Sundays

I often tell my friends (guys especially) how busy my Sundays are at home. Still, most of these cologne-drenched Millenials somehow never believe that a well-read, poised, and elegant girl like me can wash dishes, iron her father’s shirts and cook chapati. And they are right…well, the cooking chapo part. But I have to make them believe it because I have to carve a niche for myself. I have to carry myself as the quintessential catch who is intelligent, educated, and beautiful but who can also fetch water, cook a decent meal, and find anything in the dark. I have to make them believe that I am the fine linen they describe as wife material because if I don’t, reading books will expire me.

However, the rest is not make-believe, and Sundays are the worst. Sunday mornings always have me prancing in heels, jumping small water puddles, and barely missing death by crazy motorbikes all in a bid to catch a bus to my bougee church in the city. Drunkards making their way home from dingy taverns will tell me to pray for them while faithful like me always late for their Sunday service will shove me as they try to make their way to the few remaining seats in the bus. As a result, I always spend the rest of the journey muttering about how off-putting their perfumes are and how oddly pious their clothes are, yet their behavior is nothing but sacrilegious. However, the quite extreme sport is trying to dodge street kids in town who want me to part with my hard-earned money, or they will smear my thrifted Bottega Veneta bag with faeces. Yet, I always make it to church, sit neatly, and listen to the sermon because here in church-Nice Girls Do Get the Corner Office. 

I still also manage to teach a bunch of Sunday School kids that are quite delightful and though tired and hungry by 1 p.m, I always refuse the generous lunch date offers from well-groomed bible-believing young men to go home and wash dishes. Small mundane tasks like dusting window panes and removing cobwebs that my father takes a keen interest in follow after that, and by 4 p.m, I am zonked. Yet my mother will insist that I have to learn how to cook soft and circular chapatis, because how else do you win a man’s heart? I will complain that I can’t learn how to cook well if all she does is measure the ingredients using her eyes, but this will not dissuade her well-meaning intentions. And afterward, I will have to iron my father’s clothes crisp but he will insist that I never iron the wrists well enough.

Horrendous as those Sundays sound, I do miss the routine. As the Sundays drag on week after week, I am afraid that my commitment to attending live services from youtube is fading. With no handsome pianists, guitarists, and drummers to ogle at as we worship, praise and worship barely feel the same. As I sing along to hymns projected on my screen, and as I stare at a bored service leader lead an almost solemn liturgy, I regret the moments I did not jump to the Lord in church. I feel guilty for not turning to my neighbor to high five and tell them, ‘You shall prosper!’  With no kids to teach, no dates to decline, and no white Monday shirts to iron, there is nothing home to write about Sundays anymore.

In these trying times, I have been tempted to think that Christianity is stuck inside a biblical world that can no longer speak to the challenges of life with Twitter, Tik Tok videos, and a looming pandemic. Still, hope remains with each day that I wake up, and each monotonous Sunday that I now find myself living. In these seemingly disorganized and interrupted days, I often remind myself of C.S Lewis’s words, “ The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life- the life God is sending one day by day.”

The Courage to be Happy.

You might need to take notes for this one.

For a bit there, I mulled over telling you, “Welcome to Womanly“, because I am here at 22, having a private party, learning to love me and the woman I am becoming. But nothing here is really more about being a woman than is more about becoming an adult and a human being. It’s a daunting, exciting, but also teary process at life’s grand theatre. Sometimes you are at the top of the world, with life running through your veins, and at times you are on a hamster’s wheel where push comes to shove. Nonetheless, it’s a good life, and here are a few lessons that I am learning.

  1. Ask specific questions

I am learning to ask specific questions. Are we dating? Are we friends? Do you need my help?

I am learning how to ask specific questions because uncertainty is inherently unsustainable. Eventually, everything either is or isn’t.

  1. Consistency over quality, any day

Writing, especially creative writing, is one of those crafts that you can’t call for a meeting and create KPIs. You sometimes just sit for days and wait for it. You write a paragraph and wait for it to marinate. On good days it will take you a few hours, or days…on bad days months. But through all these, the only way out is to never stop writing. Somehow, I manage to get about 15 pages of writing done every week, whether through work, my undergrad degree, or my hobby(which includes this blog, a weekly newsletter, and a medium account).  Unnerving as that sounds, here is a three-pointer case I always make for writing and managing to get work done:

i). Finish the work, because it means you have kept a promise to yourself.

ii). Finish because you can only fix what exists.

iii). Finish because it will make you respect the process. I started writing the article for the Igby Prize Essay for Kalahari Review, which I featured in January 2018. Every month, I looked at the prompt, wrote a paragraph, and couldn’t write anymore. I only managed to get a story in November 2019, which surprisingly took me a few hours to write. Struggling through this one feature made me value writing, authors, and the work they put in.

So battle the imposter and write the bad stuff, write the boring stuff, write the no-one-is-going-to-read-this stuff…but just write. This advice applies to all crafts.

  1. Twitter is not ruthless; people are…

And so is the rest of social media and the internet. There is a fallacy around the fact that the internet has made people bad; we famously dub it under “The disadvantages of the internet or technology.” By so doing, we refuse to call out bad actions, and we sanitize the terrible people. But the internet does not make people bad; it just exposes how bad people are. Knowing this will help you understand that bullies are just cowards hiding behind a screen.

  1. May books be with you.

In the days when writing emails was fancy, a close friend of mine would send me books to read. He made every effort for me to open those emails and read them, including giving them the subject Teddy Bear… but I didn’t till 2018 when I discovered the wonder of books. Because discovering the joy of reading just happens when you get there. No one can get you at that bus stop…and no one will also understand how books help you to meet yourself. But here is the wish I long to leave with anyone that crosses my path is ‘May books be with you.’

Here is a list of books I wish to be with you-

(In no particular order)

  1. When Becomes Air-Paul Kalanithi
  2. Purple Hibiscus- Chimamanda Ngozi
  3. Lean In-Sheryl Sandberg
  4. Americannah-Chimamanda Ngozi
  5. The Year of Yes-Shonda Rhimes
  6. How To Save A life-Sara Zarr
  7. Eat Pray Love-Elizabeth Gilbert
  8. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak
  9. The Courage To Be Disliked-Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
  10.  Children of Blood and Bone- Tomi Adeyemi
  11. The Dictator’s Handbook-Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith,
  12. Art of War- Sun Tzu
  1. Permanence is an illusion.

Understanding that everything is temporary in this world has allowed me to embrace life’s outcomes, whatever they are. People like things are temporary and bearing in mind that everything that exists is already fraying and in transition makes the ultimate process of fragmentation and separation easier. One of our main frustrations in life is the apparent attachment we create on people and things-money, property, parents, friends, but most especially our partners. We create an illusion that they will be our forever, which makes us live in the constant fear of losing them to someone else. It’s important to realize that it’s nice to have all these things and all these people, but it’s not a requirement for you to be happy.

  1. In or out.

Hell yeah or heck no for every decision.

And when in doubt, be yourself.

  1. Men (and other stories)

Relationships

How to save a life.

Mandy in Sara Zarr’s How To Save A Life says, “A lot of times when I look at the world and everyone in it, I feel like they all know something I don’t. I’m not dumb; I can see how it works. But it’s like Double Dutch jump rope. In grade school, I would watch the ropes fly and see girl after girl jump in and either get it right or get tangled in the ropes and laugh. I’d stand there with my hands ready and my body going back and forth, trying to get the rhythm and the right moment, and Ms. Trimble, the PE teacher, would say, “Come on, Mandy, everyone’s waiting,” and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t figure out how to get in. That’s how life feels to me. Everyone is doing it; everyone knows how. To live and be who they are, and find a place, find a moment. I’m still waiting.”

Like Mandy, when it comes to relationships, I am still waiting to learn how to love, and I am still waiting to be loved. I feel like the rest of you know the way, yet I know no one truly does. However, through the heartbreaks, I have picked up a few lessons.  The first is that loving truly and deeply is the only way I can be at peace with myself at all times. And the second is that healing and the process of relearning, like any treatment likely to treat a patient; -is also likely to cause discomfort.

  1. This

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard P. Feynman.
  1. To an unknown God

Funny enough, the arguments on whether God exists didn’t begin with modern-day atheism and agnosticism. In Athens, during Paul’s missionary excursions throughout modern-day Asia, he found Athenians and foreigners who were epicureans and stoics. Athens was filled with all kinds of idols, altars, and the liberty to worship any god that anyone subscribed to. One of those altars read, To an unknown God. It’s quite easy to discount the existence of God and think that religion is superfluous in a world obsessed with colonizing Mars, and how the next new iPhone will look like. But if you ask me, there is and has always been a place for God in an increasing geopolitical battled world that is striken by a pandemic, a world that craves social connection and validation and individuals who are in constant need of justice, grace, and mercy.

  1. Also this ⬇

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”

Steve Jobs
  1. Feminism

Equal rights for women has never meant fewer rights for men. It’s not a pie.

  1. Fish Love

Sweet analogy. You know the way people ask you what’s your favorite food and you casually chuckle,

“I love fish.” Well, you don’t. You just love eating fish. Most friendships and relationships are like this. People are your friends because they have something to gain, and vice versa. And that is not entirely a bad thing if you really think about it, but it’s an open cue to learn to guard your heart.

  1. Press pause

Because you are human and you burn out.

“Now and then, it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

  1. Fine things take time.

In my first section of accounting, our lecturer would often say that our generation’s problem is that we want a mansion today and a car yesterday. I still want both of those things in that time frame three years later. But realizing that fine things take time has taught me how to trust the process, and to blossom here with the things 22 has to offer.

Breast Cancer

1.She is at long last here
   I know it’s been a while there
   But I, we want this because we care
   There is longing, however no dare
   To say words which will leave all bare
2.Staring into her eyes, memories unfold
   Moments spent that seem beyond
   Damn masculinity ;the tears I cannot withhold
    Feelings running deep in me lie untold
   Though not now but earlier I was bold
3.It came  without any warning
   In the midst of our family bonding
   A savage with time that began devouring
   My happy limitless became draining
   Into a world that her health was failing
4.The epitome of this I have to say
   Was amputation that sent her off bay
   Loss of part of her a price pay
   The Chemo we prayed would make her stay
   Urgently we needed the thing out of our way
5.Toto and I have streamed in and out
   Hospitals often accustomed to its lot
  Our best we have tried to fight
   Against the perils of disease caught
   Against the implications burdened and even the cost
6.Not openly:in the dark in mere silence
   Battled by this day and it’s very essence
   I am terrified, dreaded at its presence
   Awakened my thoughts build on her innocence
  Helpless I am I cannot take vengeance

Yet still I hold on, I have to not for me but for Toto, for her(my happy). Our past lies vivid my happy she will and is she remains despite this cancer divulge. As she enters the operation room, I remind her I love her holding her pretty bald.. All that remains……. Hope

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The 3 idiots-an insight towards life.

00:19

I just finished watching the 3 idiots 

It’s an Indian film about three engineers ( fun fact Indian movies always have singing in between so it was almost 3 hours long. I emphasize on it being a must-watch, heads up it has subtitles)

In general the movie is about life, yes I’m sure you know everything there is to life: work hard go to school, get a job, get a mortgage, meet a man or a woman, get kids and die a ripe old age …. well you’re wrong that’s not life in totality, there’s more and this movie just proved it to me.

One of the guys always wanted to be a wildlife photographer but his father forced him into doing engineering; all his 4 years he flunked cause it was not his passion.

The other one came from a poor background and his dad had paralysis, his sister wasn’t married cause she wouldn’t raise the dowry. (another fun fact in India the lady pays the groom’s dowry, sshh!!! my country people shouldn’t hear this or I will find myself married to an Indian 😂😂) and his mother always complained about everything.

Then there is the main star Rancho, he is smart… like extremely smart. The kind of guys who never study but when the results are out 😂😂😂 let’s just say at the ground level things are totally different.

I am not trying to write a movie review or anything but to drive the point home. Rancho challenged his 2 friends and they were able to steer their lives into the direction they wanted… they followed their hearts and passions

What is it that you think you live for?

Many people are out there fighting depression either cause of trying to fit in, cause they are afraid of what people will say or it’s already too late for them.

People are walking slaves, they don’t have a purpose so they look to the outside world for gratification and meaning. What happens in the end when you can’t get what you want or you finally get it, then what? 

Others live in fear, fear of failing, fear of being rejected fear of being different and sticking out like a sore thumb. Fear is the reason we have so many idiots leading a country like Kenya

We are all different, of all the 7.7 billion people you are unique in your way; fingerprints, DNA and so many small but intricate things about you that can’t be matched.

It’s not worth it to live to the expectations of others, to live the life of your mother and father or to live in fear. 

Stand up and say

MY NAME IS…AND I CHOOSE TO LIVE LIFE, MY LIFE 

Drop the shit show because if you don’t do it now that you’re young it will be too late to steer your life back.

1. Stop caring about what people will say

2. Stand up to your parents 

3. Stand up to your lover or spouse who is mistreating you or abusing you

4. Stand up to your fears 

5. Stand up to your so-called friends 

6. Stand up to your addictions 7. Stand up to the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough.

and in that moment when you are standing there, heart thumping just take a deep breath with your hand to your chest, whisper/ shout 

“ALL IS WELL”

25 Nov 2019

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The Way We Vote.

You may want to start here.

Introduction

I started this post on the premise that we vote the way we do because we are used to it, not because it is the right way.  I was hopeful that I would find an alternative. A better way to vote. A way that ensures that we vote for leaders who have our interests at heart. Leaders who are free from corruption, scandals, and any foibles. But the more I read and asked questions, the more disillusioned I became. Whichever way I looked at it; politics looked like an entangled power play, with our backwardness and even democracy by itself. Everything pointed to the same. Our inability to make a change through voting.

The Kenyan Voter.

There are three types of Kenyan voters.-at least in my opinion. The ones who follow through the electoral process from start to finish. They watch the news, they read the newspaper every day, they participate in political rallies, they are party members. They justify Aristotle claims that man is a political animal through and through.

Then there is the second batch, those who vote for the sake of voting. They somewhat follow the news, somewhat contribute to twitter conversations during the political heat and somewhat try to justify why they are voting for a certain political candidate. The majority of us lie here.1 We understand that to vote is to exercise our constitutional right and duty. But over time we got tired of the political circus. We grew more apathetic. We think all political leaders are thieves and liars; so we really don’t care.Unfortunately, that group of us is between 18-35 years and contributes to more than half of the population that voted in the 2017 general elections.

The rest…well is the rest. Registered voters who do not vote. Registered voters who spoil votes. And the list goes on.

Our political righteousness.

Like our own political leaders, we always think that we are blameless. That the choices we make are free from reproach. That we are perfect. That we know why we are voting for the people we are voting for. That we know them too well, to not make any mistakes. That our political judgment is right and that we fully understand the agendas behind the leaders we vote into power. Nevertheless, this is far from the truth.

Our elections that are meant to be democratic, have turned into electoral coups. – a sort of scorched earth electoral culture. We shed too much blood, damage too many properties, steal too many votes, rupture too many friendships, destroy too many institutions, and spend too much money.

-Dr. Willy Mutunga

We think we are voting right because most of the time we employ strategic voting. The strategic voter thinks that the best way to vote is to vote for the better devil or the devil they know. Even more simply, we more or less, look for the people we can identify with and vote for them. People who speak our language. People who believe in what we believe or think we believe. People who we assume have the same social class as us or have gone through the struggles we have gone through.

The alternative

The world is more complicated than we think it is. We elect representatives to spend time making legislations on our behalf. Perhaps, the solution for better leadership and a better political and economic life is to implement direct democracy. To be the leaders that do not have. For example, if let’s say the County Government of Nairobi wanted to remove commuter buses from the city center then citizens should be polled on whether they think this decision should pass through or not. After all, these issues affect the citizen himself. However, doing that, then just means we do not need representatives; which is a faux pas.

The truth is we do not wake up thinking of civil problems day in day out and even if we do, we just complain about it and nothing more. This is exactly why we elect representatives; to deal with our problems. 3 The solution for a more efficient electoral system is more complicated than we think. So maybe the solution is to search within ourselves for a more effective solution. To for a minute throw politics into a box and walk away and search deep in ourselves.

The starting point for a more conscious way of voting looks something like this:-

1. A reality check 

Reality Check #1 –To realize that we vote on ethnic lines

It is important to understand that we describe our political world the way we want it to be rather than the way it really is. Kenyans think that they are not tribal even though their voting patterns suggest otherwise.4 The point is to recognize that you may be blindsided by your own thoughts. We are naturally inclined to think that the best candidate speaks our own language.5

Reality check # 2 –There has never been a perfect leader

The thing is, there has never been a flawless president. There are always weaknesses surrounding them. In the same vein, great things don’t usually sit completely in one category or the other. However honorable the intentions of one leader may be, leaders are always overwhelmed with the constant need to keep their supporters happy and the means of keeping them depends on how many need rewarding.

Democratic leaders whom we believe to be the benevolent guardians of freedom are not so different from their dictator counterparts. In fact the only difference between them is the number of keys around him. For a dictator to remain in power he maintains a tight-knit of allies who help him keep his position, a democratic leader, on the other hand, will need more of these allies to maintain his position.

Reality Check # 3 –To know that voting is not the key to political change.

Voting is not the key to political change … but to think otherwise, that it accounts for nothing is a dangerous moral deceit. Citizens have the will and the capacity to change their political fate even if in the least possible ways. Politics is progressive. We can define the leadership that we want… not effectively, but we can try to.

Reality Check #4 – To know that we fall short of an understanding of the concept of privilege.

Many of us grew up with the privilege of not knowing what fighting for democracy meant. Or even the fight for independence. We just heard stories or read books. In turn, we view the most fundamental aspects of our lives as choices rather than the reality of things. We have reduced contentious issues such as human rights to something we either believe in or not instead of something that needs to be preserved.

The first question here is probably to ask yourself how do you view things. Is it that you either believe in it or not? Or is it a fact that you need to stand for. 

2. To vote on policy issues

The presence of policy issues in an election campaign dilutes the impact of the ethnic census.  And though political manifestos in our country are replicated between parties; your role as a voter is to analyze which leader’s lifestyle in the limelight speaks to the spatial and valence issues that your values align with. The spatial issues are a spectrum of choices and options. Such as what is their stand on minimum wage, abortion, religion, and taxes. Valence issues, on the other hand, refer to those that you think are of a higher value to you. Some guidelines to follow would be:

  • The economic conditions of your country
  • Your current living standards
  • Your stand on reforming the constitution
  • Tackling crime, corruption or any societal menace

3. To vote as if it is our duty and to be a citizen

The call here is to understand that the discussion is about much more than one election or any election for that matter. It is about who we are as people and what we believe in. We need to understand that over years our politics has made us disillusioned and disgusted. But it’s only the disillusioned and the disgusted voters who are capable of raising the bar in the long run. So the next time you are casting your vote, vote as if it is your duty because it is, vote as if your life depends on it… because it does.

The most common mistake we make is thinking that the government is not doing enough or it is failing, We are the Government. Our lives depend on systems that we ourselves can and should change. We need to be willing to be part of these solutions. To become experts in our own field. To believe in a cause. To volunteer, to protest, to speak out, and to work. The fact that you can read this means that you are privileged enough to make a difference. Meanwhile, they are people who are not, who need our help in making a better place.

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Stuff that counts- The story about why you should read this.

Hi. My name is Susan.

And yes…I am pathetic at drawing…whatever… that’s not the stuff that counts. Well, it actually does, but we shall get better at it with time

I am not an expert at anything. In fact, I am just a 20-year-old something attempting to be one. More clearly I am a political science student and an accounting student who is trying to figure out life. My days are spent reading books, looking for new books, being on page 7 of a google search, re-reading Wait But Why blog or going down a Youtube spiral that most likely looks sth like this…then this…then this…then this


In my quest for learning, I have ended up more confused and at the same time more enlightened. Most of the articles that you will find here likely stem from things that have bugged me for long or stuff I have no understanding about. However, more often than not, all these articles are about stuff that I think counts. Things that I think are important to humanity but are nonetheless never discussed. I think these stories matter because in my opinion, to have the ability to tell our own stories and not to have others tell it for us is powerful. I think it is important to have the ability to chart our own path without anyone else doing it for us or telling us how to do it. To find solutions to our own problems, solutions that fit our culture. Solutions that are homegrown and work for us.


I don’t think that any of my articles by any means are conclusive…and it’s the first request to any reader who wants to read my work. To understand that my work is not by any means perfect, that it is lacking, that it could be better…but it is an attempt to get there. The second is to try and remove the lenses that you put on. Our biases affect us more than we think. Our biases divide us more than they bring us together. Therefore, as you start reading these articles, it may be wise to clear your head of any biases that you have and view things on a spectrum. This is not to say that you become less opinionated…in fact, it is to say that you judge the merit of what I write here and form other opinions, or build the ones you have…or disagree altogether.
No pressure!


If these stories do not interest you nonetheless, you are still welcome here. Perhaps this could excite you…or this…or this…really there are plenty of options here.
But to those of us who believe that these are stories that count; here is our mantra:-

Around here…we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving foward, opening up new doors and doing new things.- Walt Disney

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