Tag Archives: KAMANDE

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!

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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!!

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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.

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

FORGIVENESS AND THE DRAMA OF THIS TRAUMA-RIDDEN LIFE

‘How are you today Kui, it’s still Fathers day’

That was on 17th June 2018 at 6:35pm. This was a message from my biological father on this year’s father’s day. Here’s what I wrote back:

‘Hahaha heeeey daddy…sorry for not wishing you earlier, ndio tunatoka kanisa…happy father’s day dad, you’re a fun and amazing father and I love you with all my heart’

And then he replied,

‘Thanks, wish u the best.’

He is such a dude! What kind of reply is that? Hahaha. But, I love him, and I love this big forehead he gave me although I hide parts of it most of the time. (It’s humongous; it has sections and sub-sections).

When I used to live with him after campus, I used to joke that I would sue him because of the forehead. I mean, I’m a girl, I should not have such a big forehead. It does not make sense. Kids and adults have made fun of me all of my life for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being this forehead. Hence, his actions (siring me knowing full well that he passed on this big forehead gene) have directly caused me great emotional turmoil, and thus he needs to pay me as compensation.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the other reasons. I’ll tell you in the spirit of being open and vulnerable. I’ll even arrange them in chronological order. I am super short, my voice sounds like a cartoon character, I look, sound and sometimes act like a pubescent, despite the fact that I am three years shy of 30, I have a mustache (it’s small but it was a big deal in primary school), and nowadays, I never seem to grow, fat or otherwise.

I also used to have the tendency to talk a lot when I was growing up. People at home used to call me ‘kasuku’. Thank God they stopped! I also couldn’t lie very well (I still can’t), so it was really difficult trying to keep secrets or covering up for someone, no one trusted me in that household, not even the woman who was raising me.

Wahu (the beautiful woman who raised me; my real mother’s elder sister) credits herself for reigning in my disruptive talkative nature, which is true.

Back to Nderitu. I lived with him briefly for almost a year and a half after I cleared campus. This decision did not go down so well with Wahu and her husband (my other dad). They saw it, understandably so, as a betrayal. They were pained by the fact that I would still choose him over them; over all of the sacrifices they had made to raise me and my brother.

He never helped in our upbringing. He never paid fees (he only began contributing to my brother’s fees when he was in university), he never took us to the hospital, he never worried about what we were wearing, or if we were happy. He only came once to see us when we were growing up, and I was in upper primary by that time. He was a pariah in our house, and no one even said his name. That part hurt because I missed him, I wanted to know him. I think the most painful part about this entire fiasco is the fact that he never claimed us or my late mom. I do not even know if he contributed to my mother’s funeral expenses. His folks refused my mother to be buried in their land in line with our customs, and my mother’s family was pissed.

My parents, my mother, Wahu, did all of those things that my dad was supposed to do but never did. This couple stepped in and loved us with everything they had, with everything they were.

It was hard. My mother’s suicide was difficult on every single one of us. It was difficult for my loving adopted parents because they loved her, they adored her. They considered her their eldest child. It was difficult for my amazing elder cousins, who are now my brothers because they had lost their best aunt. They had grown up with that woman, she was a part of them. She was a part of their family, and now she was gone forever.

It was also difficult for my grandparents because they had lost their baby, their last-born. They were also very poor and very old, and could not imagine raising two babies on their own.

The death was hard. But the way it happened made it even more inconsolable. Everyone was at a loss, but my dad never stepped up when he should have, the way he should have. And that went on for years until almost finally we had forgotten he existed. The trauma of my mother’s death was buried deep within us, and we were almost finally happy. We were moving on together as a strong unit.

I had formed an incredible bond with Kamande, Wahu’s husband. I think he’d always wanted a girl, and then I mysteriously showed up. If anyone in that house, including Wahu herself, wanted Kamande to buy something, I would be the de facto person to talk to. I could make things happen hahaha.

And my baby brother was the baby of the house, and he went from a fear-struck little boy to a seemingly happy one. He was mummy’s baby through and through (and the situation has never changed). We were exceptionally close to Mwangi, the last of Wahu and Kamande’s biological sons. He is 10 years our senior, but we had so much fun growing up together, it is unbelievable. He taught us almost everything we know and use today because he was Wahu’s sidekick when it came to raising us. I will have to dedicate an entire article to how amazing of a brother this man was and is.

Despite the trauma we had gone through when we were barely out of kindergarten, we now had a family. We were in a unit that worked. Our needs were being met through the bonds we had formed in this unit, and life was good. Our entry into their lives brought a major financial strain but everyone was working in their own way to make this work, under the good leadership of Wahu, and for a while things were quiet.

And then, Nderitu came back, and all hell broke loose. He sent us a Christmas letter one year, with his address and phone number (that he has never changed). My parents were pissed off, and I think they were scared. They were scared we would choose him, and that this bond we had spent years creating, this bond we were all invested in, would break apart. They were scared to be just placeholder parents; they wanted to be more, and they wanted the sacrifice they had made to mean more. Because they had given it their everything.

Communication between us and my biological father continued to grow stronger while I was in campus. The exact opposite was happening between me and the parents who raised me. I had demons, strong demons, and they couldn’t help me. Every time I was home, I felt stifled. Every time I was in school, I felt scared and invisible. I developed an alcohol addiction just to ease the discomfort in myself. I also smoked a lot. My parents were losing me and they did not know how to stop it.

I was rebelling against them, but it was more than just that. Even after successfully managing not to kill myself, I still couldn’t find my place with them, and in this world. Internally, I was still being haunted. I had all this noise, all this anger, all these mommy and daddy issues that had been piling up and multiplying since my mother’s death, and I was taking it out on them. Our relationship was at its breaking point, and I needed to run away. And I did, first to a boyfriend’s house and then finally, to Meru.

They couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it. In my head, it seemed we were enemies now. We went for months without talking to one another. It was that hostile! I think at that point, I had made so many mistakes in my life, I just wanted to start over. Meru seemed the ideal place, next to my dad, and I thought that would help fix the conflict inside. I thought of him as my hero and my parents as the villains.

I didn’t know it at that time but I wanted to understand what went wrong between him and my mum. I wanted closure, and I had questions that only he could answer. I wanted to form a bond with him because I felt linked to him. I wanted so badly to be owned, to belong authentically to someone because I thought that was what was missing. I thought that was the reason I was unhappy.

For some reason, he still felt like home even though I had not seen him for decades. Even though everyone was telling me he abandoned me and my baby brother after my mum’s death, I felt safe and I felt warm when I was there. At that point in my life, that is exactly what I needed.

I went there with the wrong intentions (to piss my parents off), but that decision has changed my life. I got to know him, some of the questions I had were answered. We began a relationship that I feel has been integral in helping me heal my wounds (self-inflicted or otherwise). I’m at peace with his decisions, even though these decisions have burdened us with further psychological issues. He was wrong, and he does not make any excuses for how reckless and selfish he was. He has been terribly sorry. It felt amazing when he opened up to us about his relationship with my late mom. Finally, the pieces were fitting into place, and the haze and confusion were slowly fading away. I no longer feel like that abandoned kid because he finally stepped up and filled that hole he had created. I loved getting to know him.

He owns and operates a couple of wines and spirits in Meru. He is a very good businessman and a creature of habit. Even when I am this far from him, I can accurately tell you where he is at this exact moment. He looooooooves routines, just like I do, and he loves to read, just like my baby brother and I. And just in case you are wondering why I am so talkative, I finally came to realize that I got it from him, although he pretends to be so serious and reserved. He’s also a big kid inside.

I love his laugh, especially when he has had a few drinks. He finds everything funny, and it is infectious! And I am his kryptonite, I know it. He won’t admit it, but I know it.

I also know that as much as he is my biological father, and that he is a wonderful dad, I have parents. I have a family. He’ll always be a part of me, but I’m also a part of something way bigger, something complete.

Wahu and Kamande mean the world to me, and no one will ever take their place. No one can even come close. They are my mum and dad. And it took me almost breaking their hearts for me to realize I belong to them in every sense of that word. I am theirs. They are the best gift I have ever received.

But, it’s really cool to have two dads. I’m just glad everything worked out the way it has, and that I don’t feel guilty about loving either. I have a big heart and everyone has a place in it.

Cheers to amazing dads!! (and I’m sorry for this overwhelmingly long post).