Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

I attended Amor’s school’s prize-giving day.
I arrived and sat just a few minutes before the guest of honour arrived. Good thing for me too because chairs ran out. There were tents that had been set up and decked approximately in the schools colours. After the national anthem, the guest of honour inspected a guard of honour of the scouts and girl guides. Pupils from various classes made various presentations: songs, poems, dances.

Guard of honour

Guard of honour

I noticed two things: One was that the pupils presenting were mainly girls, especially in groups from the upper classes. I think the ratio of boys to girls presenting was around 1 to 7 or more. In fact, I noticed one group had three boys as they came onto the front singing. Turned out the boys were there to crack some jokes as part of the presentation.

The second thing was that the songs sung were predominantly Christian songs. These were sung even by groups that had girls wearing hijabs in them. I wondered if the teachers who taught these songs thought about this. Maybe they consider it a form of ministry. I also wondered what the hijab-wearing girls and their parents thought about this.

The pupils were supposed to share a microphone, but in many cases, the one holding the mic hogged it, so that it was predominantly her voice that was heard.

Amor received a prize for her performance last year. I noticed that we are indeed still fairly British. I think every person I saw carried their prizes still wrapped, as opposed to the American way where you open presents immediately upon receipt.

After the event was over, parents went to collect report forms and marked exam papers from the class teachers, and also to discuss the pupils’ progress. Amor had topped her class again this term, and was third in the entire Standard Two. The teacher said she loves books and is always doing something book-related. Amor told me last month that from 3:10 to 4:30 p.m, pupils in her class draw, while some do modelling using plasticine. She herself does revision because she does not have a drawing book and she does not like modelling, because some of the plasticine is soft and sticks to the hands. I bought her a drawing book that day.
———–

“Do you know what an ATM is?”
Amor shook her hed.
“Do you know what this is?” I asked showing her my Visa-branded ATM card.
“Yes.”
“What is it?”
“Visa.”
“What is it for?”
Kama huna pesa unalipa nayo.
(“When you don’t have money you pay with it.”)
(Visa’s advertising seems to be working).
We went to an ATM.
“See what is written up there?” I asked pointing at the large letters ‘ATM’
We waited as the lady at the machine finished and left.
I put in my card and keyed in my PIN.
Amor was ready to extract the money. She seemed to know what to expect.
Then she put her had ready for the receipt.

We went to the bank and got a ticket.
The number on it was 1699.
“Can you read this number?”
“No,” she said.
I covered the first three digits, showing only the last.
“What number is this?”
“Nine,” she said. That one was easy.
I then showed her the last two digits
“Ninety-nine,” she read.
“Good. What comes after ninety-nine?”
“A hundred,” she replied.
“When you count up to one hundred and ninety-nine, what comes next?”
“Two hundred.”
She correctly read the ‘699.’
“Good. Then when you count up to nine hundred and ninety-nine, what comes next? When you count up to five hundred, then six hundred up to nine hundred and ninety-nine, what comes next?”
“One thousand.”
I showed the whole ticket number
“One thousand, six hundred and ninety-nine,” she said.
“Excellent!”

Read Full Post »

It was Amor’s birthday, Monday 24th December 2012, the day before Christmas.
We were walking in town, going to collect her birthday cake. (Yes, I should have arranged to do that the day before).
I asked Amor:
“Do you know what day it is tomorrow?”
“Yes”
“What day is it?”
“Tuesday”
***

English: A bundle of collard greens, from an o...

English: A bundle of collard greens, from an organic food co-op. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone who has spent some time with children of a certain age (3,4,5,6…) will probably know that they can be painfully honest. They will tell you to your face that this food (that took great effort, time and thought to prepare) tastes yuck! or that they do not want this or that that you have offered them.
It is as we grow that we learn to be ‘considerate of the feelings of others’ and at best give vague, non-committal responses or at worst, lie outright. (I personally usually go for the former).
Children simply call it as they see it.

Now, I do not cook much. I do not really enjoy cooking, but I do not overly mind.
On one of the days I get to spend with Amor, I took her home and made lunch for her. My wife was not around so our nutrition for that time was up to me. I made vegetables (spinach, I think, and/or collard greens – I am not sure if this is the actual vegetable commonly eaten here in Kenya, but it’s close enough) and fried eggs and something else that I can’t remember. Nothing fancy or appealingly colourful or anything. Just nutritious food.

While I was serving, she, not surprisingly, asked to be served with more egg. Who doesn’t like fried egg? She ate a bit of the food, then she did something that made my day – she asked for more vegetables! Not more egg – more vegetables! How about that for an endorsement of my cooking! I was elated!

Just in case you are thinking that she just said that to make me happy, I had also baked a cake that week – the pre-mixed easy-to-bake ones. I gave her some, she ate a bit and said “This cake is not very tasty.” Thus, we can safely dispel any doubts that the ‘more veggies’ request was sincere.

Aah, the joys of fatherhood.
***
23rd Feb 2013

Not verbatim.
English translation follows

“Ujue Daddy anakupenda. Unajua nani mwingine anakupenda?”
“Mum”
“Na pia C” [her elder sister]
“Ah ah!”
“Kwa nini unafikiri hakupendi?”
“Yeye hunichapa”
“Kwa nini anakuchapa?”
“Nikimwagia chai kidogo”
“Kwa nini unamwagia chai kidogo”
“Saa zingine meza inatingika”
“Mummy pia hukuchapa?”
“Nikifanya kitu mbaya.”
“Mummy hukuchapa lakini anakupenda. Hata Ciku pia anakupenda. Mtu akitaka kukuchapa huku nje C atafanya nini?”
“Ataambia Mummy.”
“Unaona!”

In English
“Always remember, daddy loves you. Do you know who else loves you?”
“Mum”
“And also C” [her elder sister]
“No!”
“Why do you think she does not love you?”
“She beats me”
“Why does she beat you?”
“If I pour a little tea”
“Why do you pour a little tea?”
“Sometimes the table shakes”
“Does Mummy also spank you?”
“If I do something bad”
“Mummy spanks you, but she loves you. C also loves you. If someone tries to beat you outside, what will C do?”
“She will tell mum.”
“You see!”
***
If you haven’t yet, you may want to take a peek at The Gio Chronicles

Read Full Post »

My sister!

Read Full Post »

Thanks – 002

I probably do not say it enough.

Thank you for caring about us
Wanting us to succeed
Thank you for the effort you put
Wherever you see need

Thank you for thinking about us
How we can make things better
Thank you for the dreams you have
Of a future that is greater

Thank you for the food you make
To delight and to nourish
Thank you for your thoughtful gifts
I keep, use and cherish

Thank you for the fun and laughter
The happy times we share
Thank you Kay
For being there.

24th Nov 2011

Read Full Post »

Bila Chills

Anything Goes. Except Nothing.

Alexis Chateau

Activist. Writer. Explorer.

lizwala

One of a kind

Mama Grace Hostel

Mama Grace Hostel

Kuolewa

On being a wife, a mother...and everything in between.

Createschool

Learn Create Share

likesandpokes

Reflections, Inspirational. Challenging.

Sustainable Evolution

You may evolve -- but can you sustain it?

allaboutmanners

Just another WordPress.com site

Owaahh

One story is good, till another is told.

Daily (w)rite

A DAILY RITUAL OF WRITING

Purplerays

spiritual enlightenment and self improvement

Trust, Love & Diapers

Follow Team Sama as we embark on life's greatest adventure - parenthood!

My Book of Stupidity

Just a Fictional Journal of a Fictional Entity!

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

The Green-Walled Tower

A fiction blog of funny and dark stories

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

mum at heart

A mum of three still young at heart living it up in London!

Leo Kinuthia Blog

Inform. Engage. Inspire. Transform.

mybeautfulthings

Finding the beautiful in the everyday

bekindrewrite

write unto others as you would have them write unto you

The Eclectic Eccentric

writer. shopaholic. foodie. beach bum. wanderer.

Njenva's Ramblings

Ramblings of an Amazon warrior chic.....

Kindredspirit23's Blog

We are all Kindred Spirits; connected in Life

Austere Alacrity

Sang-Froid Est De Rigueur

Meanwhile, Melody Muses...

Poetry to Heal the Heart

Shikumwathi's Blog

From Kathy's Kitchen

The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog

Things You Realize After You Get Married

Things You Realize After You Get Married.com site

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through writing and photography

Brett Fish

Sucking the Marrow out of Life

Get Fit Simply

Fitness, simply put

Reading Pleasure

A blog of books and literature

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

vb's reverbs

current news items inspire short fiction and poetry

castelsarrasin

The work and activities of a writer/bargee

mezzojan

a libretto for the comic opera of my life

%d bloggers like this: