Monthly Archives: April 2011

A poem for Aisha

My friend wrote this for me. Thanks dear. 🙂

Aisha

Dear Diary,

Today I celebrate my friend,

You see she turns thirty and is a bit apprehensive,

Thirty’s such a defining age you see,

Kind of when we meet reality,

And start building the dreams we dreamed,

When we get comfortable in our skin,

And only keep friends who are true,

Thirty’s when we need wisdom from God,

To separate the wheat from the chaff,

The point at which we view the world from above,

When we cease to live for Fridays,

When we can see beyond the horizon,

Thirty’s the age at which we realize,

That single or married doesn’t define us,

And thin or fat doesn’t irk us,

Because we know what we are worth.

Thirty’s that defining age,

When we stop playing games,

We love with a passion,

We live with a purpose,

We shun the haters,

Because we know what we are worth.

Thirty’s the age at which we cease to exist,

But at which we choose to live,

Because we have enough experience,

Etched in our minds, carried in our hearts.

Diary,

Please let her know thirty’s a beautiful age,

And that she’ll have a friend always,

One who’s been there before her,

And will always love her.

Let her know that,

I wished her a very happy thirtieth.

(c) Amondi

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The Sound of Africa/ When the Battle is Over

The guns have stopped

The silence echoes their deadly intent

The child with a broken body,

Won’t stop screaming

Blood scorches his back

The bloody rivers that rush down hill

To cleanse him of his father’s sins

The guns have stopped

Africa’s wailing voice

The only sound heard from space

Broken houses, shattered pelvics

The future of Africa rebuilt on Rwandan skulls

Grasses made of human hair, ochre paste made from blood

The Savannah is silent with groans of pain

The guns have stopped

The desert people use the stars to mark their paths

They hide in bunkers, where stars don’t shine

They twinkle hopefully,

In the empty deserts of Libya

The desert people are blind to their paths

The guns have stopped

The earth’s belly is full, fed on Africa’s flesh

The limbs of Nigeria

The indignity of Somalia

The mad eyes of Cote d’Ivoire

The weary feet of Uganda

The bowed backs of Kenya

The earth is full, it burps

Its spew out the oil, the colour of rage

It vomits diamonds, dead irises staring

The guns have stopped

My friend’s yearning eyes look at the sky

She dreams of her land, her home

She imagines the feel of her soil, the scent of her Africa

Closes her eyes and feel the sunlight of Zimbabwe

She licks the tears and tastes the rain from Harare

The guns have stopped

The rain is finally falling

Heavy clouds, carrying the hopes of a million flesh robots

It’s finally raining

We hold our arms wide open,  faces upturned

And receive grenades of blessings

Africa is rejoicing

Africa is free

1 Week to 30: 9 Random Things About Me

1. I am shy: Kindly spare me the rolling eyes. Really I am. It was worse when I was younger. I couldn’t speak to people. Especially boys. Over the years I learned to overcome it, and cover it up by being loud. But it still happens when I’m caught off guard. A random compliment can throw me off completely and one of the downs of being light is that it is evident! But I recover quickly. So next time you say something to me and I seem a bit aloofish, just consider that maybe I’m tongue-tied 😀

2. I’ve never cooked ugali. I can feel your raised eyebrows and whistles of disbelief. See, the thing is at home, the staple food is rice. So that was the first thing we were taught to cook. But we do eat Ug, but since there was many of us, there was always someone else cooking it. And whenever I invite my friends over, they always ask me to do Swahili food. Enyewe to be honest, I have no idea how this happened. I love eating it, I’ve just never cooked it. So I ended being a girl who can cook biriani in half an hour but can’t do ugali. My girl tells me I should forget getting married to a Luhya man.  😦

3. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. I was fascinated by the night sky. I would take walks at night looking at stars and counting constellations for hours. I once read that there was a shower expected that night, so I set up a mattress in the backyard and watched the sky. And I got to see this huge comet, orange and it moved from one end of the sky to  the next. It was amazing. Then one day I discovered I was afraid of heights. Yeah, that was the end of that dream.

Check out these pics, I felt woozy just looking at them!

4. I have this thing about my toes. When people look at them, I get the urge to hide them. I don’t know why. I know they’re unusual looking (yes, unusual not weird!) so I’m self-conscious about them. Weird thing is even if I’m wearing closed shoes, and someone looks at them, they just curl. Very strange.

(These are weird toes!)

5. You know that thing they say about women being great at multi tasking? Well, it skipped me. I can’t multi task worth anything. When I concentrate on one thing, I close off everything else. I annoy the hell out of my pals. Like when we’re hanging out and there’s a show on and I won’t hear the convo cos I’m listening to the show. I suspect I might also have a nothing box in my brain like men.

6. I don’t embarrass easy. You know why? Because when I was around 12 the most embarrassing thing happened to me. I was at my grandma’s house with loads of my cousin. So I went to the loo. Now, the person who built that house had a weird sense of humour. First the loo was those ones you squat. Secondly, it was a bit raised. 3rd, the window was pretty low. So the first thing you did when you went to the loo was make sure the window is closed. I was too pressed. The next thing I hear is loud laughter. I look behind me and I see that I was mooning the whole group. Plus one of my cousin’s pal whom I had a huge crush on. FML. So every time an embarrassing situation comes up, I tell myself, you survived mooning your crush, it really can’t get worse than that.

7. I have weird memory patterns. Very bad short-term memory. There was this time I was talking to my friend on phone, and she asked me to do something for her. Immediately after her call someone else called me. When I was done with that call, I couldn’t remember what my friend had told me, I had to call her back and ask her. However, I have very good long-term memory. I remember things that happened 10 years ago. With clarity. I remember phone numbers of people who I was in high school with. Landline  phone numbers from the 90s. And I remember birth dates, but not always who they belong to. So I’d be like today’s someone’s birthday but I have no idea who. The question is, when do the short-term become the long-term? Someone help?

8. When I was like 10, I chased my cousin around the hood with a knife. I don’t remember exactly what he did, but I took a kitchen knife and ran after him screaming “Today I’ll kill you.” My cousin had to go hide behind his mother (wuss) So I stood there ranting like a mad person well kid and the whole hood came out to see. My mum whipped me proper for that. I honestly don’t know where it came from. I haven’t had any such moment since, but it’s comforting to know that I have it in me, you know, in case I get a role in a movie and I have to be the deranged killer 😀

9. I get easily affected by small things, but when a real crisis happens I’m calm enough to handle it. I think I’m just a contradiction. Sometimes, I get upset because I went to the supermarket and couldn’t find my favourite brand of yoghurt and I was really looking forward to having that yoghurt. It can ruin my whole afternoon. But I get into a mat and realize I left my wallet at home and face a mean looking makanga, and I calmly try to come up with an alternative. My pal is constantly telling me, stop sweating the small stuff. I’m still learning.

Signed

Aisha

1 Week to 30: This is how it all started

Greetings, dear readers,

So it’s almost my birthday, 1 week left and I’m going to share a few things about me. Why you ask? cos I can 😛

Seriously though, this is a milestone birthday for me and not just age wise, but mentally and emotionally. I don’t usually make a big deal out of it, but this year, as Churchill would say I celebrate me.  🙂

This is how it started.

The story is told, of a young woman, of 23, in her second year of marriage. Heavy with child, her labour of love. This woman, beautiful and proud, bore her load with her ancestors pride. One evening, the little one she had nurtured within was ready to see the world. I wonder what she thought at that time. Did she want to tell her child to stay in, to wait a little bit longer. Had she encountered the harshness of the world and she wanted to spare her. Or maybe the world had been kind to her so far. After all, she was practically newly wed and about to have her first child. And maybe she couldn’t wait to introduce her little one to the beauty of it.

So it was, she was basking in the glow of her wondrous journey. She was sitting in the back yard of the house set on a cliff, feeling the salty sea breeze cool her, when the first pain struck. But she, being new to this, ignored it. It was too faint. And she knew, her gift to this world would not come with such a timid call.  Several minutes later, there it was again. And this time she couldn’t ignore. She knew it was time.

Haha. Ok, maybe that’s not really how it happened.

From what I’ve been told, it was not an easy birth. I was born on Monday evening, after many hours of I’m sure , painful labour.  The first-born child of a young couple in their early 20s. My father worked in Nairobi at the time so he wasn’t there for my birth. Though I’ve been told of how  my dad was so happy when I was born he used to stare at me for hours –  true story-  until my great grandma complained. It is taboo in our culture to over compliment a new-born lest you give them the bad eye. I was born in Mombasa,  raised in Nairobi. What a clash of cultures.

They say my name Aisha was taken from my mum’s aunt but hers was the proper Swahili one Mwanaisha. I hear she was a good woman; pious, a good wife and mother. I hope I have carried her name well, and I too will be remembered kindly. My uncle, mum’s older brother remembers her the clearest. He calls me the original one. And he’s the only person I don’t correct. I prefer Aisha.

The life expectancy of a Kenyan woman is about 60, so it makes me wonder am I middle-aged already? That is a sombre thought. I’ve not even finished being young yet! But it sort of keeps stuff in perspective. When I think of how fast the first 30 years passed, it gives you an idea on just how life is short. How life is not to be wasted.

For the last couple of years I have been dreading each birthday, each addition of years. I wasn’t scared of growing older per se, it was more a matter of my age in line with my goals. I felt that I hadn’t been able to achieve what I felt I was supposed to, what I had wanted to when I was a kid. It’s in the last 2 years that I started to learn that I am exactly where I was supposed to be, exactly how it had been planned, doing exactly what I was supposed to.

So happy almost birthday to me.

Signed

Aisha