THE DREAM I’M WORKING ON!!!

2014-12-16 14.13.20I still remember those first years of school, the gateway to acquire the power to lead and slay…..And that beautiful teacher, Madam Merylyne, who my mother left under my care after crying my eyes out but finally despaired and got handed over to the 8-4-4 system that I hope to complete in no time.

And I remember one of those first questions ever that teachers struck “What would you like to be when you grow up?” And for the first time different careers were displayed by those little enthusiastic champs from different walks of life who subscribed to Mandela’s ” Education is the best weapon one can use to change the world” , There were doctors and medicine men, there were nurses and midwives, and policemen, bank robbers too! There were lawyers, judges and politicians, and pilots, and businessmen, and musicians,and teachers, and instrumentalists, and authors,….the list went on and on and it toke some decades for them to air out their aspirations. Earth, Heavens,Hell, the world and all it’s environs had to know!!!. And then there was this little girl who heartily screamed that she’d love to be a mermaid….and the future champs gazed, while others laughed their tiny lungs out. But it was not this Little girl’s fault. She believed in her own fairy world, (she still does), and had an addiction of watching too many fairy tales and her mum let her read every tale from The little mermaid, to Snow white to Rapunzel to Sleeping beauty to Goldilocks to Cinderella, Thumbelina, Beauty And the Beast, to Little Red Riding Hood, to Hansel and Gretel, to The Frog Prince…. her mommy also read them to her every night.


Okay, honestly, until now, I still may not know what I want to be when I grow up but I do know that someday I want to live in a house full of many books, and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren’t covered in book shelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house every morning, I will be heading to a job I love, And I will return to a person I love. So that’s the dream I’m working on.

DAD,

Dad,

You didn’t tell me that I had small hands as if it is a bad thing, hands too small to construct, to build, to hold, to love, to heal. Thank you for saying that they were easier to escape and enter within tiny spaces, to slip off handcuffs. You said that they were gifted, talented and blessed. You showed me that these finger tips can run through the same pages of books and heal the same number of souls as any other. If not more. You made it crystal clear to me that these small palms of mine could hold grains of sand tighter and butterflies safer. They were okay to gut fish and burn monuments, Your vast heart taught me that these little hands could rescue birds with broken wings and feed the homeless as well. You let me be sensitive to fire and snow alike. Thank you for letting me live a life that I would build Lego houses and ladders out of candy sticks as well as with heavy bricks. And for letting me cup my tiny palms and swim through oceans.

You said that if my hands got tired, I should go ahead and use my feet. And for telling me that I’m not too small…that nothing is too big. You believed, and made me believe that small hands aren’t a metaphor for my goals, dreams, aspirations or capabilities. And making me believe that even Rome was build with hands like mine. And that Art was curved, painted, and poetry was written by hands like these. And even if they are, thank you daddy for not just telling me that these hands are cute and soft. But for teaching me that they’re meant to block bullets and drive rocket ships. You made me believe that they’re strong as much as they’re beautiful. And that these hands are all that I need.
And I love you, for teaching me to live without them if I have too, For teaching me that these are just hands until I use them to create magic, to go beyond ordinary, beyond limits ever known and told, to conquer planets. And for making me understand that Aphrodite is as beautiful without her hands. And for the reminder that nothing should be out of reach. Nothing. And for telling me that with or without these hands, my finger tips aren’t the limit. I found all these in the way you’ve lived your life.
So here is a big THANK YOU DADDY.

NAKUPENDA.
‪#‎gloriaw‬

Thankyou Dad.
Because you made me be sensitive to fire and snow alike, because you believed in me…Because you loved me.

I’ll NEVER miss a KOREAN class!!!

So yesterday my Chinese friend asks me if I’m free and I pretended I wasn’t so we attended some Asian activities just within the school. We get there and take pews, different tables though. And just before I started gobbling down those queen cakes they had set before me… A foreigner comes by. He is a  young strapping lad carrying a backpack. He asks me, “Ahgfdsbh khadhh vjkrcnslyfhui  nhfksdah?”

mercy

I look at him, then tilt my head slightly sideways and upwards so that I’m gazing at the roof, then I fold my arms, I furrow my brows and carefully place my index finger on my bottom lip so that I look thoughtful. He has tiny, terrifying teeth and tinnier eyes, slit eyes to be precise!

“What is he saying?” I ask my queen cakes.

“Or maybe he’s asking me out.”

“Djhaghn mjjjhkmni imffjks nnasuykam ,” he says again.

I look at him, finger still on bottom lip, and nod slowly, as if I’m absorbing his incomprehensible words.

“What language is that?”…Of course I knew it was Korean, but the only thing I know in Korean is 안녕하세요! (Hello), I mean, How was I supposed to remember what my Korean teacher had been teaching for the last couple of months? How? How was I supposed to concentrate? While looking at lips that were telling a story, a smile and a dimple that made the story really interesting, and then eyes that made me forget if there was a story being told. How? Eh? Hooooow?

“Hanguk saram i yeyo? (Are you Korean?),” I finally gather strength and ask , shaking my head slowly and maintaining intense eye contact with the foreign fellow.

“네” (yes). He “Nees” me. So now I yelled a bigger Amen from within! This was the day that my gods had decided that a foreigner would drive heads of cattle to our homestead.

“Nsuirhn jd jsdfnusdnn uioddfsmm mcvjklmds ye yo!” the foreigner says, pointing at my face. He looks concerned.

“Ah, my face?” I ask, pointing at my face.

“什么?”  (what?) I’m tempted to spit some serious Chinese on his face.

 

He nods.

“Ah, don’t worry. I’m not having the unbearable pains of childbirth, this is just how I look naturally,” I assure him gently,… my skin is naturally oily, And I just came out this fully baked. In simpler terms, this skin is made of brown sugar, honey, cocoa, and 100 percent gold. So let’s do the math, Black woman + Education= LETHAL COMBINATION.

He glares at me for a moment as if digesting my earlier quirks about being a black goddess. He reaches for his backpack and opens it. He fumbles inside it a bit and his hand comes out of the bag holding some crisp, dollar notes.

“Endfh jka nyaesc amnauw basiuyr yu kliouawr xdgfuigh i ye yo,” he says, making gestures with his handful of money.

Baaaaaaaas! I realize that this young man’s name is Opportunity, and he is not even knocking at my door, but sitting right next to me with money in his hands. I am not going  to let a little detail like language barrier come between me and Opportunity. After all, at least I knew the basics, it was his fault that he confused me to the point of numbness.

“Why do I fall in love so easily?” I think to myself while looking at his handful of money.

“What does he want?”I again speak to my yet to be consumed cakes!!!

Just then,a young Ethiopian female species approaches us quickly. She has a big, colourful weave,  cleavagey top, (Nairobi’s room temperature being  14 Celsius..Lord!!!) a tiny khaki short, very long red polished talons and Maasai sandals.

“Phnafh wuubagvd yiueqwwjkb    fgyq euiqwy uihjka ijwdsy i ye yo” Says the woman to Opportunity.

Then she looks at me and says , ” He’s with me”…And again with a little devilish smile adds, ” He’s mine”

It’s a bloody lie. I want to say it’s a bloody lie but she looks like she has won many catfights and isn’t afraid to get into another one, so I just say, “Ooh, sawa.” ( Oh, it’s okay)

At the moment my Opportunity is looking at this other fellow from my diaspora marveling at her fluency Korean.

“Vjewfh jhh jwoeruoirn pqlefrjhe i ye yo,” says the other woman to the man. She is blowing smoke from the corners of her lips.

The man laughs and responds to her in that strange language while still looking at their cleavages and maybe complexion. Then they leave.

A missed Opportunity. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!

Then my Korean classmate calls and yells,”Hey friend, didn’t see you in today’s class, we’ve been learning about Self Introduction in Korean!!!” Then I cursed the gods for having conspired against me.

And I am left with my snackies at the table with one profound resolution: that Inasmuch as I’m supper busy doing both Korean and Chinese, I will never miss a Korean class.

GIFKIM

Call me at 4am, before or after. Wake me up. I don’t care, I just want to hear your voice. Tell me about the bad dream you had, tell me why you can’t fall asleep. Tell me why you prefer to talk at night, or why the words only come spilling from your mouth when you think no one is listening.

I am here. I will listen to you when your shoulders feel heavy. I will hear your words when you feel crushingly small. I will sit with you in silence when you are slumped against your pillow. I know your sadness is not beautiful, I know it is overwhelming and destructive and ugly. I know you feel powerless and redundant.

So call me at 4 am. I prefer you to sleep any day. Don’t sit there on your own. Talk to to me.

I love you, and I care.

CARE5

Why We Shouldn’t Question Another Person’s Religion

boy with a hat

Religion confusion

Religion is not stubborn ignorance in the face of science. Religion is a different way of understanding the world, of coping with our inescapable sufferings, with our unavoidable death, of establishing principles and values to guide us in life. While I am not particularly religious myself, I am bothered when intelligent people, usually of scientific or left-wing leanings, dismiss other people’s beliefs or criticize them openly. This world is big enough for Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists (with a big A), don’t you think?

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“HOW STANDARDS CONTRIBUTE TO WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT”

Women empowerment is educating and empowering women with the skills and

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Because we can never run away from our roots, they hold us us firmly  to the ground,this is Africa, My Africa!!!
confidence they need to secure a job create a healthy lifestyle and improve their standards in general.

Over the years women in Africa have faced many challenges which include: competition from well established male-dominated enterprises, lack of accurate information, support, and finance for expansion, risk-taking propensity, domestic commitments, female genital mutilation, gender discrimination and violence and stereotyping among others.
I have thought about a woman living in kibera, the poverty stricken slum at the heart of Nairobi. Again my heart breaks into countless pieces when I imagine of that little girl in Sierra Leon who will live with an amputated arm for the rest of her life due to civil war. And the Burundian mothers in Bujumbura who toil barefoot under the scorching sun of Africa.
Women are the backbone of rural economies in developing countries and in Africa, play a significant role to ensure their families’ well being. Their role is crucial is bringing about change in the community although they have been undervalued in societies across Africa.
It is an undeniable fact that when girls and women earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it in their families. It is clear that higher economic outcomes for women, combined with smaller and healthier families, will yield multigenerational effects and create lasting change. Girls tend to make better employees and more reliable entrepreneurs of their own. However, they are pretty invisible when it comes to business, which is a big mistake! Women are givers. They will re-invest in your business and in their own communities and families as well because there is a huge potential in them. And yes, given the chance, they will re-invest in themselves.
There are deep rooted inequalities in African agriculture. Women farmers are often refused access to land ownership. Agriculture, Kenya’s most vital economic sector and women contribute 60–80 per cent of labor in food production, both for household consumption and for sale. But while they do most of the work, they lack access to markets and credit. They make up a large percent of the labor force, but only sell a small percent of the cash crops. Providing women with greater access to credit and other sources of financing can help reduce economic disparities.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Cliche. Right? But then sixty-two million girls worldwide are denied the right to attend primary and lower secondary school. In my country Kenya for instance, girls living in the rural communities are most disadvantaged as many start school but only a small percent finish.

The girl child in Africa has not only affected by adverse poverty and abuse in the home, but also by the discrimination they face at school with regard to subject choices seen as suitable for male learners, like mathematics and science. Women are not inferior creatures. Given the powerful data, the world cannot afford to deny education to girls. If we all take the plunge by holding hands in unison and give particular care and attention to women in Africa, then we are bound to make significant strides in every aspect.
Many girls are sexually harassed at school, and are often forced to drop out due to a pregnancy, possibly caused by rape. Drug, alcohol abuse and prostitution to support a habit are challenges most frequently faced by girls in urban areas which invariably affect their chance to receive a good education. The rate of HIV infection amongst school girls in this demographic is cause for concern. Despite the many challenges to overcome with regard girl children’s education, more girls are participating in higher education in Africa than before.
For years, women have been despised. They do not even dare report violence against them; they struggle to access justice in a criminal justice system that is not informed by or sensitive to the needs of women. In Africa, violence against women is accepted as the cultural norm in many societies and is often condoned by the community and sometimes state leaders.
While reading Desert Flower by Diriye, I got myself thinking, who will ever save African girls from traumatizing effects of Female Genital Mutilation? A cruel and perfidious war on little girls. Subjected to the practice at 5, and then forced into marrying a 60-year-old man, Diriye’s father subscribed to a local saying “Gabar ama gunti rageed ama god hakaga jirto” (A girl should either be married on in a grave) .Inasmuch as we claim to be in the 21st century, this nightmare is still a reality in some parts of my country. Hers is a story that lays bare the challenges girls go through to escape retrogressive practices imposed to us by society.
Although African women play and continue to play a significant role in the economic and social development of their countries, they are not recognized, they are not visible and not rewarded for their efforts. A number of African countries have adopted a tool known as gender budgeting in order to redress the bias in economic policies that favors men and boys at the expense of women and girls.
However, women in some African countries have moved into positions of political influence. Women increased their parliamentary representation. Still, the situation is far from ideal. Their presence in parliament has made a difference in the adoption of gender-sensitive policies as well as succeeding in passing various pieces of legislation, such as legalizing abortion, making rape a capital offense, countering domestic violence as well as ensuring child support. Because of pressure from women, some countries now have affirmative action policies, such as quotas, to increase the number of women in decision-making positions. The bill would have been weaker if we had just one sex in parliament.
The continent is so diverse thus problems are very complex “Therefore, in global debates, they should not be made simplistic or be reduced to a single denominator.”Girls not only need access to primary education, but must also be protected from violence and harmful practices.
While there is a need to continue with basic strategies to lift women out of poverty and to halt HIV/AIDS it is also important to put in place second- and third-generation strategies too that would provide immediate benefits to women. Empowerment of women should not be confined to a narrow range of sectors within countries, but should also ensure the equal participation of women in fast-moving global processes.
Enough is enough! We are no longer seeking promises, but are demanding action. Everything shall fall in place if we just uplift women. They are the real architects of the society. From the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Women are leaders. Like Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi observes, let us not teach girls to shrink themselves, we should not make them feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity. I am ready to break down walls and defy stereotypes, are you?

I CHOOSE HAPPINESS!!!

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Yes, I do
  I chose you, happiness,
  To be mine,
 And I, yours,
  Together, let's walk down the aisle,
  I chose you,
  Be with me,
  Today,Tomorrow,
  Forever,even beyond eternity,
  Hold my hand,
  Whatever come may,
  I'll stick to you,
  Oh happiness,
  The ecstasy you give me,
  I'll keep smiling,
  In knowing I've got to,
  I choose to be happy,
  I choose happiness,
  Yes, I do.

HOPE OF AN AFRICAN GIRL!!!

Maybe, just maybe I didn’t see 18 coming. You know, as I write down…I want to go to the highest tower, stand at its peak…look around me, look above…raise my hands as if giving myself away to the wind…then scream my lungs out.

I am in my first year at the university. I am not sure I should be bragging about it or zip my oral cavity till am in the last year, last semester. I didn’t see this life coming…not at all!!! Someone should have at least told me that age comes with more pressure, more commitment, more pain, more discomfort, more struggles, more efforts…more more more!!! If the pages of yesterday could unfold and its writing erased,I’d write a fresh…I’d tell my maker to keep me 8 forever,but  then I guess, life happened.

Waking up at 4am every single day and heading to bed when the clock ticks midnight. And in between are really tiresome seconds, wearing minutes and hours that require a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I opted to take a degree in English and literature in lieu of Journalism… because I wanted to became a good writer, the best editor, a ‘Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi’

When the sun retires and gives way to the moon and the stars, I carry these dreams to bed. And when the sun takes charge again, walk these dreams every step. Theses hopes, aspirations,these dreams won’t let me sleep, they just won’t let my mind be at rest. Oh! did I mention I teach myself Mandarin Chinese? Now you know. I just won’t live and die in Africa. No. I want to live and leave a story, My story. That of an African girl who dared to dream. I want to see the world in many dimensions.

Nights like these when emptiness engulfs my soul, and I feel this hollowness in the core of my being, I let the drops of blood flow from my forehead on paper. This is how I cry,before taking my dreams to bed, get a few hours sleep, then obey my alarm at 4am, utter a prayer…chores, then jump out with the speed of a jet to school. To make these dreams happen. I don’t know what lies ahead but I want these dreams to grow, and if I loose everything today, there’s one thing in me that I don’t ever wish to extinguish, HOPE!!! THE HOPE OF AN AFRICAN GIRL CHILD, TO LIVE, TO PROSPER, TO THRIVE, TO UNLEASH HER POTENTIAL!!!

( THANKS A WORLD FOR READING THIS AND AGAIN HERE’S A BIG THANK YOU IN A CHINESY WAY ‘XIEXIE’).

MERCY KIMANZI.