayo, don’t joke around/
Please note that I use a Brian connotation only so most guys can relate to it. Not that I have a specific Brian in mind.
And ladies… just because I feel this needs emphasis… no Brian came to me with your dilemma. If there is in fact a Brian who texts you as I have presumed above have you heard of a little thing called coincidence? Look it up before you come to me asking which Brayo I am talking about. Yours is not the only one.
Anyway, Brian will then blue-tick you while you send him paragraphs reliving all the little nothings he whispered into your ear and he will go have a few sodas topped with a bottle… of Dasani and gobble on some nyama choma while you put your composition skills into practice on his inbox. We’ve seen it happen and have laughed with a few Brians ourselves. So girls, come on. I hear bedroom business is pretty good business. Have your transactions with Brians who will not drive you to compulsory essays and ulcers just because you let him sit in the office with no suit on. Ensure Brayo suits up.
If you are a 20 something without a kid, stay strong my sister. -Insert Lupita’s quote-
Sidenote: Don’t mistake this for me bashing our age mates with children. I love kids. Adore them even. They are what is right with the world, right after Oreos. And I think you are strong to have had a kid and still go on with school or your business or whatever it is you do right now to have you take over from Zuckerberg and Beyonce. I don’t possess that kind of strength and, knowing me, I might lose my wits I anything like a Brian happens to me. So I do admire you. All of you who go to class or to work on a daily and still have to go home to a cute little one and take care of them.
You have within you the strength of two mountains piled on each other.
Isn’t social media a crazy place? A mess of the wealthy and the wealthy wanna-bes, the high schoolers and the campus-ers, the odis and the classy all mixed together in one gigantic cauldron.
Everyone has forgotten those terrible blurry selfies with the ridiculous poses and just as bad captions. I recall a time when we identified our accounts on Facebook (because Facebook was all we had) by our profile pictures.
“Nilikutumia friend request na hukuaccept,” a classmate would say 2 weeks into a new term.
“Who? Me? No you didn’t. What account did you send it to?”
“Si wewe ndiyo Mish Lianna? Profile picture ya Willow Smith.”
And it would be Chris Brown the next term. Bow Wow after that. Usher. PSquare, et cetera.
These were the times we would go to cyber cafes to change said profile pictures. When the creativity of user names reflected loosely popularity.
Xs replaced Ss and we scrubbed vowels from our vocabulary altogether. Some words suffered as much as being replaced by numbers but it was a good life.
I texted Chris Brown with so much hope. Sent messages so many times I’m sure he had to block Mish Lianna from Kentucky. Did I mention she was from Kentucky? I didn’t even know where the hell Kentucky stood on a map. She had a home there but never posted pictures of the house.
She posted pictures of cars she owned. A Lamborghini Gallardo she had and let her model friends on the bonnet. The Bugatti Veyron on the highway. Mish Lianna always took the pictures. Photographing was what she really loved.She also posted pictures of herself, and whenever she did, she made them blurry. The Gor Mahia jersey in the robust hills of Seme. That time she had her feet in the Awach River or was in some matatu just because she felt like it.
There was never a bad day. Her researched captions were always positive messages. Quotes from people who inspired her at the time. She was always in a good mood. Always happy because what was there not to love about Mish Lianna? The 748 friends obviously agreed. The Bugattis got about 650 reactions and the Seme selfies about half of that.
Self-employed, had gone to Havard and was both a doctor and engineer at Unspecified. Life was good.
Charlene has skin that could advertise for Vaseline instead of that ka-leaf.
Her mane of hair could be used to wrap onto shoes instead of Kiwi. (Been looking at Kenyan ads on YouTube, bear with me). But real talk? Her clothes fit so well that I felt a little uncomfortable.
She always has this air about her that makes it enjoyable to bask in her glory.
You know how prisoners have to obey all orders from the officers? When I met with Charlene, I felt like a prisoner myself. Like I had met my warden and her word was my every command. It was strange, seeing someone with that much power in their presence.
Her smile is outrageously beautiful. Eyebrows well-trimmed-not-drawn. Lashes lush. Even her foundation matched her neck. I presume she must have her own foundation maker.
With a powerful name like that, she obviously doesn’t ever worry about pronouncing it to others.
“What’s your name,” they always ask.
“Mirriam,” I always reply.
“Mirriam,” putting emphasis on the i’s. Thats where they always get it wrong.
“Oh, Mirriam. You don’t look like a Mirriam.”
Oh yeah? Well what do I look like Nancy? Nancy will then say ridiculous names that my mom who went barefoot across hills, through crocodile infested waters and into tarantula habited forests to get to Nyagoto Primary School has never heard of. Instead I half-smile and say thanks for thinking I could get a name as absurd as that Jane or Bridgit or whatever. No offence to all Janes and Bridgits and Whatevers…
Charlene sits across from me at KFC. It feels like being illuminated by first light. Her perfume quickly creeps into every crevice of the vastly populated room and she unapologetically becomes our Airwick.
She sits there looking straight at me.
“You’re weird,” she says with a chuckle.
“Let’s play a game.”
A game? Here? Char must be delusional.
And she must be koo-koo too.
Who plays games in restaurants? Preposterous!
We play the game.
It was simple. Just write down on the serviette (Char says Napkin). So, just write on the napkin, whatever you want.
“Anything at all. Assume you lived in a world of no limits and boundaries were a thing of the past.”
I just stare at her. She is mad. But she goes on.
“Imagine the world was a perfect place and anything you wish for could come true. Unicorns are real. Mermaids dance on ocean beds. Fairy tales exist and Prince Charmings have hearts that love true and deep.”
Ah, I see the problem. Hidden in her game and bizzare wish to have a perfect world.
Who broke your heart? I ask.
She smiles briefly.
“Why do you assume that my heart is broken?”
She smiles again. A full one this time. The kind of smile I am used to seeing her wear.
Char is strange. She has 2,467 contacts saved on her phone and yet she swears she talks only to 7, including me, her dad and brother. What is the other two thousand, four hundred and sixty for? She can’t say. She only says that I cannot understand with my contact list of 64 and that I am not cut out for the life she lives.
She and I are different in more ways than we are similar, but we are better friends this way. She understands the need to keep to myself, just as I respect hers to flaunt her new designer clothes on social media, or to party every weekend to keep her circle lit.
She has some strange friends as well. I have not met many of them. Usually I ask her to come alone when we are supposed to meet. Once, she came with a group of about 10 people, all our age, yes, but in some very strange social circle all together.
Three weeks later she was in some financial conundrum and called me when these same friends all deserted her. Long story short, she deferred a semester, they all cut contact with her, and last week her Instagram post was a picture of more than half that group with her in the middle, captioned ‘Friends for Life’.
Char has beautiful eyes. She is never the duff. She resembles these video vixens we see, if all that perfection was put together and had a baby. It doesnt help that she has an amazing heart. She gives clothes to children homes and goes on walks for cancer, sickle cell and other diseases I never hear of until she tells me about them. She is in a group that is working with children with autism.
“My hearts not broken Silly,” she says, waking me from my reverie.
She knows I was lost in my thoughts because she stares at me for a moment longer before lowering her gaze.
“What were you thinking about?”
“Nothing really,” I reply.
“Really Mir? I thought we were better friends than that.”
She hands me her serviette together with a pen. Sorry. Napkin. It is folded into a triangle.
“Dont look. Give me yours first.”
I take the napkin and think.
In a perfect world, what would I really want? Definitely not flying powers; terrified of heights or falling and crashing into my death. Not X-ray vision. Not heat breath or morphing into a dragon-human. A draman. Definitely not lightning speed.
“We dont have all day,” Char rushes forcing me to write down the first thing that comes to mind.
She looks at it and laughs first. I knew that was not clever.
“Why this? Why a mirror?”
“I dont know” I whine You rushed me.
“No,” she gives me a determined look. I should have just given her the flying thing and gotten done with this. “Tell me. Why, of all choices, would you want to be a mirror?”
“Well,” I stutter now. “People would get to look into me to see themselves? I think.” She is not satisfied. And when Char is not convinced about something, you have your work cut out for you.
In all honesty, I wanted to be a mirror in our little made up world because maybe then, Char would see her reflection. She would know her level of perfection surpasses all other measures. She would realize that she does not need 2,467 people to make her wanted, or worthy. She would understand that having 7 dependable friends is better that 2,460 who wouldnt give a rats ass about her. I wanted to be a mirror for my one friend who needs to know her worth, and when she was done realizing how amazing she is, then she would also be a mirror for someone else.
She asked me to look at her napkin, since I had refused to tell her why my choice was a mirror.
Char had scribbled the 5 letters into the napkin so well it was rough in the underside.
She too does not care to explain. She said I have to interpret it however I wished.
If Char wants to be a shadow, I think she is scared. I think she wants to hide half of her life behind whatever will help. Cellphone. Instagram. Fake life. Fake friends. Prada and Louis Vuitton. I think she uses the life with the group of about 10 to validate herself. To prove that she too can live like the other kids if she wishes to.
But secretly, I think my Char is longing for escape. She craves to trade the life she has online for the peace and quiet of the night. She however is not ready to deliver herself from it completely.
That is why she wrote Shadow on the napkin.
She wants to cling to it for the occasional relief. For when she is beat from living within herself. Exhausted from getting to understand her being. She wants to escape from the camera life, but with a catch. Escape that allows a backslide every now and then.
Life was not “always good” for Mish Lianna. She cried. She lost. She got angry and lost her temper. But 748 wanted happy and positive and sensational.748 wanted downloaded Lamborghinis and quotes that Mish could not believe in when she was broken. She let 748 control what she herself was supposed to control.
This is what social media has done to most of us, only in a greater scale. Because despite the great benefits it has brought us, while Mish Lianna was fiction and my friends knew it, the Mish Liannas of today are living the lie. They are buying the clothes and going for trips with money they have not been raised with. Holding on to friendships that are as detrimental as the delusions of grandeur that they try to sell to us. Letting their worth be measured by numbers. 1 friend request. 3,700 follow requests. 10,000 followers. 53 following. 7 real friends. 1 being.
Today’s post was supposed to be about disappointments.
About “why it is a road full of disappointments”.
By it I meant why the sundry shop of existence is filled with so much wrongs for the deeds we term as right for our paths.
I had planned it since last Friday. I already knew which weird synonyms I would use and I practically had the whole piece placed in my head.
Heck, I even knew what the first paragraph would be, word for word.
I had written it and corrected it so many times that it was perfect for you. Perfect for a copyright sign and my second name following it. For a ©Awuor.
But I have to disappoint myself and my well laid plans for this piece because I went through something today that needs putting down somewhere precious.
Forgive me if this piece lacks any creativity.
So I got to the office today and my very lovely supervisor, ( she asked me to send her the link to this so I have to butter her up), anyway, she told me that I was to go and cover “something that had happened in Solai,”
“What is it?” I asked, oblivious to the fact that I was being too curious when she kinda sorta didn’t want to give me the full details. Or maybe she was just busy on her computer writing something even more phenomenal.
“There’s been a tragedy”
I hadn’t switched on the TV in the morning so I didn’t know about any tragedy, and since I had not heard anything from our morning rumor time with mom, I didn’t think much of it.
Somehow, while still in the company car, (and yes, we have a company car) the word came back to me.
It had a cold demeanor attached to its hip.
Couldn’t be a drought since Kenyan soil has to be the most moisturized layer in the last few weeks.
A fault line maybe. Those seem to be happening a lot lately in the majestic Rift Valley. It had to be another fissure.
I sat there, looking out the window as I collected my thoughts on what I would write on my fissure-article. I was making up headlines in my head by the time we passed the junction to Bahati Girls where my ka-cousin is at boarding and I had actually come up with a few, but none that Madam Jane couldn’t beat. She has a way with words. Like she always has this collection of would-be headlines just in case.
Solai was all brown. Muddy brown, not any pretty-little-brown thang.
I stepped out of the vehicle to be met by the ghastly sight of humongous lorries and these tractors that are usually on roads being constructed.
These yellow ones with a scooper-thingy that is at its head or nose.
The first person I stood next to told me that the dam had broken it’s banks at about 8:00 pm Wednesday night.
The second had heard a grumbling noise from the hill housing the dam and had thought it was the rumbling of thunder.
When the dam broke, and reportedly with a loud bang, they thought lightning had hit a tree or something. That was the logical explanation. A force of nature.
The scene was gruesome.
There was no mercy last night.
Where the ground is supposed to be freshly green was a dull brown of muddy water the equivalent of pancake mix.
Lorry wheels were halfway deep in the muddy mix of everything nature provides.
Spreads of bloody red were visible in numerous areas all around Nyakinyua area. It was devastating.
(Image by my phone of a car washed away from that part in the horizon that is darker above the trees)
The story is already in the news and you have probably seen it, but this was my account. A little bit of the Awuor perspective.
I can’t put everything I witnessed today into words because this is still a weird blog owned by WordPress but managed by a little bracefaced weirdo from the little town of Nakuru. And I want to keep things PG and friendly to give you reason to read my next obviously amazing post.
I have avoided being in my head all day because I don’t want to know what my uncanny gift of a mind will try to conjure up. I don’t want to know what is cooking up in there.
Citizen’s tag line for the story was “Nani wa kulaumiwa Solai” or something of the sort. You know me and that sanifu thing don’t go well.
Here’s a fact for you. There is someone who owns those dams. Yes, there are more. 4 more actually, with the largest running along the main road and is said to be about 5 acres large. They are also not built.
When I heard it was a dam I pictured a Ndakaini kind of thing. These dams are a result of sand, and a couple of rocks dunked unstrategically in the path of a river, blocking it and robbing the residents of Nyakinyua of the source of water during my birthday month. It is saddening that even the media tries to hide the fact that is known throughout like the Gospel.
Here’s what I think despite it all, before I scrutinize the scene in my mind and spoil any inspiring words that I am required to give.
Life’s short. Cherish it. You never know when the grumbling thunder could be more than you thought.
Keep on keeping on. Especially because life is short. Try it all, despite the disappointments. Don’t think that if you fail, then that is the end. The end is the end. Nothing else is.
And Tien, keep that candle burning.
Steady yourself even though you know that you’re falling
Maybe you’re falling but you’re still alive
Ready yourself that’s quite enough of your bawling
Cause you’re bawling but you’ll survive
Loosing is only a sign
It’s only a sign that you really tried.
~Aluna George – What would I change it to
I have wanted to write about the “boychild” phenomena for a while now, but I did not know which angle to take. There are so many ways to look at the male scenario in this age. Especially when you can’t possibly have a conversation with about five guys in a day without at least two of them claiming how “boy child anaumia”.
One time, after such a statement was made to me, I asked what made him say that, and honestly, I did not get a satisfactory answer. All he did was mumble words at random until I opted to change the topic.
This is why, during the last two weeks, in almost all conversations I held, I have almost always ended up asking for views on this “boychild doomsday” that is upon us. I got responses that could fill a novel series, and this actually motivated me to write this.
One friend, a female, said that the boys were “triggered” by Cyprian Nyakundi, blogger turned Boychild activist. Cyprian took to twitter in a series of tweets late last year that ignited the spirit of boys everywhere, reminding them of how discriminated and used they are. Since then, everything has ended up being about how the male gender is being stepped on by the female.
You see a post where a girl was taken out to eat.
In the pictures that she took with the guy, she put emojis on his face when posting. And the boychild is in a rage! You see a gentleman tying the laces of a girl’s shoes and the almost all male millenials are tweeting and commenting while saying how they are discriminated.
1. Complain without basis
It is believed out here that most of these comments were claiming that the boychild is raging on and complaining without any strong support of the argument. That the boys need to remember there was a time that girls had nothing to hold on to and were not taken to school just to be married at an early age, and it was acceptable.
Some people feel that boys have taken this male empowerment thing a little too far. That they bring up the issue of discrimination even in situations that do not warrant such kind of “empowerment”
3. “Online empowerment ”
Boys tend to fill comments online about how they are being discriminated. That they only go to online sites like twitter and Facebook to add comments and do nothing else to help their case. That they should grow a pair and that if, their arguments that they are being undermined are substantial, they should do something to empower themselves. Not to only go online, leave a comment under a “Boychild Injustice” post and leave it at that.
In general, this group of people says that if the boys truly believe that there is a problem, then they should stand up for themselves. Because otherwise, all we see is comments online and hear you cry endlessly without any affirmative action against said undermining.
“Boy child haumii; anataka tu kubembelezwa” Agnes Nyambura
If you have not heard of this already, here are the facts.
1. 35 students from Jamhuri High School in Ngara, Nairobi ,were injured using knives they had last night in an overnight confrontation.
2. Four students are admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital and one with stab wounds was admitted at Guru Nanak
3. The main reason for this is an allegation that there is religious discrimination in the school by the school head.
4. Nairobi Police are carrying out investigations
There are various reactions on social media about this.
Why would there be religious discrimination in a school that has proven to be comfortable with all religion, particularly Muslim and Christianity?
Why would the school head, who is supposed to maintain unity and be a symbol of stability allegedly favor one religion compared to another?
How were students between the ages of 13 and 18 be able to get knives to use against their peers? Are they allowed to bring knives to school? Were the knives made available to the students?
How could students attack each other overnight and later in the morning without any authorities being involved? Aren’t there security measures in these schools?
There are so many questions that arise with this unfortunate incident, together with the insecurity issue in Nairobi’s CBD at the moment, where a gang is said to rob people in broad daylight.
The gang attacks unsuspecting individuals and rob them of their belongings.
Hopefully, the required authorities will get to deal with these issues before they become a nationwide matter.
I am disappointed in my father’s generation. In the generation that has taught most of my peers what we know and the beliefs we hold close. I am displeased by their preaching without action. That they have the audacity to tell of peace and prosperity when we saw first-hand what they did in the 2007-2008 aberrations that cost many their lives and had my fellow country people affected.
I am discontented by the words of my leaders when they say that we are united yet I still see people politically affiliated according to their own tribe. No…I was told it is “ethnic group” now, because tribe is too brute a word. I am saddened terribly when I still see a grandma being cruel to a daughter in-law because she does not belong to the same tribe as them. Yes…for this article, I will use this god forsaken word, if only to open the eyes of my father’s generation.
I have lived only two decades on this earth, but I have seen my fair share of this disgrace. When a father passes on and children are chased away from the only home they have known because their mother is not one with the community of her belated. When a woman is stripped of her inheritance because her late husband’s people own it and she does not belong to the tribe. When lovers are forced to live star crossed lives simply because they have different tribal customs.
It is not right. I believe it is not right that our parents have upheld this vice and yet we still continue with it like it is second nature.It is not right that we have the capacity to embrace one another regardless of their geographical birthplace, but still have to think of what our parents will say when we take home a best friend for a sleepover and their last name is not satisfactory. It is not right. And I know many will disagree with me, but look around my friends, and tell me if I am wrong.
Tell me that employment does not still rely on where one is from. Tell me that first class treatment is given to people from the lake region in the central part of this country. Tell me that my aunts and uncles from the same central part can comfortably flash their identity cards in the lake region while there on holiday. It has gone to as far as my tribe having a name specifically for the other. I am owning up to this disrespect today. They call them “Okuyus”… And yes…it may sound like a privilege, like at least they get some recognition in the other part of the nation, until you hear it in a sentence, used by an old mama, saying how the “Okuyus” have robbed the land of all its provisions. It is still not right. My father’s generation has failed us.
Now, they did try to do something about this. They taught us to forget about our tribes. To forget the parts that define us first. That one part that, even without our names, we already belonged to. This generation of masters of pretense taught us to forget where we come from. Right now, if one of my friends is randomly asked, “And hey, what ethnic group are you?” the first thing, the first instinct, is usually to ask “Why?” Why would a stranger want to know where I am from? What intentions do they have? They could be having a hidden agenda…so we have trained ourselves to turn defensive when this question is first asked.
After this, comes the disillusion that we have fed ourselves. Since the question Why is not satisfactory an answer, and the stranger could most definitely go on to probe so as to find out more, we have adapted an answer that is so outrightly outrageous, I wonder why it is not fitted right after The Wildebeest Migration in the “Seven New Wonders of the World”. We have taught ourselves to say “I am Kenyan”. My generation has become so gullible as to name my country a tribe, and this upsets me.
We have been deceived, deluded and made a mockery of by our parents and their parents. We have grown up believing a lie. We are not of the tribe Kenya, but of that one Great Nation that comprises of 42 amazing tribes that we should be proud of. Some of us have been given white man names and lack the identity of their tribes. Children grow not knowing the language of their fore fathers and are out here claiming to not belong to any “ethnic group”. Claiming to be “Kenyans”…but that is not true. We lack a sense of identity because our fathers’ generation has made it so. We have no sense of belonging or fulfillment in our backgrounds. It breaks my heart to know that if only we were raised to know that all tribes are amazing and exotic in their own way, then maybe, just maybe, we could have grown up appreciating one another the way it should have been.
But sadly, my father’s generation has shortchanged us.