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CONSCIENCE

sad-black-coupleThe sun hastily goes down, and so, the hopes of many unmarried couples. Uncertainty engulfs their thinking and their minds are thrown into debates of all kinds. They ask whether or not their choice is worth the while, those who are weak find all manners of faults in their partners. Bitter memories of things not done as per their aspirations blankets the thoughts of the good and beauty that lies in the differences of personalities. The very essence the their relationship, for example, she is a lady and he is a dude. What seemed a rather sweet undertaking is put high on the balance and since most do not know how to juggle the balls, they fall into the precarious place of wishing they undid what they have done. Wishing they had taken not the girl next door or the guy who’d been their best friend for like forever. They forget that blended fabrics make the best combination and that this only serves to weaken theirs. They forget to nurture the beauty that exists in their differences and that it is in this differences that they find a reason to be what they are and who they are to their partners.
As the hours quickly eat up the vagueness of the dark night, their hearts are gripped in a spell binding desire to repay and take of the spoil for when the sun comes up, they know they will be bound by their horrid partners in a quest to gain supremacy over the other, in a desire to build a throne of some sort so that their partners can live in fear of the unknown and in the apparition that they may not do so well without them. This quickly erodes the mind of the most fond memories and of the good side of the coin. It robs the mind of the freedom to associate with good organisational skills and fend for what they believe in. Come the wee hours of the morning when normalcy is about to come, they find themselves in the arms of those they wouldn’t have imagined to be with. The maid, the cook, the prostitute, the pimp (not to say they are not people, they are), the sex toys, the bars, the bottles, the bruises, the cuts, the losses, the hangover and the worst feeling of worthlessness for what they have done with themselves. And that is how our moral fabric is eaten away. That is how most of them wake up with a feeling of heartlessness with no love, no joy, no sorrow, just hollow beings.
My take, I think it would be of undefinable value if we all embraced our differences and worked towards accommodating each other. There is beauty in clay but it is fragile, there is beauty in glass yet it is fragile as well. There is beauty in wood but it is flammable, there is beauty in steel but it rusts still. Point is, all of us have faults, and just because he or she is not up to your expectations does not mean that he or she is not tamable. Clay is baked, glass is framed, steel and wood are coated and at the end of the day, their faults are minimal. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. This we can do by giving us a chance not to be perfectionists but to help attain perfection, to look at both sides of the coin and to respect the institution of the relationship we have between us. And so if you thought he or she was less of what you wanted, stop right there, think twice and help turn make him or her into what you want, otherwise your next catch as you know is either wood, glass, clay, steel or even paper, all great but with their own frailties.

Secrets of the dawn

3 am at the first cock’s crow, she shook me vigorously to awaken.

Startled, confused and half asleep, I dragged to an upstanding posture. I could swear my sweetheart Naliaka was angered in my dreams and my goat America protest this villous action of this cruel woman. But in the village, surety of the next obusuma, or a cob of maize or a pack of boiled yams or a bucket of warm bathing water or the famous pocket money for a mandazi from Okwero the shopkeeper or Kabede the wholesale man only came if you were obedient, heeding the call anytime it was made. This particular one was made deviously early. But I had to heed the call.

Pail in hand, and in file, we set off in the inglorious early morning dark to the Isebere a kilometer and a half a way. We were in luck because if this spring had little or no water, then we would have to walk all the way to Nasira, a small tributary of the greater river Suo or Sio if you are from lower East Nyanza. I learnt that at this time, only hyenas were roaming the tall grasses of the thickets that donned the colorful village terrain. Lucky for us, hyenas were scared of fire and anything taller than they were, the reason why the march leader always had a flaming torch while the rest of us followed with our pails on our head to and from the water spring. This was my first time.

On arrival back to the village, we were ordered to empty our pails of water into large port by the doorstep of the thatched huts and go back for more. I took a detour to the back of these huts to titrate some urine wastes. While I came back, my peers had already set off for the spring. And so I remained hid, to not elicit a reaction from Mama. Curiosity however took the best of me and so I peeped through the crack of wall.

Beside a large dancing flame, mama was frantically tying slits of a torn out blanket around a huge black sooted pot. This particular pot had never existed here until yesterevening when Nalukada had brought it atop her head. I remember following behind her swaying behind because I was curious of the destination of the large pot much so because I had heardthat my uncles small wife, slang for a second wife, came from a long line of people who ate people. I was a small people who could fit perfectly into the pot together with onions, tomatoes, mukhereha and water. But no, it had landed to Mama.

She then poured a couple of bucketful of a fermented mixture that had been brewed for almost two weeks now into the pot. I couldn’t help but laugh in my throat because just a few days ago, my cousin Arichi almost had me drown fishing for sukari nguru in the large plastic water containing hid in a banana plantation. We called it skyplast. We did this so as to fish at least two to four pieces of this mound of sugar from the make shift sugar meal operated by one mama Vivian or the old Desterio’s home. Nguru gives you certain privileges amongst our peers especially in school. For fun you could trade kisses, and hugs and assignments can be completed on your behalf, you could even bribe the class prefect or mud sling Mr. Ngangyi’s name and get away with it, remember that teacher who made my lovely Elizabeth cause a scene? Yes that who said I looked to him like a deaf ghost.

Then meticulously she set a sufuria at that exact point she was tying the blanket strips and the atop, she place a metallic basin of water. She then used a non-conducting ball of cow-dung to seal off the joint between the metallic basin and the huge people cooking pot. I was bewildered and bemused because she had done this so up-tightly that I already knew that it must have been illegal.

From a distance though, I saw my peers coming back with green maize each. I immediately knew what was at play here, the obedient were being repaid. And I want to be paid too. And so on the next trip I carried two pails one for the previous trip to earn a green maize and another for god knows what the reward was to be. But I knew that I had to this because Mama had a hawk-eyed accuracy when it came to telling who obeyed and who did not.

It was now almost day break. It was my turn to go in and have my green maize roasted. I was the last one too. No one would mistake the pleasant early morning smell of dung mixed with livestock urine and the sound of the domesticated birds. My elder cousins, drowsy and hungry brushed their teeth with soap and tree bark and converged into Mama’s house for breakfast before dashing for school. Of course the young ones like Arichi and I would go to school way later and so we were expected to take the cattle down to the grazing fields and tether them. Then our older counterparts would water them in the afternoon and take them grazing in the evening when school was done. I crouched closer to the firestones, eagerly waiting on my green maize and a root of cassava that I had smuggled along in the many trips to the spring for water. Mama was busy titrating a clear liquid that had a strange pungent smell from the large pot into a 5 litre jerry can when she asked me to move closer and sit. I obeyed.

She poured the contents of the 5 litre jerry can into a small glass with a handle and gave to me. ‘‘Drink it all at once she ordered.” And I complied with the order. I was a good obedient boy.

The liquid took a journey along my throat and eventually the stomach, burning and scorching the hell out of me on its way down. I curled and grimaced, jumped up and down and slammed to the floor in thud. The world around me span around. In my mouth, a bad nauseating taste of indistinguishable disgust, distaste and distrust. I drifted slowly into the abyss of drowsiness and uncertain feeling of a huge weight of sleep. Alas, I had learnt the skillful art of how chang’aa was distilled and how it tasted.

I was in my first decade of life.

WHISPERS OF THE LIVING

The interviewee adjusts her microphone, dress, and seat all at once. The tear in her eye speaks of the treacherous journey she has had. Her emotion is both a pain and a subtle undulating realization that reality and fiction are not that different. In fact, fiction thrives on life’s most subtle yet true facts. Its the author who stretches these limits. Challenging the boundaries of realism and sheer belief. Hers is however a reality. A truth. I adjust all other sources of sound and voice to filter out the noise so that I can understand the context of the conversation. The interviewer is candid, brave, and straightforward. By now, there is a stern comparison between the interviewee and the social media post accosting her bitterly. But she is unmoved, her resolve to tell her story is rather admirable.

While many have thought that Kiki’s story is one about a reckless young girl who despite the flurry of knowledge about HIV/AIDS decides to knowingly ignore the said information and the consequences of her decisions and rather opts to engage in risky sexual behavior, I took away some pointers.

First of all, reality has shifted. Most parents today embody the teachings of their yester- parents. This exposes the obvious soft belly of their parenting skills which many do not have as most children are born, unplanned for, and to unready and half-baked parents. The most literal example, is the fact that most parents of today would rather send their children to live with their grandparents in the village only supporting their parenting with nuggets of shopping and occasional money tokens.

Perhaps in the previous generations, there was adequate drumming of the HIV/AIDS prevention messages so much so that everyone genuinely feels that this information has reached everyone. But unknown to many and perhaps taken for granted in the same measure is the simple requirement to pass on this knowledge and information. A lacking part. In addition to this, I am reminded quickly, the need to have a complete or near-complete family unit in addition to giving your child timely and proper sex education or talk. These two items, Kiki lacked and to this, the fact that her mother is untellable and unapproachable, only played in the devil’s hand and she made a couple of decisions that would later deliver her to her current story. This begs the question, what relationships do the teenager today, have with their guardians? Is it a sustainable, happy, relatable, and easy one? Or overtaken by the challenges of parenting and harsh economic times, this painfully lacks? You be the judge of that.

Secondly, every child requires to be in an environment that teaches them responsibility, self-love, and patience. Kiki’s needs sound basic. She just needed money. But this was not money to uphold a lifestyle she could not afford. No. She just needed money for food, money for shelter, and money for clothing. When this lacked and her parent wasn’t keen on ensuring she does not lack these and that she is well equipped to fend for herself in a dignified and meaningful manner, she ended up making horrendous decisions. You may be poor, but it is incumbent upon every parent to ensure that proper teachings of responsibility and self-worth are driven home to every child. Empowering a child to make informed decisions is beyond just taking them to school to study. It is in how we behave around them, our belief and support system, and how we handle adverse economic and financial situations. Of what profit would it be to gain the world and its possessions and lose your own would. And a child?

Thirdly, many of us are in denial about the deteriorating state of the concept of dating and sexual relationships. Specifically, the fact that the biggest determining factor is money and not love and or affection is unfortunate. Our untamed greedy appetite for social media has fogged our minds into culprits of absorbing a certain reality of our environment that in the end has altered our dating habits. In the recent years, growing up was marshalled on what you could and could not consume. Media was not just for everyone. Parents, although in crude methods and with undebatable harshness, filtered what their children watched. Today however, this duty has been abandoned severely. Left to their own devises and sources of information, no filters have been installed and children have been left to consume whatever contenct that pops up. In this regard, this has affected the orientation of persons and many at times, there hasve been many young girls looking to be paid to be in relationships. The pride bestowed on the art of hunting, dating and courting has been replaced byu how much a man has in his bank account. Furthermore, that the prevailiong economic times have allowed many more people to make much more money, there are more men willing to pay these young girls to be in a relationship with them. The end result, loss of life, dignity and dreams. It is still needful for all of us to ensure that we empower the young girl economically and help remove the poverty of the mind so that the predators out there willing to spoil their subtle and huge futures can be stopped in their tracks. Having young girls have sex for as little as Kes 5/- the equivalent of USD 0.05 on the back of a motorbike in a dingy forest is unacceptable and sad. Therefore, the values we once had need be reinforced and rejuvinated. decisions.

Lastly, it is about time to ensure that young girls get all the support they need when it comes to their menstrual health. The lack of goodwill to make sanitary towels available for free is unacceptable. The stigma that comes with menstrual hygiene is just archaic and primitive. Every girl deserves to get these in addition to early sex education, proper condom use, and its availability thereof for anyone sexually active. To assume that our young girls are too young to have sex is a significant and cancerous denial that we need to alleviate. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pray that this will go away on its own. We have to stand in the gap and mediate on behalf of these young girls so as to ensure that this is taken into account and properly sort after. Otherwise, the environment they live in, our parenting misgivings, social media, and the many unscrupulous sex-hungry men out there are ready and willing to destroy these beautiful young souls.

You may watch Kiki’s story on https://youtu.be/sVBu8BKqdNU. You may leave a comment or thoughts on this matter.

A letter to my dearest friend,

What wouldn’t I do to reverse time

A letter to my dearest friend,

He was a proud man. Not arrogant. Proud. He held with high esteem, his values. He loved the family. Nothing moved his heart than the sense of belonging. Nothing ministered to him that the laughter and warmth of a well-knit family enjoying an evening cup tea telling stories into the wild darkness. He entertained the thought of a successful future where he grew old in the arms of the woman he loved and the children he worked hard for and to raise. He never took for granted the time he had, and thus he made sure he called every-time he could. He check in anytime and he loved to check up on me.

When the KDF came calling, he did not waste a second. It was an honorable thing he said, to serve your country. To be on the front line of humanity and reach the hard to reach areas of the country cleaning, building, repainting, constructing and providing other solutions for his citizenry was a dream come true for him. He prepared all his wits and with pride, donned the Kenya Army Uniform. The camouflage of green and brown, badged and trimmed to his fitting. Boots and gloves and a beret with a riffle in his hands. In file and rank, they boarded for the unknown territories. He was spell bound, by the attractive calling. For him, it was never the guns or the prestige or the power or the money. It was a calling that he would spend a part of his life serving his country.

Behind him he left his young bride tending their young babe. A boy conceived and born out of sheer miracles. A statement that God is a man of many impossibilities. She would have wanted badly for him to stay and care for them. For him to stay and love them and be with them and nurture their babe together. But duty called and she had no choice but to accept that he would leave briefly and make it back over the R&R they would be provided. With a tearful smile, a worrisome and anxious heart, she kissed him good bye. His father, knowing all too well the duty bestowed upon his sons shoulders, drabbed him into his chest and hugged him so tightly their hearts could hear each other.

“You come back. Make sure you come back to me.” The old wrinkled man with sagging features said tears welling up the corner of his foggy eyes. He knew the price that some of the men had paid over the years. For me, the young man we played together, lived together and hustled together left me with one word, “You are a good man,” he said, “Make it count.” And just like that, anxiety, eagerness, flattened hope, palpitations and watchful eyes would look out every-day for his return.

We heard in the news that his company was ambushed. And that some men were coming back after the injuries they had suffered. And we all waited to see him. To have him with us. To tend to his wounds and care for his soul. Everyone else seemed to have made it back. Apart from him. And then it began to dawn on us. May be he was amongst the men unaccounted for. And then we began to realize the scores of other family huddled in corners weeping incontrollable. They had been given their sons and daughters uniforms. And we knew then that there had been some deaths. For us and a couple of others, nothing was given. We stared in anguish and sorrow, not knowing what to do, think, say or imagine. He was unaccounted for.

We turned to ourselves and retreated back home with a cautious optimism and hope. And yet many years and months and weeks and days and hours later, he has never showed. We wait with anxiety for any news on his where about but nothing has suffices. We miss him. I miss him, painfully. And more bitterly because I do not know where he is. No one knows.  And so the guilt for the days and times I took for granted, for the calls I never returned, for texts I never answered, for the invites I never showed and for the love I never showed I had for him, I am haunted, hurt, anguished, shamed and saddened. And I pray to the heavens to give unto me just one more chance. One more chance to hold his hand like we used to when we young and little, smile and laugh at his cocky jokes and tell him how much I love him.

A man in boots comes home from wherever, take time to appreciate them. Many of them live on borrowed lives, many walk tight thin ropes and many suffer silently from the trauma of their jobs. Take time to tell them everything your heart desires and give them and show them love. For me, I still hope that one day, I will hear a knock on the door, and there he shall stand, well accounted for. But until that day, I will still hold a flame in my heart, a prayer in my soul and hope that you will come back. To me. To us.

But until then, I will always miss you Mike.

ANSWERED PRAYER

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is prayer.jpg

When one prays, it is said, they should have their hands wide open and their hearts subtle and full of faith and hope that the prayer will be answered. It is also said that when one prays, they should be careful to pray for the wisdom to handle the answers that the prayers bring along with them. But to pray, you have to believe. You have to be full of belief in your heart, you have to have the conviction in your mind and you have to be honest with yourself that the prayer and petition you are putting forth has the answer that will be a testimony to yourself and your life and through you, an instrument to perpetuate that love of God can be found.

Does God answer prayers? Does He allow us to have the things that we have prayed for? Does He respect our timelines and plans? Is there a criterion that He uses to select those whose prayers He will answers and or will delay? Does God still answer your prayers irrespective of the mess you have made of yourselves? Despite the wrongs, the doubtful heart and disbelieving mind?

I prayed to God in earnest to gift me something. This was a gift unlike any other. I knew deep down that I did not deserve it due to the many attempts I had made to trying to fix my own problems related to this gift. In so doing I had messed up pretty big time. And I was convinced that due to my messes, this was not a gift within my reach. I do not know whether the sincerity in my prayer or the faith and consistency were anything to go with. But I made the prayer anyways. And I believed with all my heart that I dearly needed the answer to this prayer. And I knew too that if this prayer was answered I would change the way I viewed and lived life. I even made promises to myself and to God that should He answer this prayer, I would be a changed man. And yet a whole year passed by with several non endearing events that made me question my beliefs.

However, after that year, and after God allowing me to learn what I did not want to become, He gave me a sign to my prayer. And within a month, he fulfilled the petition. Squarely. At first, I did not know how to be grateful and thankful. But when I explained my testimony, I realized that what I needed was faith in God and trust in His time. He has a perfect plan that is flawless. He has promises and blessings that are yes and Amen. You should try too.

A sandal and a foot

Her screams were silenced by his ignorant mourning and groaning. He did not want to stop from the look of things despite the chant and screams from all over the place. She could not understand why and what brought him to this moment. A moment bloated by obvious pain, anguish and disgust. It appeared the more she herald him, the more she ignited his ire and vexed initiative to determinately complete his task. A task that seemed evil, ordinate and ambiguously meted on a small boy balled up in a tattered blood stained shirt. When she attempted to disentangle him, he shoved her aside in one mighty swipe of his left arm exposing a strong masculine arm with numerous dilated veins. His eyes filled with ominous rage. They were blood shot and exhibit a pure abhorrence for this ball of despicable shame.

On the flow, curled up into a bundle of pain, his little hands not doing enough to conceal the rest of his body, his mouth drooled in a bloody drool. His face was swollen and so was his feet and arms and back that bore hit marks from the leather belt that had a sinfully strong buckle. His sobs were uncontrollable and he kept drifting in and out of consciousness. He looked like a thief on whom mob justice had meted an unfavorable judgement. He wondered of his unwanted existence, swallowing painfully the saliva that formed in his mouth. He glanced up and so the frozen image of the man he admired all his life. The man he considered would make him feel safe and wanted and protected and cared for. In his eyes however, he saw his disgust for the woman who carried him into this world. He saw the regret of his very existence and in shame, drooped his head to await further thrashing. He knew that he had walked a tight rope and got to the end of it and there was no way out for him, weather to continue or to stop.

His chest hurt with the pain throbbing alongside every single beat of feeble heart. He rued this very moment. Then he looked in a side glance at the love pf his life, straddled on the hard rocky floor and wincing in pain from the fall. He saw the man walk majestically toward him in mighty strides. Grabbing her by the arm, he pulled her to a standing position and wrapped his strong fingers around her neck, squeezing the life out of her. She coughed and blurted some words that fell on her deaf ear. The little boy managed up and tagged at his leg begging and pleading for her dear life. “Njire esie, rekha kukhu ave.”- “Kill me instead, leave grand ma alone.” He managed.

Now the whole neighborhood had gathered to witness. How could a man be filled with so much anger and detest for his own flesh and blood? How could he not even respect his very own mother? Instead held her neck as though he had the power of life and death over her? What had the two done to deserve such inhumane treatment? These were questions in their heads and hearts that did not reach the perpetrator who now had begun to calm down at the pleading whispers of the old woman in his grip. He let her go and ordered the little boy to let go off his leg which the boy did and rushed to his corner of pain and devastation. A boy whom at ten years had no name and was only referred to as the son of soil, or the son of the river bank. The old woman called him the son of luck. For he was delivered to her doorstep on a cold rainy evening in a season that yielded immensely for the farming people of that village.

The man pulled up his shirt exposing his chiseled abs and made to put on his belt still panting from the exhaustion of the judgement he had just meted. Just then, the little boy realized the love of his life was in the process of doing a despicable act. One that was revered and is still revered in the whole of the land of Wanga. An act that was considered ominous and that attracted unforetold curses with it. He was still writhing in pain, shaking from fear and his sob was not abating. He could not talk, nor raise his self and thus, he managed to raise his finger feebly. To signal his father in the direction of his grandmother who had clutched the hem of her soiled dress, cursing and coursing. She was bent in jumble and was making to raise up.

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Ted Nnamdi

Her screams were silenced by his ignorant mourning and groaning. He did not want to stop from the look of things despite the chant and screams from all over the place. She could not understand why and what brought him to this moment. A moment bloated by obvious pain, anguish and disgust. It appeared the more she herald him, the more she ignited his ire and vexed initiative to indeterminately complete his task. A task that seemed evil, ordinate and ambiguously meted on a small boy balled up in a tattered blood stained shirt. When she attempted to disentangle him, he shoved her aside in one mighty swipe of his left arm exposing a strong masculine arm with numerous dilated veins. His eyes filled with ominous rage. They were blood shot and exhibit a pure abhorrence for this ball of despicable shame.

On the flow, curled up into a bundle of pain, his little hands not doing enough to conceal the rest of his body, his mouth drooled in a bloody drool. His face was swollen and so was his feet and arms and back that bore hit marks from the leather belt that had a sinfully strong buckle. His sobs were uncontrollable and he kept drifting in and out of consciousness. He looked like a thief on whom mob justice had meted an unfavorable judgement. He wondered of his unwanted existence, swallowing painfully the saliva that formed in his mouth. He glanced up and so the frozen image of the man he admired all his life. The man he considered would make him feel safe and wanted and protected and cared for. In his eyes however, he saw his disgust for the woman who carried him into this world. He saw the regret of his very existence and in shame, drooped his head to await further thrashing. He knew that he had walked a tight rope and got to the end of it and there was no way out for him, weather to continue or to stop.

His chest hurt with the pain throbbing alongside every single beat of feeble heart. He rued this very moment. Then he looked in a side glance at the love pf his life, straddled on the hard rocky floor and wincing in pain from the fall. He saw the man walk majestically toward him in mighty strides. Grabbing her by the arm, he pulled her to a standing position and wrapped his strong fingers around her neck, squeezing the life out of her. She coughed and blurted some words that fell on her deaf ear. The little boy managed up and tagged at his leg begging and pleading for her dear life. “Njire esie, rekha kukhu ave.”- “Kill me instead, leave grand ma alone.” He managed.

Now the whole neighborhood had gathered to witness. How could a man be filled with so much anger and detest for his own flesh and blood? How could he not even respect his very own mother? Instead held her neck as though he had the power of life and death over her? What had the two done to deserve such inhumane treatment? These were questions in their heads and hearts that did not reach the perpetrator who now had begun to calm down at the pleading whispers of the old woman in his grip. He let her go and ordered the little boy to let go off his leg which the boy did and rushed to his corner of pain and devastation. A boy whom at ten years had no name and was only referred to as the son of soil, or the son of the river bank. The old woman called him the son of luck. For he was delivered to her doorstep on a cold rainy evening in a season that yielded immensely for the farming people of that village.

The man pulled up his shirt exposing his chiseled abs and made to put on his belt still panting from the exhaustion of the judgement he had just meted. Just then, the little boy realized the love of his life was in the process of doing a despicable act. One that was revered and is still revered in the whole of the land of Wanga. An act that was considered ominous and that attracted un-foretold curses with it. He was still writhing in pain, shaking from fear and his sob was not abating. He could not talk, nor raise his self and thus, he managed to raise his finger feebly. To signal his father in the direction of his grandmother who had clutched the hem of her soiled dress, cursing and coursing. She was bent in jumble and was making to raise up.

 

DRINK IN PEACE AND BE VIGILANT!!

It is a sexy thing when a woman walks into a club, singles out her match and approaches him, even buying him a drink. This portrays a well-manicured woman who has strived and carved out her own niche. She has her own money and thus can afford her style and needs. It is a turn on. And every man in their own awkward way would like to have that woman. But in a club, never leave and return to a drink. Pour it all and ask for another glass. And unless you have known them for a while, beware of those beautiful well-kept women who seem to have it all under control. And don’t go flushing out hugs either. All that glitters is no gold.

Stanley was my work mate. A stellar performer. He had his way of doing things. A man from the slopes pf mount Kenya, you would be mistaken at how he articulated his spoken word. Wondrous and filled with huge vocabulary. Audibly curt and sharp as a kinsman suit. A self-motivated lot, he was fun being around. Stanley never asked for, mahindi choma, he asked for barbecued corn, and boerewors for mutura. He stunned me. Had me captivated and locked to him like I was spell bound. He had already began his own concept of Airbnb. A three bedroomed apartment he had rented offered sanctuary, bed and breakfast for visitors in Nakuru. He knew how to make an extra coin. A salesperson by profession, Stanley would sell you your own kidney and you would buy it. And he had an interesting ritual. At the end of a hard day, he loved gobbling a cold ugly bottle of guiness or two or three, as his spirit would lead.

And then he had this following of friends I perceived were great and special. The kind with charisma, only speaking fluent intimidating English among other languages. Those snobbish pretty women with locks on their head that read huge books bigger than their bums in inordinate places like a noisy java restaurant and played weird instruments of music like the flute, or ukulele or that thing guys blow air through and build up their lung and mouth and neck muscles in the process. The harmonica. An instrument I did not know had many different types. Those handsome bearded men who had a slang we all knew was from Nairobi. Lang’ata and Buru especially. Those that drove entry level Mercs or VWs or Subaru and who seemed to have the purchasing power for nothing but alcohol and junk food and light skinned women. I looked up to this guy and I wanted to be in his circle. Even if it meant orbiting at the very periphery of his circle of ornamental friends. And him being him, he offered to drag me into the inner circle. My excitement was inexplicable. I looked forward like a small boy from Busibwabo awaiting to travel to Buore Kabala, the city of Nairobi aboard Shaggy or Akamba even though all it meant was that he would stand in the isle all the journey long dozing and spewing his drooling saliva on whomever cared to give him a shoulder or thigh to lean on.

“After work, lets go grab a beer” he had offered and I obliged as a slave.

Wednesday evening.

It had been a tedious day. Working in a state of the art imaging lab whose reliability and consistency in patient reports had grown bigger than the dreams of the 2013 government had its own demerits. One of them being that the patient flow was astronomical. To add on, being one of the elite in operating equipment and giving diagnoses meant that your presence would end for the day after the last client. But I was determined. I clocked the last client at slightly past 630pm and in anticipation, pulled down my doctors white coat and signed out for the day. The day Stanley and I would share a drink and the sensei would let me in on the secret of how he is who he is.

Nakuru is a different place to be in. Despite the fact that the person you like has most likely been in a relationship with someone you know, it is a town that has seen a sudden surge in real estate development and spring up of recreational facilities. One such place was a new, ultra-modern bar, RAFIKIZ nestled along Kenyatta Avenue at the junction of Merica hotel and the expensive CBA building standing alongside other banks. Its theme was gothic with an African touch. I was used to cool and quiet places. Never a fan of loud places that insisted on playing loud ear deafening music. But for Stanley, I had to bend some rules. I folded the sleeves of my sky blue shirt and loosened my cravat. I hadn’t had a chance to go change. After all, the night was supposed to be short.

Stanley was in the company of a couple young female doctors on internship. It was easy for me to fit in. However, they were all on a tight leash and that meant that our company was not welcomed beyond a gentleman’s handshake. We exchanged pleasantries and made way to the bar where we both found stools. I ordered a cold Guinness. Just like Stanley had ordered. I was bewildered. Young girls, arching their backs forward danced in an almost well-choreographed pattern intentionally wiggling and rubbing their behinds against the crouches of ever willing men who were intoxicated beyond sanity. Some were still sober as a judge though. ‘It begins with confidence Moses. You must believe that you are on earth for a reason. And like everyone else, you are flesh and blood. Therefore, no one is superior. Remember that if you had the same opportunities and time, you would be at the same level or better than them. So don’t look down on yourself. You can be and are as great as they are. Even better’ Stanley struggled to voice over the loud music. ‘So it begins within. The same way when patients come to you, irrespective of their status, obliging and giving you access to their bodies and telling you everything you ask, is the same way you should give value to self. Attract the good positive vibes to you first. Be a great you’ he continued.

For a person who was onto his third bottle, he sounded very inspiring. The kind that makes want to buy everyone a drink in the club. He made sense and oozed wisdom. And as a student I listened intently. It had been more than three hours since we had sat down. After gulping everything in his glass he made for the urinals. And I sat there, pondering. In a moment’s time, he was back. He poured the contents of his bottle into a fresh glass which he had demanded from the bartender. And I never understood because no one had defiled his old glass. However, I would understand the logic of his actions later that night.

There was more general talk. I nodded, moved closer at times and listened. Then without notice, a woman of about 27 approached our sitting spaces at the bar. She was dark skinned and had a curiously attractive burst. Her body proportions were rather well mathematicised. Not too much and not too less. The make up on her face did her justice. She looked expensive with jewelry that shimmered in the disco lights of the club. Her perfect set of teeth missed a tooth in the left upper jaw. And she had locks on her head. Pretty sublime results for a first lesson. She ordered for a glass of wine and a bottle of guiness for Stanley and me. As you might speculate, this was a complete turn on.

I searched my brain for articles of interest to such a beautiful woman in a bar. I had to master the confidence Stanley had just lectured me about. ‘I am about done Moses, I would like to leave. Shall we go?’ He asked. I frowned at him indicating that I wanted to see the end of this evening and reading in between the blurry lines, he nodded and in a moment he left. My attention now shifted to this mysterious being from nowhere. There was dancing and singing along, and more dancing intervened by the occasional sip from our glasses until I felt a natures call and decided I must go and empty. I left her at the bar and headed for the washroom, my glass half full. Unlike the ladies, guys rarely queue at the urinal unless someone is vomiting or sleeping in it, and so I was swift. Took about 3 minutes and was back. The music was now boring, and thus we sat at the bar again.

Taking to my drink, I noticed an unfamiliar taste. I wasn’t much of a beer that only a few moments ago Stanley had introduced to me. It tasted a tad different and I fought between discarding it and believing that I was just a clumsy drunken lot. If you think I was stupid enough to go on and finish the glass of beer I had left behind, you are right. And it took not more than five minutes for me to get really out of a sobriety grasp. Suddenly, I was drunk as hell, my head spinning and my self-awareness waning faster than a slay queens patience. I staggered, something my drink buddies had made clear I never did. I stammered and became incoherent. Inaudible even. I knew I had to leave this place and having not had any pending bills I staggered to the exit. My ‘guest’ followed. I had no means home. I relied on public transport and a tuktuk seamed a great option.

As luck would have it, the first tuktuk rider I meant was an old friend of mine. He had been picking me up as a daily ritual and dropping me to work. We knew each other personally. He knew my 7 year old daughter whom he dropped to school regularly. He knew I was unmarried. And he also knew that never had I ever introduced a woman to him and neither had I ever gone clubbing and took someone with me. For the sanity and sanctity of my daughters respect and dignity. Today though, the script was different. I had a female company. “Niaje Ted, Leo umebeba?” He spoke utterly dismayed. I was defensive. ‘Niko pekee yangu, huyu simjui’ I retorted. ‘Tuko pamoja, ni kulewa tu amelewa’ the woman whom I had not bothered to know even her name said. And just like that, my tuktuk rider was sold albeit some suspicion. As if sensing his genuine disbelief, this woman did an unthinkable trick. At the westerly side of the Merica hotel was a 24hr drug store. She stopped the young lad and gave him some money. ‘Tubuyie condoms’ she cooed. And the lad was sold.

We rode home. His small speaker fought to voice over the tuktuk’s ugly rat-a-tat-tat. The music was by a certain mugithi fellow. I didn’t understand any bit of it. In my stupor this lady kept making me sip from a can of redbul. ‘It will make you feel better’ she said. Only that it made the whole situation worse.

Naka is a beautiful estate with magnificent apartments. It was proximal to town and for a man who had sold his previous car for some shares in a company that had later on closed shop and declared bankruptcy, this was an important factor. I worked at the distal end of the Kenyatta Avenue. My apartment building was beautiful, pricey I bet. Large sprawling black gates, gay lighting of the building, a security office with a telephone in it and a large parking lot that boasted many car models. I knocked once and asked the guard to let me in. He spared no minute. ‘Karibu daktari’ he said letting me in. I staggered in as the scarlet woman followed. Yes, I later learnt she was one such, on a daily duty. I took two flights of stairs and arrived at the alcove of my apartment E. I reached under the door lock slot but the door opened instantaneously. My house keeper Vivian, who saved my life and property that night, stood at the door. A towering slender young adult who always had the sweaty scent of a teenager looked beside herself. ‘Who is this’ she asked. ‘I do not know. She will sleep on the divan, get her a blanket. Is Stacy asleep? Did she eat? And finish her homework?’ I inquired. She nodded and went on to lock the door as I found my way to my daughter’s bedroom. I kissed her on her forehead cursing the ominous order from my drunken mouth.

Vivian emerged with some blankets and sheets. We met at the hallway. I barely removed my shoes and slumped into bed like a sack of potatoes. No sooner had Vivian shut her bedroom door than this woman arrived into my room. She took off her shoes and rolled up her short skirt then carefully climbed into the bed onto my supinated body. She made attempts to kiss me, roughly tried to touch every place she figured would arouse me. I had one goal on my mind. To sleep. And shake off this feeling. I shook her off. ‘I am married, leave me alone’ I mumbled. I then turned prone and crossed my arms in my groin as if to fend off any advance. She went silent. I got peace to sleep. But at a distance, I had the clutter of someone sifting through things as though to find something. Then a gentle shutting of the door and a fading Vivian, ‘Baba Stacy, mgeni ameenda’

I woke up feeling like three days old shit. Decomposed and decayed. Every bit of me ached. I had the headache of twelve dwarf’s hammering away at a mine. My guts were at war, but I had nothing to spew. I reached for my phone to call work and explain my uncharacteristic lateness and eventual absentia. It was not there. And neither was a kobo e-reader I had recently acquired and that I was planning to gift Stacy, and my iPad (those things were expensive back in the day), and my watches –I am stickler for time pieces-and my wallet had only forty Kenyan shillings. My inadvertent guest had of course bagged everything she could place in her big bag. And that’s when it dawned on me. I had been drugged. And robbed. Slightly. And had I had no one in the house, your guess is as good as mine. ‘Ningehamishwa’ to another apartment in a place I didn’t know.

I jumped into the showers, struggling to stay sane and strong. I needed to shower and get to hospital. Then find a way of communicating my ordeal and await scolding, being laughed at and pity all in equal measure. But I was lucky, lucky because as I learnt, it could have gone south. There had been many reported cases with ugly stories that included even death due to this unscrupulous people’s unsated appetite for easy money. Easy wealth. In fact in that same week, a government official went through the same ordeal. He had however fallen in the cusp of organized criminals who took him around town withdrawing money from his accounting and the following and the day after and thereafter abandoned him in Ngata and his car in Rongai. This was the final nail in the coffin for the club we seemed to love. It had been under condemnation for the many street parties that attracted noise pollution and rowdy revelers. It met its death, but not the cruel some deathly business carried out by these perpetrators most of whom are women. I have friends as recent as 4, 3, 2 weeks ago form today that have suffered this same ordeal.

A RED LETTER DAY

To me, it was laughable that a girl would get pregnant on her first exposure to sexual intercourse. Until 27.09.2006.

The warm mid-morning December air blew across the bare lawns of my village home. The smell of the overnight burnt cow dung filled the atmosphere and we inhaled it with certain conviction as if it were a drug we enjoyed. Scattered chicken clucked around pecking and scratching at the ground for insects and tender leaves. My aunt staggered to the grazing fields with a handful of goats and a herd of three cattle. She was going to fix a tether for them and only show up to water them and change their tethers. My dearest friend and cousin Mike stared in the distance. I never quite could comprehend whatever he was staring at. He was the kind that would take time to plan and articulate stuff then suddenly think aloud and before you know it, he had a plan to do this and that. I admired his desire and ambition. Nothing seemed to ever put him down, not even the state of hopelessness that courted us. Then.

Our day had begun at dawn. 5 am to be precise. We had hustled on some warm clothes and threw our hoes onto the shoulder and went to work a piece of land that belonged to a former government accountant. Mr. Luande. The work was enormous and tedious, the pay was meagre. But it was better than nothing. And you see at the end of it all, we got the chance to see Winny. Winny was a distant relative of our employer. A young, pretty girl who had completed high school at Lwak girls. Unfortunately, she had been pregnant too and thus after she delivered, she was sentenced to stay with Mr Luande and his wife, for the all-important task of being taught how to live life responsibly. This did not take away her beauty. And we were both into her. However, my cousin stood a better chance. A former school captain, he knew how to speak to women, something my damaged self-esteem could not wield. And she was pretty as a morning bloomed sunflower. I knew, she was beyond me.

In a distance, a figure emerged. A dark skinned, shapely young lady who had a spring in her step. She had long braids on her head and wore a dozen wrist bands. Her dress was velvet and light purple and it did well to hug her body. She had the curves to make you lose a nerve. “My oh my” my cousin lamented. ‘Mkhana oyo no mulayi da’ he added. ‘Nimulayi kweli. Uno fwa san aye. Yewe ori nende mundu tayari’ I replied. Within seconds, we had convened a meeting and decided that I will try my luck with this young girl. I was timid and shy. And all my life, I had never had a real girlfriend, you know where you do real boyfriend and girlfriend stuff. But I had insisted that I will try my luck on this one. For a first. And my cousin would second me.

‘Mulembe. Ano nie oabwe Emma?’ She saluted us and asked for directions in the same breath. Quite the attitude and nerve she had. But she had this voice that gripped the mind. She had this smile that made you jelly and thus she had me at her salutation. ‘Haba, oabwe Emma ni mwalo’ My cousin answered. ‘Nawe oningalanga endie. Ori mudimbe’ she asked. ‘Haba’ I managed in almost a whisper. And she walked in the direction my cousin had showed her.

The debate about her ensued soon after. I was not best suited to go after her. I should try luck somewhere else, my cousin urged on. I was desperate to prove a point and as we strode down to the river for a bath and more gossip, I kept thinking what I could do to get this girl. Our usual ritual of swimming, bathing, then swimming again and going to peep at naked women bathing and or washing clothes upstream was performed and once we had had enough we put our plastic sewn pieces of maize sacs and our bar soap wrapped in leaves and walked home. My cousin had a date later on with a girl named Edith. I had an open afternoon.

I arrived at the drinking den slightly passed 430pm. This was after a little reading in a house I inherited after my dear beloved grandma kicked the bucket. May her soul rest in eternal bliss. I loved books. At that time I was a PTA volunteer teacher in a local primary and secondary school earning less that Kes 750/-. I had nothing going on really. The resignation I had weighed heavier than a ton of cotton dipped in a salty sea. I had been kicked out of home with neither of my parents not wanting anything to do with me. I had been condemned to a purposeless life. And my ambition was to work as a PTA teacher for the rest of my life, drink my liver to cirrhosis and marry to have as many children as the alphabet could name. I had achieved the first two. Now I needed a wife. To marry. With no house, no job, no hope. But I was determined to get this fixed tonight.

My fellow patrons applauded as we set the table for shots. Let me explain something. There is nothing on earth that burns your esophagus than a glass of chang’aa brewed and distilled by a widow whose livelihood depended on how hot or bitter her brew must be. That thing burns you like it is demon possessed. But I had been used to it. We took shots and after moments of squirming and balling into balls of pain and pleasure at the same time, a separate table with a folding chair was set for me. My only companion was a poisonous young adult. A herdsman who had been paid that evening. He worked for a man we knew as Dado Nyabola.  A man of substance and wealth. One who had married three wives who he settled into one compound and built each a one story house plus a car. So this young man had the money. And I was 19. With my life on the sleeve. The rounds kept coming. We kept guzzling and alas towards 830pm, my cousin Emma emerged. And guess who was in her company? The girl in the velvet light purple dress with long braids and a dozen wristbands. My dream had come true.

Alcohol gives you a sense pf courage. Or rather it brings out the version of you that would normally be locked away on an average day. I summoned her. ‘What is your name?’ I stammered. ‘Marry’ she answered. ‘I am the best mathematics, English, physics and biology teacher there is in the whole of Sikoma. I raised mathematics mean score of my pupils from 36.8 to 45.2 in six months. A class of 64. And I have more pupils speaking English more fluently. Biology and Physics? I don’t even want to get started. I am a smart man as you see me.’ I made my opening statement to which every patron agreed readily and added on more unsolicited praise. ‘What can you teach me?’ she asked. ‘I have heard you have never seen a woman naked’ she added before I could utter any words. She was right. And she shut my basket mouth. She leaned closer to me so that I could smell the chang’aa on her breath and said ‘I dare you to take me with you tonight.’ A very straight forward and chilling offer.

We staggered to my cousin’s house. I was many things but not uninformed. I had just read about the damning statistics on HIV/AIDS. I intended to be safe. I asked my cousin for some protection and he gave me a couple of silver pack protective. I knew for sure that that night was going to be a long busy night.

The dancing flames of the kerosene lamp lit away the night. The night breeze seemed to make them unwillingly possessed. It was dim, but enough. Without notice, Mary pull off her light purple velvet dress and under garments. She stood there, naked. And I looked away, shy and forbidding. I had palpitations, she was well in command. She reached for my hand and pulled it towards her bosom. For some reason, I seemed to have developed contractures. My arm would not leave the side of my thorax. I curled on into a heap of fear. But she reached out again, and with one swift swoop, put out the flame of the kerosene lamp. I could hear my heart beating. Loud and clumsy. She reached for me again and I grudgingly obliged. Slowly, but smoothly, my clothes fell off exposing my small tight buttocks and the bare chest of a teenage boy. She dragged me close to her and pulled my hand to her chest. To her young and tender breasts. And I had a standing ovation. Immediately. ‘Let’s go to bed’ she whispered.

There was very little touching and caressing, and or kissing. Much because I did not know how or what was supposed to be done. In moments time she pulled me on top her. I pulled out the protection I had, and thanks to a theater group of the name New Vision, I had learnt how to put on one, I did. And she guided. It was not as smooth as I thought or had seen in movies and she had these moves, the kind that have taken me a couple more years on top of 21 to understand. Funnily, whenever the tadpoles were about to go free, I pulled out quickly. Scared. Freaked. I would then pull of the protection and after ages of reassuring and convincing from her, I would don another one and we would go again and the cycle continued until finally, the unexpected happened. She timed just after she had convinced me that it was okay and we could try again and as I went on top of her, locked me in her thighs and with a quick but decisive move, pulled of the protection and yanked me into the honey pot. And just like that, I lost my virginity. And the next day, and the day after. And then she disappeared from the village. Like a ghost. A mystery that I could not solve. I later learnt that she had gone back to her parents.

27.09.2006.

I had just finished a math lesson in class 7. A messenger was awaiting at the staffroom. His news? Mary had been admitted at the Busia district hospital. The baby was coming. A baby that was made on my very first sexual encounter. An encounter from Sikoma. She had decided to come at a time when I had nothing. Not in my pocket or under the mattress. I borrowed a bicycle we had named locomotive from my friend Peter Moses and rode to the market to a shop ran by a man called Makokha. I asked him for a loan, which he obliged but in form of merchandise. I picked what my mind could put together. What I did not pick is what I forgot then rode the 34km stretch to the hospital where I found Mary with a chubby little bundle of joy in her arms. She was a spitting image of her, or me as people put it. It was a difficult yet happy day to say. Difficult because we had to sell a goat to raise Kes 1,625/- for hospital bills. I could not afford this money. I only had Kes 427/- with me. Happy day because as life would have it, this little bundle of joy changed my perspective of life, brought with her mended fences and gave me a reason. To look forward to another day. I named her Stacy Martins.

 

ARE BURIALS IN KENYA A SCAM?

“Raise your hand if you have ever been scammed.” I asked.

The whole hall shot their hands up and aptly conjured murmurs to support their hands.

“Raise your hand if you have ever been scammed into hefty contributions to a burial of someone you did not know” I added. The response was the same. And this was a great opportunity to continue my lecture on that day. On a matter that left the audience unsure whether they should clap, shake their heads, walk out or simply consider me deranged.

The loss of a loved one is a very painful experience. The void that that person leaves and the fact the persons left behind will have to find a way to get through the experience is sometimes unfathomable.  Many mourn for indescribable periods. Some take the grief out on others, blaming themselves and even wanting to harm themselves. Others quickly get depressed while others suffer heightened unwanted health problems. Heart attacks, rapture of an aneurysm, Tako Tsubo cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome. Yet some see an opportunity to profit from the deceased.

In the African culture, once a person ceases to leave, they transcend into a state of finding their path to their ancestors or the underworld. The dead body is revered and most person keep off of it. In fact, the next mode of action was to dispose of the remains soonest so as to avoid the anguish of the persons spirits or his ancestors. Persons viewed to have contributed in any way to the deceased untimely demise were shunned. Even those who were with him/her in his/her final moments. They are sort after with the accusation of being witches or wizards. They undergo rites that involve slaying of black furred or feathered animals whose blood is poured in libations and chanting to make amends with the gods. There was no “he told me right before he died” or “He died in my arms.” The relatives depending on the relation they had would shave bald their heads, others would smear certain types of ochre on their faces, others would wear sac cloths. Some relatives would travel from vast distances to be part of the send-off for the deceased. The wailing and mourning would begin and be heard from as far as ten or more kilometers away.

The whole village would share in the sorrow of the loved one. It is true that we all belong to the community. There are those that would brew liquor, there are those that would happily labor at the deceased’s family, digging the grave and clearing bushes to allow for sitting and gatherings, but many would bring along commodities to aid in the final journey of the deceased. Many would bring along food items. Within certain points of the compound there would be persons waiting with large sacs to receive these commodities. Most were farm produce and livestock, all that would be used in the ceremony. No one was however coerced. It was on a -scratch your back where your hand can reach furthest- basis. And whatever was left behind would go to supporting the family that bore the loss. The magnitude of this contributions would depend on which family member was lost. For a father or uncle or village elder or a wife and a mother or grandmother was all different. Even children would bring along varied contributions.

Today however, with civilization and varied levels of societal growth, things have changed. Most people have become unscrupulous. As soon as a person falls dead, an appeal is sent out asking people to dig deep and give the deceased a send off he or she deserves. Question is, who is this person or persons who sit and judge this person’s sendoff? Does the deceased include in his will or final moments how he would like to be buried? When they are alive, do people endeavor to give him the life they deserve? I mean, he/she is already dead, what’s the fuss about this sendoff? Who is the beneficiary of this sendoff? Is it not the people who are still alive and will bathe in the spectacle of the burial? Does it mean that the hypocrisy accorded to the fallen will catalyze his decomposition or the deceased’s gods will look down at him and be like “well they did a great job at his ceremony” or “well he elicited this compassionate response from the people he left behind therefore lets let him into a good place?” I bet not and frankly I do not get it.

It is fool hardy to go through this kind of trouble well knowing that nothing done after the death of a loved one will contribute to his wellbeing. And do not get me wrong, give to Caesar what belongs to him but do not paint a pig in delightful colors with the hope that it will stay pristine at a pool of mud. You will basically be ploughing a mango farm by the road side. And where exactly did we transition to this kind of behavior I mean, check this out, in the north of South Sudan and amongst the people who lived along the Bhahr Ghazal or Bhahr Jebel, it has been recorded that traditionally, when a loved one passes on, his/her body is strewn up a large tree with diverse flora and fauna. Then a large gourd or pot of water and some sorghum or maize or another cereal consumable by birds would be set right beside his or her lifeless body. They would leave the body there and the area cordoned off for quite a while. Of course, wild animals together with birds would get a meal for the while.

In the deep forests of central and northern DRC, when one dies, he or she is made a small hurt with a very small outlet for a little air. Then they would take a kerosene lamp and fill it then set it alight. The the dead would be left in their solitude with a kerosene lantern burning on its wick. The hut would be sealed off to resemble a large kiln for baking bricks. In western Kenya, folk tale has it that the dead would be sat in a tomb and given all the valuables they would need to transcend to the next world. This was a prerogative of the deceased’s family and what was given to the dead weren’t new items, rather, most commodities were things that the deceased owned before. His favorite actually. A bicycle, a cap, a walking stick, even his favorite pair of boots for him to walk through the wacky mucky lands of the dead as he found his way to a better place.

In ancient Egypt, magnificence was left to the royal families. They and the money or taxes to spoil themselves with. Otherwise, no average Egyptian was mummified or buried in a tomb with gold and silver et al. The Islam burry you the next minute you are dead. They follow the teachings that say, let the dead burry the dead. There is no fuss about the whole ideology of having a proper send off. In fact, their interpretation is that if they can get you rolled up into a white linen or silk sheet, and perfumed with very nice and sometimes expensive incense then put you into the ground before a certain hour, usually sunset, then you have been accorded the best befitting send-off. There are many examples to write about, but there is none that builds on the precipice of using the death of a loved one to commoditize or monetize individual contributions. It is a rotten belief that one should coerce his friends and foes alike as well as persons they haven’t talked to in years to contribute towards a proper send off for their dear departed. It is fine if it is a hospital bill that needs to be settled, otherwise there is a good reason why it does not make any human sense to lavish the burial of a person you did not lavish or touch their lives with the same valor when they were alive. It is selfish, mean and irking to the respects of the departed. To add salt to injury, there are those that open doors to corrupt officials and politicians to grace these occasions and spew political rhetoric, lies and some hate speech while at it. Despicable.

This is a true reflection of the Kenyan spirit, to want at all cost to be seen or heard to have associated with the high and mighty and or people to talk about the burial of your loved one in big words for how many professional mourners you hired and the buffet of food, and the high and mighty that graced the occasion. Everything has become about competing to demonstrate to someone or people that you are a big deal. But who really defends the dead? And do you do that in the hope that he or she will be at peace with you? What are the ends to these mundane activities of using the deceased’s lifeless body to advance your personal agenda? May they rest in peace you say while you hover around the whole country with a lifeless body and coerce the people around you to foot exorbitant bills for costs you, the living, makes up and or accumulate.

Folks, no death is spectacular. There is no award for the best most dead person. Or for the most tragic of deaths or the funky celebrations thereafter. When you cease to breathe, that’s it, your brain follows and your heart literally gives in and your soul begins its next journey. To respect the dead, do not use their mishap to your pyramid schematic of a sendoff he deserves. Only do what is enough and what you can afford. For us, allow us to come with our yams and sorghum and maize and beans or even empty handed to pay our last respects.

Help that person live the best life they could ever live when they are still breathing and can hold you tight and thank you for your incredible input in their lives. Shower them with gifts, when they celebrate milestones invite us or even coerce us to contribute to their success but you will be damned if you attempt to rise to the occasion when they are dead to try and pacify your immoral greed to demonstrate to them that you cared. We will come in large numbers, but we will also shun you with the same magnitude.

The death of a loved one and their burial should not be a financial scam.