27 December 2012

THE BIRTHPLACE


Send Gabriel to me, send him Lord,
Let him say t o me, “greetings, oh thou highly favored”’
Let this greeting, leave me troubled,
Let him then say to me, “be not afraid”,
Let me give birth to a kin of David.
No, let me be José,
Joseph, of course.
Fall in love with pregnant lass,
Taking her to the city with my ass,
To the inn.
Or rather, let me be the inn,
That has no room for him.
Wait! Mmmmh,
Let me be the manger,
For so long I have been in danger,
In danger of being thrown away,
As the hay, on my sides perfectly lay,
The birthplace of a king,
Who was, is, and is to be,
Born in me.

Befado

21 December 2012

PRESSURES OF CHRISTMAS


Well, well, well, Christmas is here. Yeah!! Pop the champagne, throw a party, cook dinner, visit places, have fun…but wait! Christmas is not the end of life. How now?

Just the other day, I was headed home with a friend and on the way home, we decided to stop by the streets of Nairobi to do some “mitumba” (second hand or "imports" as my friends and I like to call them) clothe shopping. We went ready, along the streets of Ngara. Shop we did, along with hundreds of other young Kenyans who frequent the area. We stopped at one stall (I don’t exactly know what they are called, you know, the wayside sales, I assume they are stalls with invisible walls).

After stopping for three minutes to admire some “button” earrings, I started feeling dizzy. My eyes became watery and I inhaled a stingy choking gas. I panicked. Rape and drugging came first to my mind. I turned to my friend and asked her if she was experiencing the same. She was worse. She had taken out her handkerchief thinking that her cold had suddenly become severe. We literally disappeared from the said “stall”.

This got me thinking, to what extents are people willing to go to earn an income this festive season? How many people are under pressure to buy that chicken (I have many Luhya friends), or that present, or throw that party and worst of all, host uninvited in-laws (and other relatives) with unrealistic expectations…

During this period, most of us are under pressure and where this pressure came from, I know not. When we were young, Christmas was special since it was just a community affair, no pressure to buy gifts, as long as the annual chapatti and kuku (Chicken) was present (and juicy cola for drinks). So whatever happens, I never feel under pressure to buy wrong and expensive gifts, just share the joy and laughter with family and friends….

Back to the shopping, I told my brother about it and he said that it must have been tear gas. Well, I’m not convinced, I believe someone was trying to drug us and steal from us to get off the pressures of Christmas.

Don’t give in to the pressures of the festivities. Remember, it’s your life. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR from the author's desk


twitter: @deekareithi

14 December 2012

KEEP LEFT


Christmas is finally here, and this reminds me of one strange experience I had with my Family. I am sure they can all attest to this: see, we were overjoyed since this long awaited trip to Tanzania had come. We had visited almost all sites in Kenya, and now it was time for Tanzania. We started traveled by road to Tanzania at night and stayed at Arusha. On the second day, we decided to visit Tanga, one of the towns in Tanzania with several historical sites and national parks. We had not bought a map and we depended on our phones for the GPS signals (yes, smart phones existed then, thank God). 

We were headed to a destination we did not know. We started asking for directions from the police, at gas stations, and from fellow road users. Wrong decision. Since most Swahili is Tanzania’s National language, we had a problem understanding them because well, you see, in Kenya we speak “broken” Swahili.

We asked one lady in particular to guide us and help us know where Kilimanjaro National Park is. She got into our car and we started the journey, excited that we had finally found help. My father is not a fast driver so the lady kept on saying “kaza mwendo ama tutachelewa” (drive faster lest we get late). I kept asking myself why she kept on telling us to drive faster and we wanted to see sites on the way...tsk!

The first warning sign, which we did not notice, was when she asked us to drive into a street that had a “NO ENTRY” sign. Blindly, we drove in. we were surprised see police on motorcycles following us. We did not know why till they told us that they would arrest us for breaking the law. The lady, lucky for us, talked to him and explained that she had led us there.

Then she intended to ask us to turn after a roundabout and she said, “ukipita keep lefti, wewe vunja mkono na ukeep lefti” (when you passed the roundabout, join the road on your left.) by then, none of us knew what she was saying so we passed the junction to the National park. She kept mum.

After traveling for two hours with her constant “kaza mwendo”, we decided to ask her how far it was since it was getting late and we had to go back to our hotel at Arusha. That was when she broke our spirits.

“kutoka hapa si mbali, mtapanda juu ya huu mlima, hapo mtaweza kusaidiwa zaidi. Mimi nashuka hapa. Nimefika nyumbani.” (It’s not far from here, just go up the hill and you will get help there. I have arrived at home, so I will leave you to proceed).

Oh the anger that filled us!! How dare she use us to get her a lift home? And from what we learnt on our way back, the junction the we had passed was the right way to go! We felt wasted, but we had learnt a valuable lesson. We pledged to trust our phones only or buy a map. 

I certainly hope this will never happen again...or do I? I hope it does, it was great!! I wonder what will happen this Christmas!!


Twitter:@deekareithi

10 December 2012

TABU ZANGU

Lately I have been thinking, a lot. Thinking about the “After Life”. Well this is an area that most people would tell me not think about. Even the so called optimist strongly advocate against this. Who said that thinking about after death is thinking negative? I think of it as hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

What triggered these thoughts? You may ask. No, it’s not the passing on of a loved one or a preaching, but a song. The song “Tabu Zangu” by one Rose Muhando and Anastasia. Hence this entry is named after the song. It is a song that has become my morning and evening dose. The song, for those who have listened to it, talks about what we, (I included) hope will happen when we pass on. This song encourages me in the walk in salvation which am sure most of you agree, is not a walk in the park. In fact it’s a walk in an erupting volcano...like you can't touch the walls coz you will get your fingers burnt and all.

So before that day comes, I have so many things I would like to do. So many dreams, some written down some still in soft copy in my mind, but the bottom line is, I would like to do most, if not all of them. I don’t want to run out of time. So every day for the past one month, I have been doing something different. I have been doing something for the first time, something I have never done. Ranging from greeting people I have never greeted,  visiting people I have never visited, calling people I have never watched and well, watching a movie/series I have never watched (yes, that too). And I would like to challenge you to try it too.



So, someone may ask, at the end of it all, the “after life” will still come. So why do all that? Truth is, I know that day will come. And when that day comes, expected or not, I will have enjoyed my life. The most important thing I am however working on is my spiritual life. That song helps me to “Keep on Keeping on”. Knowing at the end of it all, not only is it for God, but it is also for me. And I will live to my fullest for both.

By the way, no matter which century I will pass on in, please remind them to play that song in my funeral and burial.