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.

New Year Updates

Is it too late to say happy new year?

How’s your week coming along? I was looking through this blog and almost kicked myself for having taken such a while to check in with the blogiverse…I hope you are well and working towards whatever resolutions you made.

So, here’s a list of some insights into what I’ve been up to in the past 8 days:

  • I traveled back to Mbita
  • Dusted, aired and mopped where I stay and it never hit me just how exhausted one can get from bending under a bed trying to retrieve an eraser!
  • Visited a school in Mfangano Island which is considered to be in one of the extreme inaccessible places in the whole island.

  • Gained weight 🙂 thanks to all the coffee dates I had with my cousin and the holiday food.
  • Started working out- just finished day 6 of the 30 day fitness challenge! I can’t feel my thighs.
  • Gave this blog a new look, grey is so last season!
  • Writing the next book, hoping to release it this April.
  • Receiving reviews, through calls and texts from readers on just how much they were moved by reading my book, Sifuna, and recommendations on how to distribute the books.
  • Updating my wardrobe, wearing more jean trousers and a bright t-shirts 🙂 okay, I did this once! I still love my black and grey t-shirts.
  • Drinking lots of Love Tea from Kericho Gold- because I love the strawberry/vanilla/raspberry flavor.

Have an awesome weekend!

Aki si I have been quiet!

Can we just take a moment and appreciate this moment right here? Happy Saturday world, or should I say blogiverse? Well, it’s been a minute (as Kenyans, Nairobians in particular love to say when they haven’t seen you over two years) and I have so much to share and adventures on the road that involve Chinese contractors and a bit of conversation around politics and whatsapp.

I visited Homabay county last week and in my stack of cards it means I’ll be relocating to the county to work with various communities as scheduled in my time frame. So I boarded a matatu from Kisumu and settled in the front seat right next to the driver. He was chatty and threw in a few jokes here and there but as were approaching Oyugis, this guy just slowed down and turned to me and asked “Mrembo uko na shuka?”

I shook my head as aggressively as I could because hey, I have seen to many Nigerian and Bongo films to know that no stranger is allowed access to my personal items, what if I start doing handstands in supermarkets? Or worse off barking like a dog? Eh, gaki!

So he says, “Hawa wa Chinese wanatengeneza barabara na vumbi iko hapa, hata mimi naiogopa.” I released the breath I was holding and told him not to worry about it and he does his best to shut the windows even though his window doesn’t go all the way up…he drives off and let me tell you, there’s nothing as interesting as stepping out of a vehicle and spitting dust! If there’s anyone from Oyugis…please, drop a comment, ease my tender soul and tell me to suck it up, it’s just dust!

So, that was the beginning of my short visit and turns out there’s a lot that Homabay county could serve but hey, you know a place that’s in need of a shake up, because it’s like a sleeping giant, well…that’s how I felt and still feel about Homabay.

I loved visiting the Mbita Tourist Hotel because the fish+kachumbari+sukuma is to die for and the view, amazing because I’m a water sign and a daughter of the Lake, so water’s like my feel good, peace out, chill out vibe.

IMG_20190205_113907.jpg
My view from the restaurant, it was a bit cloudy.

Now, it’s been 21 days since I wrote anything and my manuscript progress report could easily be scored as an F, but I am not so worried about it. Given how much time I’m spending on getting things done at work, I feel too drained to write anything coherent and will have to work harder to build up on my process and schedule writing time.

In other news, I can safely say that following (10 reasons why I’m not fit to be a Fashion Blogger) I have since become a better sister, keen on the instructions my younger sister gives me while she’s taking photos of me. She’s still peeved that I do not wear make-up, my attempt at wearing a red-lippie still didn’t cut it.

100_8496.JPG
I think I aced this pose, but Jackie thinks not 😦

On reading, I’ll say that I read Sidney Sheldon’s The Silent Widow and that book gave me shivers. I’m looking forward to reading Grit & Grind by Rhonda Vetere to get my mind in the frame of hard work, passion and goal pursuit.

It’s all good world, have a lovely weekend and I’ll probably share some village chronicles once I settle down.

 

Writing and reading updates

Hello Monday! Is there any #NanoWrimo2017 participant freaking out because it’s three days to the end of November?

So, yesterday I went to the market and got my favorite things: Tamarind ( I used it to make some sauce for the fries), mangoes, lemons and of course the irish potatoes for making the fries! I had a laid back Sunday afternoon and when the sun was up, I managed to bask in it for a few minutes before making some calls.

On writing:

  • I am past 40,000 words on the project I’m submitting for NanoWrimo. It has been a very difficult week because my writing schedule has seen me waking up at 1 A.M. to write till 4 A.M. I’d admit that an hour of it was spent listening to drunkards argue on their way home, like the guy who lost his car keys on Friday and he had to let his friends flag down a tuk tuk for him 🙂 I wish I got the whole conversation, but the man kept shouting “my wife will think I sold the car!”
  • I started working on a new novella. Can I do my happy dance now?

On reading:

I have found myself drawn to a couple of titles this weekend and I am looking forward to reading these four titles this week:

On traveling:

My feet are itching to go backpacking and now that I have completed the 31 Day Fitness Challenge (by totally ignoring the planks and abdominal crunches) I can safely say that I’m ready for some adventure.

I have been listening to JP Cooper‘s album “Raised Under Grey Skies” when I write. This album has kept me company for almost 20,000 words of the NanoWrimo challenge!

Related image
Google Images

Have a lovely week!

The case of the vehicle that transformed into a donkey.

My colleague told me yesterday that she heard some drivers and touts saying that a matatu (the one known as chopper) transformed into  a donkey at Ahero.  This transformation was witnessed by some people and word of it spread through some radio stations but it never got to TV because by the time the witnesses recovered from their shock, it had turned back into a vehicle and sped off.

image
This is an example of a chopper, courtesy of Google Images.

She said, aki ghai unacheka na ni ukweli, ati chopper iligeuka punda!
I asked her what about the passengers? Did they get caught up in the transformation?
And that’s when we both laughed. She hadn’t thought of it in that sense, all she remembered was getting off the chopper she had boarded when she heard that story and waiting for half an hour to squeeze into a Probox!

When I asked if she did so because of fear, her answer was “sitaki kuwa punda afadhali kuwa ngombe lakini punda ati sababu ya chopper, wacha nipande Probox!
(I don’t want to turn into a donkey, it’s better to be a cow but not a donkey worse off because of boarding a chopper, I would rather board a Probox.)
So,on my way to see the District Education Officer today, I found myself seated next to the Driver in a chopper and before it could dawn on me a tout took a jab at the driver, “omera mad ilokri punda to iting’o Jaber! Ne, Jaber idh matoka werigi punda!”
(Hey, you had better not turn into a donkey while carrying this beauty. Hey, there beautiful lady board a vehicle and leave the donkey)

Before I could take it all in, the driver shook the man’s hand and drove off but what was evident was just how fast word of mouth can build or destroy your brand or business. I say so because so many passengers did not want to board the chopper because they didn’t want to turn into God forbid,  a donkey. I just wanted to make it to my meeting in time and I did.

P. S: Wrote this yesterday, and I woke up at 5 am to post it ✌

Madam 07…

My day has been delightful because I was approached by two suitors and let me tell you nothing beats being proposed to while sitting in the boot of a Probox leaning against sacks of dried fish!
I made my first visit to Nyatike today and had to proceed to Sori and Muhuru Bay to visit a few schools.
I loved Muhuru Bay and took a shot of this:

image

On our way back I was granted my wish of sitting in the boot. See, I thought that I would sit there all alone with enough leg room to listen to that new song by One Direction, Perfect,see I like something light and once you throw in a word like rendezvous then am sold! So, there I am sitting and setting up my earphones for a great one hour ride when the vehicle stops and the driver picks up two guys.
They are offered seats in the boot and I sit there looking at two men thinking, “please say no.”

But they cozy up on one side and suddenly there’s nowhere to look at.

See, I learned that sitting in the boot of a Probox is not as great as I made it out to be because there’s nowhere to look at but where you’ve come from, and with unwanted company the view gets blurry if not completely unappealing.
So, before I plug in my earphones for a One Direction experience, the guy in green shoes says, “Madam, si you give me your 07 ijaber!
I thanked him and told him I was not willing to give him my phone number because I was in a relationship. He smiled and said it was all right, and then we started talking about Migori and his friend joined the conversation.

When  we got to a place called Masara, one woman seated at the front shouted at us to remind us not to step on her dried fish. I was leaning against a sack and the stench of it had become a great friend, just like the one who farts doesn’t smell the stink of his/her fart.

But the other gentleman who was with us decided to try his luck too, and he said,  “Madam, you have turned down my friend here, but listen to me, I am very light, ratong’ and in Black Beauty si together we can make very chocolate or ango’wa cha? Yes, caramer babies, what do you say Mami?”
The driver slowed down and the women laughed saying that I should accept his proposal. He looked at me waiting for an answer, but all I could think of was the smell of dried fish  that had become one with my skin erasing the cherry bodysplash I had.

My Probox adventures continue…

Probox diaries: Adventures in Kuria

I  woke up at 5:30am leaving my comfortable bed and heading to the bus stop to board a Probox to Kehancha.

image

Kehancha is a thirty minutes drive from Migori town and can be as comfortable or uncomfortable as can be depending on which seat you occupy in a Probox. After much travel, I believe that sharing the seat with the driver is the most uncomfortable because of the constant need to adjust the gear. The most comfortable has to be the boot  because no one likes to sit there and you can pay half price.
It gets worse if you have to share it with a sack of potatoes, charcoal or cabbages as I learned today.

So, once in Kehancha I visited a couple of schools and engaged some officials in matters regarding the education and health policies and it was quite insightful. I was welcomed to tea and mandazi in one school but had to take a raincheck because I was rushing to another school.
On my way back to Migori, I contemplated making a stop at Masaba but the heavy rains made it impossible. It got worse as we approached Migori with the driver making stops because he did not have a clear view of the road ahead.
I was drenched as I left the car to seek shelter in an hotel called Zam Zam under the guise of taking tea and mandazi.
So, I guess my footwear will strictly be:

image

As for my writing and reading, I have two novels to read and lots of paper to write on:

image

But what’s a day well spent and drenched by the heavy rain in Kuria like without a picture?

image

I’m getting some tea and working on my reports for now, until then my journey and adventures in the rain continue.

The quest for Madondo in Homabay

The last time I talked to you I was in Homabay taking a stroll along the shores of Lake Victoria.

Well,have you tried scouting for madondo also known as chapati and beans in Homabay past ten o’clock in the morning?
Let me save you the struggle,  you won’t find any.

Madondo is served in hotels for breakfast but after ten o’clock it’s off the menu! This was news to us. We went in every hotel asking if they had chapati and beans and kept getting the same answer “no. In one hotel we asked, and the lady said” aki chapo maharagwe tunatengeneza tu asubuhi sababu watu wa boda ndio wanakula. ”
At long last we settled for tea and chapati at a place called Mellah Restaurant.

So we left Homabay town at eleven for Migori town and I had to endure insults from three touts for declining to board the” chopper” they had. I have a good memory when it comes to matatus. I had boarded one of the same vehicles and the tout refused to give me my change and I had to stand by the stage and watch the vehicle speed off. I could not board it today, and as they insulted me for dismissing their plea they reminded me loudly enough that I had no vehicle to call my own.

We boarded another matatu and now we are in Migori. We checked into this great Lodge with beautiful rooms and the landscaping is good too.

image

image

image

We had lunch,  but sadly there is no chapati and beans here too so I will settle for Ugali and Osuga.

My Day so far.

So, hello I am seated in a restaurant in Homabay typing this post in between light and dark.
In between you say? Yes, when the lights go out and they come back in a span of five minutes, that’s what I call a flicker.
I traveled to Homabay County on Sunday for work related duties and it’s been a great joy working with the people here, and I also realized that I could travel for an hour on a motorcycle within the same division like it’s no big deal.
The man ferrying me was stopped by policemen near a stream by the road. The police woman asked him for her due.
She was a short beautiful lady with a sweet voice ( it’s true, I liked her voice) and she said, “Nipe ile uko nayo kama ya soda.” (Give me what you have even if it could buy a soda)
And the man carrying me insisted that he had none because he had to drop me and get his pay.
The police insisted, “Ni sawa nipe hata ya maji, hiyo tu uko nayo.” (It’s fine, but give me at least to buy water, just the little that you have)
He gave her forty shillings and she let us proceed.
After that I went to meet some senior officials and found myself in between them and someone who refused to obey their order, and I had to sit back and look at my finger nails. Have you ever been in a room where suited up men get angry in a flash?
Words were exchanged, insults and threats delivered but in the end the one who was junior had to submit to authority and I had clean fingernails.
But, when you have had a crazy day and you miss home what do you do?
Take a stroll and take pictures of the scenery and in Homabay it’s the Lake Victoria.

image

image

image