I had a meeting today for a start up magazine by *checks notes* ya! Basically the aim of the magazine is to promote travel in Kenya by highlighting travel spots and events the writers have been to. Target audience? 18-26. The fun people write about fun stuff and the rest of us write about more serious stuff. Whatever that is… We the writers are quite a mix and I am experiencing such a culture shock. I forget how vulgar people can be and how it just as easily rubs off on me. But that is not what this post is about. I have realized just how elusive perfection is. Both my feet are on the table, stretching out my knees after trying to fold myself into this wooded garden chair I jacked from, not the garden but the porch; they were not in use. So I asked myself, why are you forcing issues Maureen? Why not stretch out your short chunk legs? That is why my feet are on the table now. Perfection holds different meanings for different people. At this point for me it is being A. flexible enough to fit into this piece of furniture with my legs up and B… There is no B. I don’t mind my weight. Maybe I will in the morning when I get to church tomorrow and see all these smaller ladies in shorter skirts and fitting blouses. For now I am good. So my conclusion is pursuit of perfection, even in the simplest of forms, is stupid. Harsh, even bitter, but such are my thoughts. Be you. I like bananas coated in peanut butter? Gross? To you? Don’t care. I will choose to do what is right and comfortable for me, not what I see media or others portray. You? Cheers.
‘Damn it Brit!’ I said right before the director could yell ‘Cut!’ from the shadows. He yelled that no one should move and walked toward Brit, who was both visibly shocked and embarrassed. Now she definitely looks like my stalker, I thought to myself as I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, impatient to get back into character.
My ability to act was discovered by my French teacher. He was from Congo and was clearly disoriented on his first day of class. It was his first time teaching and this was evident from the number of times he referred to his notes or consulted a dictionary during his first few weeks of class. He was good, that I remember, and though I was never serious with the language, I still remember the basics.
Being the clown in a class of forty three, on hearing that the school was getting its first French teacher, I strategized on a prank, hoping they were female; it would have made the prank that much sweeter. I was slightly disappointed when Mr. Zamundu walked into the half mud, half brick classroom in his black trousers and colorful, patterned, short-sleeved shirt, typical of those from Central and West Africa.
This was my strategy: Day one, assess, Day two, gain his trust then finally, execute the perfect prank: get him to believe I had a learning disability, to get me out of hard work’s way. Things went well for the first month, until one day he came to class, and without talking, wrote questions on the black board with his favorite green chalk, leaving dashes for us to fill, as was the usual at the end of every lesson.
When he was done, he sat down on his creaking wooden chair and looked straight at me. From his black briefcase that he’d carried to class, he removed a belt; a thick, brown leather belt. Caning was the norm in my school but this new teacher was yet to conform.
In his heavy French accent he said, ‘Bruce, come to the front.’ I diligently went. At this point, the classroom was extremely quiet and we could hear the young children yelling out the alphabet; there were two blocks of classrooms between kindergarten and the senior block, our block. I still remember the sound made by iron sheets when expanding and contracting- like sand being showered on them.
When I got to the front, he handed me a piece of chalk, white, and pointed at the board. I thought he was bluffing, so I gave my usual excuse, ‘Teacher I can only answer this one,’ pointing at the hardest question. Before the words were out of my mouth, the leather belt landed on my back with a loud ‘whack!’ that drew gasps from both my classmates and I. I was too shocked to utter a word.
‘So that you can give me the wrong answer and pretend to sulk?’ ‘whack!’ ‘Answer all those questions! NOW!!’ he said in a raised voice.
There were twenty, I recall, some of the hardest I had set eyes upon. I was not a dumb kid and I did study at home under my father’s watchful eye. I answered the questions in less than a minute. He raised his belt again. ‘Teacher wait!’ I wailed, scanning the board. One answer was wrong. I quickly erased it, corrected it and moved further away from him. He scanned the blackboard and again moved toward me. I moved further back, toward the door and scanned the board again, in a panic. I had missed out accents on some words, in my haste, and some were arched wrongly. I quickly altered those.
He looked at the board and nodded in satisfaction.
He turned to his briefcase and removed a green flyer, with black print, and two drama masks at the top of the page.
‘See you on Saturday at 9 o’clock. I will be waiting at the door.’
I took the flyer without reading it and went back to my desk. When I put the flyer down, I realized my hands were shaking and that tears were streaming down my cheeks. From that day, Mr. Zamundu and I became best of friends, and I did pass French.
Since then I pursued drama through my last two years of primary,all through high school and into university. By the time I graduated, I was a star nationally, having acted at the National Theater for more than ten years and staring in major plays, a TV series and a few internationally produced films.
Our director, an Italian, was a man with a temper that sprang forth like hot springs in Bogoria when things did not go his way. After yelling at Brit in his native accent for interrupting and yelling orders to part of his crew to keep the entire forest clear, he went back to his seat behind the small screens streaming images from the camera. His ears were red and his tan cheeks were pink.
I turned and followed Brit as she walked away, wondering how she could have missed the major equipment being used on the outdoor set. I looked around and noticed that the trees where the camera and crew were less spaced out. Thinking the best of her, I choose to shrug it off.
We were having lunch soon and she would explain to me what she was thinking. She was pretty, dashing eyes, curvy legs, a skilled baker and even more skilled in bed… I have a bone to pick with this Jesus though. Our relationship was great until she started going to that new church with Nkatha, their house help. I really felt less attached to her when, suddenly, we could no longer do things we used to do because they were ‘not right’ and the most annoying phrase of all, ‘What would Jesus do?’
‘Places… From the top! Action!’
It is dark, the street lamp shines outside the window.
Does she mind, so she blinds her closed eyes,
is his content he can see her face?
Cotton balls with make-up,
cotton shirts with yellow sweat stains in baskets,
sleepy eyes confuse their rightful places.
As I lie in bed, I wonder what he in China thinks,
or she in Cuba feels.
Was the day beautiful, or does it make the next a dread?
Does regret paint their faces,
drawing funny mustaches as the devil giggles from the bed post?
Do they smile, making him shift uncomfortably in his vocation?
Did they remember what was taught on Sunday,
what their sleepy eyes caught at dusk or dawn,
depending on their preference,
what the Good News proclaimed when they sought it?
They turn, move around, finding the perfect spot on the bed.
As they drift, two things are true,
they are extremely flawed humans,
but two, they are loved.
Even in hell, He is with them.
And so I smile, and sleep.
I am back. Internet issues, travels and school stuff… I had missed being here. Will be posting something shortly and in the coming days hopefully manage to read what all you awesome people have been posting 🙂
As I delve into this study, I must first acknowledge it has been inspired by the letters of Paul. In these books, there are incidences that have shown the magnum opus of Christ, our Lord and Savior.
I have turned 10 years in the Kingdom today but one of the most confusing tasks as a Christian for many years has been to understand Christ and His Kingship role in our lives.
This study focuses on very inspiring scriptures that impacted my life through the years. The scriptures are in Isaiah, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians and finally in the book of Revelations.
I want to consider this extract as the most honored extract to write. Indeed I am the least worthy to write it and deep inside, as convicted as I am, I feel I should have done this 40 years from now when all be turning 50; perhaps all…
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Two things are true:
1) I seriously need to plan my time better- no- I need to make myself spend my time well. I should be writing everyday but that has not been the case. And there are so many beautiful bloggers out here with such amazing content I have to read, so time needs to be made for that too.
2) I asked a friend on a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest, how mean I am. He said 7. I would despair, wallow, even try change myself but nah, I will sit this one out. The good work that the Lord began in me will be brought to completion. I will however make a conscious effort to be nicer to my friends. Funny how much courtesy I give strangers and not my friends. Sigh.
“…it has dawned on me that I am a walking mess so that God’s work can be seen. My mistakes are written on my forehead and every day, one by one, they are being erased…. So my conclusion today is that I have decided to embrace my mess, every single one of them. It is what makes me a peculiar but beautiful master piece. ”
This is a quote from a journal I keep, entry date December 16, 2012.