18 December 2013


When yester-mid morning I met up with some great friends for a hike, I did not know it would be an experience that would forever remain in my mind. Three friends and I embarked on a hike in the not so famous Njukiri Forest, Kirinyaga County, Kenya. The forest is known (to those who know it) for a river, river Rupingazi which traverses the county coming from Mt. Kenya. A quick fact about this river, it is the boundary of Kirinyaga County and Embu County and is quite wide and deep.

I regress. All we had in mind was a hike in a bid to sit under a waterfall along the river or at least behold its beauty. We walked a few kilometers to the forest and a few hours later we were lost. As we passed through the foot paths of the forest created by people who felled trees in the place, I couldn’t help but feel the spirit of adventure rise in me. Finally after a few slides, several pricks by thorns, crawling through thickets, we finally made it to the bottom of the valley where river Rupingazi flows. At first the feeling was exciting, as I had found a safe place (despite there being no mobile reception), a place where all you could hear was the river’s water angrily hitting the rocks creating waves…this is the safest place on earth; or so I thought. The place we had descended was quite far from the waterfall so we decided to wade our way through the river waters, upstream to the falls. This is where my series of events started to unfold.

In a span of four hours, I was to be reminded thrice that my life is dear. As we were starting our wade, two of my friends ambushed me and pretended to throw me in (a joke that I told them never to play on me again). They held my feet and let me slide on a rock, my head touching the angry waters of the river…they burst out in laughter amid my screams for help…I stared at the water below and started shedding tears…at this point; I shut my eyes and said a prayer as I thought of how people would find my body, in case one of them let go. I thought of most of my loved ones. They pulled me up and I honestly felt like throwing them in!! A few meters into our wade, I slipped on a slippery rock and fell. I hurt my hip and landed on another rock…as I sat there waiting for the pain to subside, I looked at the waters all around me then again, I saw myself being carried away by the waters, and them finding my body downstream. I said another prayer…this time, a confession.

With these two shakes of life at the back of my mind, I joined the others in the fun; we took pictures, laughing and smiling, oblivious of the fear creeping up. At this point, our pairs of jeans are wet and we are hungry. We identify a wide rock upstream where we would sit and eat the snacks we had carried. We were almost there when we decided that the water was too deep and moving too fast. The men found their way there but we the ladies declined to risk, so they came back. As we were having the snacks, I joked about it being the last supper (since there were some red liquids involved). I was quickly corrected by my friends and we stuck to the first supper. As soon as we had had the last glass of berry juice, an old tree a few meters away fell from the walls of the valley into the river; we look at each other in disbelief!! It had fallen on the exact same spot where we had said we would eat at. At this point I was shaken…we look at each other again and the fear is evident…we could have been on that exact spot, had we not turned back. At this point we agree that we should be on our way up. We were shaken (one of us was literally shaking). The place I had thought was the safest place had thrice turned to a place where I saw my life flash in front of my eyes.

On our way up, I was so determined to get to the top, to get away from all the darkness at the place. We climbed up with so much energy; we got to the top in a record 20 or so minutes. It was not until I got home and took a shower, that the throbbing pain in my hip came back. We never got to the waterfall, but I left that place with a changed mindset. And looking back at it, I wanted an experience that I would never forget…well, now I know why they say “Be careful what you wish for”

13 December 2013


At dawn, I rose, and headless we were.
Mother said he ditched us,
Went to look for greener pastures,
Pastures greener than the green card he had;
So manly of him!

Leaving his seed as well as the whole farm,
Giving up what he called his fam.
“You are the first born” he said
“A boy child, proof of my manhood;
Don’t ever shed a tear, African men don’t cry
I never did, and don’t ever ask why”
Pooh! Please!
“In my absence you are the man of the house”
You're damn right I am!

I will never leave my village,
I love my village,
You live with dignity, though your pockets are empty;
To hell with the city!
Its people are poor and backward,
Pulling each other down so that no one moves up!
I will find myself a girl, a woman.
A village girl, a village woman,
I will marry her, make her my wife,
Be the man my father never was!

I am the son of an African mother;
The man of the house;
They look up to my hands, huge rough hands,
Hands that polish handles of spades, knives and hoes;
Hands that dig yams, carry bunches of bananas, handle foes.
Hands soaked with sweat, hands full of tenderness.
Hands that provide; manly hands,
Hands of the son of an African mother,
The man of the house.

I work at the farm, as the wind moans, 
As the moonbeams cast shadows,
I work to feed my family, our family.
I feed, I keep. I protect, I own. I discipline;
Things a man ought to do.
Things my father never did.
I am the son of an African mother,
The Madiba of my Africa,
The man of the house.