Updates on the writing, reading, Covid-19 and everything in between

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.

Have an awesome week ahead!

July: Updates on life, COVID-19, travel and stuff

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.

Updates on the Writing life, June scares and July expectations

I choose to be happy on this day. It’s a sunny Sunday with highs of 26 degrees Celcius. I woke up today at 6:34AM to do laundry and finish braiding my hair and since then, I have been listening to songs on my playlist and drinking cup after cup of coffee. I am officially on my fourth cup.

We are 4 days into July and June was a scary month for me, for I realized how weak my body could be and the mere mention of being on supplements to keep me safe scared me. However, I did manage to get in more sleep and read more books but write absolutely nothing when it comes to my WIP. What I excelled at was watching Korean Dramas on Netflix late into the night and working on my work reports.

I would absolutely recommend the following dramas: Warm & Cozy, Man to Man, Healer, I am not a Robot and Tomorrow with You.

From March I have been buying more books to read and my June and July book hauls demand attention and I look forward to reading them in the coming months.

I am also looking forward to starting a professional certificate course to further improve my skills and knowledge in my field. It feels great getting back to some kind of structure and I can’t wait to see this through.

On future projects: The Miles Morland Foundation Writing Scholarship call for applications have been released and I’ll do what I always do, submit my application and keep my fingers crossed. I have been working closely with my Mentor/Professor who always critiques my writing to see to the release of the next book “A Hundred Little Things” in the first week of August.

My expectations for this month are:

  1. To improve on how I take good care of my body, from eating healthy ( more food rich in iron and calcium)
  2. To think positively of myself and what I do.
  3. To wrap up most of my work projects.
  4. Visit family and friends
  5. Have a weekend road trip- just to see another town, experience somewhere other than where I am right now.
  6. To watch some more K-Drama. My absolute favorite being Nevertheless– because in a way, Na-bi reminds me of a water-sign. She’s been hurt but she is still hoping for love, and with Park Jae-eon, she knows he’ll disappoint her but she is willing to give it a shot.

Truth

I dream of you,

Of your smile, your laugh and your voice.

I dream of you,

Of your dreams, the way your hands would move as you worked,

Of the way you spoke to keys, strings and sticks…beats I’d call them,

Light as you called them.

To the world it was music,

But to you, it was eternity, so I let you embrace it.

I dream of you Stardust,

Of all the things we left unsaid,

Of all the places we never stayed,

Of all the dreams we prayed,

Of the eternity we shared.

I dream of you Stardust and this right here is the truth.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Static

My heart is like water,

It nourishes as it pleases.

When the sun goes down, it begins to falter,

It seeks solace in the pieces.

My heart is like the air I breathe,

Untouchable yet priceless,

So when the sun rises, I reach out with the palm of my hand and check on it,

The beating of my heart reminds me that I still have unresolved matters.

Sometimes, often…at times such as this,

I yearn for that stillness,

the calm before and after a storm,

anything but this turmoil,

My heart like fear is static.

http://www.unsplash.com

Looking for excuses, finding them and missing out on life.

I am in one of my moods, or as my sister says “in my feelings,” because I have been on the road non-stop for a week.

I love my sleep and can recharge for hours like a cat. So, this past week had me travel to Nairobi, then Kisumu and now I am back in Mbita because my best friend was getting married and I had the honor of witnessing her wedding as a bridesmaid. It was more of a firsts for me because it was the first time I had on: block heels (3.5 inches) for the whole day, had my eyebrows trimmed, and wore make up!

Days have gone by so fast, and I had been looking forward to being selected as a 2021 IREX Community Solutions Program Participant and for a program that’s very competitive, I felt ready this year, made it past the first round and got my regret letter after the second round of interviews. I was crushed. And what I learned about that moment, reading that email is that my mind completely played out various scenarios for me: I play a role in something I am passionate about and with a great team I get to see public primary schools improve their structures, I see it in the eyes of the children in rural communities when we are constructing classrooms how eager they are to step into new, permanent and well ventilated classes. So, not getting into the program this round, does not mean that I stop working.

On writing: I have been writing a new book and in my head it is complete and perfect, but on paper, let’s just say that I need to go stationery shopping and get everything going right. I have perfected giving excuses every time I want to write and this has resulted in downloading more DJ mixes, drinking more coffee and reading books🤦🏾‍♀️, help!

On reading: This year has been the best for I have bought more books and this has also seen me not read as many titles from Netgalley, and I hope to catch up on the reading soon. I have also read more titles from Pulitzer Prize winners in the fiction category.

I am currently reading Should You Leave by Peter. D. Kramer and he’s writing from the Psychotherapist point on view on advice, when it comes to the age-old question in a relationship, “should I stay or leave?” Coming from a Psychology background and training, reading this is like learning and rediscovering my love for therapy and what it means to help someone work through the dilemmas they have.

I have been making excuses on working out and writing and now I am reaping what I’d sowed and it’s started with a guilty conscience and every time I see the schedule I stuck on my wall, I cringe. Part of me is acting like it’s not bothered and the other one is losing it’s marbles, and the wisest of them is slowly coming to an understanding that I am focusing on the output but not the input and could try and see the growth or set tasks that could lead to the goals I want to achieve, now if only I knew how!

Have a great week, I’m still working until Wednesday when all schools are supposed to be closed here in Kenya.

Goodbye September and Hello October!

It’s the last day of September and I often feel a certain kind of warmth when a month ends mid-week because I am guaranteed a weekend in the first week of the new month! Well, that was before COVID-19 struck and decided to shake us up!

So, on Monday our President decided that well, the curfew is still on for 60-days and stretched the time to 11pm- 4am. He also granted permission for bars to open and my absolute relief was that schools would still be shut until we are better placed to contain the virus. What sucks about this is that the funding they received from the World Bank and other donors goes into their stomachs and not towards the health facilities!

On books: I was going through my Goodreads “READ” page and discovered I have read and reviewed 165 books so far and some of the best titles I got to read were in June (34 books in total). This month, I read more paperback copies and here are some of the titles that kept me company:

I am currently reading “EndGame by Derrick Jensen” and enjoying drinking lots of tea as well…

On writing: I am taking part in the 10k-Novel Writing Challenge that would mean writing 1000 words every day for the first 10-days of October.

I have been watching Never Have I Ever as well and in a weird way, I am now #TeamPaxton because at least he’s single and his sister called him out on how awful he treated Devi, whilst Ben is cute and considers Devi equal and brilliant- he’s still got a girlfriend, an athletic one as well, so hey…that means he’s got a decision to make!

My September song is definitely: Be Praised by Aaron Moses & Naomi Raine off Maverick City’s Vol 3, part 2 album

And, the greatest thing I have done this month is keep up with my laundry! It’s been refreshing knowing that I don’t have any dirty clothes waiting for me to clean them up and fold them!

In the previous update on life and staying at home post, I said I was struggling with consistently working out and this past three days have been a good run for me, I get to do some squats, push-ups, mountain climbers and 20-second planks in the morning and evening and I feel pretty good about it.

I am looking forward to October and we’ve got 93 days left until 31st December 2020, so live as best as you can, love as hard as you can and be kind- the world needs gentleness.

Weekend plans and everything in between

Hello weekend! Is that you? I’m looking forward to staying indoors, drinking tea and reading books- yes, I just bought 12 new books making my tally come to 18 unread books and now they are staring at me like I am doing them an injustice by not picking them up.

I have been on a roll, watching series like I am paid to do so. Let’s just say that so far, I watched: Summertime, Never Have I Ever and Love, Victor! I’m a sucker for romance and drama, so far let me just state that I can’t wait for the second seasons of these shows and if I am still as interested as I am now 🙂 I’ll probably catch up!

On work: I’d say my week has been eventful. I am happy that we are wrapping up most of the projects and this means completed classrooms and happy schools and their communities.

2-classroom block constructed at Kitare Primary, Suba North.

On writing: October is fast approaching and a friend recommended that I join the 10k Novel-writing challenge and when I read the invite I nearly fell off my seat “10 days. 10,000 words. Are you ready?”

I love a challenge just as much as I am freaked out by it because I’ll be on the road pretty much from the 7th to 12th October and so getting to see this through scares me so much that I’ll attempt it! So, how about it? If you are looking to get some writing done, work on that schedule and pace that you so desire, how about joining the 10K Novel writing challenge? SIGN UP!

On studies: I’ve been taking online lessons, doing my best to participate in the New Heights Fellowship Program and so far, I am learning that I can always do my best, pursue and serve excellence in everything I do and I am also challenged to build more leaders in the communities I am working in.

On publishing and book sales: Look, I’ve been on the receiving end this past week especially regarding Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi! Phew! If you got the book and read it, is it truly that deep and difficult to read? I need to know…

I took time to set up the publication of “IN THE QUIET” and this is because I have been exploring digital publishing in Kenya and I enlisted the help of a Tech-Expert I know and absolutely admire to help me with this and as they’ve been working on this, I have been editing and revising the book which I hope to share with you at some point this year. I just want it to be the very best version I could share with the world.

I am looking forward to being more courteous and keeping my word in all that I do. Have a lovely weekend wherever you are and I am sending you love and light and a ton of positive vibes.