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!

April Favorites

On this first day of May, I find myself looking back at the month of April and there are a lot of things that I experienced, immersed myself in that made it an awesome month. So, here are my favorites:

  1. I got to spend time with my best friend, mentor and advisor and also with my Mom drinking coffee at Java. I learned that I love those impromptu dates with my Mom just talking over a meal.

2. Writing a story for Oaks and Crown Leadership Program. This is still ongoing and even though I was unwell for a while and could barely string along sentences, I feel so relieved and elated that I am still writing.

3. Books! I had two major book hauls in April and the most recent haul is one I look forward to because of the diverse authors.

4. I am eating healthy. Look, it’s tough sticking to a healthy diet when you live alone, but for me, the greatest nudge was a visit to the hospital and having the doctor look at me like I was killing myself-worse off during a pandemic! So, I started juicing to supplement my diet.

I love pineapples and cucumbers, so that’s more of what I blend.

5. Oh, and I am obsessed with Korean Dramas on Netflix! So, here are some I’d recommend: Run On, Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung, Legend of the Blue Sea, My Secret Romance, and above all if you have the time- please make time and watch It’s Okay to Not Be Okay…trust me, that’s an absolute fave!

Those are my top five faves for the month of April and I am much better physically and mentally as I write this, my greatest desire is that I get to write more this month- that I never get to check into a hospital for exhaustion or anemia, just for some more strength, less exhaustion and more love I guess.

Have an awesome month. Give love. Receive love.

Updates on life, covid-19 second wave, writing and what a year!

It’s four o’clock in the evening here. I am seated on my bamboo seat typing away my thoughts on my phone.

What a year! Call it double the surprise, for 2020 has been and continues to be the year of unraveling, I mean chill for who?

As I write this, Kenya is seeing a spike in covid-19 cases, our doctors and nurses are mostly on a go-slow because they haven’t been paid in months and they lack the PPE kits to protect them and us from this pandemic and guess what, our politicians are busy pushing for a referendum to have us vote on some amendments and they want it done now…now that people are dying, losing jobs and uncertain of where their next meal will come from.

Yes, and the money for this referendum will be drawn from our taxes and of it’s insufficient, just give our President a pen and he’ll take another loan from another country that our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will have to pay, thus rendering us forever at the mercy of other nations!

On writing: I am taking part in this month’s national writing challenge which calls for writing 50,000 words by the 30th. I have written 16,002 words so far and I am hoping to go beyond the halfway mark over the weekend.

What I’ve learned this year is that the more I write, the more I become self-conscious of what I am writing and can immediately tell whether a story is resonating with me or not. This has saved me from many incomplete drafts, and it’s something I hope to refine as time goes by with the intention of writing and publishing at least 2 books every year.

I have been doing less reading due to a short bout of fever, nausea and fatigue which I experienced this week, but as soon as I felt some relief I picked up a book by Arthur Rosenfeld called Diamond Eye.

On life and some awesome things I discovered: I’ll say that I have been watching some series on Netflix and I am impatient, so I would rather wait until a season is over then I bingewatch because then it’s easier for me to know what happens till the end and also to quit at the first or second episode. Some of my favorite series so far have been:

  • Emily in Paris ( I love “Love Triangles” as long as I am not caught up in one and this one, had me hooked. I’m glad they renewed it for Season 2, wonder how complicated it’d get and maybe Gabriel would have to go after Emily in Chicago! Now that spinoff would be awesome!)
  • Almost Paradise
  • Love, Life ( this one is on HBO Max I think)

I am looking forward to writing some more over the weekend and listening to some music as well. Hope you are safe wherever you are.

Have a lovely weekendđź’›.

Updates on Life, Staying-Not fully staying at home, reading and writing

182 days since we got the #stayathome verdict from the Kenyan government. How are you holding up wherever you are? What have you learned in 2020 thus far?

One thing is certain: we have 108 days to the end of this year and I for one, find myself more aware, present and grateful for every moment I experience.

I have been reading more books because I joined this awesome whatsapp book, admnistered by Prime Book Hubs and simply put- they post books for sale and you get to reserve a copy, pay for it and they ship it to you. So, I’ve been buying books and my first September haul includes a book loaned to me by my sister which I just finished reading.

I absolutely devoured Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and if you are into books that are set in bookstores with some hidden secrets or puzzles, you’ll love how technology meets print and ingenuity in this book.

I am currently reading Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani.

On writing: Let’s just say that I need to travel a bit, change the environment I’ve been in- read more, or just kickstart my brain into actively writing this next book. I’m taking a leap going into non-fiction and I am learning that it’s not that easy to string words along. Research takes time and I am forever at the phase of “would you tell me that again?” and it’s driving me insane. I need some patience juice! No sugar please, just the patience juice.

And, how do you know you’ve got your writing mojo?

For me, this involves shopping for stationery and nothing speaks to me more like pencils in the dozens! So, I decided to put everything I’ve got working for me and share a picture, just to prove that I am not losing it, or rather, that I should open up a stationery shop…

Whereas the Ministry of Health provides us with COVID-19 statistics daily, I find myself inclined to document and journal what I’ve done in a day, and this is what I call, taking stock of the things that I may have overlooked that made my day.

  1. I decided to cut down on processed sugar and this is my third day without it.
  2. I’ve been changing my sleep cycle; now I go to bed by 10pm and get up by 6am. I am working towards going to bed by 10pm and waking up at 5am.
  3. Pitching articles to various editors is something I hoped to do this year and since last month, I’ve sent out 2, hoping to send some more and explore long-form article writing as well.
  4. My Mom is a huge advocate for Education and it gives because she taught for 30 years. Her challenge to me this year was not to give up on fellowships and scholarships because every year I send out at least an application for a fellowship and 2 Masters scholarships- and I get turned down. I got so close last year and it tore me apart- and she told me, not to give up, if I could come in fifth, then maybe I’d get it.
  5. Fitness is not easy. I can write everyday, because I worked on getting this done, but working out has been a challenge that means installing and uninstalling fitness apps- working out two consecutive days then quitting, so I’ll stick to walking. It may do me some good.
  6. I finally gave my visual threshold a chance- and watched two series: The Witcher and Cursed...and can I just say that I am looking forward to the next seasons? Who would have thought that grunting could say so much- because Geralt of Rivia, in The Witcher grunts in response to almost everything!
  7. Comedy! Yes, I’ve always loved Trevor Noah and this month, I discovered K-Von Comedy.

I am looking forward to reading more books, a bit of travel for work because we’re focusing on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) projects this round-and most of the schools I’ve visited are in dire need to latrines, hand-washing stations, access to clean treated water and most of all- in need of some infrastructure development.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are.

Updates on Social Distancing, work, life and everything in between

Friday’s here and I for one would love to sit down by the lake shore and take in the breeze. However that’s not going to happen today, it may tomorrow, but today, I have some work to do and more cups of coffee to consume.

In Kenya, it’s been 100 days plus more since the first COVID-19 case was reported and what’s followed has been the never ending updates from the Ministry of Health that often starts with ‘fellow Kenyans’ and involves the three aspects of their reporting: numbers tested, positive cases, deaths and sometimes…if we are lucky enough we hear the number of those who have recovered.

I resumed my duties at work- and actively started on field duties this first week of June and it’s beautiful to see what’s coming to be. In one of the schools, the foundation of 2 new classrooms has been laid and I cannot wait to see how it’ll turn out in the next month.

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On writing: I published Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi on both Kindle and printed out paperback copies for sale here in Kenya. So far, it’s been a thrill getting feedback on this book.

I am currently working on the next title: In The Quiet and it should be out next month, fingers crossed!

On physical distancing: Let’s say I was the Queen of Space long before Corona took over, and now I enjoy sitting in my house and listening to music- and there’s something beautiful about Deejay Mixes that mean I can listen for hours on end.

Books I am looking forward to reading this weekend and next week:

 

I am looking forward to the weekend and if there is one thing I have come to learn during this re-evaluation time is that indeed the little things count. Who knew something as simple as washing hands or keeping clean would be one of the measures we’d have to adhere to in order to keep a disease at bay?

Now more than ever, I am also learning to take good care of my mental health because this mind of mine could ideally lead me into some deep trenches that I would barely come out of. When it’s necessary, I spend hours out taking a stroll along the lake or even listening to music and steering clear of social media.

What scares me and also challenges me is the Ministry of Education’s call that when schools resume in September and the recommendation that each class hold 15-20 students- we’ll have another crisis. As it is infrastructure in public schools is lacking- and a class holds up to 75-100 students. Like most Kenyans, I find myself questioning how prepared my government is when it comes to handling a resurgence of this virus when schools resume.

I look forward to reading this weekend and sleeping in- or maybe taking a stroll along the lake later on in the evening.

Stay safe wherever you are and above all…I hope you stay sane.

Have a great weekend.

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!