FRIENDS LIKE SISTERS…

I love me some quotable quotes, especially if they resonate with me – or something I may be going through.

Here are some that I thought I would share. This one is for my sisters and friends 🙂

 

“For there is no friend like a sister 
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strenghten whilst one stands”
― Christina RossettiGoblin Market and Other Poems

 

Aren’t quotes from plays just the ones?!

 

There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.  ~Edith Wharton

 

 

EUREKA!

So I was busy working on my looong overdue post when I stumbled upon a music video that I have been dying to see.

This was my welcome distraction 🙂

 

 

Like many other Kenyans, Bongo Flava grew on me after EATV hit our airwaves. That was the revolution of Swahili love songs and they were made ‘cool’ again.

In my opinion, Lady Jay Dee is on another level and I can’t get tired on listening to her songs. She speaks to me.

And of course Professor Jay, Ray C (Gosh! Whatever happened to her O_o), Ferroz, Dully Sykes (Haha! Remember him?!), TID  and Banana Zorro also managed to get us singing along swa songs in what may now seem like back-in-the-day.

Come to think of it, when was the last time you listened to Mr Nice’s songs that we all gleefully fagilia-d to?

 

OF SINGLEHOOD…

So, I have a friend who was stuck in a long-term relationship that was not good for her. She said he did not treat her well. And after almost ten years with him, she realised that “it was going nowhere.” And part of the reason it took her so long to get it over with was that she feared having to start again.

The thought of the dating process: meeting a guy- a good guy, vetting him, getting to know him and what he is all about…blah blah blah. It would take a long time to get to where she was with the ex; a place where she would be comfortable to completely open up to a new person, she said. Am sure quite a number of people out there can relate to her.

Lucky enough for her there are a number of “learning aids” available that will show her how to carefully and successfully get back in the game. Since she got into that relationship, other than her aging, a lot more had changed in the dating scene. Here’s a sample of what I… no, she has been watching and reading.

Patti Stanger – The Millionaires Matchmaker: 

I have got to say, with a title like that I wondered what she was selling but when I got down to watching her DVD, I realised that she does have a viable tips, and she does not aim to serve gold-diggers (that’s what you thought, huh?). Patti’s selling point, she says, is she can get the man in your life to propose in a year, only if you follow her advice to the letter.

She breaks it down in four easy to follow segments which include clips of her before a live audience with actors on the stage to demonstrate and compare two couples. Also, she talks to a group of gents, I guess to reaffirm that what she teaches is what they like.

For starters, she is keen on observing the general rule that one should give themselves time in between relationships. She figures it gives you time to “do you”, put your interests first, rebuild your character and basically heal the wounds from the previous relationship. This way, you get into another one without bitterness and emotionally independent.

No penetration until you achieve mutual exclusivity – yup, “penetration”. I like the bit about setting standards that you expect of your partner with some being negotiable while others aren’t.

No, she is not married.

Steve Harvey – Act like a lady think like a man 

Ladies if you have not read this page-turner, you must. Steve takes us through his experience in love and how he met his wife. He did not always know how to treat her but he learnt how to. And I think if she should write a book on how she got him on the straight and narrow. Best-seller right there!

The notion behind the book is to reveal to women what goes on in a man’s mind; to learn and understand them. It also teaches how to get your man to commit.

One memorable concept from the book is that of the Ford salesman analogy – “The Ninety-day rule: Ford requires it of its employees. Should you require it from your man?

Also, you have got to the love the Strawberry Letters sampled from his radio show. Ladies around the globe can relate to the issues written to him about.

Single Ladies – TV series (2011)

Remember those stories that would end like “And the moral of the story is…”? That is what comes to mind. Along with Paulo Coelho books which are in essence self-help books delivered in the fashion of inspirational stories. But that is just me, and I digress.

The light-hearted series starts off with the three main characters in relationships of sorts who at some point find themselves single and plunged into the dating scene.  Even they do not present it as an ‘ok’ place to be. Anyway, the plan wasn’t to “review” the show but I think they writers are at the verge of pulling a Tyler Perry. If you have watched his movies/ plays/ shows, you will remember those sit-up moments where the characters suddenly possess a strong tone and the soundtracks take a pause- life lesson coming up. That is what shows me there is something to learn from the show. And boy, are they tough lessons.

Main actors in the show are Stacey DashLisaRaye McCoy, Charity Shea and one yummy D.B. Woodside.

Lessons learnt:

  • The ninety-day rule is universal and acceptable (Huh, boys said something?!) and depending on what you are after, it could play in your favour.
  • You should give yourself time between relationships. It is for you.
  • There is no such thing as being ‘alone’. Some people of those happy holding-hands-walking-into-the-sunset couples feel more ‘alone’ than Adam was before Eve’s arrival.

Pssst… Ever wondered why is being single looked down upon? And what is it with the question: why is a good (or beautiful –I get this one a lot, ahem!) person like you doing ‘alone’? Go sit in a corner, will ya?

Yup, I just had to 🙂

SEND A WOMAN TO DO A MAN’S JOB

Yup, I said it. They say, anything man can do, a woman can do better.

Last weekend, I attended a sex seminar (…and no, there were no practical sessions) organised by self-declared “lifestyle designer on sex and relationships” Ms Getrude Mungai. The very one who has Kenyans religious watching K24 every Friday and Saturday night.

She was at the Buru East Africa School of Theology (I know! O_o…the demo bed was right next to the pulpit) to tell women what they need to make them better lovers. From hygiene, to sexy lingerie, to creating a boudoir- she covered it all. And man does she know how to do her job, and market her products while at it! She was on fire, and every time she made references to what everyone aspires to be between the sheets, the room burst with pleasurable laughter.

I was there to see what the fuss was all about, and yea, hopefully learn something new. And I did. But I have to say, some of my Kenyan sisters really let me down.

While taking us through sex positions, the ooohs and aaahs and “I cannot do that” were just appalling. Why then did you come? (I promise, NO PUN INTENDED). It then dawned on me that some women just want to know what they can, and probably should do, but for some reason won’t. (I guess they think it’s for whores to do. Now, go figure why some men visit the women of the night)

Clearly, there’s still some way to go for my frigid sisters. Even Getrude can’t find them.

I have to hand it to Getrude, she is doing something positive for Kenyan women and it has been a long time coming. See, we unlike our Ugandan sisters, do not have Ssengas- an aunt who advises on sexual matters from an early age. But we have had to make do with the Cosmos, True Loves and movies for some pointers.

One tip that I have come to learn is that you need to teach your partner what gives you pleasure. Therefore, men should feel obligated to showing a woman what gives him pleasure. It may seem like groping in the dark cause what may tickle X’s fancy won’t necessarily work for Y but hey, it is a guide in the right direction.

At the end of the day, she can only hope to make better wives, lovers and whores (…to the husbands) of the women who made her richer on that blessed afternoon. Now the challenge lies with you girls and boys to be that teacher to your lover.

WHILE I WAS AWAY…

That was a minute!

Needless to say I need to work harder on getting into the blogging culture. Well, am here to try again. And for the while I have been away, I re-discovered the pleasure I receive from listening to good music and watching movies.

I have compiled a list of movies and songs that either spoke to me, have stuck in my mind or I like…just because.

Music: They say: all music is beautiful… Music is food for the soul… All I know is there if it’s the first song I hear in the morning, it sticks in my mind all day. And that which speaks to me when am going through good, bad, ‘just there’ time, will remind me of those moments when I hear it.

And yea, I have songs that remind me of certain people. Some know it, other well…

Please note that this is NOT a list of my top five songs but, are the five that came to mind when I (finally) settled down to write.

Nakupenda wewe pekee- Viola Karuri

I have a thing for live performances and man can she give a good show! It was at an Art for Afya function. The lyrics and catchy chakacha-ish melody makes it a song that leaves me humming to it hours after listening to it.

Don’t call me baby – Madison Avenue

For some reason, am yet to understand, when I go to my imaginary disco, this is the song that is always on…

Welcome to the disco- Muthoni ‘The Drummer Queen’

Newly liked and I definitely see Nairobi getting down to it big time, especially those who remember it as a cheering squad song. Can’t wait for official video set for release next month….terererererereren!

Ten over ten- Naeto C

Got to admit I did not feel much for it at first but it has grown on me. Love the Naija flava and its motivational message too.

Simple Song- Konshens

Really stumbled on this one on a random Friday but man do I looove it! I even forced it on cousin who probably has it for his ringtone. The track is totally addictive and I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s the only song I talk to DJs about…for now 🙂

Now to the Movies:

Just like my music list, these aren’t my top movies but, just had them at the top of my mind.

Limitless (2011) 

It’s about a wonder pill that gives some super-human abilities. To be honest, after watching it, I wished I would take that pill… it stars. And oh yes, Bradley Cooper plays the leading role. The end though leaves you kinda unsure of whether the guy quits taking it. Yup, the writers intended it that way.

August Rush (2007)

For a story that sets off on a sad note, has some uncertain why-am- watching- this moments, the ending is so powerful. The amazing story of how a child dumped at an orphanage uses his gift in music as a clue to finding his birth parents. A popular actor in the movie is Robin Williams.

The next three days (2010)

The thriller that got me worried I would pee in my pants; could not even stand the thought of my phone ringing as I watched it. It’s about a woman convicted of killing her boss and her husband believed that she did not do it. Though, thanks to good writing, it’s not clear-cut whether she did the deed or not. The character played by Russell Crowe then does all he can to get her out of prison. Interesting fact about it: it is a remake of a 2008 French film aptly titled ‘Anything for her’.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

Another story of a dumped child but this one has a superior olfactory sense. He later becomes the world’s finest perfume creator. However, he is a weirdo in a homicidal search of ‘the ultimate scent.’ The film, set in 18th century France, stars Ben Whishaw. I learnt a thing about perfumes from watching this movie that ends in one big orgy scene.

Everybody’s fine (2009)

The light-hearted drama revolves around a father who is trying to reconnect with his kids after the death of their mother. He sets out to find out what each of his four kinds are up to after they all cancel a holiday on him. Some discoveries are pleasant while the greatest one is heart-wrenching.  Nonetheless delivers a happy, warm-fuzzy-feeling ending. This is another great performance by Robert De Niro.

DADDY SAYS…

For some wise words, encouragement and even for the plain telling-off, Daddy is my go-to guy. He just seems to know exactly what to say. I have always talked to him about everything. Yes, everything. And I have learnt that the things I am trying so hard to hide from him are the very things that he has words what would get me out of those situations. Over the years, there are some things he would say over and over and I know I cannot exhaust it but here are my top five:

  •  Empty debes make the most noise… It’s an African (Me thinks…) saying and boy did we hear it enough me growing up! But think about it, the loudest people are not necessarily the smartest. And to another level, it brings to mind ‘all that glitters is not gold…’ scenarios where the people who seem to have to all and bra about it do not have the fulfilment of life- and that is more important if you ask me.
  • Lilo just pray, God knows… Whenever I am very scared or unsure about anything, I will call him. It’s kinda cool then again spooky the way he knows I’m not fine as soon as he picks up the phone, somehow he knows. And the tip will be the same, pray.
  • You are in the market… This is a reminder that I should make sure I look good to pull suitors- I know! Once he told I do not have the liberty to ‘let myself go’ as am still-in-the-market. At first I was thrown off, but those were the days I thought he was clueless. Today, he is waiting with bated breath for the update. It will come, let’s remain positive now.
  • Just wait; your time will come… Just the other day it occurred to me that I was in uni for five years for a four-year course. I did not ‘rewind’ and yes there is a very good and convincing reason behind it. And just as I was about to start at Parklands, Daddy told me he knows I will meet people who were behind me in high school in my class or even ahead of me. Also, I should not worry when I see my peers go the family way…ati?! (FYI, I have also learnt to hide my shock at the things he comes up with…)
  • Am happy when you are Lilo… No one else says it as convincingly. I know he is happy when I am happy because I share my highs, just as much, and the excitement in his voice it sounds like: “THAT’S GREAT LILO!” Like he is shouting when in fact he is not.

So, am such a Daddy’s girl- yes I am! Am just thankful listens to my endless this-and-that talk and most of all that he sets me straight.

FEARS…

I fear that this career will leave me with a heart of ice. I will become so cold that something that I would have otherwise have found revolting or heart shattering, just won’t have that effect on me.

I had to interview a young mother who had lost her 3-month-old baby. Her co-wife poured hot water on her and the baby. The tot’s face, chest and hands were badly damaged. The doctor said even his internal organs were affected.

The mother had her face, hands and breast horribly scalded. She was breastfeeding him at the time of the incident. Leaving half of her pretty face scarred. She will never look the same.

And when I asked for old photos of what she looked like before, her hubby was quick to unleash the album of his young family he has stored in his mobile phone. It was sad to see such a pretty chic had lost her looks…the baby pics– oh so adorable. But what came next, should have had me screaming, or just shocked but it did not.

He had a pic of little baby laid naked on a mortuary slab. I could see the extent of the wounds he sustained. I could feel his cold skin- what had remained of it. And his face was all gone. I was so sure I would not eat again, but I did.

I know I should not get attached to the people whose stories we want to share with the world but man its tough! How can you not. Them again, I suppose it would weigh heavy on my heart and I will have to let go at some point.

And for now, I just fear I will get used to hearing sad stories caused by evil-minded people. People with no heart, at all.

TAKE THE TEST- YOUCAN DO IT!

As I grow up I have learnt that the ‘it’s never that serious’ attitude actually works. We end to give some things, people, occasions etc, in our lives so much priority as though life, as we know it, depends on it.

People disappoint, plans fail and dreams are forgotten and what may remain constant is you, for as long as you live.

We should take our circumstances certainly not those who care for us for granted. Life is short how you chose to spend it is your choice to make.

This year, as we prepared to celebrate Worlds Aids Day, I got the chance to learn so much about the virus. There are some cases that I came across that will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

My age-mate Annette Njambi* has lived with HIV for all her life. She knows life in no other way for she was born with the virus in her system. She has a good job inspiring and touching other people lives as HIV counsellor, and a 7-year-old son to live for.

The epitome of her achievements is that her son is virus-free and she is watching him grow up.

Another reason for her joy is she is yet to go on the Antiretroviral Therapy. Annette is pulling all the stops to make sure she is living a healthy and with her glass-half-full attitude, she is sure it will be a long time before she is compelled to go on the treatment regimen.

She was only 11 years old when she found out about her status. Since then, she has taken multi-vitamins and antibiotics to ward off opportunistic infections.

She made a conscious decision to make sure she did not transmit the virus to her baby and attended all antenatal sessions and religiously took the Nevirapine, Zidovudine and Lamivudine combination of drugs as she approached delivery and for a month after, she continued with the last two.

Then there is Paul Gwada who was 26-years-old when he found out his HIV status after spending his time in and out of hospital for pneumonia and tuberculosis. He had just moved in with his girlfriend and they were still celebrating the arrival of their baby.

He had hopes of playing for the national football team- Harambee Stars and when it fell through, he opted to try his hand in business selling second-hand items, staging video shows and even painting jobs in his Kaloleni neighbourhood.

When he had the second test that an extensive examination including having his blood work done, at the doctors amazement, he was found to have a CD4 count of 5.

CD4 cells are a type of white blood cells and a vital part of the immunity system. HIV highly affects these cells by reducing their number. Therefore the lower the CD4 cells, the higher the chances of falling prey to opportunistic infections such as meningitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

It is very rare for people with a CD4 cell count of fewer than 200 carry on with their normal activities. With that of 5, medics assume he should have been bedridden. He was not. And he looked ‘normal’.

He has since bounced back and increased the count by working on his diet and going on the ARTs.

Mr and Mrs Akanga, who are both teachers, met at a clinic as they went to get their ARTs. They had both lost their partners to the virus and chose not the let their status blind the feelings they had developed for each other.

They are still teaching and the smiles on their faces as they share their story- infectious.

Lessons learnt:

  • HIV is real. For real, it’s real and it does not matter how one contracts it but how you chose to live with it.
  • It can happen to anyone; the young, the old, the rich, the poor. It can happen to me, it can happen to you.
  • Just like you don’t choose your family, there are people who did not choose to be born with it but they were.
  • It is not the end of the world- it’s never that serious!

*Name changed.

I HEAR: 844 RUINED MY LIFE… YEAH RIGHT!

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, US essayist & poet (1803 – 1882).

The Kenyan education system is so stringent such that one has to plan their career choices very early into it. As children, we all gave our when-I-grow-up-I want-to-be-a such and such declarations. But how many of us make it through successfully?

In high school, or secondary school *ahem!*, every student selects  optional subjects which inevitably will pave the way for the university course they will pursue. Yes, going to university is a ‘given’; it is after all 8-4-4.

Therefore, should one make select science subjects, they will likely even up which a Bachelor of Science degree in this or that. The same goes for arts and humanity subjects.

It would then be naturally expected that one would have the same career prospects in line with their area of study. But this does not happen in every case. The high unemployment rate that bogs Kenya makes it difficult for prospective employees to enjoy the right of job choice.

From the government-run 844 education system, I bagged a degree in Law. If I had a ‘bob’ for each time I heard the question “why did you study law to become journalist?”, I would have enough money to buy me some prime real property. Be warned, there is the ‘Esther Arunga’ exception…

I have enjoyed a thorough instruction course which ran for ten months and with journalistic skills acquired, I am ready to take on the world from another academic angle adding on that which I already did. A once in a lifetime opportunity this is; reminiscent of the expression ‘eating your cake and having it’.

As living proof that this system does have to ruin, I advocate for belief in oneself and going for what you want in life.

Social or academic norms should not present a barrier in achieving your dreams. It may call for some change, which is not a bad idea. All one has to do is shake off the fear. They say fear is one of the main causes of failure. Boldly take a step into the unknown, see where it will lead you.

Recently, I had the displeasure of standing before a firing squad of journalism students; they wanted to now why people ‘like me’ were taking over ‘their’ jobs…hmph! It is a rat race out here; everyone is rushing for the cheese.

FOR BETTER? WORSE PERHAPS.

Is it just me or does marriage have a bad name today? When sh*t hits the fan, you will hear about all the things wrong about the union. Those in it only ever tell of the bad side of it. The vibe of he did not ‘fikisha’, how she forgot about him once the baby came, how he drunk and wet the bed, how she wore ‘sing’enge ni Ng’ombe’ t-shirts to bed…. it endless.

Increasingly, people get into marriage for all the wrong reasons. Some for the money, some to avoid being the village laughing stalk while others take the road least travelled by most and ‘trick’ their partners into it.

The wedding shows aren’t making it any easier. It seems it’s all about the money. Some of the couples featured leave me reeling in disgust. The aim is to make theirs the wedding that will leave their guest singing songs of their praise till the next best wedding. There was this guy who had planned a wedding with a Sh 1 million budget, money he did not have and called upon God to make it happen. Is it all about the one day (in the case of Christians) wedding or it the emphasis about the marriage?

Divorce rates in Kenya are at an all time high. Once couples realise they cannot cope with their ‘life partners’, it’s the high road they take. I had the displeasure of watching a Tyra show where a young impressionable girl poured out her heart declaring her love for her boyfriend. She said she loved him. She was sure he was the man she would like to get married to, have babies with and even divorce…huh?! The scariest bit was that I heard her right. Divorce, for her, is just another part of life…hmph!

What does it take to settle upon a life partner? Why don’t we have a ‘How to Bag a Good Man/ Woman’ manual? I think it could come in handy in our time.  The vows are clear and so is the Holy Book, marriage is a life time commitment.  For those who are busy getting in to it just for laughs, things are elephant!!

So, after a while someone may get comfortable around you and not make an effort to look good anymore. Like my Uncle James likes to say, when you buy music album, its unlikely that you will like all the tracks in it. But guess what, with time, they will grow on you and you will even dance to those tunes. Same as in marriage, you will learn to cope with your beloved; even when they seem to change their ‘tune’.

As for the way we go about handling wedding; the committee and dowry, wacha tu.