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Decide

Sometimes, momentous events take place on random, ordinary days. Not the first of the month, or the day before your birthday, or the day of a major terrorist attack. Just a random, unremarkable day. But that may be the day that changes your life.

That decision that you have been thinking about, but felt unprepared for, or that you have felt things were not in place for yet. But time has been passing and the situation has not changed, or has gotten worse.

So one random, unremarkable day you hear something, or read something and you just decide. You make a decision to act. And you do. 

And your life is never the same again.

Yesterday, I decided.

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers. It’s been two years since my last submission:-/

You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for last week and below that is my story.

Copyright - John Nixon

Copyright – John Nixon

Picture copyright John Nixon.

Introduction
Good music always came from the piano when Roch sat before it. Beautiful music. Tom knew this because everyone clapped when Roch sat before that piano. Tom wanted people to clap for him too.

One day, Tom sat on Roch’s chair before the piano. He tapped the keys as he had seen Roch do many times before, but the music that came out of the piano was not as nice as when Roch sat there. He tried again. Still not as nice.

Maybe the piano did not like making music for strangers. Tom decided to introduce himself to the piano.

—-
100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here.

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week a picture is put up at the Rochelle’s blog.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (excellent) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

BLACKORWA

The story of Ulwo Atyak is of a man who ushered a whole new generation of people who today are known as theLuo. In 1010 AD, the Nuer king took over reigns from his father, King Rubanga, who, after several invasion from the Arabs moved the Kingdom capital to Wau in Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan. The new King established himself in the area through acquisition of many wives from the conquered Madi tribe. Inflection of the Nuer language by the Madi tongue gave birth to a new language – the Luo language, and with it a new Kingdom the Lwo-Atyak dynasty (followers of Atyak).

For 400 years, the dynasty grew through commerce, wars, and agriculture until 1365 when the bastard son of Queen Nyilak killed the King and the tribe split into two. One Sudanic led, and the other Madi led (Acholi). It is in Acholiland where quarrels…

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Happy Mothers’ Day!

lizwala

October 2006
To Whom It May Concern

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a 28 year old beautiful lady.
I am a motivated, adaptable and responsible graduate seeking an entry-level position in motherhood which will utilise the organisational and communication skills developed through my career. I am now ready to settle down and start a family. Having been educated for six years for a medical degree in one of the toughest universities in Kenya I believe I can transition to the motherhood role. If I survived this, I can survive raising up children. It can’t be that tough, can it? My career goal is to be a very loving and caring mother. Looking presentable at all times. Never fatigued. My kids will always be obedient, smiling and clean. They will be all rounded and energetic. They will listen to me at all times and they will excel in anything they set…

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My friend echoed many of the thoughts I have been thinking recently

All Things Bright & Beautiful

beautiful female african college student in lecture room Photo: Courtesy

Every time I meet university students in town I find myself shaking my head, amused. Every time I see UoN students throwing stones at motorists on University Way I am even more confounded. College students amaze me. It is hard to come across so much bravado, naivety, vanity, invincibility and hope all packaged together in one. That could be admirable. But then I wonder how many are making the best of that wonderful phase of life that most of us remember with nostalgia? How many are going to waste their lives or make mistakes that will be hard recovering from? How many will look back grateful for the opportunities they grabbed?

For the university students in my life and those who will come across the post – Sue, Linda, Sharon and your friends… Campus life is a treasure. Cherish it; protect it. It grants grants you opportunities to…

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Let’s meet on Saturday 23rd April

She Blossoms...

So this is happening.

1. I have good friends. I have not lifted and will likely not lift a finger towards organising this. These days I get tired from just waking up so this is good.

I’ve been out of commission for about 8 months now. This time it was really out of commission. Usually, I hit a bad patch and I get a little housebound in recovery, but I keep my wits and continue working from bed.

I’m a writer, blogger and online content editor, so working from bed is doable. I take on editing jobs, ghost writing gigs and so on on the side and that’s usually also doable. I love teaching creative writing especially to kids, and talking about art and art solutions with grownups. A day in a week out is usually also doable.

But this time, this thing just knocked me flat out. This thing…

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Do It!

Hello dear reader!
You still there? Did you give up on me?

This post is going to be a bit random.
I turned 40 over one and a half years ago, (and I didn’t even post here about it!) and as seems to happen around that time and after in people’s lives, I have had opportunity to think about (my) life.

I have realised that I’m one of those people who gets ideas about something, then overthinks it and eventually the zeal dies away and the thing does not get done.

I think it’s one of the reasons I have not been blogging here as often as is possible. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, I often think of things to write, then I think of how I should compose it and so on, then I don’t get round to actually doing it and the many thoughts I had go away. And time goes away too.

Today, I read someone’s update on Facebook. It said something like ‘Do something today, that you will be happy about in a year.’

I recently also listened to a Ted Talk (I think. I’m not sure because it was my wife watching it on her phone and I was just hearing it). The talk was about procrastinators (like myself). It said procrastinators usually get to do things in a panic at the last minute before a deadline, so they *do* get to (barely) meet deadlines. However, there are things in life without a deadline (such as eating healthy, exercise, building wealth), so unless conscious effort is made, these things will remain undone, and the effects will be seen later.

So I have decided to take action. That is the reason I am actually writing this directly on my blog, as opposed to first composing it nicely offline, then editing it, then looking for appropriate images, then eventually (not) posting.

Moral of the story: Do it. Take action. Start now.

Quote

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

 

Mom, what is that man doing?

lizwala

She lay there on the cold examination bench. Motionless. Alone. Unaware of what was about to happen to her. Legs astride in a position we call lithotomy in medical jargon. The position enables maximum view for consented medical procedures that necessitate access to the inner reproductive organs of a female patient. An examination that requires a chaperone in the spirit of upholding professionalism. But this was no ordinary procedure. I could feel the scream rising from my belly. I stifled it. I was watching with the troop. I didn’t want to scare them. The media house had mentioned the word “rape” in the bulletin. I knew it was going to be bad. I just didn’t know how badly shaken I would be. How angry I got. As he moved around the room, his identity partly hidden, he seemed familiar with what he was about to do. I willed the unidentified…

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Tout

Hello readers! I have not been a good blogger. I know I say things like that from time to time, when I realise how long it has been since I blogged. It’s not that I don’t have things to blog about, especially since this is a more-or-less anything goes kind of blog, it’s just that I don’t get round to typing it out while the stories are fresh in my mind.

Anyway, now that I’m here, here is a story I wrote months ago:

Tout

He should have left an hour earlier. He never seemed to learn. He was annoyed with himself. He had dilly-dallied in the house until past noon. Now he was going to be late and he may have to push some of the things he had planned to do to his next visit to town. Oh well. Nothing much to be done about that now.

He sat in the matatu- the small Nissan van that was authorised to seat fifteen, including the driver and the tout who called for passengers and collected fare, in five rows of seats. The Nissan may actually have been a Toyota, but for some reason people called them all Nissans. Peculiar Kenyan habit.

The arrangement of seats was the same in most of the matatus: the driver had two pasengers to his left. Behind him, was usually a partition of some sort. Some matatus had speakers installed there, some just had metal rods. This matatu had some sort of board behind the driver’s row. There may have been speakers within that board, but if so, they were not on. The row immediately behind the driver usually sat three passengers – sometimes four when demand for matatus exceeded supply. The tout’s traditional seat was on the third row right next to the vehicle’s sliding door. This seat was separated from the other two seats on its row by a gap that allowed passengers to pass to and from the last two rows. The fourth row was similar to the third.

He sat on the fourth row, moved his fare from his wallet to the more easily accessible shirt pocket, then settled to continue reading the Ruth Rendell mystery he was currently on.

The matatu set off. There were the usual activities – the tout collecting fare from the passengers, row by row, issuing change where necessary, tapping the vehicle to signal the driver to stop to drop or pick passengers and so on. He was engrossed in the novel and was not paying too much attention to the goings-on around him.

Usually, the conductor asks one of the passengers on the second row to collect fare from those at the front. Actually he does not really ask – he simply taps the passenger’s shoulder then points at the front-row passengers. The selected passenger in turn taps the shoulders of the two and they pass the money backwards to him or her. In this case, The board behind the driver’s row made this ritual impossible. The conductor therefore had to lean out of his window and reach towards the front passenger window to ask for fare.

From his seat on the row behind the conductor, G saw the conductor lift his right leg. This curious sight drew him from the mystery world to the real one he was in. Before he fully took in what was happening, he wondered what the conductor was doing – trying to step on a passenger? Oh, he’s just collecting fare. But why has he lifted his leg so high? He first recoiled as he realised what was happening, even as it unfolded, then lunged forward to try and save the tout.

The tout’s left foot that was on the floor of the vehicle lost balance for some reason (a discarded polythene bag, it later turned out). The left foot slid towards the right, making the tout lose balance. The tout’s body was mostly out of the window and this offset made his upper body now lean downwards. In panic, he tried to better grip the area above the door, but his hand was holding money and was therefore not fully available.

G tried to grip the tout’s leg, but gravity won and the tout fell out of the window and onto the tarmac. Inertia carried him forward, which was both a good and a bad thing. It was good because it saved his arm from being run over by the back wheel of the matatu, but it was bad to have one’s face and body scraping on the tarmac.

The driver stopped the vehicle almost immediately. The shouts and screams from the passengers reduced as they got out of the vehicle and cautiously looked at the tout, who was still lying on the road.

G didn’t look much, not wanting to see grisly scenes that would stick in his mind for long. In fact, he stood there for a few moments, looking at the backs of the small crowd that was standing around the injured man and debating what to do, just so that he would not seem callous if he just walked away immediately. After what he considered a respectable time, he walked back to the nearest bus stop to wait for another matatu.

The Fun Fair

Part One is here.

——
First stop was a slide. In my estimation, it was maybe 10 metres high. That is about 3 floors up.
“How much?”
“200/-”
It sounded like a lot
Someone must have asked if that price was per slide (as in the child slides down just once) because the man replied and said “No many times.”
Ah, that’s not bad. Indeed the number of times a child could slide was unlimited. In fact, as I stood there, it was some parents who were telling their children to leave.
I later thought it was a self-limiting thing.
For each slide, the child has to climb maybe 50 stairs, then slide down and climb up again. Naturally, the child gets tired of climbing.

After sliding a number of times, Amor finally said she had had enough.
“Utaenda mara moja ya mwisho ama umetosheka?”
(Will you go once more or you are satisfied?)
“Nimetosheka,” she said.
(Enough).

Next was the small Ferris wheel. Pretty basic. Maybe 4 metres high. And manually operated.
When I say manually, I mean people make it rotate and stop by hand (and leg and whole body). It started drizzling as Amor was waiting to get onto the Ferris wheel, so I gave her her jumper/jacket and my hat.

Do not be misled by my quiet description. The place was noisy! Children yelling, music, some shouting. Particularly prominent was a man inviting people to his booth to see allegedly amazing things. If you look in the background (on the right hand side) of the video above, you will see some of the drawings outside his booth – a bodiless head, a pygmy, mermaid…
“Mbao! Mbao!Mbao! Mbao!Mbao! Mbao!
Mbao mtu mkubwa shilingi kumi mtoto,” he said.
(“Twenty shillings for an adult, ten for a child!”)
“Wewe! Umeleta pesa yako?”
(“You! Have you given me your money?”)
(He was not too big on politeness).
“Nyumba ni ndogo lakini maajabu ni kubwa!”
Later, I heard him now saying “Mbao kila mtu. Nimesema mbao kila mtu.”
(“Twenty shillings per person. I have said twenty shillings per person.”)

On a side note, ‘Mbao’ is a corruption of the word pound. It means twenty (usually shillings). I hear that it came into use when the British pound was worth twenty Kenya Shillings. It is now worth about 140 Shillings.

We went to the mini-train, perhaps the very same train that my dad took me to when I was a kid. Or maybe not. We also went to one of the merry-go-rounds, and after that Amor had a camel ride.

There were very many secondary school students in uniform around. Many were taking photos at the many photo booths around. These booths had backdrops consisting of photos of people that looked like the actors in those Mexican soaps. A number also had pictures of the Jamaican artist Konshens who recently visited Nairobi. I contemplated taking a photo in one of the booths with Amor, but thought that years later she might not see the joke and might think her dad was shady.

Later, we visited a few of the agricultural stands and saw some cows and sheep and vegetables, but soon it was time to leave. Buses were charging 150/- per seat, because of the rain. Kenya Bus was charging a bit less, but for that you’d have to queue in the rain. It should have cost at most 50/- on a regular day. The rain ensured that the buses got passengers despite their extortionist fare. I finally got Amor home at about 8:30, I think.

 

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