Broken homes

She sat down gracelessly, not caring that her short pink pleated skirt was well up her thighs. Her ‘father’ frowned at her brown legs, all too familiar from the years he had visited her room at night. Neema tacked her legs under her, sinking in a bit further into the brown upholster. Her mother walked in a few seconds later, her boyfriend diverting his gaze to the plasma screen on one side of the room.

‘Frown all you want Baba but the government will never change!’ Kerwa said as she sat down next to him. She noticed Neema’s legs but choose to remain silent. She knew what was happening between her and her boyfriend but was not going to say anything-they had a roof over their heads, a comfortable life and expensive gadgets and jewelry as penance for ever sin committed against them. She let her eyes roam up and down her daughter’s body; she was indeed her seed. She was just as light skinned as she was, long kinky hair, delicate facial features and a petite frame.

Kerwa reached for her iPad on the table, noticing that the bruise on her arm was well faded by now. Baba, or rather, Peno, noticed that as well and grabbed her hand before she could get the iPad. Kerwa flinched. She looked up into his eyes and saw tenderness in them. Peno pulled her hand toward him, pushing the three quarter sleeve further up his lover’s arm, lowered his head to her arm and gently kissed the fading bruise. Kerwa was speechless. Neema just looked on, her expression bored. Her mind then wondered to her mother’s designer top and how she would wear it with a large buckled belt she had bought on sale the previous day.

When he finally let go of her arm, he reached for the gadget and handed it to Kerwa, who took it and placed it on her lap, still gazing at Peno, wondering, fearfully, what this gesture meant. Was he going to do something to hurt her-them again or did he genuinely mean it?

Neema looked back at the television, listened attentively and jolted down notes on her iPhone. She was a journalism student and had an assignment to do. She would otherwise have been in her room or her boyfriend’s place, as he liked to say, ‘shagging her brains out.’ The reference never amused her- it was what Peno had first said when he went into her room that first night they moved in. After eight years the phrase evolved from ‘who’s your daddy?’ to ‘who gives it better to you than Baba?’

She couldn’t tell anyone about what was happening to her once or twice a week. She understood what it meant- moving back to live in the whore house where she was a bonus package when a client saw her clinging to her mother’s skirt. Neema couldn’t figure out for the life of her why her mother exposed her to such a life. Did she just not care or was she genuinely that ignorant?

She became conditioned to believe that to have a good life (she had everything she could want) you had to give something of you. After years of pleading with a Higher Power to end her misery and nothing happening, she gave up. To survive she began to learn to enjoy Peno’s visits and letting go of the shame she used to feel the morning after. Looking her mother in the eyes became easier until she could have a normal conversation without an ounce of conviction.

And so life continued until she moved out of Peno’s, got married to her boyfriend and had a daughter.

And when her daughter was five the night visits from her father began.

And so the cycle continued.

Are you on drugs son??

I am directly asking this impolite question to all the men I have interacted with out of the niceness of my heart but have gone ahead and said or done something insanely foolish. Does everyone have hidden agendas?

Case Study One: The matatu owner

I boarded a matatu to a different route as I was meeting up with a friend so that we would go home together. Laden with two heavy bags, I got into the front seat when a seemingly pleasant young man who was already in the matatu opened the door for me to get in. I thought this kind. After seating and rearranging the bags on my lap I proceeded to search for gum in the depths of my handbag for what could have easily been a full minute. It was dark outside.

After fishing it out and having a pellet, I extended the remaining gum to the young man, to which he responded with a smile and a ‘no thanks.’ And this was not to imply that he was in need of gum.

I should have just minded my business.

We did make small talk after and came to learn he is:

  1. the matatu owner
  2. lives in a completely different direction from the matatu‘s route
  3. he is pursuing Gender and Development in school
  4. he is 25 and
  5. he had a pretty rough upbringing.

He talked about wanting to volunteer at NGOs and since I work for two I thought I could somehow, in whatever capacity, get him a spot in whatever NGO I hear are looking for volunteers. Numbers were exchange and I looked out the window- the conversation was over for me.

LO AND BEHOLD!

He said some other stuff… at this point I was zoned out.

When I got to my stop I said my goodbyes and got off. 20 minutes later he sent a text full of wanting compliments.

Now even my friends know that I have a problem with taking complements so when it comes from a stranger that I most probably want nothing to do with if it is not on a volunteer-work basis then it is just different. I will spare you the details of phone calls and texts that followed.

After clearly stating that I want nothing beyond friendship from the fella after he sent a weird message, he went ahead to ask me, and I quote ‘by th way when is it appropriate fr pple to move from just friends’

Son, are you on drugs?

And that is how that vibe ended.

 

Case Study Two: The friendly watchman

I don’t know whose house he guards but Hannington from day one was very polite and keen to welcome me into the neighborhood as I walked to our offices. I have seen him all of 5 times in the past month. Earlier this week he asked whether I had traveled because he hadn’t seen me the previous week. I was in meetings elsewhere but I was not about to tell him that and start a conversation so I simply answered, ‘yes’ and kept on walking. I did ask his name and gave mine in return. Not sure why I did this. (He is much older, not cute and not my type so stop that train of thought!)

Yesterday, from his sitting spot by a hedge outside the gate, he said hi and stretched out his hand for a shake.

See I always walk on the right side of the road coming from the stage, so that, when going home, becomes the left side- basically what I am trying to say that he guards the house on the opposite side of the road. Shaking his hand would mean crossing the road.

Son, are you on drugs?

I don’t know you like that hommes!

I did keep walking while responding to his questions and entirely ignored that gesture.

 

Conclusion:

I DON’T KNOW YOU so I don’t owe you. Same way I am not all up in the businesses of people I just met is the same way I don’t expect someone else to be. People want to be your best friend and more without even getting to know what you are about. Whatever happened to taking it slow? Fsst friendships, in my case, have always fizzled out. So start with a text once in a while, build on that, then random and spaced phone calls, then accidental meet ups, then planned meet ups, then proper friendships. I acknowledge the world doesn’t always work that way but as the Spirit leads, so should it go.

Lastly, I can’t miss, like or love what I do not know. I don’t expect others to either.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

 

You have no idea…

… Of the things that God has planned for you.

I most certainly didn’t. I pick up after my dad- we are pretty strong willed individuals who love plans and knowing before hand how things should and will work out. You can imagine my reaction when things turn out to be the opposite. It took me a while to stop getting angry when things didn’t work out by simply saying ‘it’s God’s will.’ Though I didn’t understand what this initially meant it helped me chill out- there is nothing attractive about my angry face.

So when God rains- no – hail storms my parade only to then put me in a place 3yrs ahead of my life plan then gives me the grace to fit in… We know that God loves us and wants, as Dad, to gives us the good things in life but what we do is think ‘I need to work to get to such and such a place.’ as I intended to do with my goals.

Let me ask you then- did you have to work for the clothes your parents put on your back? The meals they gave you? The outings you went for? Your school fees? As their child they freely gave you all these things most times without even your asking.

So why do we refuse to take from God and insist on working to get stuff? Isn’t that what grace is??

Cheers

Poem: It’s Definitely You.

It’s not me, it’s you.

My soul and mind you have not

Intrigued, captured, run off with-

Okay maybe it’s not you,

It’s me.

Your Googled card tricks

And magic tricks don’t

Meet my standards of amazement

So this is the part I say

‘It’s been real.’

I will now leave you to watch

The cloud of dust left by my heels

As I proceed to run to the hills.