Have you ever been at a point in life in which you can’t even describe to yourself what is happening? Either to you, in your friend’s lives, in the stranger’s lives you are meeting or even in your country. Everything seems to be changing at a fast pace. Whether that is good or not, I do not know. My life seems to be in a process. When one phase ends, leaving me different from how it found me, another one enters overlapping with the forthcoming one. Maybe that is what fourth year is about. Evolving from a student mentality to an “adult/independent” one. I have no idea what that even means. Maybe age is actually catching up with me.
When I started writing this, I wanted to tell you a story. I love stories. Bible stories, blogs, books, and of late I have concentrated more on African literature. All in a bid of being told a good story. And Africans are the best storytellers. They will make you cry and laugh at the same time. You should read the Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. And maybe you’ll understand why Bob Dylan’s win made me angry. But of all stories, raw real actual stories take the prize home for me. I love when I read of something that is happening or happened to someone. Because for those few minutes you enter into the writer’s life and go through what they are experiencing. And you are not the same after that. At least in the way you perceive life or certain people.
However, no story is coming to mind. Scratch that. None of the ones in my head feel shareable. Maybe because they have no head or tail. Or are just too personal. For example, of late there has been this memory from when I was seven years that has been haunting me. First of all, I rarely remember things from my childhood, to be precise when I was 8yrs and below. I think my mind blocked them out for its own reasons. This means I can count the number of things I remember from that time span and they don’t even get to number 10. The rest is a blur. But once in a while a memory pops up from nowhere.
In this specific one, I’m suffering from mumps. By then I was staying in a different town from my mother due to my schooling. We had a shop where I was staying with a house help or a guardian. Part of my face and neck were swollen as a result of the mumps. This means that swallowing anything was torture to say the least. We did not have phones by then that we could call my mother and inform her that her daughter was sick. And my caretaker for reasons best known to her had not taken me to the hospital. On that specific day, she placed breakfast in front of me and went on to serve some customers. But in my condition I could barely swallow my own saliva. This saw me not take that breakfast. When she came back, she took the kawaida broom and started beating me on my arms and legs since they were the only parts of my body not covered in clothes besides my swollen face and neck.
And I remember thinking what kind of a human being this was that could beat a sick child regardless of her mistakes. And I cried. I rarely cried as a child. I guess being brought up by people who have no time ya ‘kukumbembeleza’ does that to a child. But on that day I cried. Those who have never been beaten by a broom do not understand how painful it can be, and after each stroke those thin sticks leave your skin inflamed. I needed a savior, from both my sickness and this extra pain being inflicted on me. And God did send a savior. And that is where this memory ends. With my mum appearing on the doorway.
Stories like the above are not the kind I would be eager to share. But we never choose what comes to mind, do we? Maybe you can decide not to think of something but isn’t that called suppression? We were having a random discussion yesterday with two friends and two strangers. The topic of discussion was marriage. The men were claiming to want wives who can cook and can wash the house and all house chores while allowing them to marry other wives or keep mistresses. We on the other hand wanted men who can help around in the house, after all we are also chipping in to the house budget and neither of us happens to be superwoman to do all house chores after a whole day at work.
The lady we met there who joined in the discussion only wanted a man to provide. If he provides a hundred percent then she will do all the house chores without complaining. If he feels like cheating, he can go ahead and get as many mistresses as he wishes though he has to inform her of his cheating ways before. Both of the two suggestions seem strange to me. Like how now? How does a man look at me and disregards the brains, character, personality and only requires a chef and a housekeeper who to top it up sleeps with him and bears children? How does a woman allow her man to cheat? I agree that views on relationships are the most varied on earth. But the ones I have heard so far prove that something is slowly dying within us.
That people are afraid to dig deep into themselves and find out who they really are. What they stand for. What they will not compromise. What they can die for. What they can kill for. What they can ignore. What values they will pass on to their children. What impact they will leave on earth. Or they will just pass by. Find out what their generation is into and go with the flow. Get tossed by the wind from east to west in the name of living the life. But who am I to think my opinion of higher standing than theirs? I mean isn’t it all vanity?
Speaking from my wisdom of being a twenty something year old who hasn’t yet figured out what life means, I have discovered that my fellow young people are very good at running away from themselves. We will try and find solace in habits or other people or addictions. And one of the things people are eloping from with all they have and all that is in them is singlehood. When was the last time you saw or met a genuinely single person? One with whom they have no strings attached? No friends with benefit, no one that they describe as “we are not dating, we are just there”.
Our high school principle used to tell us” guard yourself selfishly”. But you cannot guard well something you do not know what is inside. You might just end up leaving the lion to watch over a goat. A friend broke up with a man who is not worthy of any inch of her. The guy was a serial cheater and very disrespectful among the many things he had going on for himself. She on the other hand being the faithful one stayed with him for as long as she could let her broken heart be crushed over and over again. She might not have gotten over him completely, but she is done with him. Like never ever going back to him. Only problem is that she is feeling miserable being alone. Being single is not her cup of tea apparently. She had plans, by now she should have been in a stable relationship, not wallowing in single hood.
I think being single is an important phase of adulthood that everyone needs to go through. Like complete single hood. No side people. It allows you to befriend yourself. After all you spend most of your time with yourself. You get to learn how to handle your lonely days and how to survive alone. You discover what makes you tick. You strengthen your strengths and learn how to navigate through your weaknesses since there is no one to complement you at that point. You observe the world with only your opinion and your perspective to go by. You find your worth in yourself and make short and long term plans that have you as the center point. It’s the only time when selfishness works well. Single hood allows you to wake up one morning and just pack your bag and go to a place you have never been to before without a care for anyone. You learn to prioritize yourself. It shouldn’t be a miserable time or a time to find people to pass away time with as some people do, it’s that phase that allows you to have a 24hour best friend within you. I mean, when will you ever hold a celebration with you as the organizer, invitee and the man or woman of the moment? When will you ever hold court proceedings with you as the judge, prosecutor, suspect, witness and defense lawyer? If not in your single hood?
There is this Nigerian website (it seems too ‘large’ to be called a blog) that I follow. The name should be Brittle Paper. Per day there are usually several posts by different people. I don’t know why I called it Nigerian considering it covers the whole of Africa in terms of its content. On that note our own Stephanie Wanga has written a very beautiful piece of Mashujaa day. Whoever runs that blog worships Chimamanda Adichie. At least according to my biased opinion and also for the fact that there is always a piece of what she said or did or implied every single week. Or maybe she just deserves all that attention. But one thing that I have observed is that Africans are writing books. As in publishing books, especially Nigerians. Almost eighty percent of all writers on that blog have published books. And per day there usually at least five writers so you can imagine the amount of newly published books in Africa. But I wish we had such a platform in Kenya.
If you have survived to this last end of today’s ramblings, wewe ni shujaa.

How I fell in love with hiking

Dreams,goals and hopes. That was how my third year started. On a very high note. I wanted to open my NGO in the near future. I planned on traveling more. I wanted to be financially independent. We had plans with my then boyfriend. And all those things required some amount of money. My pocket money obviously would not be able to finance any of my goals and dreams. And that is how I started hustling(stories for another day though).
However,what that meant was that I ended up not spending a lot of time with my class buddies. The goodness is that my roommate and I share the same school course and classmates and inner circle. So she always kept me updated.Not so sure how I would have survived without that precious woman. And that is how I came to know of a trip they had planned for us eight friends.
The plan was we hike Mt.Longonot. Our itinerary was, we leave for Naivasha on Saturday, find a place to sleep and take supper, wake up early on Sunday, hike the famous mountain, go for swimming if possible (this is how ignorant we were on the energy required for Mt.Longonot), then sleep back to school on Monday. Everyone was to pay KSH 2500. That was the full plan. Now this is how it went down.
We met along the various points of Thika road on that Saturday and managed to get to the city and board a matatu to Naivasha quite easily. On arrival,one of us had a relative who lives on the outskirts of Naivasha who agreed to host us(we were so lucky on that). That meant more money to spend on other things. We thus shopped for foodstuffs and all requirements for the weekend. Cooking as a group was fun as our group is made up of different characters.

Saturday. The day that added a new love into my life. We woke up on time and called a driver whose contact we had taken,to take us to Mt.Longonot. There was a minor setback as he took us to the wrong gate(not the one people start hiking from). But he came back for us again and took us to the right gate. Lesson that next time we should google some of these details.


But that did not dampen our moods. Mt.Longont starts on a slow note. Nothing challenging in the first few minutes. After a while we were at Buffalo point. Now the views there are breathtaking. And to think that that was just the start of it all. This increased my excitement for those who know me,know how much I love good sceneries. Two of our friends felt our pace was too slow and thus they went ahead. I should mention that I was the most unfit and slowest in the group. Luckily, one of the two men in our group,who was the team leader of sorts, decided he was not leaving anyone behind. Rather,he was not leaving tortoises like me to lose hope. Mt. Longonot at this point had started revealing its ugly colors. But we arrived at the first resting point well and even decided to move on so that we can reach the summit on time.


To say that climbing that last part was tedious would be an understatement. I walked upright, I bent, I crawled, I walked backwards all in a bid to just move one step forward. Was my body a machine, it would be producing all those squeaking sounds at this point. Alex,the team leader kept on telling us(we were two ladies left behind) that we were only ten steps to go. We kept on counting ten steps. And after many ten steps,we made it to the top.

At this point I was actually surprised that I was still alive and breathing. And the views there reminded me of safaricom’s advert that had a choir singing in various parts of our beautiful country. Needless to say, it was still my favorite advert by then. I wished I had a better camera. All the same, I breathed in the beautiful air and feasted my eyes on God’s creativity.

“Who wants to go round the crater?” Alex asked. Around three people besides him offered to go. The rest were like even with “kamute” they wouldn’t dare. For me to say that I wanted to go around the crater,shocked every single person there. Being the most unfit,the last to get to the top did not exactly fit into someone who would want to do a more strenuous thing. But I wanted to go around. There were three beautiful “small hills” on one side of the crater that looked enticing. I felt as though they were beckoning for me to come try them. And try them I did.
The crater was torturous to say the least. There was only one ‘gully’ that someone could use to hike it. That is ,a deep thin pathway formed in the middle of the crater that has clearly been used by many people. Besides that,there was nowhere else one could walk lest you risk falling into the crater or on the other side of the mountain.


The first ‘hill’ on the crater, was tough but seeing some children as little as 5yrs going at it gave me hope. We rested after that and moved on to the second one. Climbing that one required stability. Something I didn’t have at this point. At this point I cared less on how I looked. So I held on to the walls of that pathway and moved one step at a time. I now discovered as I was climbing down the second hill that going down was harder than going up. I fell. But that didn’t stop me.
We were now on to the last hill. It was menancing even from just the way it looked at us. And to think that a while ago,I had thought it cute and beautiful,just sitting there waiting to be climbed. Looks can be deceiving. For this one I was helped immensely. Alex had his phone belting out “incredible by Celine Dion and…”. That song was music to the ears. He kept on encouraging us to keep going on. Mary, a very fit friend,seemed to be finding it all easy. Her clothes we were clean. You should have seen me at this point. Odeny,the other guy in the group held my hand at various intervals. The unfit me struggled on.


I tell you nothing in this world is sweeter than achieving something you didn’t think you could,yet you wanted to. Nothing beat the feeling of being at the highest point of Mt.Longonot. Nothing. Not even being called to the best high school in the country. Or getting a small sister. Or seeing the ocean for the first time. Or traveling to Dar es salaam by road. Nothing. And that’s how on that summit,my body aching and begging for relief, my soul filled with joy for seeing all that beauty at once with my own eyes, I fell in love with hiking. And I knew deep down that I had found something that makes me tick. I had always loved travelling and now I discovered a more specific part of traveling. Hiking.


The journey down the last hill was my most memorable. I fell over five times. My friends even recorded me falling(it was that expected) my body was tired of holding me. But each time I rose and trudged on. I slugged on. The rest of the crater was quite flat. Incredible kept on playing. Alex didn’t leave me behind. We arrived at where we had started and started the journey downwards. Going down was obviously not easy,but at this point I was too worn out to even stop and rest. My body was on automatic that kept moving it one step at a time. Till we got down.
When I was young,I went to Tsavo National park over 20 times. But one time that had always stuck with me was of a time we climbed a ka-hill that was made up of changarawe or gravel. This meant that every two steps you made forward was one in actual sense. Before had always wondered why I that trip had always stuck in mind. But now I knew why. That hiking had tugged at my heart. It had called me at that young age. But I did not discover it until Mt.Longonot told it to me plainly. That our relationship looks beautiful on the outside, its beastly on the inside, but its here to stay.
The rest of our stay in Naivasha was a blur to me. We went back to school. I went back to hustling. But that experience changed my life forever. I now know one more thing about myself. And I think that makes me a better person than I was before. Its been a whole year since I hiked again(sounds weird and lazy I know, but its been a learning curve that year). And now I’m back to the game. I’m wiser now. My priorities are clearer now. Plus I have discovered a whole new world of budget travel agencies. How on earth didn’t I know of this world in first year? But everything has its season.


Yesterday a time like this, found me full of butterflies in my stomach. In less than 24hrs, I was going to be hairless. I combed my hair and took its last pictures. But I was anxious. I suspected I would look like a man after shaving. A handsome woman. And so I decided to draw some damage control plan. I would go to town and shop for a good ‘feminine’ cap and some light long scarfs for making head wraps.
Today at around 12.30 found me in town looking for suitable head wrap scarfs. Nothing seemed to please my eyes. And mark you, I have no idea on how to tie those things. But a girl gotta do what she has to do for survival. An hour down the line,I had bought one black scarf and I did not seem to be making progress in that sector. So I decided to just go ahead and shave, I’ll look for things to hide my hairless head in later.
Eddy’s barbershop and spa. That was the place I decided to end a 16yr old relationship in. It was in whose mirrors I decided to see my hairless head in. The place came highly recommended in regards to its reviews(I read those things). Plus they answered fast when I sent them enquiries. The price was also slightly below what I use per month for my hair,so considering this is a once in a lifetime event(hopefully), I did not mind spending a lot on my hair(no pun intended). Or maybe I was trying to over compesante for chopping it off.
So I alight at Roosters. I ask for directions from a motorcycle man but he has never heard of the place. So  I turn on my gps and Google map and find myself there after ten minutes(just as had been communicated). The place looks exactly like in their Facebook photos. Somebody must have seriously decided to invest in a barber shop. It feels like home.
I wait. There are two clients before me so I sit and wait for my turn. As I wait, I try using my phone as a distraction but that doesn’t work. The thought keeps coming back. “You know Mercy you don’t have to do this. You can just walk out before its too late.” At the background Justin beiber is asking whether its too late to say sorry. Followed by some guy reminding me that I only miss the sun when its snow time. Its like the devil is on the decks trying to discourage my move(who else can I put blame on but the devil?). Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m the kind of decision makers who can rarely go back against their earlier planned decisions. Maybe that’s why some people call me stubborn.
Finally. Its my turn. My barber(yes, from now on I have a barber) first of all thinks I’m lost. I should be in the spa, not trying to seat at his place of work. The questioning does not stop there. He removes my hairband and asks if this is what I truly want. I say yes. He asks how much he should cut. I say all of it. He thinks I’m joking, so he takes some scissors and cuts it into half. I ask him to continue. And this asking and answering goes on and on for the rest of my ‘shaving’. But he is fun. Some lady who had been seated at the reception with me keeps on asking me if its painful to bring all that beautiful hair down. Tears threaten to appear. Luckily my barber starts making fun of sponsors and drunkards. So I laugh the whole time instead of crying. I want a picture. But I decide not to take one for after all,si I am a walking scene of crime?
And as more and more hair falls from my head, a different Mercy evolves. She looks different for lack of a better word. If beauty was the hairful Mercy, then this one is not beautiful. She looks and feels…new. That is all I can think of as I stare at myself in the mirror. I came here for a new beginning, and God must be on my side for I love this new me. I had even carried a scarf (borrowed from my mum) so as to hide under immediately after shaving. But looking at myself, I know its of no use. I’ll walk around this way. There is some confidence I feel that was not there before. The massage after the shaving makes the price I’m paying for this shave worthwhile.  I have been well treated.
Looking back, I don’t know what I was so anxious about. I now have a barber. I was not planning on shaving again,but I kinda feel myself falling in love with the hairless me. I now know that when all odds are against her, Mercy will still stick it out to the end.
I know all my friends will be shocked. I did not tell anyone I was shaving today. It was just too personal. I have entered into naivas and some approximately ten year old girl couldn’t stop staring at me. I mean,is it that bad?
But nevertheless,I have learnt to always do me. Finally hairless.

Nearer my God to thee

Life reflections


Confused. Unsettled. Disturbed. That is your state of mind at this point in time. Your parents have a clear picture of what you should do after graduation. Get a job in this town. Save enough for at least an year to see you through your masters program. And then marry.
And as you sit up there looking on on all the rusted iron sheets that cover almost all houses, you feel alienated from it.
Your home town. You do not find anything homely about it. You remember the first time you came here. At six years of age. Everything looked strange. Your mother was staying in a really big house that had a bathroom with a shower. The visit only lasted a weekend and you went back to staying with your house help in another town. Two years down the line you came back again. To stay. This time round, the house did not look as mammoth as it had two years ago. But your mother seemed strange. Or maybe that is what boarding school at a young age does to a person. Speaking in your mother tongue even became difficult. And on the first church camp you went, they had printed all the reading material in your mother tongue. That is how the church was dismissed from your go to places.
The belowing smoke from chimneys resemble the blur that the next decade was for your life in relation to your life and this town. You have always never had friends here. Everyone knows you from your parents. Si huyu ni mtoto wa nani? But that never bothered you. After all you are only here for a season, or so you thought.
And as you sift through  your memory, you can’t help but feel like a stranger in your own body. Nothing seems familiar. What your mind wants and what your heart wants are two different things. Your parents add in to the disagreement in your head. Society also has several opinions to add.
Your head is now paining. But you know that not even the strongest painkillers will help. Only when you find peace will the drums stop beating wildly in your head. And should the chaos in there go on, you know that the rest of your body will hop onto the pain bandwagon. Are you this weak? What on earth did you do wrong? Why then does your life seem to be going in the wrong direction? What’s your worth?
And as you go through this struggle, you remember that you have God. Did He not say that you should call Him when in trouble? But deep down in your heart you know that the only reason you are talking to Him is because you do not have any other option. Everyone around you seems oblivious to your pain.Plus there is that one or two times you called Him in the past that He did not respond. Or maybe He did. Because you prayed for fire and got ice instead. That made you realize that He has the choice to help you our of any situation but at times He chooses not to. And right now, when you are as disturbed as you are, you do not need the situation getting any worse.
But you still call unto Him. After all what do you have to lose? You already have nothing. And as you explain to Him how you are feeling, you appreciate that at least somebody understands what you are going through. You also now get why King David loved wailing to God all the time he was in trouble. There is a peace to going to a higher power when you are at the end of the road.
Amen. And as you say your Amen, the drums in your head start beating less loudly and slower. The voices in your head feel muted. You feel better. Confused. Unsettled. Disturbed. But better.You find peace amidst all those conflicting thoughts. And that is when you realize that this is the nearest to God you have ever been. When you have nothing and are nothing in the face of the world. Nearer your  God to thee.

Tales from the village

Unsang heroes


Are witches still there? I stopped visiting home around ten years ago, after our neighbor was found trying to bewitch us. I had left the house to go visit my agemate some few homesteads away. We had not seen each other for a while so we talked till it was very late and even decided that I would sleep over. The only problem was that I had left my house open. My friend went to close it for me knowing that if I went ,I would go back on my word and sleep at my own house. On arrival he found a naked woman making rounds all over our compound. On closer inspection, he found that it was our immediate neighbor. The woman who borrows salt from us while we borrow a jembe. The best friend to my mother. You can imagine the shock. It was advisable that I do not return to that village any time soon.
What a small world. It is quite a pleasure to know that we hail from the same village. I admit, that I do not know a lot of people from back home since I did not study there and neither do I frequent the place. Do you farm back home? Yes, very true the rains have become very unsustainable of late. But I hope this business sustains you and your family. I have heard of your husband from my friend Sammy. We are very close to Sammy considering we grew up together and even went to the same secondary schools while being from the same village. He was even my best man during my wedding. It’s quit a pleasure to realize that we even share a close friend. Haiya, that’s a good school that both your daughter and his daughter are in. If they work hard,they will pass.
Today i had come to drop my wife in the nearby newly opened university. And from my observation, your part of lower eastern does not take education very seriously.Hapana,sikuwaonea (I’m not being unfair). For example in this university, over 80% of the students are from the upper eastern and even majority of the lecturers. But at least your daughters are taking education seriously.
Last month we had a fundraising for our former house help to go to the university. Why do you look so shocked? No, we did not educate her through high school. When she first came to our house, she had finished high school but had not managed to get her certificates from school due to fee arrears. So after a discussion with her and my wife,we decided to save part of her salary to go into that. And you can imagine our surprise when after picking her certificate, we discovered that she had scored a B+. Yet she had never told us for that whole year she had lived with us. She was very diligent in her work and our kids loved her immensely. So we thought, between my wife and I, that it would be bringing upon ourselves a curse if we didn’t help that girl. So we educated her through a diploma. Though at the time she was still staying with us. She wanted to further her studies and that is how the fundraising came up. Yes, the event well. Or rather we got enough to start her up. You know, what God has said will happen will still happen regardless of  many hurdles are on the way.

No, I don’t usually drop my wife every weekend. It’s just that my car had a problem and your town has better mechanics. So i decided to walk around as it is being repaired. Oooh, no, you must have misunderstood me. She is not a student, she is a part time lecturer. She lectures here part time. On week days she lectures in another college in Machakos and recently she got a contract with African Nazarene. Me, I’m a primary school teacher.

A girl can dream


I want to cut my hair. Start all over again. Give up on a 15year old relationship. Find a new love. Maybe I’ll join the naturalistas. Maybe I’ll join the head wrap bandwagon. Maybe I’ll just buy a wig. Or maybe I’ll just walk around hairless. But the bottom point is, I want to cut my hair.As i’m undoing my hair right now, and gasping at a receding hairline, I realize that maybe it’s time I said goodbye to this relationship.
Knowing myself, goodbyes are not my thing. I do not know how to let go. Even when the situation at hand seems beyond resurrection. And to top it all, those motivation books and talks tell me to never give up. That quitting is for the weak. That tough people never give up. And I believe I am tough. Or at least that is what makes me sleep at night. Knowing that I tried.
But when does enough become enough? When do relationships  become stale? When I can’t feel it anymore? When do things need to change? When my heart is not in it anymore? But does the world revolve around me? Am I the sun in my earth? Or the earth around the sun? At what point do I decide I can’t take it anymore? When I start breaking?
My small brother whom we look alike 98%( that 2% is because I’m female plus a 14 year difference between us) thinks I’ll look like him should I shave. He’s handsome according to some beholders. And I am beautiful according to the same beholders. Now imagine me looking like him.  Maybe I’ll be really ugly and hideous. Maybe I’ll look like a he who happens to be a she. Maybe shaving will give me this “african” look that I’ve always admired on people.
But the goodness is that there are a lot of maybes. I realize that I have lived a large part of my life giving myself little to no choices. I only do what’s acceptable to me and those around me. I have created my own jail. Created my own rules. And while at it I can say I have been a commendable prisoner. But maybe it’s time I got an early release for being such a law abiding prisoner(no pun intended). The world is mine for taking. My world is mine to destroy ,for after all creators are also destructors.
In a world full of possibilities, only the naive will hold back. I know by now I sound like a motivational speaker. But if you know me, then you might say I’m a good ,still person. Yet below that facade is raging sea that never stays calm. A mind that wanders and wonders every given chance it gets. A soul that thirsts for the unknown. A spirit that seeks understanding. Yet I’ve been holding back from even wanting. Because therein lies my weakness. I can never seem to deny myself anything that I want. My heart is like that child that throws tantrums in the supermarket until the parent has no choice but to comply with the demands. Maybe I’m always trying to overcompensate for something. But most likely it’s because I have just recently fallen madly in love with myself, and we are at that stage where I feel like taking bullets for myself or walking a thousand miles just to show me how much I love her.
I have come to realise that even if the world named you the most beautiful being of the year but you don’t feel beautiful, then you are not beautiful at all. Because you are who you think you are. And how can you think of what you can’t comprehend? And how do you comprehend a being? Is it not by talking to them, observing them, engaging them, knowing their flaws, the things that make them tick? And then after all that comes acceptance or at least tolerance if you find yourself wanting on so many levels. But point is, you now know who you are according to you. Now you can ask the society who they say you are just for the sake of comparing notes. But that will not have any influence on who you already know you are.
Or you end up like myself. Who embarked on a journey to know thyself. I don’t know what happened on the way, but I ended up falling in love with myself. I couldn’t imagine that all those years I’ve lived with this amazing being yet in total ignorance of it. I have found scars I didn’t know existed and wounds that are still bleeding. And my mind has been blown away by the strength it must have taken to still be alive right now. Broken yes, malfunctioning in some parts, scrambled in others, burnt, but still alive. And I can’t help but give myself a pat in the back.Obviously I am no longer objective in this ‘knowing myself’ journey. But I’m glad I did take it upon myself to find out if there is more to me than what people say there is. How else could I have met a person with the most beautiful combination of flaws,edges, experiences and personality?
I want to cut my hair. Simple wants like that did not exist for the previous Mercy. How could I think of such heinous acts? Society would not appreciate it. And I listened to society. Because somehow society’s voice sounded like mine. Somehow one of us looked like the other. But now I realize that society is a master in mimickery. It can take any shape or form you relate to that has power over you. But I’m over it. I now know my voice,shape and form. And its that ugly one that points out the crack in the relationship with my hair. It shows me the ugliness that society calls normal while secretly laughing behind my back. And it finally gives me options. Wise ideas, foolish one, coward ones, sensible ones, interesting ones. But still options. It opens me up to all maybes there are in the world. No sugarcoating.
My voice,shape and form have finally freed me from the jail I created for myself. I am free at last. I may not even cut my hair. But knowing that I have that option on the table is what freedom tastes like for me. And I smile at myself, for I can now afford to want. A girl can dream.



“I’m making this for my son in primary school. I sell one bag for two thousand shillings and he has arrears of six thousand, so that is three bags. No he is not in a private school; he is in a public school. Their teachers insisted on having private tuition even after the government banned them, and since I did not want him to drag behind in class, I let him go. Yes, I also make bracelets. But they use a different string other than this one, so I’ll make it for you when I go back home. You cannot come for it tomorrow because I may not be there.
Tomorrow I’ll be taking my ten year old to a physically disabled school in Machakos. He has epilepsy too besides being mentally challenged. In the local school they do not know how to handle him so he always comes home with so many scars. Last week I had to take him to hospital because there was a deep gush on his head. No, there is no one else to help me with them.
My first born daughter is married to a mkokoteni guy who delivers water to households. In some cases he has to carry thirty 20l Jerry cans to the 10th floor of storey houses. So when he comes to the house in the evening, he is always tired and in bad moods. He beats my daughter. There is a day he beat her up so badly that he injured her breasts. I went and confronted him and called his family from Tanzania. No, I did not take him to the police station because my daughter still wanted to stay with him.
She does not work maybe casual labor once in a while. I wanted her to finish her form four education. But she got pregnant while in form four and the principal refused to register her for the exams. So she gave birth while at home, but I noticed that she still used to visit the father of her baby. So I stayed with her baby while she went to stay with him. But they broke up. And that man is very successful right now. He just bought a car. Anyway as for her current husband, I told him to stop beating my daughter. When he comes from work, he should realise that she is tired too and help around instead of being a burden.”
I met this woman in the course of my work and I couldn’t get her story out of my head. I would love to say life is unfair but I realise that that is not entirely true. I think life once in a while throws an unexpected twist of events to everyone. And while most people will say how you handle it will determine how you end up, I digress. For some I think they are just lucky. For some like this woman, they are not so lucky on so many fronts. And yet she did not complain or sound bitter. She seemed to take it as though it’s okay, it’s the plate of food life has handed her, she will eat it in peace.

And I’m here worrying about the future, what I’ll be and who I’ll be. I wish I knew what paths I’ll take or how many kids I’ll have. Will I get married in the first place? What will be my first car? Will I ever get to buy my dream car or will it be replaced by a better one? Will I travel as much as I want to? Will my best friend achieve her dreams? Or will life catch up with her that she forgets to want more out of life? Will my mother live to see her grand kids? Will cancer come for her? Will I ever live to see the day my father asks for forgiveness? What course will my sister choose in the next two years or so? And is it wise to advice her to follow my path, when I do not know where it leads to?
Am I happy of the twenty one year old I have become? Happy is a bad word to use. Am I content with what I am? Content is now worse, it makes me think of comfort zones and how they are bad zones to be in according to motivational speakers. So what am I? When I was ten years old, I remember spending a great deal of time wondering what grownups think about. And now that I am one, I’m not any wiser. I still have no idea what grownups think about.
Maybe that is what life is all about. Asking questions that you will never find answers. Meeting people whose stories you can not relate to but they seem to have an answer to a question you have not yet formulated. Maybe life is writing sentences that you do not even know if they make sense. All those are maybes. What I am sure of is that the curve balls life throws at you is what finally defines what life is for you.
Yesterday someone who I thought understands me told me they do not understand me. Had it been some months ago, I would have delved deeper into the subject with them to find out why on earth they came to that conclusion. But I just smiled for I realized that they have finally completely understood me by coming to that conclusion. For neither do I understand myself. So it only makes sense that the only way to know me is by accepting that you can never fully know me.
There is meme that has been going around that goes like “I always feel happy, you know why? Because I don’t expect anything from anyone. Expectations always hurt!” Most people I have interacted with resonate with it. They even agree that it is the way to be happy. I don’t. I think if I removed expectations from my life I would be left with nothing, not even happiness. I expect a lot from people, circumstances, from life, from myself. How I view things and people is based on the expectations I have of them.
I love hope. Sometimes it is the only thing that keeps me going when tomorrow seems so blurred. Hope is the virtuous desire for future good while expectation is the prospect of anything good to come according to the oxford dictionary. These two words go hand in hand. So how do people live without hope? How do you not have expectations from people? When will you know that you need to cut off some friends from your life if you were expecting nothing from them in the first place?
However, I understand them. Many people will do anything to avoid being hurt. It’s human nature to want good things and keep off from the bad things in life. But I have come to learn to immerse myself fully to pain, hurt, confusion and anything else unlovely that life throws at me. The other day I was in Karura forest and the silence and tranquility of the place was soothing my soul into peace. I realized that the noise I was so used to was what made that silence so heavenly. Probability is that, was I living in a Karura like place, I would never even notice the silence. If the bad moments are not there, then you will never notice the good. And since we notice both, sadness and happiness, then it’s easier to embrace them as a normal part of life than over glorify good times and live our lives running away from the supposed bad times.
I can’t still get over the question, would the ten year girl that I was be proud of the woman I have become today? That woman whose story I shared above, what do you think as a ten year old she dreamed of? A happy ending maybe? A prince charming to throw her off her feet till old age? How many kids did she want? Do the dreams that powered her existence then, matter to her now? Does she still look at the stars and marvel at their beauty? Does she notice the beautiful sunset or sunrise? Or does she only exist? What tickles her ribs nowadays? What does meeting people like me so full of dreams, ideas and whatnots remind her of? Herself maybe? Her daughter? Or her grandchildren?
My biggest fear, which you might have figured out by, now, is disappointing myself. I expect a lot from myself on all fronts of life. Whether life throws its worst at me, the basic mercy will still remain. I want to smile on my death bed knowing that I took all I could from life. I may not be the best daughter, friend, colleague or mother but I want to be the best version of me I can ever be. I want to discover all things that I love and give them to myself, I want to satisfy all curiosities that I have, and I want to be content with always wanting more. I want to pass my own test of life. I want to be the best person I know of.
And finally I want to be a fifty something year old woman, telling my story to some twenty one year old girl. And I want that story to stick with her. I want that story to chase her in her dreams till she shares it whichever way she knows how. I want her to find questions for the answers I have just handed to her. I want her to create a story of her own that when she is a fifty something year old woman she will hand over down to another twenty one year old. Because maybe that is what is what life is all about. Stories.