Posted in Mind Body Spirit

Turning 45

I turned 45 several weeks ago. The day passed quietly just like any other. I’ve never made a big deal of birthdays. Then I thought, it might be fun to compile a list of what I’ve learnt about life so far. I’m single with no kids, but not your typical career driven woman either. So let’s dive right in.

1. You control nothing, so get used to it.

Picture this. I’m in the last few months at Precious Blood Girls, Riruta. Our class teacher Mrs Chege has brought university application forms, which the rest of the class is busy filling. Meanwhile, I’m doodling in my notebook, forms untouched.

“Where are your forms?” Mrs Chege asks, a frown creasing her face.

“I don’t need them.”

“You can’t get into university without them.”

“I’m not going to university.”

“What? Why not?”

“I’m going to Utalii College to do hotel management.” I lean back in my seat with a confident smile. Mrs Chege shakes her head in disbelief.

“Everyone wants to go to university,” she insists in a firm bossy tone, lent even more weight by a hand on each hip.

“Not me. I’m going to Utalii.”

I have nurtured that dream since I was a little girl. The day I watched my uncle Joseph Wanganga, an executive chef at Jadini Beach Hotel, bake a cake using a sufuria over a charcoal jiko (we were poor and didn’t have an oven), I was captivated. I decided then and there that I was going to work in a hotel. He always let us eat the dough mixture left in the plastic basin after pouring it in the sufuria. Licking that basin clean was the highlight of the baking session.

Mrs Chege and the headmistress tried to convince me not to do something foolish. Nothing doing. So I applied to Utalii and then the worst happened. I failed to get a place despite scoring a B-Plain in the KCSE exam. I moped around the house for weeks, barely talking to anyone.

One day, dad finally placed my university admission letter on the dining table and asked me to go check it out. A few weeks before the Utalii heartbreak, the minister of education announced an extension for university applications due to some irregularities in schools. Dad convinced me to apply in the new window. “Just as a back-up, Utalii is still our main focus,” he assured me.

So I did B.Com and by a very winding road ended up as a creative writer. Is that a 5-year plan I see you compiling so diligently? Just know the universe is about to piss all over it. Don’t tear it up yet. Keep it and look at it in a decade or two. It will provide a good laugh when you see how far you’ve strayed from it. Continue reading “Turning 45”

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Posted in Mind Body Spirit

The ambulance

I was in deep thought, completely absorbed in planning the second issue of the magazine we would soon be launching, when the sound startled me back to the present.

A siren. Really loud. A minute later I saw it. An ambulance. Exactly the same model as the matatu I was sitting in but without the yellow stripe across the middle. Cream in colour, strobe lights flashing, siren blaring. Continue reading “The ambulance”

Posted in Mind Body Spirit, People

10 things I’m grateful for

I was watching a documentary the other day which had all these celebrity women drumming up support for the end of negative cultural practices that many women go through in Africa and elsewhere. It made me think of all the stuff I’ve taken for granted my whole life that other women can’t do. So here is a list of things I’m grateful for. Continue reading “10 things I’m grateful for”