Monday, 20 July 2015

GROWING UP IN THE VILLAGE



For they that know what it’s like to break your fast with a cup of porridge and a piece of cold ugali number two, they might as well be in a better position to remember the duf- a -mpararo childhood game.
I was born in the rural areas, attended two primary schools, two secondary schools and now in the university-all in the rural areas. Yet, I am expected to speak properly refined Swahili and English just like a city-bred kid.
You never realize the impact that growing in the village may have on your life until later days probably in your teens or adulthood. As a child, you enjoy all the games of tree climbing and hare hunting with fellow lads, run away from school with other kids to see elephants and eat wild fruits and they are all fun and amazing adventures. You enjoy speaking your mother tongue in school and repeat it again even after being caned and you think it’s a good teacher-pupil game.
You attend a primary school where the teacher teach English and Swahili in your mother tongue yet the same teachers want you to speak in at least Swahili since English is perceived as quite difficult to learn in the village. The teachers ensure there is a monitor written “I AM STUPID” which should be hung on the neck of all the mother tongue speakers in addition to which their behinds are properly nursed by all the 15 teachers in that school with a donkey whip or a cedar cane if lucky. The roots of education are indeed bitter and unfortunately the fruits may also end up being bitter with such kind of knowledge administration.
If I say my name is Ririan, don’t keep asking “ati who?” yet you very well know that I mean Lilian only that my regional dialect and social background do not favor me. Yet it’s not my fault that my pronunciation is poor since that’s how even my English teacher said it and giggling and laughing at it should not be an alternative for any learned person.
Putting on trousers as a lady and hugging the opposite sex is an abominable act and that is the culture I have subscribed to for the last 20+ years. Calling me a mshamba and gibbering about how old fashioned I am just because I do not subscribe to the university lifestyles can therefore not change an inch of me.
If I don’t know who Diamond or MJ is just because the only stars I have known in my life is Queen Jane and the likes of Wa kahalf and I have enjoyed their music since my childhood. Or how does knowing the number of pores on Rihanna’s skin benefit me? Why should I then change my music preference just to fit into certain groups? Everyone got right to entertainment and should not feel compelled to change their taste to be accommodated by others.
People have suffered from inferiority complex syndrome just because the city-bred fellows feel that they are more superior and have better contributions to the society than the washambas. The mockery people receive for mispronouncing words have made some feel shy of interacting with others and even speaking in public. It all makes you look like three idiots in one if you being the intellectual you are can burst into laughter just because someone speaks in a heavy mother tongue accent.
We do not choose where to be born and how or where to grow up and attend school. As such, our social background should never at any given time be used to measure our intellectuality and capabilities.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Life of an Elder

"I am an elder" is all that a student in their final year in the university will chant and brag about. Some will even go ahead to add the term "finalist" for purposes of vividity. The words are said with much prestige and pride as though one has completed  a doctorate degree. The ''juniors" are left envious wishing when time will come for them to be addressed with this prestigious title.
What these juniors don't know is that being an elder or rather a finalist comes with a full package of responsibilities and there is indeed very little to smile about it apart from it being the last year of an undergraduate.
An elder has attachment reports to write, a project to undertake topped up by a heap of assignments from lecturers who no longer sympathize with "big people". "You are no longer 2nd years, you must learn to work under pressure" they are told. Besides their busy schedule are the unavailable lecturers who are supposed to guide them on how to undertake their research project within a span of two months. Ask some of them how far they have gone with their project and they will tell you "lecturer hapatikani bwana" yet it's three weeks to exams and by then one should be done with his/her project.
Would you smile if you wrote  a five pages introduction of your project and then the lecturer tells you that your topic is invalid yet it had been approved before you began working on it? What if you worked up to chapter three of your project and your PC crushed? Then what is all this fuss about being an elder?What if you no longer go raving, clubbing, swimming, picnics and the countless nature walks you always went to in the previous years with your buddies?I fail to see the fun of being a finalist.
It's at this stage that elders are seriously thinking of how they are going to cope with life after school and sending endless job application letters. Some are actually in fear of tarmacking and taking the responsibility of being independent with no helb yet the least they will want to do is to ask for pocket money from their parents.Others are in dire need of getting the girl or man of their dream yet there is no time for them to chase after one another.
For those in relationships, they encounter endless arguments and no one seems to understand the other especially if both are elders. The mums and dads face the most challenges. It's even worse for a lady who plays the role of a wife, mother and student at a go.You being a responsible woman must know what the husband will eat and ensure he's neat while going to class besides suckling a two months kids, attending classes and ending the day with conjugal rights regardless of whether you are tired or not.
The dad on the other hand must play his role of the man of the house and be the sole provider to the mother and child. Whether you finished your helb in third year or there is delay in disbursement is solely your problem;the family needs your support daddy.
For the juniors, better have all your fun now as if there is no tomorrow lest your fourth year will get you still saying "nitaenda poa place kujinice" since you may never make it once you are an elder.Do not judge an elder if you happen to cross ways;they may just be overwhelmed or stressed up and all they need is your moral support and understanding for them to finish what they were called to do in the university.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Don't Wife Me

                                DON’T WIFE ME
Don’t make me a wife
Until I say I do
Don’t make me your lover                                                                                                                                                   
Till I say I love you
Don’t ask me to clean your clothes
Until we’re married
Unless you’re sick
Those chores are your wife’s

Don’t compel me to say I love you
If I do not wish to
For I will be lying
And if I say no
Just know that I mean it
And my only expectation
Is your respect for my stand

Don’t make me an enemy
If I do not accept your proposal
For am just being honest
Yet friendship is an alternative
But if you insist on distance
Heartily I shall grant


Anne Wangechi

MY BEAUTY

                                MY BEAUTY
Ooh so beautiful you were
And I really miss you
The awe in you
Like a ram to the ewe
Is my liking for you

Your name I know not
But your family I adore
For beautiful are your breeds
And awesomeness you bleed
All that I desire
Is all that you sire
I need not two
To know that you loved me too

Every morning on my knees
Making to thee my pleas
That you may never leave
Till I see you alive
And if they murdered you
I shall not revenge
For one thing am for sure
Nature does not forgive
And vengeance it shall give

I was only fourteen
But you aroused my love for you
Every moment I was free
From the house I would flee
To spend my times with you
I climbed on your thighs
And willingly you accommodated me
When I hugged you
You showed no resistance
And it gave me hope &assurance
That even if you never spoke
You indeed loved me
For your deeds proved so

Unique &outstanding you were
Attracting me the more
Lonely you stood
Behind a house like a shield
They saw a wind breaker
And I saw a peace maker
Solace you provided
And consolation you offered
What more could I ask for?

You may not understand my dialect
Even though you are an intellect
That I value you
Everything in you
And all that you did
Ooh my beautiful tree
When will I be free?
I f I would flow in the spree
Even if for a fee
Or just a bee
Just to reach you
For I really miss yee

Anne Wangechi








THE CONTROVERSIAL VILLAGE GIRL

Ooh I am in love
today she's single
tomorrow married
the day after,divorced
Mary at dawn
a mother at dusk
you love her soft 'spokenness'
till you get into an argument
and find an entirely dfrnt person
Oh!what a controversial village gal?

Naive she might appear
yet brave she is
but you may not tell
coz anyway
she's just a village girl
Fewer words she says
listening more she does
she knows not the modernity
but modesty she values
yet integrity is a virtue
never has she set her eyes
on a make up kit
anyway,
she's just a village girl
Unapproachable for some
yet indispensable to others
friendly she seems to some
yet a stone faced to others
What a controversial village girl?
tricks&traps she loves
and the joy of it all
is when you fall for them
and she'll still do it tomorrow
for that's her love
tough she can be
maybe due to the 'nyiri'
blood in her veins
but gi'me a break
she remains a village girl
She adores nature
and the beauty it brings
the mugumo tree
and her heritage she treasures
the beauty of her heart
only her can tell
the secrets she holds
that go untold
yet so worth they're
but she's just a village girl
It's hard to admit
yet undisputable
that am in love
much much love
with a controversial village girl
but anyway,
she's just a village girl

Saturday, 4 July 2015

WILL I GRADUATE?

WILL I GRADUATE?
Three years ago, I was given the ‘best’ advice by a friend who was then a third year in the school of education. He oriented me in the modern campus ways such as being an electrician and cooking ugali which was supposed to prepare me to being a good future wife especially if I was to be married by a Maragoli like him. But I really didn’t care about the cooking skills despite knowing I was a pathetic cook since I had been in boarding school from class six and thus never engaged in much cooking. I knew I had a full four years to mould me into being the best chef. But there is one piece of advice that I wouldn’t fail to take heed of. ‘If you want to come out of this campus being successful, you must graduate with two degrees. Your BA in LMC plus a husband’. He said it with said it with an intensity that I couldn’t help but give all ears to my campus daddy. And I knew he only wished nothing but the very best for his daughter.
My high school teacher had always insisted that we would only get our Mr. Right in campus. ‘’He must have been very right. My time has come” I thought naively. But didn’t I still have four good years to search for my prince charming? It was such long a period. I consoled myself. This was not until June, 2015 when it dawned unto me that I was a fourth year but still single! And I began trying to trace where I missed my marks. Did I do all my CATs and assignments? Something must have been amiss. The graduation isn’t so far, yet I can’t trace what happened to my marks and it really pained to look back and remember how much I had been hurt while trying to be successful in my second self-oriented degree. Should I defer and maybe opt to undertake my degree some other time? Maybe after completing my BA degree? But that would mean am I failure and I have never dreamt of being one. No one loves failures anyway.
I have been branded names such as money minded and gold digger for just being honest by saying that I can’t date a campus guy.  But wait a minute, before you call me names, I will tell you why I say so. Some will say campus dudes are stingy while others will call them broke or even irresponsible but I have a version of my own. Would you date a guy who entirely depends on his ksh 30,000 helb loan which can only pay his fees and I am expected to be a LADY and cater for all his other needs? I know you can’t. And you might still not believe I did it for my githeremende(our pet name) for the sake of the LOVE I had for him. In short, his money was his, and mine ours. I was blind and I know it.
Every lady wants to be treated as a princess during her birthday and Valentine day by her guy even if it’s in the most simple manner like cutting a rose flower from the fence and handing it over to her. She would still appreciate and feel cherished. But what of the likes of my githeremende who would always ask, “baibe leo una mpango gani?” yet it’s my birthday. Which right minded guy asks such a question to her fiancĂ©e in this 21st century? But love is blind they say.  I would quickly make arrangement for candle lit dinners or take him out for pilau at Hijaz be it my birthday or his out of the fear of losing my prince charming.  I paid for his debts, fare and the many bills for the many days and nights we spent at expensive hotels in Uasin Gishu.
“Asante ya punda ni mateke” is what the Swahili people would tell you. After my githeremende graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, I knew he would get a good job and I would be part of his budget at the end of every month. This was not until he landed into one of the biggest NGOS in Kenya offering him a six digits salary. Our future was bright. I thought to myself. No calls, no messages, mails or even whatsApp yet I would see him online. I called, no answers, I texted to replies. And I knew for sure, I held no place in his heart anymore. He had booted me in the worst possible way. Do you still think I am a gold-digger? Do you still believe that there are no men who are gold diggers? Spare your opinions for a later comment.
My mum has always warned, “Don’t do two things at ago Sonie” I could now understand why my relationships were failing. But give me a break mama, I need two degree by the end of this year for me to be labeled successful. I can’t stand to be a failure. Let mama’s advice remain at home. It could probably be of help to my younger sisters who are in secondary school but not to a 20+ modern lady.
After my ex-githeremende dissed me, I decided to be celibate for the whole of my second year to nurse my wound and probably get into another relationship in my third year. By third year, I would possibly get a husband material who would be ready to settle down into a serious and committed relationship. I was all wrong.
He was the guy of my dreams in all his physical attributes. This tall, dark and handsome Luo man from Siaya, with a well built up masculinity was all I needed. The biceps, his pair of six pack, gap between his upper incisors plus the smile that every lady would die for got me screaming out his name whenever and wherever we met. Otii, MY MAN.  Ours was love by first sight and I was convinced that forever it would last.
It had just begun as a crush after I sat next to him on a Sunday fellowship at LH1. After we held hands to share the words of grace at the end of the sermon, he couldn’t let my hand go. Only heavens know how nice I felt. If he could only hold my hand forever, I would be the happiest girl in the universe. Since then, we had exchanged our contacts and began the many visits to the water fall and Kesses dam. The crush had bore the sweetest thing ever; LOVE.
After dating for a whole semester, time for ‘introduction’ had come and we journeyed all the way to Siaya to meet my in-laws to be. Right from the reception to the plastic smiles I received, I needed not be told that I was unwanted. This was despite laboring to wake up at 5 am and sleeping last at 11 pm just to ensure that everything was in order just like a good wife would do. Unfortunately my efforts went un- noticed. But that really didn’t matter since My Otii had assured me that even if his family would not approve me, we would still remain to be. We had promised each other to live as if only the two of us existed in the entire world without minded what other people thought about our compatibility.
Even in my singlehood, I still feel that Otii is the best man that ever came to my life (apart from my brother of course). The countless treats and evening outs and all sorts of presents he gave me made me feel like a lady unlike when I dated my ex-githeremende and I had to play both roles of being a lady and a gentleman simultaneously. He was indeed a Luo man and you didn’t have to be told he was one. However, this could not last beyond the recent “ Nyerification” incidences.
Apparently, Otii feared for his transformer and he couldn’t stand the humiliation of being battered by a woman. He claimed that he had tried his best to believe that “nyerification” was just a stereotype but now he had proved it’s not one and it ran in the blood of all ladies from Nyeri. He further added that his staunch and typical Luo traditionalist parents had always warned him against marrying a Kikuyu lady lest he would be a victim of “kosi” and “chira”.
Not even my tears would change his mind, he was already decided. So callous he appeared to be such that I felt like he was a complete stranger to me. He was no longer my sweet Otii who used to be so empathetic and loving. After two weeks of my begging for us to rekindle our love, he handed his phone over to a female and all I had was, “wewe nya okuyu achana na Otii kama hutaki sida” with a heavy Luo accent. And I knew all was over. I never bothered to know who the lady was but I would love to assume that it was his mother.
I gathered my courage after many days of mourning indoors, picked up my dignity and all the pieces of my heart that were scattered all over with dirt, stitched them and though they are still under medication, they are healing.
My only worries are, I only got six months in the university. Will I graduate? With at least a pass in a bachelors degree in a relationship if not engagement? Will I be labeled a failure? Should I consider deferring from my second degree to some other time to avoid being branded a failure? Am I doomed to singlehood forever? Or, am I just a rare and unique species?

By Anne Wangechi.