One thing that I know I ought to work on is consistent blogging, however this season is my season of writing and submitting my work for review so I find myself spending more time away from posting here.
The first week of September to me has been filled with travel, work ( wrapping up projects, initiating new ones), reading and well, writing. I am looking forward to taking part in NanoWrimo so I am at the ideation stage, refining a story that I intend to carry on even after November comes to an end.
On work: From handing over projects in Nyakach to Mfangano Island, I have been encouraged just by witnessing the appreciation the schools and pupils have now that they can access proper sanitation facilities.
On reading: I started out this month by reading NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and it’s interesting written from the point view of a 10 year old, however the themes on Africa, poverty, corruption and immigration were not new to me. I posted the full review on Goodreads.
I am currently reading 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson.
Life events: My younger sister also finally got to wear her graduation gown and attend her graduation ceremony and we love photos, or maybe we act like we do in this family and I took the chance to let my hair down and pose for a picture.
I have enrolled for 2 professional certificate courses that start this month and end in December and trying my best to juggle work, travel, and studies and the network glitches that come with learning via Google Meet!
On writing: I I have been prepping for NanoWrimo and re-writing the book that I was to release this past August.
It’s the last week of August and Covid-19 containment measures have been in effect in Kenya for 524 days. We have had lockdowns, curfews, issues and we are still experiencing the upheavals and grief.
A few minutes past midday on a sunny Sunday and I am on my second cup of coffee listening to Usher’s song, Trading Places, thinking of how best to share what’s been going on in my life in the past two weeks or so.
I got to travel to Nairobi twice, sometime in Mid July and on August 13th and discovered art and food at The Nairobi Street Kitchen eatery in Westlands.
On Writing: If there is something I have been loving this month, it’s writing and rewriting scenes of a book that I thought I would not publish but something about going back to a story you let gather dust has me loving the characters and working on completing their story.
On Reading: I have been reading more books this month. Perhaps the greatest shock to me was how brief Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain is, 55 pages! I nearly had a heart attack just wondering how a 2hour movie could be born of 55 pages! Other books I’ve read this August are:
I am currently reading: The Illuminator by Brenda Rickmann.
Aside from enjoying reading and writing, something that I have been deeply committed to is watching Korean Dramas on Netflix and this August, there have been awesome shows that kept me glued to my phone late into the nights and let’s just say that once you start watching a K-drama there’s no stopping until you get to that finale! So, here are some shows that I absolutely loved this month:
There are rising concerns about the spread of the Delta Variant and for someone like me who has to work in communities visiting public schools, I find myself always traveling with hand sanitizer and masks, so much so that now when I get home, I shed off my clothes and take a bath before doing anything- somehow, I find it interesting how people in the rural areas respond to Corona, one old woman told me that ‘death is the one thing all of us experience, if we live in fear, always looking over our shoulder, we may stumble and fall to our death because we look back and not forward.’ Schools will be taking a break for 3 days from this coming Thursday and I look forward to traveling home, just to have tea and evening walks with my Mom, maybe she’ll weigh in on the current book I am writing.
For as long as I can remember, I have been responding to the name Benjamin.
A lot of people say that my mother loved her Bible lessons more than she did her own culture. So, inasmuch as I was born at midday instead of according me the name Ochieng’ she declared me Benjamin and added in my father’s last name Ooko so people could know who I belonged to. This seemed to please Reverend Father Augustus but never my father or his people and sometimes when I think back to everything that I have experienced, it seems that lighting started striking me the moment she gave me that name.
My Father, Ooko, what of him? Well, on the day I got tired of staying enclosed in my mother’s stomach, he was deep inside Nya Lela, his new wife who reminded the thing between his legs of how stiff it still could be. I remember all the men singing praises of Nya Lela as the only woman whose breasts remained firm even after bringing forth four children with my father, one after the other, you would think it was like eating and dispelling ground nuts.
As word would have it, my father saw me when I started making use of my feet.
There are things that to this date do not seem like truth but if you’d have been born in that home, under the rule of Senior Chief Ooko, then you too would believe me. When my mother told me about this, I laughed, sometimes when she would want to cry about the way he ignored her, she would go into her kitchen and carelessly adjust the logs that she fed the fire.
Excerpt from A Hundred Little Things- which is long overdue for publication!
We had some light showers this morning and I am happy I got to stay indoors. August has come with its blessings and call for action when it comes to writing.
I did get to read a book I have always wanted to read: A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar 🧡 and he narratses what it was like growing in Afghanistan, when war broke out, factions increased and what it meant to be on the run in your own home in 389 pages and towards the end he is right. He did bear this grief all his life and he passes it to the reader in such a way that it I couldn’t help but wonder how many times he broke down writing this book. If you could spare a moment, look it up online and buy a copy from whichever retailer you can access.
I am learning to call myself out on writing that needs work and this is because I got to read what I had written so far before submitting it for printing and it fell short of my expectations.
This week, I get to focus on revising that draft and following through on publication and I can’t wait to see how it’d turn out.
That’s all I have in my mind today. Have an awesome week!
We are in the final week of this month and I look forward to more opportunities to grow in my thinking, learning and to finally commit to working out every morning- at least for 30 days.
July’s come with surprises for me; I bought more books this month than any other month of the year thus far. I traveled to Nairobi to spend some time with my absolute favorite humans. I had fun shopping for kiondos, bookmarks and brass earrings. I also came to appreciate freedom of movement when I got to stay out past 7pm without panicking that some police officer would hound me or clobber me for staying out past curfew time.
The other surprise was my patience when traveling back to Mbita and our bus had a flat tyre that took two hours to fix and I had to get to the house at 8:42pm which is way past the curfew time here.
So, I collected some snippets of things that I got, experienced and also look forward to courtesy of this month:
Stationery: I love buying pencils by the dozens and this month, I got a number of packs which I shared with some of my friends and neighbors while keeping some to myself.
I also enjoyed watching some awesome Korean Dramas on Netflix and let’s just say that of these three, I loved Healer and K2 the most!
I also came across a quote on the Instagram profile page of: BusinessMindset101 which had me stunned and I couldn’t help but jot it down:
“Jealousy can come in the form of jokes. Pay attention.”
Books: What would this month be without not one but two major bookhaul deliveries? Here are 4 titles I am reading next.
And when it comes to music, I would say that some of the songs that I have enjoyed listening to this month include:
It’s Wednesday and I am still wrapped up in a warm duvet as I type this on my phone. It’s my way of checking in with the blogging universe while doing everything I can to stay warm here in Nairobi.
I’ve been here for 3 days and I have consumed more coffee, worn more socks and sweaters than I could ever comprehend at such a time. It’s got me fully aware of how much I am sunny through and through and I know I will enjoy some heat when I travel back to Mbita soon.
Every time I come to Nairobi I love visiting places that call unto me like book shops and jewellery shops mostly to buy earrings and accessories that I wouldn’t get at a fair price either in Kisumu or Homabay. So this time around I got notebooks and pens from Miniso, body splash from a store in town and bookmarks from Hilton Arcade.
There’s something about freedom of movement that has me appreciating life pre-covid. We could breathe freely without masks, walk in and out of places without fear of contracting such a deadly virus and travel to places unhinged. Now, coming from a town where the curfew is at 7pm to a city where it’s 10pm, it’s given me more time to catch up with family while still adhering to social distancing rules and regulations and that is something I found so precious in such a long time. I truly hope that we would overcome this pandemic, build upon our health system and come August next year elect more leaders who are accountable to us and responsible in fulfilling their duties.
On writing: I have been writing and it’s good to have that going so I truly hope it’ll work out and I have to push the release date given how many rewrites I am engaging in.
All in all,it’s been a good week thus far and I hope for the very best going forward. Have an awesome week wherever you are.