Category Archives: LIFE

JANUARY 2019 III- WHEN TERROR STRIKES

And here comes part 3 of the series on deadly events that have transpired around us in the first month of 2019.

A TERROR ATTACK!

It sounds surreal even writing about it, like, did it really happen, or did we imagine it?

But, it’s true. It happened. It was not a dream, and 21 people died, just like that.

On the 15th of January 2019, 21 innocent people walked/drove/were driven into the Dusit D2 Complex on 14 Riverside Drive, and never came out (alive, that is).

Their families are devastated, their destinies having been forever altered by the actions of a few deranged, brainwashed, mentally unstable, backward individuals who have not yet realized that they are being used as pawns by powerful people, who by the way, place no value in their lives.

700 people were rescued, which we are grateful for, but, we might never fully comprehend the emotional scars they carry with them as a direct result of this terror attack.

They will morph into completely different people as a result of their experiences on this day. For many, the change will not be for the better.

In cases like this, there is also the trauma faced by the rescuers and first aiders, plus the individuals who live and work around the area where the terror attack has occurred.

It is literally a 15 minute walk between our city home, and the complex that was attacked. I pass this area everytime I am going and coming from home. Ever since the attack, all I keep thinking whenever I pass here is that it could have been me.

Or it could have been my parents.

Or one of the guys I watch soccer with at our local every weekend. Or one of their loved ones.

Or one of my friends from Church. Or their parents. Or their siblings.

It could have been any of us because of our proximity to the place, and we would have never known that our end was coming.

Sadly, the end came for those 21 souls. People who had plans for their days and for the rest of their lives.

People who had nothing to do with the war in Somalia. People who had done nothing to deserve the ire of Al-Shabaab.

They were just normal people, leading their daily lives, exercising their full human rights.

Words cannot even describe how senseless this attack was, how senseless every terror attack (including the ones orchestrated by the West) is.

We created this problem ourselves; all of us as a collective.

There are those of us who participated directly in fueling the flames of religious extremism (mainly for economic gain political dominance), and, there are those of us who stood idly by, pretending that we could not see the monster being created, pretending that we had no power to stop it.

WE ARE ALL TO BLAME! Each and every one of us, irrespective of religion, or nationality.

I personally feel like I am responsible. Like there is something I should do or should have done to help fight terrorism authentically without all of the political nuances and intonations.

Like there is a better way to handle this catastrophe, and it’s my fault for not working hard enough to figure it out. For always putting it at the back of my head because it does not affect me directly in the past.

But now it has affected me directly. And, it has been a wake-up call for me, and I hope for everyone else affected by this terror attack to put our individual efforts in solving this problem.

Whether it’s paying more attention to our surroundings, alerting the authorities of any suspicious activities around us, refraining ourselves from engaging in exclusionary practices based solely on religion, intervening before a loved one is inculcated into an extremist group, or choosing political leaders that promote rather than reject diversity, we all have a part to play.

There is something you can do today that can stop a terrorist attack tomorrow.

We owe it to these 21 Dusit D2 fallen souls plus the millions of innocent victims of terrorism all over the world.

You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones.

Stay safe!!!

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JANUARY 2019- THE SAD, UGLY, AND DOWNRIGHT DEADLY II

Hi there,

It’s me, again.

Here comes part 2 of the series of sad, ugly, and deadly events that have transpired around my parents and I in January 2019.

Event 2

We had barely come to terms with my elder cousin’s deadly diagnosis, when a death occurred in our church congregation.

Just last Sunday, a week after my cousin was transported to Kenyatta National Hospital for emergency treatment, we were informed that the son to one of our fellow congregants had died suddenly in his sleep.

By all accounts, this was a healthy man in his late 30s living a healthy lifestyle, and yet here he was,….gone and never to be heard from again.

He was at the peak of his life, based on testimonies from friends and family, and now, he was no more.

The saddest part is that he died an ocean away from home (he was working and residing in Australia at the time of his death).

It’s so sad that his parents and sister never got the chance to say goodbye. Or maybe they did, but they just didn’t know that that would be their last farewell. That’s even sadder.

It’s devastating to think about the pain the family is going through right at this moment, and even as we keep on going to condole with them at their residence, the shock, for both us and them, isn’t wearing off.

We were told that he died in his sleep from a brain aneurysm. The assumption that most of my fellow congregants are making is that he died peacefully without any pain. If this is true, I hope it gives the family some form of comfort.

We are waiting for the full medical report from the coroner abroad so that we can begin the process of transporting the body back here as well as the funeral arrangements.

I have never met him, but I can tell how loved he was by the grief that we are all experiencing and the pain we are feeling on behalf of the family.

You can literally see the turmoil in their eyes. His sister has lost a dear friend, a confidant, a companion…an only sibling!

His parents have lost their first born child, their only son. An unbreakable bond that’s been dissolved before their very eyes.

The three of them were so used to having him as part of their life; his presence was guaranteed. For 39 years, he was an intrinsic part of their tight knit unit. How are they supposed to move on from this?

How?

They’ll be no getting over this for them, and even for us as a church community because three of our members will forever be hurting. When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting.

This is our pain, this is our loss.

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YESTERDAY, COME AGAIN by Kui

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When I could hear you speak,

When I could hold you,

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When your smile lit up my heart,

And we talked and laughed,

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When I was sure I would see you forever,

Ah, yesterday, won’t you come back again?

And if we could go back to yesterday,

I would hold you, and not let go,

And I would pray,

Pray,

That that lonely tomorrow,

That tomorrow that’s without you,

Never should I have to live through it.

Yesterday, won’t you come back again?

Rest with the angels, our dear son 💖💖💖💖💖💖

JANUARY 2019- SAD, UGLY, AND DEADLY (PART 1)

I hope wherever you are reading this from, you are having the best January of your life.

Too much of a stretch?

Okay, let me try again.

(Clears throat)

I hope wherever you are reading this from, your January 2019 is unfolding much better than mine is.

(Is that better? I hope so).

You can tell by the title of this post, that this January for me, and for so many people around me, is nothing but pure HELL.

It’s only the 17th of January, and I feel like I and the people I care about have lived 10 years within these first 17 days.

Let me explain.

Whenever we usher in a new year, we hope and pray for prosperity, health, success, promotions, wealth, love, and so many other desirable things.

We do this every year, and usually for me, January is a quiet month with very few surprises. Everything is moving slowly as we try to adjust ourselves to normal life after a long month of festivities.

But, not this January.

Nope! This one we’ve been hit by deadly surprises one after the other, and I can barely catch my breath. It almost feels like we are being cornered as we watch the invisible hand of death pick from all around us.

It’s only human to ask, am I next? Is someone I can’t imagine life without, next?

She’s hitting so close to home, and a pattern is forming, at least in my mind. And, I know I’m usually the paranoid one, the worrier, the overly anxious one, the overthinker; so maybe my concerns are baseless. Or are they?

So, what exactly has been happening? What’s got me so frazzled?

I’ll tell you. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Event 1

On the first weekend of 2019, my elder cousin was transported from a town called Nanyuki to Nairobi, our capital city, for emergency treatment.

She arrived at the wee hours of Saturday morning at Kenyatta Hospitality (our public national hospital), and my parents drove there to help with admission and stuff.

I went there during the day on Saturday, and I was shocked at how ill she was. She couldn’t swallow anything (she still can’t) because there was something blocking the food and water from passing through. She was so emaciated it was hard to believe it was the same woman. And, she’s in so much pain.

My parents and I have been taking turns visiting her since the day of admission, but it’s getting harder now to see her because her condition is getting worse every day.

This week they finally told us that she is suffering from throat cancer, and it is at the advanced stage. The doctors are not very confident that we can beat it.

This is not the only life-threatening disease that she has. She has suffered from epilepsy all her life, and these epileptic attacks have caused her to suffer so many physical injuries. For instance, during one of these epileptic episodes, her leg was severely burned when she kicked over the stove, and it burned her. To this day, several surgeries later, her leg still oozes pus sometimes, and her mobility is diminished.

She’s also suffered from chronic nose bleeding for years, and this has resulted in further complications.

This is not the first time that we as a family have experienced cancer. Both my maternal grandparents died from cancer. My maternal uncle and aunt also died from cancer. My real mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year or so before her death, and this must have contributed significantly to her decision to take her own life.

So, we’ve been down this road before, we know the outcome. Yes, there are better medicines now, and better equipment, but my research indicates that the survival rate for late stage throat cancer is still quite low in the country.

But, I’m not going to think about that. I’m going to think about her, her mother, her children, and her children’s children. I’m going to think about her healing, and I’m going to think about how we can reduce the pain.

I’ve seen her laugh a couple of times before and after the diagnosis. Seeing her laugh gives us strength; it gives us hope, and renews our spirit.

I’m also going to think about her eyes. She has these incredibly innocent white eyes. They are so beautiful, so childlike. I have never seen a middle aged woman with eyes like those, so clean.

Wherever this journey takes us, we shall walk together, for each other.

Did you know that Kenya is in the African Eosaphagal Cancer Corridor, which means we have the highest incidences of throat cancer in this region? We are basically a hotspot for throat cancer. Shocking!!

Part 2 and part 3 of this series are coming up shortly.

Try and have yourself a wonderful January, for my sake 💖💖💖💖💖

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNT IN 2018

2018… it’s almost done, y’all, and I’m still here…. yaaaaaaaay!!

It’s been an interesting year for me, full of challenges, intrigues, and mysteries (psyche! My life isn’t that interesting).

I have had fun living this year, and I can honestly say that for most days in 2018, I lived my life with intention, I followed my passions (baby steps), and I remained true to myself.

For most days….

I think my biggest achievement this year was being able to prioritize my loved ones despite how crazy busy my schedule got, or I wanted it to get. I managed to do this by completely turning my life upside down (😮😮😮) in order to accommodate the people who mean the absolute world to me.

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic as all I did was relocate from the capital city to upcountry (in order to help my mum manage her farm- she’s getting old and she can’t keep traveling to and from the city in order to oversee farm activity) where I spend most of my weekdays.

On the weekends, I travel back to the capital city in order to take my darling nephews to church every Sunday (I’m a Sunday School teacher, and a deacon, remember?), and to spend time with my best friend, John.

My new lifestyle took a lot of adjusting, but, honestly it’s been worth it. I feel whole now as opposed to how I felt at the beginning of the year. The depth of my relationships with my loved ones has increased, and all I had to do was just be there, be present.

Take my mum, for instance, we’ve become absolutely inseparable since I moved to the farm, (and began to spend weekends with her in the capital city).

Before I moved, I had no idea how much her age and deteriorating health (she’s a 70 year old with high blood pressure and diabetes) was affecting her life and her mobility. Don’t get me wrong, she can still move around and stuff, but she has so many things to manage, and it’s becoming very taxing for her.

She’s also quite forgetful nowadays, and her eyesight and hearing have had better days.

There’s also the loneliness bit of it. Aging can be lonely, that’s for sure!

I would have never known the challenges my mum was facing if I hadn’t stepped out of my self-centric comfort zone.

But, I am so glad that I have gotten the opportunity to make her life, in her old age, much easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable.

She relies on me so much nowadays (including mentally and emotionally), and it’s an absolute honour for me. This beautiful lady has sacrificed everything for my brothers and I to be where we are today- and, I am glad that I am physically close enough to her to be able to give back to her every single day in all the ways that I can 💖💖💖.

I can say the same thing about my relationships with my brothers and my best friend. My bonds with these boys is considerably stronger than they were a year ago.

I’m here when they need me, and they know that- what a spectacular feeling!!

Here’s a pic of me, two of my brothers, and my nephews.

The quality of my life has also dramatically improved- I can’t compare to how I was when I was living alone. Don’t get me wrong, living alone was immensely fun mainly because

– I like being alone most of the time (my company is that awesome),

– I am a workaholic (it’s not a good thing)

– I don’t like sharing my time (refer to the first point)

– I love routines. I am sure I have told you this before, but I absolutely love routines. Living alone meant that I could follow and enforce my own routines without anyone judging me or interrupting me

– My apartment was my sex pad, and I could dictate my sex calendar (so liberating)

BUT….

………it was still empty. Why? Because I wasn’t paying attention to the people that matter, people that actually yearn for my presence i.e. my mother, my best friend, my father, my nephews and my brothers (in that specific order).

My spirit wasn’t at peace knowing that I wasn’t giving the very best of myself to the people who have loved me through EVERY stage of my life.

There’s something very selfish about spending all of your time alone when there are people that love you and would love to share some of your time. I have been selfish for a very long while.

This by the way is my biggest weakness when it comes to relationships (familial, sexual, or romantic)- I just don’t like sharing my time with others (probably why I am still single)

But, I realize now that this is not the way to live. Something about the way I lived my life had to change in order for me to be the best daughter, the best sister, the best aunty, and the best best friend that I could possibly be.

That something involved relocating upcountry and traveling to the capital every weekend (it’s only 1 1/2 hours away).

The best part is: I was able to purchase a parcel of land just right next to my mum’s!!!😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁

My biggest lesson learnt in 2018 has brought with it an abundance of blessings, and I am truly happy that I chose this path.

I have found fulfilment in sharing my time with the people I love; I have found balance; I have found purpose 💖💓💖💓💖

And, you can too.. don’t wait until it’s too late!

MY LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE WITH GREEN TEA

Question: Is there a support group for green tea addicts?

If there is, then I need to be in it. Guys, I NEED HELP!!!!

I drink so much green tea in a day that sometimes I end up getting nauseous (this is usually when it hits me that it’s time to eat).

And, I am not trying to accomplish anything by drinking copious amounts of the beverage, I just love how it tastes, the bitter the better (too often, I catch myself wondering what exactly is wrong with me, you’re probably wondering the same thing aren’t you?)

I absolutely love green tea.

Art by Carter Kingsley

On normal days, I can take at least four large cups of green tea, much to the astonishment of those around me (mainly my mum, dad, brothers, John, cousins, farm assistants, and my friends in church – yes people, I carry green tea bags to church).

Oh, and get this, it’s always sugarless.

Hahaha, I love the look on people’s faces when they ask to taste my tea, and find that it’s sugarless. That look is… PRICELESS!!

I stopped sweetening my tea a few years ago, mainly because the scientists were and are still saying that we should reduce our consumption of sugar. I also stopped drinking soda for that exact same reason. I don’t actually know if I am healthier than the people who do consume these products, but, my body still works optimally (I believe), so I must be doing something right!

Anyway, back to green tea!

I started drinking green tea while in campus (I’d like to say 2nd year) because my research (extensively done by the way) had shown that it could help make my hair grow longer. It and neem (mwarubaini).

Side note: I have always been obsessed with long hair, ever since I was a young girl. I would pray every night for my hair to grow longer and for me to grow taller.

Why? Because I thought I would be prettier if I had longer hair and if I were taller (absurd, I know).

Suffice to say the height bit never quite worked out. I’m like 5.2″ now, so yeah, those prayers were never answered 😤😤😤.

Okay, now seriously, back to green tea.

Neem was way too bitter even for me, so I decided to go with the green tea, and boy oh boy, did I find a lifetime obsession.

I drank green tea religiously in one semester, and my hair actually grew! It grew! I was so estatic! And it was during the time I was transitioning from permed hair to natural. It looked wonderful!

So, yeah, it helped my hair grow back then. Just a little but it was noticeably thicker and longer.

Another awesome thing happened when I drank green tea that semester. I was a heavy smoker back then and green tea somehow helped quell the urges.

I was gobsmacked! Longer hair, less smoking, my life was seemingly on the right track.

You would expect that I would continue taking this miraculous beverage because of its visible benefits.

Nope! Not this girl! I honestly don’t even know why I stopped taking it, and my addictions continued to spiral out of control. My hair did not fare so well either.

But, I was young, dumb, and reckless back then, so it’s understandable. Not much has changed though, so no need to get your hopes up 🙃🙃🙃😏😏😏.

I cleared campus in 2014, and had spent the whole of 2015 in Meru so that I could get to know my biological father better. Or was it so that I could drink myself to death unencumbered?

I’m thinking it was both.

There was hardly any green tea consumption during this time, just a lot of booze, even more than in campus. By the way, my drinking escapades here were LEGENDARY…. they were crazy, but still the stuff of legends.

But, in 2016, when I moved back to Nairobi, I took up green tea again, and I swear weird things started to happen.

No, I didn’t and haven’t grown taller, if that’s what you were thinking (insert eye roll).

But, my hair, OH MY GOODNESS!! Let’s just say that my dreams have come true in terms of hair. I have luscious dreadlocks that are so long, and my mother (and nearly everyone I meet) is in constant awe (over my hair- not my height).

(I would show you a picture but Wahu didn’t raise a braggart 😋😋).

Other than the green tea, I think that having a great loctician has also played a seriously huge role in how healthy my hair is.

Another weird thing- I don’t smoke anymore. I have been cigarette free for close to two years now, which, to me, has been an amazing feat.

I quit smoking gradually, and naturally, and at first, I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t smoking anymore. The urges just dissipated by themselves without any intervention, medical or otherwise.

I can’t even believe that I used to smoke, let alone the fact that I had been addicted to cigarette smoking for years! It’s like that entire phase of my life has been erased. I honestly can’t even remember the taste or even the brands. It’s literally like I have never smoked a cigarette in my life!

I don’t know if there are chemicals in the green tea that can actually control your urges or if I just swapped one unhealthy addiction (cigarettes) for another healthier one (green tea), but whatever the case, I am so proud of myself for quitting this disastrous behaviour.

And then, there was the alcohol. This one was a bit harder to break, and took a longer time to overcome, but I can honestly and proudly claim that I no longer drink. Not a sip! Not even wine! And this is coming from a girl who used to be drunk from Monday to Monday less than two years ago.

Of course, leaving these time consuming habits has enabled me to focus on other areas of my life, especially my writing. I have been able to build a stable freelance writing career from scratch in the last two years, and even here, green tea has been extremely instrumental.

My ability to focus improves dramatically when I am sipping cups of my favourite tea while writing as opposed to when I am writing without consuming the tea.

Again, I don’t know why this happens, but it is an observation I have made countless of times.

Lastly, I have a strong conviction that green tea has altered my metabolism, and my ability to lose and gain weight.

Before I started taking green tea regularly, I was a very poor eater. The poorest eater of all poor eaters, and as a result, I was a very tiny girl. I just didn’t like eating, I found it boring and time consuming.

Nowadays, things have changed drastically!

I’m still petite, that’s for sure, but I am not as thin as I used to be. Why? I eat like a crazy person nowadays, because of my high metabolism thanks to all of the green tea I drink daily. I eat, drink green tea, and within a few hours, I need something else to bite.

Funny thing, my weight has not changed much even with my ever-growing appetite. I’m still 48 kgs, despite all of the food I eat. I know it seems small for a girl so close to 30 years, but I am actually very healthy and strong. I think I was just born to be small, and there is very little I can do about that.

So, that’s it;- my journey with green tea, and the changes I have noticed ever since I started consuming it.

I’m not saying that green tea is a miracle cure for everything under the sun, but, I am sure glad that I drink it!!

If you have a green tea story, feel free to share it with me in the comments.

❤️❤️❤️……

POLITICS, THE CHURCH, AND POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST

So, I’m a deacon now…………………………………….

in church!

Gasp!!!!

I and other deacons were ordained last Sunday in front of the entire church (Wahu and Kamande included).

We had to kneel and say vows, and stuff (it was funny… I haven’t knelt in so long, it felt weird).

There was also no lunch or special snacks afterwards, so that kind of sucked. And, I still had to teach Sunday School (a role that I take great pride in, but I thought they would give us a break, seeing as it was such a ‘special’ day).

But, I’m not too bothered by this.

Deaconhood suits me; I wear it well, if I do say so myself. Although, technically, it’s been less than a week, and I actually haven’t done anything deacony yet.

But, I am supposed to do something deacony this Sunday, and it’s making me a bit uncomfortable.

Okay, here goes…

Our church is hosting a super Harambee (fundraiser) this coming Sunday to raise funds for a bigger sanctuary (we congregate in a nursery school; I for one think it’s cute, but you know churches and their expansionist policies)

A very important guest will be in attendance, and I am very conflicted about his possible presence on Sunday.

You guessed it!

It’s our very own deputy president of the Republic. If you’re Kenyan, I’m sure you didn’t have to try that hard to figure it out. His name has become synonymous with church fundraisers lately, so, it’s pretty obvious I was referring to him.

Now, I am not trying to be sanctimonious or nothing, because even I have a past, and the church accepts my offering every single Sunday. So why should she react differently when it comes to the deputy president’s contribution?

Well, for starters, there’s the nagging possibility that the money he’s dishing out to all of these churches is part of his ill-gotten loot (he’s perceived to be one of the most corrupt individuals in the country;- where there’s smoke, there’s always fire, people).

I have heard some of the older congregants brush this off claiming that ‘everyone steals’. I don’t think that’s true, and even if it were, shouldn’t the Church be standing up against this vice.

How?

Not accepting stolen public loot from corrupt politicians seems like a very great place to start, don’t you think?

I mean, how can the Kenyan religious fraternity claim to be admonishing corruption and at the same time be in the front lines when it comes to receiving ‘alleged’ proceeds of corruption?

I have raised this question in regards to the deputy president’s impending visit to our tiny church, and this is the response I keep receiving:

At least he is returning some of the money back to the public. He’s better than those who don’t return anything‘.

Wow!

This is just sad.

We have grown so accustomed to being stolen from as a people that we applaud those who steal from our public coffers and ‘return’ a negligible proportion of it as charity.

And, it’s not like this charity comes without strings attached.

Of course, he’s doing this for political goodwill. He knows with the Church’s support, it’s much easier to win his desired political post. Otherwise, he would have contributed silently without all of this hullabaloo.

And, how can we criticize someone when we have already accepted money from him?

I feel like his (and other politicians’) donations have the potential to gag churches disabling them from ever criticizing bad governance.

Knowing all this, how can I possibly in good conscience, appear on Sunday and perform my deacon duties?

I am so troubled…so, so, so troubled!!

****************************************

But, I hear there will be good food. I love food. Food always makes me happy, which can come in handy as I try to grapple with the realisation that we accepted *allegedly* stolen money to build a bigger sanctuary.

And I am also going to need a lot of good food because later on that evening, Arsenal will be up against Tottenham. It’s a scary game!!!

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For those who follow me on Facebook, my new position might come as a surprise to you given the numerous anti-religious posts that I share on the platform.

Don’t be alarmed! I’m not leading a double life. I have very strong criticisms about Christianity as a religion, and I am very vocal about this at home and even in church.

But, I have learnt to separate the religion/theistic dogmas from the faith. I have learnt to focus on the faith aspects of the predominant religion that I have been exposed to, and mix these with my own inherent and acquired values.

In short, I have come up with my own faith, because I feel that’s a right for every human being- to choose or create your own beliefs (sounds ridiculous I know but it works, for me at least).

And what better way to change what I think is wrong with the church than infiltrating (I use this word very lightly) the institution and working on it from the inside. I feel that this is a more effective way of fixing the problem rather than just throwing stones at the institution.

*****************************************

Anyway, let’s see how Sunday goes…bye for now!!

DEPRESSION, SEX, AND DRUGS

Ask anyone who knew me in campus or two years after that about the kind of girl I was, and they will probably tell you a myriad of stories, all of them revolving around my drinking and smoking.

This is despite how sweet and innocent looking I was. Exhibit A:

My habits were not only bad, they were excessive. I tend to be a slave to routine, and unfortunately, those days, alcohol and cigarettes were a big part of my daily life.

Whenever I look back at how I used to live my life a few years ago, I see that my habits were extremely unbecoming of a woman with a forehead such as mine (I’d like to believe that there is a code of ethics that girls with HUGE foreheads have to live by; such facial features are a gift that come with their own set of rules and morals).

But that is the girl I was back then.

A heavy smoker, an alcoholic, and a depressed little girl trying to hide herself and her forehead from the world.

Of course, with the excessive alcohol intake came the many sexual escapades, some of which were a pretty risky undertaking.

There was A LOT of sex! A LOT!

And there was also the RA (rheumatoid arthritis), most likely triggered by my excessive smoking.

Even that didn’t stop me from engaging in these harmful activities. In fact, the pain from the RA fueled my drinking and smoking because they helped me forget about the pain and also the shock of having such a condition at such an early age.

Yes, I was using drugs and sex as a way to cope with things, and I had been doing it for years without realising it.

It’s like I wanted my life to end, but I was too scared to go through with it the quick way (although, I did try once and it failed miserably. It’s crazy; after a failed suicide attempt, shouldn’t you get like an epiphany or something, that leaves you wanting to live your life better?)

The epiphany never came in my case.

And so, I chose the slowest, most painful, most accessible, yet most concealed way of ending my existence.

The drinking. The smoking. The sex.

No one knew that I was on a mission. I don’t think even I knew I was on a mission.

On the surface, I thought I was doing it because I liked it; but, on further introspection now, I can see that I was doing it to cope.

Unfortunately, I had no clue what it was that I needed to cope with, which fueled my frustration further.

So, even though I promised myself not to kill myself, I found relief in engaging in such risky activities because they had the potential to do the job for me.

There was something wrong inside; but I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t even know how to find out what was wrong.

So frustrating!

And so, the drinking, and the smoking, and the indiscriminate sexual activity continued.

But even the most well laid out plans can backfire, and my deep conscious’ attempt at ending this seemingly miserable life through drugs and sex, wasn’t working.

I was as wreckless as I could be, risking my life in ways that you can only imagine, and not even a scratch (okay, maybe apart from the RA, which came and went as it pleased- it wasn’t doing its job fast enough, and I wanted results).

I was tired. I was bored. Nothing was working, and so, I became recluse.

The more I spent time alone, listening to my thoughts, the more I became aware of the sadness that had engulfed me mentally and emotionally.

I had never known I was sad. I had never known how sick sadness was making me mentally.

The sadness was emanating from wounds in my past (mostly childhood) that had never healed; grief that I had never properly processed; anguish and pain that I had never acknowledged.

Bad things had happened to me, and I buried these memories so deep making them virtually non-existent.

But they didn’t go away, and I continued piling memory after memory, pain after pain.

Introspection led me to start reliving these memories instead of running away from them.

It felt like an endless horror movie each time I did these mental exercises, but they helped me gain a better perspective of my experiences. They helped me validate all of the anger and all of the pain that I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel.

For the longest time I had believed I wasn’t allowed to mourn the death of my mother, abandonment by my father, or the loss of my innocence at such an early age; they happened, and there was nothing I could do to change it, but to just move on like everyone else, and forget.

But that wasn’t right. The girl inside needed to be heard, needed her pain to be acknowledged, needed her vulnerability to be seen.

No one else could do this. No one else but me.

Bearing witness to the pain inside helped me heal. The inner me could now trust herself to be open, and I am a beautiful sight.

I learnt to love the wounds and the scars and the damage inside, and to accept them as a part of who I am.

I learnt to authentically love myself despite of how messed up I was, despite all of the miserable choices I had made.

I also learnt that there was so much more to me than my trauma.

I learnt that I am obsessed with routines, and I absolutely THRIVE when there’s a routine in place.

I learnt that I love to be alone. I love being left to my own devices for long stretches of time. I find it so refreshing.

I love to hear the sound of my laughter. It makes me laugh more.

I love to eat (alone), and to cook for myself. I find immense pleasure in spending time by myself doing normal, simple things.

I love to read. Economics is a great turn on for me.

I learnt to look deeper past people’s actions in an attempt to make sense of why they do what they do. This little nugget helped me come to terms with my mum’s suicide, and my dad’s leaving.

And, of course, I learnt more about my sexuality. What I like, what I don’t like; who I like it with, and who I don’t like it with. I’m still at the sex-without-commitment stage because I’m really into variety and I LOVE my own space. But now this is no-risk sex. It’s clean, it’s fun; no alcohol or drugs . My physical needs are met, and that, for me, is a top priority.

Maybe in time, I will learn how to share myself emotionally and mentally with someone. But, I am not there yet.

I also learnt that there are people whose regular presence in my life has been a boost to my mental health.

Wahu, my adopted mummy is number one on this list. She is my rock. We are INSEPARABLE!!

My best friend John is also on this list. And so are my nephews and niece, Justin, Jude, Aiden, and Jasmine, plus my annoying brothers.

I have learnt to follow my intuition, my own voice, and the more I do, the more I end up exactly where I want to be. Fulfilled!

Most importantly, I have learnt to value myself. To appreciate myself even when no one else does. To feel beautiful inside and also to acknowledge and appreciate how physically attractive I am.

And to learn and love people… just the way they are…

Have an awesome rest of the week, won’t you?

BEFORE YOU GET A SPONSOR- LESSONS LEARNT FROM SHARON’S DEATH

When the news of Sharon Otieno’s death broke two months ago, the whole country froze! It was all any of us could talk or think about for the many weeks that followed.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. My parents were accompanying me to Komarock to see a parcel of land (because in my father’s eyes I’m still a baby who can’t be trusted to make big decisions- there’s also the small matter of him being a licensed land surveyor making him much more experienced in these matters than I will ever be).

In the car with us were two other friendly surveyors from the company selling the land, and the news of Sharon’s death was all we talked about to and from Komarock. The details were still sketchy but they spread like wildfire on social media, giving us a lot of material to discuss.

Her death continued to make headlines throughout October as the prime suspects were arraigned in court.

Why has her death been so captivating?

– It was the way she was murdered- it was beyond macabre; the gory details of the murder of this young woman seemed to be straight out of a horror movie script

– it was the fact that she was pregnant- 7 months no less; (FYI in Swahili, an unborn baby is known as kilenge; I just thought you should know)

– it was the fact that there were stab wounds on the foetus’ body. This is just another level of inhuman.

– and it was also because of who was implicated in the murder- a sitting governor! The father of the baby she was carrying!

That man was granted bail a few days ago after spending a month in jail. On that day, there was a jubilant crowd of his home supporters outside the court room ready to embrace their son. (Can I just point out that many of those supporters eagerly awaiting his release on bail were women- talk about being our own worst enemy, ladies..)

I did not see a crowd full of the slain woman’s family’s supporters. There were no placards demanding justice for Sharon and her late child.

The main suspect, was out. He was happy; he was relaxed.

He gets to hug his family members. That must be a relief.

I don’t understand why his wife is still with him, though- I hope I never have that level of ‘grace’.

Plus, I don’t envy her at all, woi; I wouldn’t want to sleep in the same room with such a man.

Let’s put this into perspective- your husband is accused of murdering a girl, his lover to be precise. She is young enough to be your daughter, and it turns out she was seven months pregnant, with his child, no less.

How are you supposed to be even in the same house with such an alleged monster, leave alone let him lie next to you for an entire night? What level of sanity are you required to have mastered in order to even stand to look at him…to hear him speak as if everything is normal, and that everything in the news is a bunch of hogwash?

I just can’t!

And her kids! Her kids! Jesus, they must be traumatized by their father’s alleged actions. They are probably not getting over this soon. (I am trying to put myself in their shoes-hopefully, they are good, sane kids. On the other hand, they could be horrible, entitled kids for all we know, and they are sleeping very well at night, their mother too).

He gets to resume his duty as governor because in our Constitution, you are not guilty until you are proven so by a court of law.

So guess what Migori?! You have an alleged murderer, and a confirmed sexual predator preying on young women in your universities as your county leader- you guys must have won some raffle!!!

I wonder how the murder, the investigations, the arrests have affected business and investments in Migori county. That would be a super interesting case study on why having an alleged criminal as your county governor is bad for business. Maybe then Kenyans will learn to choose leaders of good character (a girl can hope).

Okay, back to the story.

So, he has been set free on bail, and I expect he is going to move on with his life, and to do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, to put this matter to rest (including appearing in a local church unannounced; because PR is important even when facing murder charges).

He is a powerful man, and powerful men have the means to make things happen.

Everyone is going to move on with their lives.

Everyone except Sharon….

Except her unborn baby (her kilenge)…

Except her living kids…

Except her mother and father…

I dare say that even her former husband is not going to move on from this treacherous ordeal.

This is a sad story but one that is full of lessons for everyone that it has touched.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned from this deadly love affair is one on the power dynamics of sponsor-sponsee relationships.

It is quite obvious that in such relationships, the sponsor is the one with the power, and he/she can use any means necessary to make you do as he pleases.

There is no love; they just like the fact that they can control you.

There’s no equality here, your only value is providing pleasure, mainly of the sexual kind (which is also the best kind FYI especially if there is no power play involved).

They are also deriving pleasure from how easily they can control you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

There is even no semblance of respect; you are a mere tool that he/she can discard once your purpose is done, or once you begin to appear like you are becoming a threat.

Woe unto you if you think you even have a chance to wrestle this power from him/her.

That’s when you become a threat. At this point, you need to be neutralised.

From my understanding of the case, Sharon thought that she could control her sponsor and make him do her bidding. She completely overestimated her position in this arrangement. This was her fatal mistake.

DO NOT make the same one.

Another critical lesson closely tied to the one above is that you shouldn’t try to outsmart or trap your sponsor.

These individuals are significantly older than you, almost twice or thrice your age. How in the world do you think you can outsmart them, or try to trap them?

These people have lived. They know all the rules of the game, and they already know every move your naive self will make even before you think of making it.

Don’t go playing mental games with these people because they will mess you up. Stick to your lane, sponsee, and only play such games with your agemates (although this might end in disaster as well, so it’s just best to avoid setting traps for any individual you are sleeping with just to be on the safe side).

These are not individuals to have children with- you are not trapping your sponsor, you’re trapping yourself- to a lifetime of fights, disrespect, shame, and money problems (the same ones you were trying to avoid by trying to baby trap someone).

Final lesson- Never get in too deep with these individuals. You need to leave some wiggle room so that when shit hits the fan, and it will eventually, you can flee unscathed.

That means no kids.

That means keeping crucial information about yourself secret from your blesser so that they can’t use such information against you.

That also means not participating in any illegal business with your blesser. You are only there to exchange your sexual goodies for monetary ones; not try your luck at being a crime lord.

If you are already in the mix, be careful. Your sponsor can just as easily throw you under the bus when you guys are finally caught. Woe unto you if you had been the face of the operations. You, my friend, are in shit because the only one paying penance is you, you gullible fool!

I don’t think there’s a happy ending in a sponsor/sponsee relationship. The dynamics of such relationships make them too cumbersome and dangerous to be appealing to anyone, and yet so many of us, just like Sharon, are falling into this trap head first.

It’s just best to avoid these kinds of arrangements. Period.

Only greed and blind ambition can drive you to invite all of this unnecessary drama of super old, super creepy, super dangerous, and let’s not forget, utterly demeaning sex into your life.

Simply living within your means will save you a world of trouble.

But, if you must have a sponsor (because your greed is beyond your control, and you are only thinking short term), you have to realize you are only a service provider, there’s absolutely nothing special about you.

This is a business like every other. Provide the service, receive your payment, and wait for the next time your services will be required. Never let it get to your head if you want to keep your head, you feel me?

Parting Shot:- Know your place, sponsee, know your place.

KENYAN FOOTBALLERS NEED TO INTROSPECT: LESSONS LEARNT FROM GEORGE ‘JOJO’ WAWERU (AND OTHERS)

It was the 2019 AFCON qualifiers games last week, and we were up against Ethiopia. We desperately needed to beat them in order to have a shot at qualifying for the tournament.

The first leg of the fixture was in Ethiopia, with both teams unable to score. The game ended in a barren draw, and I for one could feel my heart sink.

What if the Wallas managed to beat us in our home turf? The Stars have not always been particularly consistent in terms of performance; what if they had chosen this second leg as the perfect opportunity to drop the ball? (figuratively and otherwise).

Please don’t forget about all of the financial hardships our national team has had to endure this year. Delayed allowances and delayed staff remuneration were bound to have a detrimental effect on the morale of the team.

However, these were apparently cleared up before the second leg of the tie (thank you Jesus! But it is seriously shameful to see how poorly funds are managed within our sports fraternity)

I would have been mortified if we lost at home.

But we did not lose.

If you watched the second leg of the Ethiopia-Kenya tie, like I did, that performance must be etched in the upper echelons of your limbic system.

You, just like me, must be thoroughly impressed with our boys’ performance. We won 3-0 in a must win fixture and it was my best football experience this month, of course after our (Arsenal’s) 5-1 thrashing of Fulham earlier this month.

There has been some debate in some quarters on the financial benefits that teams accrue for reaching different levels of this and other CAF competitions, but this post is not about that.

(although a 166%increase in prize money for the winner is quite an impressive financial incentive. Maybe if we at least manage to reach the quarter finals, we can stop relying on handouts to support the Stars).

This post is about how we treat, train, and guide these sports men and women who make us so proud as a nation. These individuals who invoke in us a sense of nationhood. Individuals who make us proud to be called Kenyans, albeit for one game or one race. They are doing something worth celebrating; but most importantly, worth protecting.

Being a Kenyan is one of the most difficult roles under the sun- there is constant disappointment literally everyday and everywhere you look- but the way these individuals use their talents to put us on the world map- that is indeed something we need to hold dear, guard and guide.

But we have failed to do so… miserably!

The last time Kenya qualified for the AFCON tournament was in 2004 in Tunisia under the able leadership of Jacob Ghost Mulee.

In the lineup was a young, brilliant defender who played a crucial role in helping us qualify for the tournament. His name is George ‘Jojo’ Waweru. He is among the last generation of Kenyan players to have played in the AFCON competition.

He has won several accolades throughout his football career, which included winning the KPL title as a Tusker FC player.

Sadly, his career took a nosedive after suffering a neck injury while training for the AFCON game against Mali. He was literally abandoned and left to his own devices by the league, by his club, by his government, and by his country men.

News reports indicate that he has been battling with alcoholism for years after being abandoned, and this has had a tremendous impact on his health.

He is currently admitted in hospital owing to alcohol-related complications where his condition is reported as being grievously ill.

Unfortunately, he is not the only legendary footballer who is ailing, living in squalor, and addicted to alcohol amongst other drugs.

I’ve heard numerous stories of Kenyan football legends who have been forced to eke out a living from menial jobs such as sweeping the streets.

They are so many and it’s a situation that has been repeated year after year, squad after squad. Worse still, we don’t seem to want to fix the problem.

Remember the Kadenge story I wrote earlier this year? As I was doing the research for that article, it dawned on me that this man-this hero has been suffering financially and health-wise for several decades after hanging his football boots despite being the biggest legend in Kenyan football history.

Watching the match between the Wallas and the Stars on Sunday, I couldn’t help but feel anxious about these men’s futures.

Will they end up on the same path as JoJo and the others?

Do they know that there is life after football? Do they understand how short a football career can be especially one occasioned by injury?

Do they have basic money management skills? Have they started saving for retirement?

Are they getting paid their worth? (Doubtful especially when you consider delayed payments both at the national or club level)

Are they investing the little money they do get in order to multiply their sources of income?

Or are they drinking it away- living for today with absolutely no consideration for tomorrow; chasing a celebrity lifestyle that they cannot afford to maintain- not with their pay and not in this economy.

Do they know that their so-called friends will desert them immediately their hard earned money runs out?

What about their minds? Are they taking care of their minds? Are they furthering their education? Are they investing their time in acquiring skills that can make them an asset even after hanging their football cleats?

Do they have the mental strength and resilience to avoid the alcoholism and drug abuse trap- a scourge that has permeated to the very fabric of our nation- destroying each of us including children everywhere you look?

We live in a nation where alcohol advertisements form the bulk of adverts on TV, and on billboards, in newspapers and on social media. We’ve made consumption of alcohol so cool and so alluring that it has become a national culture. We entice people to enter into alcohol and drug abuse, but we abandon them when they are overcome with addiction, and cannot get out.

Can they withstand the pressure and not follow their peers into this death trap?

Do they understand the gravity of the fact that the Kenyan Government, their clubs, FKF, and the country they play for will not give a hoot about them when they leave the game? If it takes months for them to receive their dues now when they are active, how much worse will they be treated once they retire?

Twenty years from now, where will each of these Stars be?

If I’ll be there, will I be penning another sad story of a fallen football hero, addicted to drugs and alcohol and unable to pay his own medical bills?

I don’t want that. I don’t want to see people who once gave me so much joy, who had a chance to be bigger than we have ever imagined, and who consistently put their bodies on the line for national pride end up poor, deserted, sick, dejected, and plagued by alcohol and substance abuse.

I don’t want that.

So, I’m calling on all Kenyan footballers, regardless of club, league, or whether they play for the national team or not- to learn from the mistakes of the legends who have gone before them, and purpose to be better;

To learn how to manage their income with tomorrow in mind;

To discern that this is a short term career and they need to develop alternative sources of income now before they retire;

To shun bad company (slay queen’s are not your friends; neither are your boys if all they want to do is drink your money or invest in shady deals);

and to know that in this country, heroes are treated badly, literally abandoned, after their service to the nation.

Anyway, back to the present. Let’s wait to see if we have to play Sierra Leone or not.

Good luck Stars; AFCON here we come!!