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Showing posts from September, 2020

How I Visited An Agricultural Show and Survived

"Edwin! We are going to the A.S.K. show tomorrow," declared my elder sister. She was giddy and happy. I didn't get it. Why was a teenager excited about an 'A.S.K show'? "Tomorrow is the day," she repeated, her voice rising with excitement. My sister was the family bookworm, while I was the walking question mark. She brought home awards ever since she picked up a book and was top of every class she ever attended. My sister had brains and beauty. Was eloquent and spoke with conviction at most times. She was the cool kid everyone wanted to be. I was glad she was my sister and would tell everyone as she received her umpteenth prize at the school assembly, “Hey, that’s my sister.” Most would look at me funny. As I   turned to my slightly worn-out shoes, angry that their eyes said they didn’t believe me, then promise myself that would not grate my heart.   Anyway! Back to the story. I woke up early Saturday morning. We were at the dining table when Big

My First Visit To a Wildlife Sanctuary

“You need to ask Mommy and Daddy, and they will probably make it happen.” My Uncle said. The thought of visiting a national park became the sun that rose me up in the morning. And the moon that lit my nights. It captured my mind completely.   I daydreamed walking in the savanna and being among the wildebeest. The documentary in my head featured me with a rich, resonant voice.     “I will find a way to visit the national park,” I told myself. Two days later I made my move. “Mom, can I ask for a favor?” I started.   My mom raised her eyebrows and took a pause from her knitting. She gave me a familiar look. The one mothers give their children to let them know they know what the child is about to say. I cleared my throat about to make my case. “Mom! I would like to visit the national park.” “Mmmh?” She asked, her face folded in surprise. It wasn’t a shocking surprise, like ‘what has my son just uttered’. No! My mother had become a specialist, knowing how to deal with

My Relatives Who Lived Nearby

We lived in a town where relatives were like the holidays. They were few, far in between, and not very close. It surprised me when we traveled to the village. On arrival after a whole day of traveling, instead of resting, we would find dozens of uncles, aunties, cousins, nephews and nieces, waiting to welcome us. Happy to see my father, who was much loved, and his offspring, who looked out of place. Being there felt comforting. Knowing you shared a grandfather with a stranger.   Even so, we had relatives in Nanyuki. And they lived a kilometer or two away. Theirs was a different universe. They lived in flats, we in bungalows. They lived in a church compound, we lived across the road from a bar. In the 80s bars were few, and far in between. This bar was so close we sampled the music they played at night, and our neighboring compound housed the finer ecosystem of the bar, who lived in one-room apartments.     Let's get back to the comparison. My parents were career government

An Uncle Like No Other

My uncle was like no other, a father figure when my dad was busy building a career. I first got to know of him when a strapping young lad, with a spring to his walk, appeared to our iron gate. As usual, I was outside, playing to my heart’s content, covered in dust and childhood vigor. He had a small bag with him and smiled easily. I immediately liked him as he walked in and sat in the sitting room. “Who are you?” I asked inquisitively.   “I am your Uncle.” He retorted. I scanned his face: the prominent eyes, bushy eyebrows, rounded jaw, average height, and handsome in a tribal way. “What is your name?” I continued with the cross-examination. “Fred is my name,” and he put out his hand for a handshake. Aware he hadn’t done it before. I chuckled and greeted him. His eyes were looking around the house, even as my nanny brought him tea and quickly retreated to the kitchen. “Where are you from?” “Are you asking me whose brother I am?” I nodded. “I am your mother’s younger b

A Term at St. Christopher's

Our house had two immaculate toilets—one for the parents, and the other for us sojourners. The parent’s had a sparkling white seat bowl and cistern. I remember being fascinated at just how the cistern worked. Flush, watch, cistern fills, flush watch. The cistern was low enough, and plastic, so I could lift the cover and observe. My five-year-old mind was mesmerized by what I saw.   The sojourners’ toilet was Spartan and clean. On the ground in the middle was a ceramic white squat toilet, with ‘ Vitreous’ written right above where water spurt into the bowl . This was the toilet we kids graduated to from Red Mr Pottie. As a child, I would look up at the sojourner’s toilet cistern and wonder how it worked. I was told I could commune with it by pulling a long lever which I could get to by tiptoeing. There was a long thin pipe that ran from the toilet cistern down to the toilet bowl. When I pulled the lever water would rush down the tube and into the squat toilet. Once a nanny told