The Countdown!!!

My brain is running slow today since I couldn’t, for some reason, get off the couch yesterday. Even after that, I haven’t managed to finish Iron Man 2!! I don’t have it on DVD so that I can say ‘I’ll watch it later’. It was on DSTVand if you have DSTV, it’s all about timing ….and prayer ( I kid you not).  I am not bothered about not finishing the movie because I know some time or another, they will repeat it and I pray that I will have the time to just sit and watch.

Despite my state of drowsiness, I am really excited because I am left with only two more working days. Yep! That’s right!! I will be jobless!!! No, I was not fired because of the number of productive hours I spend online. (At a point, that was a serious fear!!). I quit. Gave in my notice about two weeks ago and I have been walking on sunshine ever since!

I see that scowl on your face, O ye Tarmacing citizen and I can hear your thoughts on how ungrateful I must be to quit in a day when job opportunities are oh so rare!

Here is the thing; I am 18 years old. 18!!!!! I know, I know… work experience…two steps ahead of all the others by the time I get to the University…I know the talk; spewed it myself a time or two. I appreciate the chance I got and I have learned quite a bit. Including the fact that a legal career is definitely not for me. I’ll get the papers, though. Who knows? I may change my mind. But as per now, I see no reason to continue working, as I have already fulfilled my objective.

I don’t know when it happened but some time over the last year my Dad has really gotten in touch with this/My generation. As a result, he is actively on Facebook, not to mention (after months of asking why we don’t send him nor my mother a friend request…..Mum chanukaad kitambo ;)) he is also friends with The girls (me and my sisters).

It was therefore no surprise that at the dinner table sometime last week,  he brought up my sister’s changed relationship status. He couldn’t understand how she could tell “Everyone”, “The whole world” that she was now in a relationship.

The thing is, we (the girls) have been brought up in the old school of thought when it comes to romantic relationships and for some unknown reason, we did not renegade, as would mostly be the case.

So now we are at that age when my parents are open to the idea of us dating but, of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll be running to my Mum to talk about my latest ‘interest’.

Naturally the spotlight turned on me and Dad said ” After you’re done with your degree, we want to see you bringing home someone. So as you are in class, be looking around.”

Then Mum adds ” An architect .”

I make a point of concentrating on my food because if I looked up I would have given her that look that said “Mum, you and I both know who is doing architecture”…and also said “never going to happen”.

Then Dad adds “Even a lawyer would be good. Lawyers marry lawyers.”

And I look at my parents as if they are from another planet. Who has parents like mine ?!?!? Honestly!!

On the same topic, we had gone out for dinner with my High School principal and she had noted with concern how girls from our school rarely got married and if they did, it was much later on in the years….Mum and Dad are probably just looking out for their own brood. 

This is my last post on this computer…I’ll miss it..kinda…Ok. I won’t.

July; a Month like no other

Brief Detour

I smell like burnt toast and I know all through the day people will be looking at me thinking “What is she hiding in her pockets?” or something along the lines of “She over-blowdried(is that a word?) her hair.” You should see my hair right now; Bird’s nest (In high school, this lady used to come on Saturday’s and offer hair drying services. It should have been hair-frying services because people put so much oil in their hair, than add the heat….Saturday would not be  a day without the smell of well-done hair [pun intended].)

Anyway……burnt toast. This was Dad’s venture into making breakfast this morning. Why would my Dad be making breakfast in the morning? Simply because as per last Friday, the household is in a mbochless state. I kind of expected chaos but surprisingly, there has been no such thing.

For the first time since… I cant’ even remember, Mum and I were in the kitchen. Together. Cooking. Normally, after work, we are usually so tired, Mum heads to her couch under the guise of ‘watching TV’ [really Mum? With your eyes closed?!] Anyway, it has been awesome. Waking up to my parents dancing in the kitchen is a nice way to begin the day. I use the word ‘dance‘ very loosely. My parents don’t dance. But they do react to the music. [That’s why it’s important to define the word dance in a conversation, youknowwhoyouare].

Now…

Sitting at the front desk of the office exposes you to very fishy/interesting situations. When clients, for example, come to see Wakili and he is unfortunately out of office, most opt to wait for him, parking themselves about 1.5 metres away from my desk.

I strive towards professionalism {translation: I won’t start idle talk mostly because am probably reading an interesting blog online ;)}. So this is what happens. Either;

(a) They ask for the newspaper and for some odd reason (it’s rarely there) it actually is there, I hand it over. Awkward moment saved!

(b)  They use the time to carry on very loud and rude conversations on their cellular devices asking if there is anyone waiting for them at their office… irritating but better than awkward moment.

(c)…this has only happened once. The client starts an interesting political conversation. That was fun 🙂

(d) This is what usually happens… the client sits there blatantly staring at me. *shudder* I hate that. I almost ask if my horns are showing again. (I really try to hide those things!!!!). then as if we had been carrying out a conversation they ask,

 “What did you say your name was again?”   

(I didn’t!)”Faith”

Then they something like “Oh! And which part of Kenya do you come from?”

( Why would you want to know that? Even if I tell you, I don’t speak the language) “Machakos”

Point of this conversation, you wonder? I understand that people may feel (even I at times feel) that information from which tribe I am from will somehow seem to give you a picture of who I am, more so those of the older generation.

This information is received, processed, in that one recalls the stereotype of that particular tribe then fits you into a mold, which most of the time, does not fit.

Take me for example. Most people pin me down as Kyuk. Once I tell them am Kao, they say, I don’t act like a Kao. The stereotype they are basing me on is of a girl who most likely grew up in Ukambani, surrounded by the culture…you get where I am going with this. In true essence, I was born and raised at the Coast. But even that in itself does not fit as a mold for me. Boarding school adequately took care of that.

I am of a generation where the border lines between tribes are more than a little blurred. I get that tribe gives identity and its beautiful that we have such diversity in Kenya. But this is a new age where we cannot be measured by the standards that once stood. I am not saying we disregard our tribal identity, but we should get to a place where we appreciate each culture in its richness.

Another Detour..

I don’t know about you guys, but someone is stealing my July!! The days are speeding away and with it people. V, the msaliti has decided that Kenya is too small a country for her!(the gall of her…) and Simz too needs ‘her space'(after being together for how long **sob**). Not to mention Buggy….I am happy for them, of course but honestly?!! Who will I be getting lost with in tao? (and I do mean that literally. We seem to stumble upon places we are going to). Or aggravating various motorists (V, you know that’s our specialty!) Ah! C’est  la vie.

Of the night & Music…

The valley vibrated to the rhythm of the drum. The festival was about to begin. The girls squealed in delight.Huddling together, they touched-up their hair and make-up. I stood outside the hut, not letting out the  excitement that was within. My body hummed to the beat of the drums, itching to move to it.

It was the first time I was allowed to go for the annual dance, having just become of age. My sister had been going for years but  every year, it was the same thing. Desi  and her 5 friends would come home in the morning and they would ‘prepare’ for the dance that began in the evening.

I had never known what they did in there, but it sure was not dancing. It did involve a whole lot of giggling, though. I sighed into the night as another fit of giggling erupted from inside. The night sky was delicately dusted with the night lights, the moon, eerily looming over the hills, a huge ball of light. It was the perfect night.

Voices drifted in the air as people made their way to the open ground. I grew all the more impatient. I had been waiting for this day for as long as I could remember. Mama said even when in her stomach I would dance. I would dance to a beat that I could not hear but one that I felt within. When helping Mama in the house, I would move to my heart’s content and to her delight. Desi would always look at me and smirk. “It is not like that! You had better learn or else you will disgrace this family!”

Desi could dance. In fact, she was the best in the whole community. It was only a matter of time before she would be wed as most of the boys had indeed set their sights on her. Or so she said. She had tried to teach me how to dance but every time I tried to move as she does, my body moved with its own mind. I could not tame it. But today, I had to ensure that it did. No matter what.

The girls finally emerged, having ‘prepared’ adequately. Their hair in similar fashion with a flower at the ear, their necks and ears adorned. They barely looked at me as they carried on animatedly in their conversation. As Desi’s younger sister, no one seemed to see me. I was used to that.

“I hear Sawe is playing the drum today,” one of Desi’s friends squealed. This in turn led to a peal of shreaks as all the girls started talking at once. Sawe was the boy every girl wanted to bag. Tall, well-built, a face carved to perfection and most importantly, he was the chief’s son.

The road was empty as we made our way to the open ground. I was thankful that no one else would witness the girls’ blatant expressions. That had to be illegal somehow.I slugged behind not wanting to taint myself with the pointless chatter that was Sawe. The man already had a whole village of giddy wide-eyed girls in his wake. No need  to turn myself into a statistic.

The drums grew louder with every step we took. Soon, the camp fire was in sight. Everyone was there. The elderly sat, bathed in the golden orange light from the bonfire, talking as they drunk of the local brew from the pot in their midst. The women of the older generation sat next to the only hut that stood. Loud talk, vibrant laughter and occasional bursts into song…

I smiled despite myself to see even Hongo, the most surly of men, relax to the point of cracking a smile. Toothless and gummy, but a welcome change to the scowl he normally donned.

The young crowded in the middle of them all moving to the beats played by the musicians, who were to the side. Those who were not dancing, grouped together. The girls, waiting for a boy to come and ask them to dance, the boys, awkwardly waiting for God to nudge them into doing so.

Desi and her friends’ mumble of appreciation was enough for me to know that indeed Sawe was playing the drums. They resorted to brief surreptitious glances in his direction, an attempt at being coy.

I could not deny that Sawe was quite the specimen. But it was simply pointless to jump into his growing bevy of admirers.

A call from the song leader was let out. It was time for the girls to dance. Conversation simmered down to a low mumble as we made our way to the middle ground. The girls smiled in anticipation. This was their chance to catch the eye of their future husband. I just wanted to get through this.

We waited anxiously for the music to play. I glanced towards the musicians, mentally recounting what I had practised with Desi. I encountered  a pair of eyes staring blankly at  me. Sawe. I scowled slightly in confusion, drawing a smile from his composed visage.

My breath caught in my throat. “Why is he smiling like that?!”. His smile grew even broader as I was still scowling in his direction. I looked away wondering what indeed was the matter with me? I would concentrate on the dance and the dance alone.

The music began and I began to move with the other girls. Not quite in uniform for quite frankly, Geta had two left feet. At first, I struggled to remember the steps but soon, I forgot them as the music took over. 

Everything faded into a blur. All I could hear was the music, all i could feel… My heart soared with the beat, the music and I became one. I was the music.

I realised all of a sudden that I alone remained. The others had made their way to the sidelines. Silence had befallen as all watched this girl who moved in a way none had ever seen before. Even as the doubt creeped in, I moved.

I glanced at Sawe. He smiled. In his eyes bespoke encouragement. Slowly, someone began to clap in time, encouraging me on. Then another, then another…even Desi clapped.

I gloried in the moment, dancing like I had never done before. When the music died down, there was a moment of silence. Dread filled my gut as I know that people would never look at me as just Desi’s sister anymore. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad.

Sawe was the first to start clapping. Then everyone else joined in. I smiled sheepishly, not knowing what to do.

I moved into the crowd, towards the edge of the throng. I was not accustomed to the attention. I sat down on a log, pleasantly tired. People had resumed their idle chatter, music picking up where it had left off.

“Teki”

I did not hear him approach but there he was; Sawe.

“Yes?” My foolish heart beat profusely in its cavity.

He was silent, an unsure smile playing on his face.

“I am Sawe.”

I smiled back.

“I know”

We smiled into the darkness silently as though words could break the magic of that moment.