Category Archives: PARENTS

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN NAIROBI: A SURVIVOR’S STORY

I can’t believe I’m finally ready to write this post.

Shit. Fucking hell.

Here goes.

I was at a funeral last Friday. Another one.

Christ, I’ve seen so many families cry this year. Remember my January posts, this one, this one, and this one?

And, this post I wrote about my friend’s passing?

It’s like every month of this year, someone around me died or lost someone they loved.

The month of May was not spared the touch of death either.

My favourite cousin’s father died this month after a short illness, and our whole extended family traveled upcountry on Friday last week to pay our last respects and lay him to rest.

The funeral service was packed, we couldn’t even get inside the church to listen to the sermon. So many of us had to stand outside and listen to the proceedings from the blaring speakers.

He was a pastor, and you could tell that he had impacted a great number of lives while he was still amongst us. It was truly humbling to see that many people come to pay their last respects to a wonderful man.

My baby brother and I were outside during the service, busy chatting with the wife to one of my other cousins. We were just catching up, making jokes. We’d missed her after months of not being together.

And then, out of the blue, with the conversation between my brother, my cousin’s wife, and I getting funnier and louder, I saw him.

He had just walked into the compound, and he was probably looking for a familiar face when our eyes met.

My heart froze. I just looked at him, into his eyes, willing him, nay, daring him, not to come and say hallo.

He quickly looked away as he walked past us, but, I kept my eyes on him for five more seconds.

I was transfixed. I didn’t want to be the first to look away because a part of me wanted to show him I wasn’t scared any more.

Another part was just trying to comprehend if this really was the man that I remembered from so many years ago.

The other part was just trying to mess with his head. ‘Boy, I see you! Run!’

But, I needed to look away because every extra second was becoming unbearable for the little girl inside.

I was a bit frazzled after that, and I remember telling my brother that I was going outside to look for another family member.

Anything to ensure that I don’t come into any contact with this individual.

I think my baby brother understood immediately because as I started to walk away, he followed suit, leaving my cousin’s wife standing there confused by the abrupt end to our engrossing conversation.

Sorry, T!😥😥😪😪😫😫

She probably thought we were so rude. I did feel slightly guilty for dragging my brother along when I was the one with the problem.

Hope she didn’t think ill of my brother. He was just being a loyal sibling and friend.

For good reason too. He’s the only witness to what I am about to tell you.

Our history with this man I was avoiding now dates back twenty years ago.

Our birth mother had just passed away, and we were living with our aunty, Wahu, and her husband (mum and dad as we now refer to them) in their huge house.

At the time, dad’s ailing grandfather was also staying with them. He was a mean old man, but my brother and I (mostly me because I was the cheeky one) always found a way to make him laugh.

Owing to his age, and his deteriorating health, he needed a constant caregiver. We too needed a minder because we were still young, and our adopted parents had full time jobs.

Their youngest son, Sam, had just joined med school, so he wasn’t available to look after the three of us.

That’s when mum made the fateful decision to hire extra help from upcountry. One of dad’s relatives was struggling with school fees for his young kids, so mum decided to hire their eldest son in the hopes that he could use part of his earnings to educate his younger siblings.

He was a teenager when he came to work for the family. I think he was in his late teens at that time.

It worked out well for the first few weeks, if I remember correctly. My grandfather was happy with the arrangement because this was someone he knew, someone he could trust, and definitely someone he could order around (my granddad loved ordering everyone around).

My mum was happy because now there was someone to take care of the old man, my baby brother and I, the house and the yard.

Everyone was seemingly covered, and life became manageable again for my adoptive parents.

But, things weren’t so rosy if you peeked below the surface.

After he had acclamatized to his new surroundings, the nightmare began.

My mind has successfully blocked out most memories from this time, but this is what I do remember;

– the taste of his mouth from him forcefully kissing me whenever he’d find me alone in some part of the house

– screaming myself hoarse and wondering why no one could hear me everytime he’d pin me on my back and mess with my privates until it hurt (usually happened on Saturday mornings- we were home from school, and the house was usually empty)

– how painful it was to take a piss after he’d touch me down there

– my baby brother’s confused and scared look when he’d heard me screaming one time from our room only to run and find me pinned to my back, kicking and screaming, with the houseboy forcibly fondling me (He stopped when he noticed my brother was at the door)

– him twisting my wrists painfully or squeezing my hands everytime that I tried to resist him, or I refused to do as he said (like touch him down there, I was not a fan)

– I remember endlessly kicking him, punching him, scratching him, trying to get him away from me, and he would be smiling and laughing all the while as he held both my hands together tight with his one hand, use his free hand to abuse me, and use his lower body to keep my legs still.

To stop me from screaming, he would be suffocating me with his mouth (his idea of kissing)

– I remember how tired I would feel after every encounter, and how sore my wrists, my hands, my arms, my privates, and my legs would feel. My head would also ache from the screaming and the crying

– I also remember how stupidly defiant I was. I would insult and berate him (with the little English and Swahili I could master back then) after every episode knowing full well he was going to come after me again.

I would fight, and I think that’s where my violent streak comes from (Don’t worry, I’m much calmer now).

This is just the gist of the abuse that probably started in 1999/2000 and ended in 2001, to the best of my recollection.

There was never any penetration. Not that I can remember. I don’t think my mind would have been able to block that out.

I never told my mum. I never told my elder brother. I never told my best friend. I never told a soul until now as I narrate to you what I went through.

I don’t know what, if anything, my baby brother remembers but he must know something. We talk about everything else in our past except those two years this man was living with us.

If I remember correctly, the man left as soon as or slightly before my grandfather died. I was in class five, quiet, withdrawn, and yet highly attention-seeking when I was out of his reach. I think I just wanted someone to ask me what’s wrong.

No one ever did.

When it hit me that he wasn’t in our lives anymore, it’s like I awoke from a deep sleep.

I remember I started making friends in school. I began to actually focus on schoolwork and getting better grades. Like better grades to a point that I started receiving academic awards in class 6 and beyond.

Before that, my grades were sucky, and I would get into my fair share of trouble with my class teachers, Mrs Okumu (class 3) and Mr Nyambu (class 4).

I was exhibiting behavioural issues at this time that no one really latched onto.

But, now that he was gone, I was a whole new girl. Making friends became easier. My studies became easier. I was finally able to flourish.

I pushed the memories of that time down so deep, and for years, I couldn’t allow myself to think about it.

Then I started writing this blog, and I began to see how events in my childhood had almost messed me up completely.

And, I began to realise the power and the healing that comes from writing about them, not so much for people to read, but for me to acknowledge my pain, and to be open and naked enough to show others where the wounds were.

It was easier to talk about my mother’s suicide, my father’s abandoning us, my dalliance with depression, drugs, and sex in my previous posts than it was talking about the sexual abuse.

But, I knew one day, I’d have to. It’s part of the journey in shaping my own narrative devoid of the horrific things that happened to me, to us, when my brother and I were kids.

Yap, that’s it!

In memory of the little girl I was before this, and in solidarity with the millions of children abused in our country, Kenya.

💜♥️💖💜♥️💖💜♥️💖💜♥️💖

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HI 28!! IT’S GOOD TO SEE YOU💜💖💜💖💜💖💜

I just celebrated my 28th birthday, and it was all sorts of a blast!

Gosh, 28! I had no idea I could grow so old.

28 feels old, but in a good way. Like rustic old, that’s definitely a good thing.

There’s a sense of peace with being 28. At least for me there is.

I am no longer the jumpy little girl of yester years.

Okay, I still am, but, now, that jumpy little girl also has a sense of responsibility for the people around her.

My spirit accepts this responsibility wholeheartedly, and this acceptance gives me peace.

For the first time in a long time, I know exactly where I am going, and I don’t have to sacrifice the people that hold me dear in order to get there.

I have finally figured out how to give myself to others, and still work on myself financially, emotionally, and mentally without feeling strained or having to sacrifice one aspect of my life at the altars of the others.

It’s a beautiful feeling, and I hope this state of being continues throughout my life; adjusting where necessary, but, ultimately always being able to meaningfully balance between work and family.

If I can hold it together like this for the next decade, I might finally be ready for a child.

That’s a scary thought. Children. From my womb, nonetheless.

Wow! I don’t know if I’ll ever mentally get to that point where I declare that I am ready for kids.

I don’t think my vagina wants me to ever be mentally prepared for that.

Maybe as the years continue to pass by, I’ll become more mature about child-bearing and child rearing. Maybe. Just maybe.

In the meantime, I’ll just focus on being more empathetic and loving towards my mother, my fathers, my brothers, my nephews, and the man whose love has ignited a passion inside me, it could consume me whole without me ever realising it.

These people are my responsibilities, and I accept them wholeheartedly.

Don’t worry, I won’t forget to take care of myself, I promise.

Perhaps as the year goes on, I can accommodate others into my little love circle; hopefully get out of my cocoon more often.

We’ll see how that goes.

I will also endeavour to be a better Arsenal fan. I’ve been improving lately; no more cussing out at the players, just enjoying the games win or lose.

Speaking of Arsenal, although in no way related, did you catch Tuesday’s amazing Champions League game between Liverpool and Barcelona?

Who knew that Liverpool had the cahoonas to overturn Barca’s goal advantage, and completely destroy them in less than 90 minutes.

Absolutely no one expected this from the underdogs. I don’t think Barca had ever even considered a defeat at this stage to Liverpool, after securing a three goal advantage in the first leg, a possibility.

It wasn’t meant to happen but it did, and that’s what makes soccer, nay Liverpool, so damn orgasmic!

Jesus!!!!!

A big shout out to my namesake (I wish) Georginio, Wijnaldum, Mane, and Alexander Arnold.

These guys made me so proud Tuesday night. If they could defeat Barca with so resoundingly, then nothing that I want for my life is impossible. Nothing at all!!

Still talking about Arsenal, although we still aren’t, kudos to Hotspur’s Lucas Moura for his incredible performance last night. He singlehandedly took his team to the finals on a night where everything was stacked against them.

Beautiful football! Beautiful moments that will last a lifetime.

Love, and kisses from this bombshell May baby. 💜💖💜💖💜💖

BETRAYAL- A DAUGHTER’S PAIN

I, Georgina Wangui aka Kui, have been blessed with the opportunity of having two fathers in my life.

That’s two men who consider me as their daughter, as their blood.

There are two grown men at this instant, whom if and when asked to talk about their kids, I’d be part of that lineup.

One man passed on his genes to me, and the other helped raise me.

There’s no denying that each loves me, and that I belong to both of them.

That kind of makes me feel somewhat special. Not so much, but somewhat.

This blessing of having two fathers also comes with its own set of problems.

They are men, and each has done some pretty shitty things that have been revealed to me as the years go by- things that are akin to betrayal from my perspective.

Like mind-bendingly shitty things!

I think that’s why I am not as excited about having two dads as I should be. It’s like being heartbroken twice; a never ending heartache from men I once held in such high esteem.

But, the most messed up thing is I can’t hate them. I can’t find it in my heart to push them out of my life for the dispeakable things they have done.

I can’t say a bad word to either of them.

I smile every time I am talking to either of them.

I am warm and consumed by this warmth everytime I am in their presence, or just talking to them over the phone.

It’s like in that instant, with each individual, they are just my dads.

There’s no anger towards them, just disappointment that, funnily enough, rarely shows itself whenever I’m communicating with them.

Love is a funny thing.

But, I am disappointed, thoroughly. I wish they hadn’t done the things they did. I wish they hadn’t caused the level of hurt they have on people I care so deeply about, and on myself as well.

I wish they would have been men of honour, and I wouldn’t have to feel conflicted between anger and acceptance.

I’m mad at myself too. I should be angry and let them know their actions have hurt us. I should be demanding for apologies, rather than acting as if everything is okay.

Why am I so complacent in this?

Why am I not giving them the opportunity to taste my disappointment?

Love is indeed a funny thing.

Maybe deep down, I don’t want to believe the things they did.

Or maybe, I’m just empathetic. They have to live with the knowledge of all the wrong things they’ve done, and how life has humbled them time and time again because of these mistakes.

That is pretty haunting! And, maybe that’s our revenge- us, the victims of my fathers’ hurtful actions.

I think that’s enough for me. Knowing that they are not getting away with it, that their peace of mind is altered owing to the hurtful, fucked up things they did, and possibly continue to do.

Yap, that is definitely enough for me.

So, I will continue being nice. I’ll continue loving them to my heart’s full measure.

I will revel in remaining their baby girl because, a) it makes me happy, and b) hopefully, it adds to their torment.

Sincerely,

Daddies’ girl 😁😁💖💜💖💜💖💜💖💜💖

ANOTHER MONTH, ANOTHER PAINFUL LOSS

Hallo awesome people,

I’m back.

With something I would like to share. It’s a bit heavy but here goes…

A friend died by suicide on the 17th of March, and it was such a devastating loss for everyone involved.

I’ve hang out with him just a couple of times after moving back home, and each time was an absolute pleasure.

The last time we hang out, it was in his father’s car at our local grocery shop. I was sitting at the back, his favourite female in the entire world was sitting at the passenger seat, while he, obviously, was on the driver’s seat.

As we waited for the attendants to load the items that were on the list into the car, we talked, laughed, and made fun of each other, and our other mutual friends.

We didn’t have a care in the world at that point, at least that’s what it seemed like. Everyone was okay, everyone was happy.

I left the two in the car as I had a short errand to run for my mum in town.

That was the last time I saw him alive. 5th March 2019.

Before this, he had graciously accepted my invitation to our church’s Valentine’s dinner back in February.

He came, and obviously, he was the life of the party.

Here he was, trying to explain what he looked for in an ideal partner.

Before this, he had been playing with an adorable three year old princess, distracting the speakers with how much fun they were having together.

He tried his best to tone it down, but the little girl was having too much fun, and he just got sucked into it completely.

You should have heard the child giggle as they played on the grass. It was the cutest thing ever!

On the afternoon of 15th February, he, along with our two mutual friends, and Sammy, had come to help me with the preparations for the dinner that would be held that evening.

The conversations were endless, and again, everyone seemed okay. Each of us seemed happy and content just being there with one another.

And now, he is no more! He’s gone, and by his own hand, nonetheless.

It just goes to show that we never really know the extent of the darkness that lies beneath our glowing smiles and hearty laughs.

And, it’s no one’s fault.

It isn’t our fault- despite the fact that we were his friends, and could have caught a glimpse of this darkness once or twice, but couldn’t do anything more for him than just laugh with him, and make everything seem okay, albeit for just a couple of minutes.

It isn’t his family’s fault either – I know they tried to show him love and support the best way they knew how. I’m sure they went above and beyond for him, and somehow, it still wasn’t enough.

Sometimes, love is simply not enough.

You can love somebody so much, with every being in your body, but still be incapable of saving them from what is eating them from the inside.

Sometimes, love isn’t enough.

Sometimes the darkness overpowers your will to go one more day.

Sometimes the thread that holds you to your loved ones becomes too miniscule compared to the monster growing inside you.

To quiet the voices, to drown the pain, you choose to do the one thing that would crush your loved ones’ hearts.

But, at least, finally you get your peace. And, eventually, you hope, that they’ll find peace in knowing that you are finally resting.

I am in no way condoning his decision, it hurts, and I can’t possibly imagine what his family is going through.

But, every time I put myself in his shoes, or in my own mother’s shoes, I can see how the battle can become overwhelming, and no amount of talk, love, or support can stop the disease, this darkness, from taking over.

Recently, (literally two days ago), we were ranked the sixth most depressed nation in the world.

That means hundreds of thousands of us are depressed, and our suicide rates are skyrocketing especially amongst our young men.

I think the best thing we can do is to be on the lookout for the earliest signs of depression in our family members, and act upon it immediately.

We need to help people fight their demons way earlier on before the disease spreads farther, and our love, support, and listening ears can’t do much to help.

It’s like cancer – early detection is the only way we can circumvent the effects of the disease.

And, depression is a disease. A serious one, and I’m tired of people my parents’ age not understanding this point, and behaving as if all those that are depressed are a bunch of entitled brats!

Some people are born predisposed to depression.

Others fall into it because of the poisonous societal conditions we’ve managed to create over the years, and seem unwilling to change at least for the sake of our collective mental health.

Right now, I’m at peace because my friend is in peace. He was so young, but somehow the disease had progressed to a point nothing we could do or say would have changed the path he chose to find that peace.

But, I know that in order to stop such a tragedy from happening again, I need to be extra ALERT and pick up on the earliest, smallest signs of depression exhibited by the people around me.

My conversations and interactions will be more meaningful, more insightful. It’s going to be me listening more rather than talking, and allowing my loved ones to be as free as possible around me.

I hope that somehow this helps, and I hope that you too, dear reader, get to do the same for your loved ones.

Anyway,

Goodbye until the next time I have something to tell you.

Kisses 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖

KIKUYU WOMEN: WE ARE WHO WE ARE

We were hanging out at the local yesterday after work, and as the drinks piled on for them (I just had one cup of yoghurt), an interesting debate ensued- one on the rising cases of women killing their husbands or significant others in this country.

Yes, domestic violence used to be the preserve of men perpetrating it against women, but now, women are meting out this violence on their husbands and boyfriends seemingly everywhere you look with reckless abandon.

It’s alarming to say the least.

During this particular discussion, I was the only female at the table with 5 of the boys, six if you include Sammy, just trying to help each other unwind after a disastrously hard day.

The conversation started with us airing our divergent views on one of the most perplexing marital murder cases to hit our dailies in recent weeks.

A serving magistrate has been accused of murdering her lawyer husband in cold blood alongside three senior police officers.

The details of the murder are gory with the victim having been tortured by the suspects, and then fatally shot SEVEN times.

Gasp!! Who shoots someone seven times? How dead do you want someone to be for it to be necessary to shoot someone seven times?

Anyway.

The magistrate and her co-accused are set to undergo psychiatric assessments before the hearing of evidence against them, and sentencing.

I feel that the psychiatric assessment is justified because there has to be a level of insanity involved when you decide that someone has to be shot SEVEN bloody times.

He wasn’t attempting to run away, he’d just gone through immense torture. I doubt he was barely conscious or mobile by the time they decided to end him. One shot would have sufficed in my opinion.

One clean shot. Seven for what, Goddamit. For what? Madness!

This is such a scary story mainly because of who the prime suspect is, who the victim was, her relation to the victim, and the manner through which this victim sadly met his demise.

This is a woman, first, and secondly, she’s a woman with a seemingly powerful job. She is set.

Her husband is was a lawyer, and by all accounts, this couple was doing well for themselves.

What else could she have possibly wanted in life to push her to such a macabre act? What?

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case. Many Kenyan women are offing their husbands nowadays, and reports of such incidences are increasing as the years go by.

The worst part about it, and the part that was making my friends very very angry yesterday evening is that most of these cases, whereby the woman is accused of killing the husband in cold blood, rarely make headline news. These ones are usually on the hush-hush.

I feel the only reason that this particular story made headlines was because she was a magistrate, he was a lawyer, and the co-accused are police officers.

Otherwise, this story would have never seen the light of day.

What shocked my friends even more was the fact that the woman in question is not a Kikuyu woman.

From here, the conversation took a sharp turn from how evil women are turning out to be nowadays, and how disenfranchised the boy child is turning out to be economically, socially, and emotionally, to how scary Kikuyu women are.

That’s right. Every time you hear a Kenyan woman has been accused of killing her husband or significant other, the woman is most probably a Kikuyu woman.

And, the killing is never self-defence. It’s usually premeditated with anger at the man, or a desire for the man’s wealth (~96% of the cases) as the main motives.

It gets worse.

Every time you hear that a man’s privates have been cut off, there’s probably an irate, non-repentant Kikuyu woman in the docks for that crime. (She’s probably from a place called Nyeri. Surprise, surprise, I hail from there as well).

And, you will never hear of these women serving jail sentences FYI. Somehow these things are swept under the rug, and not considered as serious domestic violence cases.

It gets even worse.

Every time you see a middle aged Kikuyu woman driving a Harrier, and/or is a landlady with flats especially those sides of Kikuyu (it’s a small town), there’s more likely an elderly gentleman who is six feet under, having died from mysterious causes.

Many of these women usually keep young men to satisfy their sexual needs. When I say ‘keep’, I mean that they sustain these young men financially.

………………………………………………………………………..

Dear reader,

I’m a Kikuyu woman, and I wish I could be, or even act appalled by this stereotyping of the women in our tribe, myself included, but the evidence is too loud to be ignored.

Everywhere you look, Kikuyu women are killing their husbands for all sorts of reasons, or beating them senseless, or taking all of their wealth, and leaving them destitute and hopeless.

Yes, Kikuyu women are to be feared.

One of the guys in the group, who is Kikuyu by the way, took it a notch further by letting us know that there was no way he would sleep with a Kikuyu woman.

Never!

It kind of hurt because he’s super cute, and unfortunately now, there’s no Kikuyu woman who will ever experience that yumminess.

All because we are known for all the wrong reasons.

We’re constantly shooting ourselves on the foot, we Kikuyu women.

If it is not our excessive love for money and material trappings, it’s our bad cooking; or our collectively poor fashion sense; or our temper that has no equal; or our inability to submit to our partners; or our lack of interest in coitus (apparently, we are known for just laying there).

….or the fact that we kill our men, or dismember them when they annoy us, or when they have become too much of a bother.

It’s not that all Kikuyu women exhibit the above traits, it’s just that many of these traits are common in so many of us that it must be a thing.

Do I exhibit any of these traits?

Let me start by saying that my cooking is phenomenal. I mean my own parents, who for your information are my harshest and biggest critics and from whom compliments are as rare as a clean Kenyan politician, think my cooking is amazing.

So do my brothers, and practically anyone I have ever cooked for in the last two years. Before that I wouldn’t be caught dead in the kitchen.

So, I’m not a bad cook. I hope that I have made that point abundantly clear.

The sex part- let’s just say that as I continue to age, I am getting more comfortable trying out new positions. But, yes, there was a time before that when all I did was just lay there.

I do, however, have a temper like seemingly the rest of the women folk in my community.

A bad one. One that can easily push me to violence in a split second.

It’s quite scary actually, especially now when you realize how many men are suffering from domestic violence abuse.

I hope I never lay a hand on my spouse (violently, that is). I hope this rotten aspect of being a Kikuyu woman from Nyeri never rears its ugly head because I never ever ever want my spouse to be part of that horrible statistic.

Am I submissive? No!

Do I have some semblance of fashion sense? Nowadays I do, actually!

Am I attracted to men because of their wealth and money? No! I am mainly attracted to people based on how cute or smart or funny or unique they are.

I was once in a relationship with someone because of how cute their nose was.

It gets worse.

I fell for my current boyfriend because he has dreadlocks! (I know, you want to hit me right now, but, I like what I like).

Furthermore, I have a ‘provider’ mindset, which means that I love providing for myself and the person I want to get nasty with.

At least on that note, the Kikuyuness didn’t rub off on me.

Anyway.

I love being a short Kikuyu woman. I wouldn’t change it for the world even with all the stereotypes that exist about us.

Like every other woman who has ever lived, I’m just going to have to rise above these stereotypes about women like me, and change/control some of the things about myself that would cause others around me to believe in these stereotypes simply because of my actions.

Enjoy your weekend, people 💖💖💖💖💖.

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.

——————————————————————

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!

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?

SEVEN YEARS OF BLISS

It’s Justin’s birthday this week.

He’s turning 7 years old…I think, I hope.

Why am I not sure despite the fact that I spent two years listening to him and his younger brother repeatedly telling me their ages?

But, I am pretty sure he is turning seven. I mean, he cannot be older than that, at least I don’t think he is. Let’s just settle on seven then.

So he’s turning seven, and unfortunately this time I won’t be there to celebrate.

Last year, my elder brother (his dad) and I took a cake to the school. That was fun. I still remember the look in his eyes when we walked in. He was shocked at first, and then embarrassed for a short while, and then the excitement started building up. The other kids kept asking, ‘is that your dad? Is that your dad?’, and ‘will you give me cake, will you give me cake first, si I’m your friend’…

His teacher asked him to come forward with his closest friend so that they could cut the cake together. I could tell he was a bit shy about it, but he seemed happy. We left when they began singing happy birthday. He was ecstatic when he got home later that evening, and all he could do was talk about the cake and his friends.

I can’t believe he is seven years old. I remember the day he was born so vividly like it just happened yesterday. My mum called that afternoon to tell me to get to Nairobi Women’s in the evening after work. It was my first long-holiday from campus, and I had finally managed to land an internship at the National Bank of Kenya. I worked in the data capture department, and I absolutely loved it (I love repetitive jobs).

Wah, si I got lost. Like completely lost. When I finally arrived, my mother was pissed off. How can a grown woman, who has been born and raised in this city, get lost in between town and Nairobi Women’s, especially given the fact that she had painstakingly given me directions over and over and over again? Hahahaha.

To this day I still get lost in this town, which completely baffles her, because according to her, she knows Nairobi like the back of her hand, and I should too.

Anyway, my brother and sister-in-law were happy I made it just in time. And then, they let me hold him. I could not believe that adults could trust me with a newborn baby. I carried him over to the sofa where my mum was sitting.

I remember looking at him and getting scared because he looked like he could break. His skin was peeling, and he was doing this weird thing with his eyes. It’s like he was capable of rolling them to the back of his head. Oh My God, I was transfixed!!!!!

And then, they told me they do not have a name for him. Poor things were too tired to even come up with a name for him. Woiye. We started brainstorming, and for five minutes or so, we were completely stomped. I seem to remember that we wanted a name that started with a J because my brother’s name is James. And then out of nowhere, while staring down at the newest baby I had ever seen, with the most bizarre eye movement I had ever witnessed, I just shouted, ‘Justin!’

And that’s what they named him…Justin!

It’s been a gift to be a small part of his life. His parents have done a marvelous job here. He (and his brother, and his cousins) has brought so much laughter into my life. He loves to laugh, and it is infectious. He loves to read, and he loves knowing what things mean and what they say. He loves to run, and he is getting faster by the day.

He is obedient, and he has a lot of love to give. He has love for everyone around him. What amazes me and has sometimes caught me off-guard is how well he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likes doing the right things, the right way.

He is a sensitive soul, but he also has a strong personality. Even when homework gets tough, Justin hardly gives up. Speaking of homework, this boy is super neat. His handwriting is perfect and symmetrical (can you describe someone’s handwriting as symmetrical? I don’t know. I’m just trying to tell you his handwriting is on another level for a standard two child).

Imagine he gets peeved when the letters do not come out exactly the way he wants them. And his work is always neatly arranged. You can tell how bothered he is when he gets something in his homework wrong. And he’ll work at it until he gets it right. He always has psyche to revise. Always! Even during the holidays.

He is just very conscientious about his homework. And about brushing his teeth. And about finishing all of the food on his plate. And about brushing his shoes.

He is kind and ever-so-curious about everything and anything. He is also a very quick learner.

I hope he remains this way for the rest of his life. Happy, curious, loving, diligent, and kind.

I hope when he is reading this twenty years from now, he will be happy with the man he has become, and I hope we will always be close.

It is such a blessing to be his aunty!!!!!!!

May this be an everlasting love, and may I be the aunty that he, Jude, Aiden, Jazmine, and Ethan deserve.

*******

Just an update! Here’s a recent picture of Justin and I.