Crushed!

CRUSH

He was about 6’2 feet tall. He had a characteristic afro, one that stood out from the crowd, like it had a life of its own. His rugged face was chiseled rather than molded. It wasn’t round. It was rough in a masculine way, as if its maker didn’t want to smoothen the edges. His chocolate complexion teamed up with his perfectly-fitting dark suit and produced a magical Romeo. The streets went silent. Even the birds stopped their chirping, to acknowledge this creation, as he rolled across the street, like a lion checking out his jungle. From the shop that I was attending, I could look without him noticing the stare and as I continued appreciating Gods creation, forgot to breathe-until I realized I was choking and my colleague was getting concerned.
“You have a customer.” She interrupted.
“Does he live here? I have never seen him.”
It doesn’t matter, just talk to him.”
That’s ridiculous! How do I even start?”
“How do you normally start?”
Awkward silence.
We were not in the same world. At least then, we were not. She shoved me away from the counter to serve the customer who was getting caught in my love web.
I saw him again. I pictured him walking the same street but towards me and striking a conversation. He had a disarming smile that let me lower my guards and spoke perfect English. He loved reading and quoted a few books here and there in our conversation. I giggled severally, keen not to be over excited. He said he loved kids (perfect) and could write interesting poems. We even went through The Song of Lawino by Okot P’ Bitek and had a good laugh about it.
“So, mind if we catch up later?”
“No, I don’t.” I answered back, hoping I didn’t sound all too desperate.
“May I?” He said handing me his business card.
“Sure.”
“Sure what?!” my colleague once again interrupted and I officially declared myself smitten.
I knew I had become a victim of a strange but normal disease called crush. Much as I self diagnosed myself correctly, I didn’t trust my guts. My woman instincts raised the red flag but I shoved them all the way to the trash bin. I was going to look for this guy and I would take my chances.
Two weeks later, reality knocked my door and I shamefacedly opened. I had nearly crashed in the crush, and my bandwagon of a heart was still wobbly.Let’s just say my all perfect Mr.Romeo was not all so perfect. Did I tell you his English was horrible and couldn’t spell my name after several reminders? Ok, I made up the last part but, point is, he was just the opposite of the cute little pictures that I had painted in my head. He was very human.
Two years later, I had another crush (I am told its normal). He had a perfect singing voice and I dreamt of him singing for me again and again (I’m crazy, I know). After the bruises from the previous one, I was keen to know how to approach this one and come out unscathed. Boy, did I pray for it to end. I was over cautious. I walked miles away from him because I feared crashing my sorry heart. I hid and kept repeating to myself that he was human and not some demigod, until reality sunk. It wasn’t the best approach, but it worked.
So many minicrushes later and I am still alive. Over time you learn to smell the feeling from a far and avert the hurricane. I have talked to someone I really crushed on and realized how human they are. They probably don’t keep time or talk too much. That makes the all good feeling go away before you bang your head on a rock.
So this week, I have been trying to find out how different people dealt with their crushes, whether in their childhood or now.
My girlfriend told me that she became friends with Google search. She could search “How to know he REALLY likes you”, “How to attract him” How a guy behaves when he is into you”. So many sleepless nights trying to find out the same thing. We all did that, didn’t we?
I asked a certain guy friend who is more serious with life and – worked my courage for a whole hour just to ask- and he told me he had never had 1. He is not normal or so I thought. Turns out he needed to define what a crush is and after along and exhaustive argument, he told me he had had a crush, not once but severally. “The key thing is not the crush itself but how you deal with it” is what he offered me.
I have learnt one thing though; that having a crush is perfectly normal. The issue is how you come out of those few months when you feel you heart just wants to elope. It defines emotional maturity in dealing with delicate matters of the heart. And prayer works! I really prayed those days and in a way I have never understood, God took care of it. Plus, it’s good to tell a friend so he/she can help you think when your thinking cap is off.

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ITS NOT ALWAYS OKAY

I watched him hit the door
Arrogant, drunk and messy
He summoned his wife for food
But there was none- not even a trace
She received a blow, her left eye watered
Her tiny tots scampered, her son stood for her
The men stood facing each other, each standing his ground
The younger wore bravery, the older pride…
“It’s OK baby, go to sleep”
Both knew it was not okay.

Of the face covered in smiles
Giving hi fives to pals
But in the heart there is a wound
That when the group disintegrates, it burrows
Deep into the soul, to the very core
Because we dare not say our hurt
“AmOK. I will be.”
Is what comes from our mouths
When we have never known what okay is.
And when we go to our cupboards
The ugly bones face us
Chanting to our faces how broken we have been
We slam them to another day
And give the world a smile.

When will we be free enough,
To say it’s not okay if it’s not?
To admit that the sun has not risen
And there is darkness all over the place?
When will we say, I am not okay with what you say?
That I want out in the abuse of a relationship
That, I am angry you were late.
Till when will we fear?
To face the bones in our cupboards and lecture ‘em
And show them our smile too?

Who will be there to tell us,
“ It’s okay not to be okay?”

This entry was posted on November 20, 2015. 1 Comment

I CELEBRATE THIS HERO

“I see you are a crowd mover, have you ever considered politics?”
I jokingly broke the ice between us, the ice that were over 10 years old and needed to be discarded. It was just after burying my uncle, Stephen, and we were catching up, mingling with people we had not seen for long. It was not awkward though. He laughed and thoughtfully said he will consider. In my mind, I saw him as a leader, one with charisma and a desire to serve the people. Earlier, as he gave his message of condolence on behalf of KNUT, he talked about the impending teachers’ strike. He humorously said that even if it reaches a point where teachers had to take water and bandek che kikibeel, they would neither retreat nor surrender. That guy was a Sossion!
Steve the engineer joined us with some other guys from back in primary school. We talked about how he used to beat us up in English and Science lessons. How we could recite Psalms 139 because it was an opener for CRE lesson in class five and they were so loud when reciting, that they drowned the teacher’s voice in the next class! He was proud of us-his students. We laughed freely as we took tea. He told us how Steve was bright and how he could close his eyes and still see my sister-Hilda’s handwriting across the board-15 years later.
“I feel like I should come back to this place. Man, I love the people and perhaps I could come back to teach just before I retire.” He said and we unanimously agreed. He would be such a great force.
The rocks up Chepkeneroi, dark as usual, stood solidly as the birds chirped away. Laughter and soft voices replaced the somber mood that had engulfed this family.
We told him about the Muguyuni fundraising and he promised to pass by the following Saturday. As I went home, I kept thinking about this guy and how he contributed to my life then, and the impact it has had in my life.
I have big ears (literally) or so-that’s what I was told until Mr Cheploen came to Muguyuni. Every time he mentioned something to do with how big his ears were I would cross my fingers in the hope that he doesn’t use mine as an example. That was in class 5 when he was teaching us Science. I was more of a tomboy. I lost every script as soon as were given- but not Mr. Cheploen’s, of course after getting a thorough beating from him. I would have rather lost anything except the Science scripts.
That teacher had a passion for excellence and discipline. He took up the role of being a Madam when we did not have any. He taught the girls so many things about being a girl but I was too young to comprehend them.
I remember an incident in class 6, when were given the beating of the term. See, pupils can be naughty and on this afternoon someone wrote something unprintable in the ladies latrines. What followed next was a beating that ensued for the rest of the afternoon until my big mouth saved the day.
I mumbled some religious words that truly touched Mr. Cheploen and thank you, we were released from the beating ground.
Mr. Cheploen was the first teacher to call my name, Sharleen-correctly. I was in ecstasy. I loved how it sounded. But again I spelt the word ‘because’ wrongly and I was given a thorough beating, not only because of the wrong spelling but I think because I was always the best in English so there was no way I was being let go that easy. And yes, it’s the time he gave me a 36 out of 40 in composition and everyone wanted to read the magic that had led to such a high mark never witnessed before. It gave me a boost of self esteem, somehow.
This teacher made me read books. Story books. I went through Moses Series. I read The East Africa Why Stories. There is a day I borrowed a book and he gave me ‘The Blue Flowers’. I read it so many times that I had the story in my head-word by word. Mr. Mwangi Would later cement my love for books by telling me to read anything and everything-which I diligently did, until I discovered my taste.
I don’t know how I felt towards this teacher but there was always a sense of admiration mixed with love and fear for him. I never resented him. He helped me know how to read right, and write (see that?). He told me how much he believed in me during those days when people were being called one by one to solve petty crimes. And I did believe that he believed in me.
So when I was called the other day and told that Mr. Cheploen had passed on, I called my mom to confirm the truth. She gave me a little hope. But deep inside, my heart was already broken. I had lost a teacher who laid my foundation. I had lost a teacher whom I admired and loved and feared at equal measures. I had lost a leader, someone who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in me. I had lost an educationist and a friend.
I mourned him.
I read because he helped me know the importance of reading. I speak the English I do because he did invest in my sentence structures together with Mr. Paul Tanui RIP and Mr. Kurere. I write, even though I can’t score the 36 because he encouraged me. English and Literature flow in my blood, even though I pursue economics.
Today I offer my 21 gun salute. I light a candle to celebrate a life that made a big difference in me.
Thank you, sir.mr cheploen

This entry was posted on November 17, 2015. 3 Comments

SOMEBODY’S TIME IS FREEZING WHILE MINE IS MELTING, FAST

timeYou are seated on the slabs along KeMU, trying to look busy but you are not. You are actually waiting for someone who is still at Mamlaka A whom you had agreed to meet at this particular place at 1:00 p.m. you grab your phone to check a Whats App message that just popped out to the notification panel. After a minute or two, you check your watch again. Its 1:05 pm. You return to idly logging into your Facebook account to see if there is a new post. The sun’s really burning and you begin to realize how stupid you must look with a trench coat in a summer like weather.
You are restless. The clock is ticking so loudly that it’s like you can almost hear your neighbor’s. Five minutes later, no one appears. You decide to look for ways to kill the restlessness. You begin to assess people’s dressing. Perhaps out of this, you might be a fashionista. It would really be a great testimony. No? Ask Lupita . Every dream is valid. You realize it’s not working. You resort to counting the vehicles that pass Uhuru highway. As you do this, you are subconsciously tapping your thigh, a sign of anxiety. After a minute, you go back to your watch. Its 1:15.
Footsteps tap creepily behind and relief washes over you. Finally he is here. At least he is not as late as he was, the previous week. He finally got the meaning of punctuality. He values you and your time.
As you turn to greet them, you are shocked and disappointed at equal measures. It’s someone else. You go back to sitting, sighing every time a minute passes. You begin to get upset. And worried. Perhaps they got an emergency and they forgot to tell you. Perhaps they have been hit by a run away driver as they crossed Lower state house road, which later disappeared into Arboretum Drive. Maybe they got really sick. Maybe…
You are concerned.
You chuck out your phone to call them only to realize that you do not have airtime. You can only redeem 10 Bonga points which earn you 2bob. There you are. You call them. He smiles sheepishly as he apologizes for keeping you waiting. He promises to be there in the next 10minutes.
Where are you? You retort.
Dial back tune…the 2 shillings are over, yet you are not really sure about their whereabouts.
You sigh patiently and wait. Another 10 minutes. The clock ticks away like a cat that purrs even in the middle of an adversity. You look around. The person sitting on the bench next to you smiles politely at you. You can almost read sympathy on his face. You smile back dryly ignoring the sympathetic look. 11 minutes later, no one has appeared, not even a fake one, this time round.
You are really angry at this person. What does he take you for? I mean, does he think your day has 26 hours while his has 2 hours less? Had he even showered anyway, when YOU called? Maybe you imagined he said 10 minutes when he had really said 30 minutes, after all, his voice did not sound like anything urgent.
You are worried for him and his future. Heck, even his wife; you are worried he might stand her up on their first date!
After pacing around and finally working out every ounce of patience you have left, you manage to sit down and the first thing you do is Google “how to be patient.” As the search engine gives you 3236544 results, he shows up. Panting. Smiling widely.
“Am sorry man. Am late.”
“It’s OK.” You manage a fake smile.
Deep within you, you know you will never look at you friend the same way again.

I CRAVE FREEDOM

Caged
Like a bird that knows no flying
I am bound by these chains
Of deception, fear and intimidation
From all walks of life.
I desire freedom
To run until my feet grow weary
But I don’t know if they would
If these chains loosened now.

Cornered, I am
The responsibilities keep choking me
As a sack of potato hurdled in a corner
So am I
Being weighed, calculated and planned for.
Expected to be fried, mashed and boiled.
Jack of all trades, Mr. Know it all.

The smell of fresh air I no longer know
I am kept in a small room of ideologies
Outside the box it’s dark and scary
But the bars of gold are plenty
Only for darers and courageous.
Who will pull me outside the box?
For a taste of freedom?

I no longer want to be a push-over.
I want to be a solution, not part of the problem
I want to shout until I lose my small voice.
Run until my feet grow weary.
Till I smell the fresh air and taste freedom
Someone banish this choking fear,
Oh, how I want to hold the gold bars…

caged

caged

WHEN FASTING IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE

A story is told of a group which committed to fasting every once a week. They would meet in the meeting, each with a confession, whether they had been faithful or not. One day, a brother confessed that he had not fasted that day. Reason? He was not under the law. For the next few days, I battled the desire to eat and just go confess that I too, was not under the law!
I do struggle with beating my flesh during fasting. On the very day I am supposed to be praying and fasting, I ensure that I don’t have any leftover food in my room. It’s called getting rid of the temptation. [The danger with leaving food is that your mind will start telling you how the food will go bad and you will have to throw away and that is not good, and you will want to eat instead of watching it go bad].
And my first prayer in the morning is for God to sustain me. Have you noticed that during this moment, everything is mouthwatering, including the tomatoes that are paraded along Agony Hill? Heck, even the sweets you normally don’t consume in the name of health eating are so inviting that you start convincing yourself that it actually is not food. It’s just a lollipop! And boy, aren’t people generous at such a time. It’s like everyone suddenly noticed you are their friend and they want to buy you something you often don’t eat- worse still is that the offer only lasts for the few hours!
As the day progresses, you feel the desire grow as the time of breaking the fast draws nigh. Sometimes you pray and the pangs increases and they become louder than your voice, at times the prayer feeds you so well, that you extend the hours of fasting. Have u ever felt that?
It is also good to confess to a friend. I was surprised during one of the escortologies, when we got into a conversation with a friend who told me morning is the most challenging time. That when he comes from MD, and all the ingredients are staring at him as if nudging him to just mix them. And it’s good to know because when you know he is ‘up the mountain’, you remember to mention him before God for sustenance.
The wonderful feeling comes when you successfully finish the race. You know pretty well that had it been your strength, you would have given in at 11 am and eaten the lovely bananas you bought the other day. Or the cake your friend told you to have a bite and all of a sudden you forgot that you were fasting. No? Well, you are lucky. I have forgotten severally, and after remembering you feel like throwing yourself away!
God’s grace is sufficient and his mercies endure forever. The next time you pray, remember someone who is fasting and is praying for sustenance. Someone who has eaten halfway through the fast and is feeling terrible. Ask God to strengthen them. And in all situations be careful to thank God.

have a prayerful week.

WHERE IS KILIMANI POLICE STATION?

Last week, I was requested to obtain the Global Leadership Summit DVD for the union. I did not have an idea where to get it. I finally remembered someone who could help-the guy who sponsored me to the summit. Funny enough, I did not remember his name. It was saved on the phonebook but I did not even have a clue about the first letter. I finally got it by chance as I went through old texts that needed to be deleted.
I texted him and he directed me to their offices which he said were next to Kilimani Police Station. Monday, I was set to go. It was the first thing among my to-do list. But, you see, nature has a way of diverting you from your duties. I overslept, had laundry to do, and as soon as I was through, I realized that I was 30 minutes late for my first class of the semester and the year.

I was overjoyed to learn that the class had bounced. I now had a chance to look for Kilimani, wherever it was. That was the start of my woes. Allow me to take you back.
The previous day, I had woken up a little late, which led to my hasty and hurried preparation to church. In the mix, my pirate-roommate forgot to lock the room as she went to the washrooms to brush her teeth. 5 minutes later, as we were trying to locate our phones so as to see the extent of our lateness, [Africans don’t have wristwatches] we realized they were missing. No alarm, I mean, who can locate a small phone in a female room whose occupants are hurriedly preparing to go somewhere? The room was chaotic enough.
Off to church, and, two hours later, we tried to reach our phones. Someone answered and said,”samahani mteja wa nambari uliyopiga… “We had charged the phones overnight and when that woman from Safaricom spoke from the other end, our fears were confirmed. They were gone. Forever.

Back to Monday, I realize the theft of my phone was no laughing matter. Here I was, headed to God-knows-where, without my Google-map-enabled phone. Broken and old as it were, it was still my companion, my friend, my POSSESSION.
A friend had told me that the place was about 20minutes walk from the halls of residence. I am from the Rift Valley and walking has never been a big deal. The journey started. I used Milimani road until it was no more. When a reached a mini-round about where state house road meets and …, I was elated. This was it. I was shocked to see that the very road I thought would take me to Kilimani Police Station was not only closed, but also had askaris manning the gate. I had to use this road that had a name that reminded me of Brad Pitt. They actually rhyme though I don’t quite remember the name.
Remember back in the days how you would describe a very long journey? Yes, that one. I waaaalked, walked and walked. I walked till my feet alone were walking. The rest of the body was motionless. The problem is that I could not see a PSV. I also did not see someone who could give me sound directions. The people were friendly but exotic. I feared that their English might have to come through their nostrils as they talked.
I found the roads that my stolen phone had told me to use but it did not have a police station. I feared asking for directions to a police station. People might have thought that I was a criminal. It’s just weird to. Finally, as I was desperately looking for a place to sit, I saw a PSV. It dawned on me that I was in Hurling am. I boarded it to town, tired, sweaty and hungry. I thank God I did not feel regret for having wasted all the time and not locating what I was looking for.
Back at campus, I slept for three hours to regain my energy. I took my supper at 8:30 pm. It’s now 2:08 am and I have not even closed my eyes. I have tried listening to soothing music to no success. I have tried all sleeping positions-slept on my back, on my stomach, recoiled to a fetal position, lifted my legs, threw away the pillow- I mean, everything. It’s not working. I have always napped in the afternoon so my 3hrs sleep has got nothing to do with this. I suspect my pirate room-mate has seized my sleep. She is soundly asleep and mumbling incomprehensible things. I envy her.
I don’t understand why I am having a runny nose and it’s not cold. I am literally sweating. I cannot even locate my handkerchief and it’s dark. And, where exactly is Kilimani Police Station, because I am looking for a building next to it?

This entry was posted on September 23, 2015. 6 Comments

POOR ME, RICH ME

Sitting down under our neighbor’s mango tree
I sympathized and pitied the poor me,
Who didn’t have cool clothes and shoes to wear
Too poor to continue with the fight.

I was aroused to reality by a stick poking the ground,
A young lad figuring his way to the playground.
Poor him,he couldn’t see
The beautiful sunset across the sea.
“I must be richer than him”
My heart started humming a thank you hymn.

My hymn must have slipped from my heart to mouth
For i heard someone holla me from the south
‘Twas this guy who had broken his leg
And all he did all day was to beg.
His legs were too weak to walk
And had to borrow as work.

“Do you see him over there son?
He can only watch and marvel over the sun
But can never get to hear you reach your high note
Or get to hear a ticking night watch”
“You’re richer than you think
But you never let it sink.”

I started jumping higher with my weak feet
Reaching as high as four feet
My praise hymn came louder from my mouth
This time,going far to the south.
Grateful for what i had
Cursing the thoughts that were bad.

What a lovely,rich creature God kept alive!

THIS VIRTUE, TRUST

“You knew this was going to happen, but you never told me! At least you should have prepared me for it!”
Silence.
“Now, what am I going to do? You are a God of miracles, can’t it just all of a sudden start working and I get on with life… I mean…Something like sending the angels to repair it for me?
Silence.
My pacing across the room stopped. I wanted to know why my charger had suddenly stopped working when I needed it most. But it was clear that my questions were not being answered.
Right now it is impossible with men but God, it is possible with you… I finally sighed as I sat down to think of the next course of action.
I remembered Daniel of the old. When he was thrown into the lion’s den, he trusted in his God. He knew the God he was serving was able to rescue him and he did not make any fuss when being taken to the den. The bible doesn’t tell us that he struggled when being thrown.
Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego refused to bow down to the image of gold. The confidence they had when replying the charges put on them clearly show how much they trusted their God.I could not imagine me in their situation. Probably I would have thrown tantrums. Maybe I would have bowed down to the image of gold and repented later.
So this morning I realized how I needed to let God take the lead and trust him in all the situations. trusting someone means knowing them to an extent of having confidence that not even once shall they betray you. I should have remembered his faithfulness, love and grace.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.’
My understanding was that I was not going to get any help, and my assignment was going to be late and therefore I was going to be in trouble.
After the calm encounter, I slowly rose up and visited a friend whom I had not seen for quite a while. Well, his laptops charger was compatible with mine and now I had nothing to worry about.
I even started wondering why I had created such a big fuss. Funny enough, the lecturer did not even ask for the same assignment!

The other day, my friend’s room was broken into and he lost several valuable items. As he was sharing, he said how much he was thanking God for the same.It didn’t make sense to me in the morning, but now it does. It’s about trusting in Gods unfailing love and abundant grace.
Just like a small baby who laughs when the parent tosses them in the air, so shall I rejoice in every situation with full confidence of the power of he who dwells in me.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

HE SAVED ME

There i was seated,thinking,meditating
About a life gone to waste, dirty, used
Crying and contemplating the past
that haunted and tormented me
To me God had wasted his energy
For i was a disgrace to Him who made me.

This thing had to end,with or without life
These chains that bound me to evil
These addictions
Twas either death or life
Hard choice,but had to be
My life was not going to be this way

There you came with love and understanding
Promised to clear all the mess
If only i trusted you ,if only i gave you a chance
With your blood,You cleaned my wounds
Taught me to open my hands to let go of the pain
Inflicted on me by the world.

I learnt to smile and forgive
You gave me happiness in my heart
The glow in my face,described your peace.
My life was far from over
I had a new start, a promising dawn

I am holding onto Your promise
That you wont forsake me
Its my hope, my strength
Sometimes i despair, and the past calls me back
But i always remember your grace
That is sufficient

Your blood will always protect me,
Your grace abundant
I shall forever be free
Because you carried my burden

Thank you Jesus for loving me.

This entry was posted on March 7, 2015. 3 Comments