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10 Incredible Posts You’ve Probably Missed

Happy 2018!

 

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I moved from this WordPress platform, bought my own domain and have been blogging twice a week since. And since I know you enjoyed previous posts, here’s a list of posts you have missed on then new website since I moved

  1. Books I read in 2017 (updated version).
  2. My poetry Got published in the US (updated version.)
  3.  On the first weekend of Dec 2017, I visited Lake Elementaita and I made a post about it:  Lake Elementaita – Safari Facts and Guide
  4. I made a recap of How I spent an Evening in Milan, Italy back in December 2015.
  5. What have I been reading, watching and whom have I been following on social media? I took stock of all that in Taking Stock One.
  6. I know the holidays are over, but you could still use this list of 10 Frugal Ways to Spend your Leisure Time.
  7. Over the holidays, I visited the Murumbi Heritage Collection in Nairobi Kenya and wrote about it and other blog readers loved it. You probably will too.
  8. I have been practicing photography seriously for more than 2 years now, see this Portrait session I had with a dope lawyer from the Gambia.
  9. Besides being a poet, I also read a lot of poems. I decided to serve you the creme de la creme from my poetry reads and I made a post of my 12 favorite poems. 
  10. And just because I like sharing knowledge and the good things in life, I wrote 20 Internet Finds and Conversation Starters just for you!

Enjoy the reads and always catch me at www.daisymoraa.com!

My Top 12 Favorite Poems

I discovered the sweetness of poetry when I was in class 6 or 7, at about the age 11 or 12, when on one holiday break, I came across Ecclesiastes 12 at the back of one of my brother’s books. Back then, I did not know that the text could be classified as poetry, and than in fact the chapter of Scripture itself, is a poem as it is loaded with imagery and metaphor. It was not until high school that I properly became acquainted with poetry, and by then, I had already became one at form one at the age of 14 – how that came about is a story for another day that I will tell in due time, but by the time I was done with high school, The Grass will Grow by Jonathan Kiariara was one of the poems I loved tp read and reread for its sheer simplicity and gravity.
The gap year between high school and uni saw me reading through anything and everything that I could lay my hands on, and this was the time I discovered Facebook and the Internet, and watched the phenomenal film “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, an adaptation from Ntonzake Shange’s book that goes by the same title . My reading nature and socializing with other people in the Kenyan literature scene through my years in uni was instrumental in introducing me to other poets like Emily Dickinson, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Dennis Brutus, Kadish Morris, Indigo Williams, Charles Bukowski, Tupac Shakur, Stacey Ann Chin just to cut short the list and their poetry.
I have continually discovered poems and poetry houses, like 3am Magazine, Granta, the Paris Review and thus my scope of poetry and literary understanding of the same has grown as such. Some Kenyan poets, like Ngawtilo Mawiyoo and Clifton Gachagua whose poetry I enjoy reading may not make it to this list, but still, they are interesting to me. In no way does this list extensively cover all the poems I have enjoyed, but the ones in this list  are the ones I keep going back to, time after time, as they struck a cord so deep in me that I see myself in them, see others in them, see the world in them, and they are to me works of literary genius. The poems are listed in no particular order in the hierarchy of my liking them.
Note: This will be a long read, as I have shared 10 whole poems here and linked the 2 longest to my Tumblr page, and written short notes on why I like them. Therefore, if you are in the comforts of your home, it would be best if you grabbed a cup of something, made yourself cozy and then dive right in. Or if you are commuting, this will be a worthy companion, so dive in all the same.
POEMS ABOUT THE STATE OF BEING ALIVEÂ
Love After Love  by Derek Walcott
“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

Note:
I love this poem for the fact that it speaks of self care in the face of loving another person, in the reality of how broken and distraught we can become when we are rejected or when our love is not met by the same intensity and magnitude that we give it. To love, we must first be able to love ourselves. And by no means is how another human being loves us the measure with which we should calibrate our value. Derek Walcott’s (1948-1984) poem is like a warm hug from a friend who holds you as you come to this realization.

i carry your heart in my heart by ee. cummings 

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
 i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

Note:
I love this poem from the depths of my heart, and ee cummings (1894-1962) was a love poem genius.

 

The Second Coming  by W B Yeats

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Note:
I often turn to this poem when there are political upheavals in my home country or in the international scene. For instance, Trump or the aggressive tribalism we experience every few years even among the educated population is “mere anarchy loosed upon the world.” I find that in most social cases, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst /Are full of passionate intensity.” This poem was introduced to me by Chinua Achebe’s foreword on how he came about the Title ” Things Fall Apart” on the book that catapulted him to literary fame in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

POEMS ABOUT LOVE &/OR ITS LACK THEREOF
For Women Who Are Difficult to Love by Warsan Shire
“you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful

something not everyone knows how to love.”

Note:
Often men come up to me and tell me that my assertion and character is like that of a man- that is to say, I am assertive, I refuse to be pushed around, I refuse to receive less than I should get, I choose to not be bridled by patriarchal societal norms. As if that is that something I should apologize for. To this I respond with a quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

Questions for the Woman I was last night by  Warsan Shire
“how far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps?
how often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short?
why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
where did it begin? what went wrong? and who made you feel so worthless?
if they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you?
all this time, you were begging for love silently,
thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you,
you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin?
and what about the others that would do anything for you,
why did you make them love you until you could not stand it?
how are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?
where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?

where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?”

Note:

We all have that one person that we cannot un-leave no matter how much they do not want us. It happens even to the best of us, and this is what this poem is about.
The Unbearable Weight of Staying by Warsan Shire
“I don’t know when love became elusive
What I know, is that no one I know has it.
My father’s arms around my mother’s neck,
Fruit too ripe to eat, a door half way open.
When your name is a just a hand I can never hold,
everything I have ever believed in, becomes magic.
I think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another, searching for the same light.
My mother’s laughter in a dark room,
a photograph greying under my touch.
This is all I know how to do, carry loss around until
I begin to resemble every bad memory,
every terrible fear,
every nightmare anyone has ever had.
I ask, did you ever love me?
You say of course, of course so quickly
that you sound like someone else
I ask are you made of steel? are you made of iron?
You cry on the phone, my stomach hurts

I let you leave, I need someone who knows how to stay.”

Note:

Domestic violence, the lack thereof of love where it should be, the intricate complex nature of what we call love, love as we have seen it in our families, as we have experienced it, is all summarized in this short poem by Somali Kenyan born (1988) Warsan Shire.

Warsan Shire’s poems, not just the above mentioned, are the poems that have brought me a lot of healing when I have undergone emotional turbulence in my personal life.

 

POEMS ABOUT ABUSE, SELF CARE, MENTAL HEALTH & RACE
Dark Phrases  by Ntonzake Shange from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, 1975
“dark phrases of womanhood
of never havin been a girl
half-notes scattered
without rhythm/ no tune
distraught laughter fallin
over a black girl’s shoulder
it’s funny/ it’s hysterical
the melody-less-ness of her dance
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
she’s dancin on beer cans & shingles
this must be the spook house
another song with no singers
lyrics/no voices
& interrupted solos
unseen performances
are we ghouls?
children of horror?
the joke?
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
are we animals? have we gone crazy?
i can’t hear anythin
but maddening screams
& the soft strains of death
& you promised me
you promised me…
somebody/anybody
sing a black girl’s song
bring her out
to know herself
to know you
but sing her rhythms

carin/struggle/hard times

sing her song of life

she’s been dead so long
closed in silence so long
she doesn’t know the sound
of her own voice
her infinite beauty
she’s half-notes scattered
without rhythm/no tune
sing her sighs
sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
the makin of a melody
let her be born
let her be born

& handled warmly.”

Note:

“Dark phrases of womanhood/ of never havin been a girl/ half-notes scattered/ without rhythm/ no tune/ distraught laughter fallin/ over a black girl’s shoulder/ it’s funny/ it’s hysterical/ the melody-less-ness of her dance” need I say more about why I love this poem. I am an African Girl, and I feel very privileged to be educated and well into my twenties. Most girls are not as lucky – some experience early childhood marriage, FGM, beading, lip plating, ear stretching, some get raped repeatedly by their relatives. For instance, girls from the age of 14-22 attend the Reed dance in Swaziland, and one, who catches the eye of the king will get married off to him no matter her age. The sheer fact that it happens in this day and age is something that infuriates and saddens me. By no means should the efforts to emancipate the girl child and to free women from generational oppression ever stop. We have got a lot of work to do.

 

Sorry by Ntonzake Shange from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, 1975
“one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry
i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody
else
i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine
you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
well
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
loud
& i wont be sorry for none of it
i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time

enjoy bein yrself”

Note:
When sorry loses meaning, when the word has been abused and used as an excuse, apologies seem like a mockery. There are some who abuse the love and affection that they receive and assume that sorry is the fixing glue that patches all and makes things alright. The continual distortion of trust is painful, and there comes a time when one needs to break away to lead a more fulfilling life.

Ellen  West by Frank Bidart

“…On the third day of being home she is as if transformed. At breakfast she eats butter and sugar, at noon she eats so much that—for the first time in thirteen years!—she is satisfied by her food and gets really full. At afternoon coffee she eats chocolate creams and Easter eggs. She takes a walk with her husband, reads poems, listens to recordings, is in a positively festive mood, and all heaviness seems to have fallen away from her. She writes letters, the last one a letter to the fellow patient here to whom she had become so attached. In the evening she takes a lethal dose of poison, and on the following morning she is dead. “She looked as she had never looked in life—calm and happy and peaceful.
Note:
This poem is about Ellen West’s eating disorder and her eventual death. I felt so much empathy for the character, and was grateful for Frank Bidart (1939- ) who brought the real life of Ellen West, (1888 -1921) who committed suicide at the age of 33 by poisoning as she suffered from anorexia. The emotional pull in this poem is so strong, and I like the slow patient manner in which it is written.

 

 

POEMS ABOUT THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE/MORTALITY
The Grass Will Grow by Jonathan Kariara
“If you should take my child Lord
Give my hands strength to dig his grave
cover him with earth
Lord send a little rain
For grass will grow
If my house should burn down
So that the ashes sting the nostrils
Making the eyes weep
Then Lord send a little rain
For grass will grow
But Lord do not send me
Madness
I ask for tears
Do not send me moon hard madness
To lodge snug in my skull
I would you sent me hordes of horses
Galloping
Crushing
But do not break

The yolk of the moon on me.”

Note:
The simplicity and the usage of phrases like “moon hard madness” are what pulled me in. Jonathan (1935-1993) understood that there are things in this life that can break a person, things beyond human power, things like death and calamity and mental illness. And for this reason, he asks that in this lifetime he be spared mental illness, for it is a calamity that is like a thousand daily deaths, the insane one goes on living without really living, and carries an illness for which there is no known cure.

 

Ecclesiastes 12 from The H. Bible

1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”–
2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain;
3when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim;
4when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint;
5 when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets.
6Remember him–before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,
7and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

 

8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”

Note:
Like earlier said, this was my first real read of poetry, and I love it now just as I love it then. The imagery used speaks about the condition of human life, and how the body degenerates in old age. For instance, the verse “when the grinders cease because they are few,” the wise man is talking about losing teeth, and the difficulty in chewing, and when he speaks of “those looking through the windows grow dim”, he is talking about how eyes lose their strength. “the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint” because of the gradual loss of hearing. My favorite lines, that I understood much later, and whose imagery is very powerful talk about the shatter that accompanies death and they are “Remember him–before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well..”
A timeless piece, less known, but very accurate on the nature of life.

The Love Song of J Prufrock by T.S Eliot

“…And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

 


Note:
Reading this poem is like coming home, and finding an old friend, who knows you, and who will understand what you have lived even without much being said. T. S Eliot (1888-1965) got this published at the age of 27 but he was very much an old soul in a young body. He sees human life for what it is, a p
assage though time, and he does not reduce any of it, not even how smoke lingers upon pools of water as it leaves the fireplace and dissolves into the air.
The poem is written in simple language,, but requires concentration and a keen mind to go deeper.

***

What poems have you liked most in this list & why? What are some of your favorite poems?
Thank you for reading!

 

10 Minimalist/ Frugal Ways To Spend Your Holidays

The Christmas and New Years have been so heavily commercialized, that the season is ushered in with Christmas and end of year sale adverts. The reason for the season – the commemoration of the birth of Christ and the gratitude that should accompany the end of another year – are often over shadowed by the buying of gifts, excessive spending and in some instances, gluttony and drunkeness. With January around the corner, famed for having 5 long weeks, it is wise to slow down and look for other mindful ways that we can enjoy our holidays. Below I made a list of 10 frugal/ minimalistic ways you can spend your time over the holidays that will have your heart glad and your pockets thanking you in January.


1.       Play Cards
Cards are an easy way to connect and socialize with friends or family. It is also a good way to keep competitive people engaged, and the best part is a pack of cards can be bought with loose change or you probably have a pack lying somewhere in the house.
2.       Visit a Children’s Home
During the festive season most are engaged with their nuclear and extended families. Those in children homes and orphanages could probably do with a visit, and a loving gesture. The visit will not be their ultimate gift – as they probably want families of their own too – but it will go a long way in lightening up someone’s day – yours too
3.       Read a Book
You know how you have been postponing your annual reading over and over, you probably have not hit your target or maybe you did not even have a target, now is the time to read something – now that you have no pressing work issues and you have a few days to laze around. Grab a small book and complete one before New Years. You could read When Breathe Becomes Air by Kalanithi or The Year of Mercy by Leonard Cohen.
4.       Watch Films/ Videos With Your Family or Friends
During the year, if you have long work or study hours, it is difficult to watch movies with your family or friends. Now is the perfect time to watch with that film that you have been raving about, or someone else has been raving about with your family or friends. Here’s my list of Movies 2017, and among my favourite were Frida and Gia and The Color Purple.
5.       Spend an Afternoon Singing or Listening to Your Favourite Songs
A friend send me a clip of him singing merry Christmas and playing the guitar, and I thought it is such a fun way to share the happiness of the holidays. If you have a friend who can play an instrument or you are into acapella, you can play the songs you love and sing along. You can also dig up songs from the 90’s and early 2000’s and enjoy the throwbacks.
6.       Take a Walk to a Nearby Scene of Beauty
Walking has been scientifically proven to be therapeutic. Take an evening or morning walk to a scene of beauty, say where the sunset or sunrise is best viewed in all its glory, or to a nearby river or some other scene of beauty. This is especially more simple if you are upcountry where the environment is hardly tampered with – the air is fresh and clean and the pace of life is slow. Walking also enables you to get out to yourself and think of others and the environment and the beauty of nature itself.
7.       Donate your clothes – End of Year Cleaning/ Purge 
The end of the year is the best time to go through your clothes and see what you have been wearing and what you haven’t. If you have not worn a piece of clothe in 6 months, chances are you will not wear it in the next months even if it is still relatively new. You can pass them down to your siblings, or relatives or donate to the children’s home or to the Church charity basket. The perks of this is you will have done a good deed and had a lighter more organised closet come the end of the holidays.
8.       Call a Friend Whom You Have not Spoken to in a While
In this age of instant messaging and social media updates, it is easy to f
orget the satisfaction of long phone calls with some of our friends. That friend who fell off the radar, that friend who had a difficult year, or who changed towns or that friend you have not spoken to in a while that you have been meaning to call can easily be reached. Pick up the phone and call them and find out how they have been doing.
9.       Write Down 3 goals for the Next Year/Period of Your Life
Writing down goals is the first action to realizing them. Putting down our aspirations shows that we are serious about them, and even if they change, a roadmap has already been made. Write them and pin them up were you see them frequently – could be on your bedroom wall or next to the kitchen sink. If you write them down and put the notebook at the bottom of your drawers there is no difference with someone who has not written them down. Also, instead of a million goals, write 3 – those are manageable, and break them down into weekly and monthly goals and start working towards them as soon as possible. That way, when another year comes around, you will have something to show for it. You can also share your goals with your family and friends so that they can keep you accountable.
10.   Exercise… Maybe?
Instead of stuffing yourself up with all manners of (unhealthy) food, now is probably the best time to pick up that skipping rope you bought and never used. If you are in the company of family or friends, they probably have had the same aspirations and they will be glad to join you for a skip, a jog, a run or even some press-ups. If you have exercise music, aerobics are the way to go. And there is Youtube from which you can download exercise tutorials, and have a sort of exercise program. The more you are, the merrier, and you will probably feel so great and that could add exercise momentum for the coming months. Also, you do not need fancy gear to exercise, put on your sport shoes, and an old t-shirt and some comfortable pants and get going. 
You can comment below with another frugal/minimalistic way to spend your holidays. Sharing is caring. Happy holidays!

3 Innate Things that Keep me Going

The year has been hectic for most of us, and every day we have to wake up and face the day. Besides prayer and a good support group of friends, some of the things that has kept me going are these three. Especially in this month of November. They are pictured above and I will give my reasons below

1. My LA Girl Matte Lipstick
I do not even know the exact lipstick number but it is what I have been using all year long. When I step out of the house, I like to feel like I have a good body image, and this lipstick just does that for me. It is non-shiny and has the just the right amount of moisture to keep my lips supple. It does not last the whole day though, and I have to reapply two or three times a day (especially after meals).

2. A Tecno Kabambe
I bought this baby last Sunday after my phone died on me. I had been using a Microsoft 530 since June 2015, and when it broke in October 2017, I was using an Infinix Note 3 for the last 2 months. Then on Saturady after work, I got home put it on the charger, napped for 2 hours, and when I woke up at 10pm, the damn thing was DEAD. So after waiting for it to come back to life and it did not, I went out and bought myself a functional phone (picture above.) What is of interest is that the past 2 months I have been Whatsapp free, and I must say I like that I am only doing essential communication.

3. My Canon Rebel T5
Working 60 hours a week is no joke, Monday to Saturday 7am to 6pm leaves me drained. I get to the house, and the minute I slide into bed (no matter how early) I am gone! So the prospect that I can take up photography again over lunch hours and on Sundays gives me something to look forward to that is not directly linked to the corporate life.

What ordinary things have kept you going?

Amazing Grace! Peace Amidst It All #ElectionsKE

daisy

I will be honest and admit that the election period in this country is not anywhere close to being a favorite of mine. The political temperatures rise so fast, the tribal divisions come to the fore, and in as much as people speak of unity, one cannot fail to see that the majority are split right down the middle along tribal lines. Not only that, there seems to be a lack of objectivity in all matters politics – everyone is pointing fingers at their opponents, and there are more than occasional insults thrown here and there. We all know it, there is no need to pretend that our nation and its leaders are angels.

We all have a part to play, we are not just mere pawns shuffled on the playing board. I play my part by encouraging and sharing messages of peace.

That said, as someone who read and made a book presentation on Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza, I know full well that there’s a thin line between political rivalry and the onset of violence. What I want, as do most of other hard working Kenyans, is to have credible and peaceful elections. With recent happenings, however, one cannot help but be worried, and anxious, and if you are a bundle of nerves like me, distressed. The election week and its uncertainties loom over my head like a dark cloud. At times like this, only conversing with my mother and prayer seem to calm me down.

I have found myself replaying  Amazing Grace over and over. I love this song so much – it speaks directly to my heart. When I listen to it, my soul rests, and the hope that goodness will win over humanity is restored verse after verse.

I was in Taveta this past weekend, and during the Sunday Mass, the priest spoke about the song during the Homily. So when I came back to Nairobi, I researched a little on the origins of the song, to build onto the story that he had given during the Homily, and here is a synthesis of what I have gathered so far.

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, an Anglican clergyman and English poet (1725-1807). Before his conversion, he was involved in the slave trade and was at some point, captain of a slave ship. Involved in a violent sea storm near the shores of Ireland in 1748, he called out to God for His mercy. Contrary to stories that you may have heard, he did not immediately pen down the song once the storm quelled, though that cry during the storm marked the beginning of his conversion, but later, much later, when he had converted fully and was preaching after he was ordained in the Church of England, did he and his fellow preacher, poet and convert William Cowper begin to write songs for their congregations. It was during this period, sometime in 1773, that John Newton wrote the poem Amazing Grace. The tune was not his, and the origin of the tune we all know is not well known. There are claims that the tune was borrowed from West African songs. Others claim that it was borrowed from an English tune known as New Britain. Nevertheless, the words of the poem and the tune merged beautifully, and with us, we have this song that is as solid as a rock in times of distress as it is gentle on our souls.

Amazing Grace indeed. Should I fail to sing it because it was written by an Englishman who sold my fellow Africans in the slave trade? No. I sing it because at its root is the  message that Christianity is built on: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died to redeem us. (Romans 5: 8 But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ) So all of us, in spite of our humanity, this Grace is for us.

There are many versions of the song on youtube, however, the one that grips my heart in a solid embrace is this one by Libera. Libera is an all-boy English vocal group directed by Robert Prizeman that regularly performs concerts in many countries, including the UK, USA, and the Far East, and regularly makes recordings for their own album releases and other projects.

How are you facing your anxieties during this election period? And remember,  we are not just mere pawns, we all have a part to play, minute as it may seem. No matter what, preach peace, be peaceful, and let us have a credible election.

 

Late Afternoon At Mama Ashanti, Kenya

Place & Location

Last week, my friend and I made our way to Mama Ashanti Restaurant, Nairobi. My friend, Faith, who is leaving this month for her Ms degree in the US, gave me a treat at the Ghanian restaurant given the nod by online reviews as the best outlet for West African food in Nairobi.

Located at Muthangari Gardens,Lavington, the ambience was cool, the tables and chairs well spaced for privacy and room for personal comfort.

The Food & Drinks

We had dawa – I still do not know what was in there, but for sure there was garlic and it had this sweet-sour taste that was tantalizing, and I still cannot find the right words to describe it. All I know it is good, and you have to try it to know it.

I have had plaintain before, cooked the Nigerian way by a Nigerian, so the plantain wasn’t knew to my palate. The meat though, was made differently – it was in between nyama choma and wet fried goat meat- in a way that I liked. (But I still like our Kenyan nyama choma more, sorry West Africa!)

The food below was eaten by us two, by the looks of it, it looks little but not so dear friend, we were full when we were 3/4 way done, and had to nudge each other to at least try and clear the plate.

Ratings

  • I loved the food, and will have to try out more dishes to give proper stars. But so far, so good. I would definitely recommend it.
  • What I found wanting was that we had to wait quite a while before we received service.

Mama Ashanti’s Facebook link is here.

7 lessons 7 months post-uni

lessons after uni

// time is of essence – spend it wisely
working mon-sat barely leaves me time to do much else. it requires mental fortitude to spend the little time I have left in a meaningful and productive way.  my main impetus is my fear of becoming one of those people whose lives are just the corporate so i decided to actually write (+ blog) and pursue my passions no matter how tired i am. this explains why i have taken up blogging seriously

tip: make a time log of how you spend your time, and match that up against your goals/aspirations, and from there you will know how to spend your time

// keeping in touch with friends and family has to be intentional
post uni social circles reduce like 90%. most of your peers are trying to settle into a job, are looking for a job, or just minding their life business just as you are, and no, your friends are not forgetting you, they are trying to figure out things as well. i am grateful to have a close knit of about four friends that I can call and talk to. though i realized to meet new people I need to get out of my comfort zone and hang out more

tip: if there is someone whom you know who attends cool events, hit them up and ask them to take you along with them next time there is an event

// yeah, it’s cliché but it’s true comparison is the thief of joy
in the social media age, comparisons blow things out of proportions. scrolling through your feeds, sometimes it feels like the whole world is just doing better than you are but it’s not true.  i’ll conclude this with a fav quote of mine: do not compare your behind the scenes with the highlight reel of others

tip: good things take time. trust your journey

// planning for & budgeting your finances is of paramount importance
it seems like the universe is just waiting for you to start getting your paycheck so that all sorts of bills and needs come to the fore. and if you do not plan, you can barely know where your notes and coins go. trust me, i know – from experience. the only way out is living well below your means and secondary sustainable sources of income

tip: download weekly and monthly budget sheets from the internet or keep a diary of your daily, weekly and monthly expenses and determine where your money goes, what you can eliminate, what you want to spend on

// never stop learning
really, i mean it. i studied 5 years for my career, but among my workmates who have been in the industry for a number of years or decades, with my 5 months experience, i am green to the bone. and not only that i am learning so much about life – about friendship, about love, about being. and this learning means that i have to  unlearn some of the things i have learned through the years. it is also quite possible to learn a skill or two by yourself from youtube tutorials e.g.  photography, coding, design etc

tip: make goals for what you want to learn and focus on that. use you-tube to the max. never stop reading

// take it easy
you will have a roadmap -from work to love to the kind of life that you want to lead – but life takes its own direction. trust me, i know.  i am living at a place i never planned i would because of the job i have, i have met so many people,  formed new relationships, discovered things about myself, and not only that. life has thrown some curveballs my way, and  i am learning that sometimes the best you can do is take it a day at a time, and just let life flow, and discover it as you  go along.  and ask for help if you need help. i am not  a cry baby and have almost always been independent but sometimes all i want is a good cry and to go home to my Mum. and there’s nothing wrong with that

tip: take is easy. no one has life figured out – the best thing you can do is have a flexible mind. be gentle with yourself

// God is still number one
this one makes me smile. because when i joined university in 2011, i thought that finally i could do whatever i want, and for a while it was almost like that. but He has always pursued my heart, my love and He has always won me over no matter how many times i do my own things. and now that i moved to a place that i barely knew anyone, he is there more than ever and everywhere i turn, it’s Him asking for my love, and i realized that above all else, no matter what i do, He is the one my heart desires

 

+ one (more) year

simply moraa

second last Thursday of March 2017, i received the Grace to add one more year to my life, and i am really grateful for that. in the past year, i have been able to complete uni, to graduate, get an internship/job in an incredible structural project that i thoroughly enjoy – i like to think that i am paid to learn while on the job , and i am living away from home. this, and much more, and i am learning to be grateful for it all.

one more year

there are of course, many things that i am yet to learn, to become, to unlearn, to experience and improve on, and there are goals that i have postponed year after year and as such i am a work in progress but that is something i am learning to embrace. i am a work in progress, and no matter how much i may be far from what i would like to be, i am exactly where i should be in life. i am exactly where God wants me to be, and this is enough to help me wade through it all, a day at a time

my birthday was quite the occurrence – some of my workmates used a hosepipe to generously wet me to the skin, and i had to go home and change, thank the heavens they made up for it by buying me cake, and even better my very fatherly boss took me and my department mates for my b day dinner at a nice restaurant. and on Saturday afternoon, me and some friends went down to Valley Coffee on Biashara Street for a late afternoon lunch. it was the perfect excuse to dress up, considering my work clothes tend to be drab for field work. i enjoyed the food portions, and the ambience of the place.

// for some reason we all tended towards mashed potatoes as starch, but they have other servings such as rice, fries etc

//first food photo is what i had: the arosto, second is beef with peanuts, third is chicken breast which my pals had.

mashed potatoes and arosto

 

valley coffee mashed and beef

 

mashed potatoes with chicken breasts

 

daisy with friends

Thank you so much for reading!

back at it again

I begin blogging again after several tries the past 5 years on different platforms without much input/output for one very simple reason really; because I realized I have quite a bit to share  in terms of what I have read, what I am listening to, or an important piece of information that I have come across. I must admit that previously my motivations were quite individualistic and self centered. It was me, me, me. The focus has changed now, from me, me, me to what I think my friends/others would enjoy reading, or would benefit from reading. That doesn’t mean I won’t throw one or two things that could be warped in self interest somewhere along the way.

For instance, having lunch with my friends in September last year, one of the topics we happened to devour was the impact of homosexuality on kids adopted by such couples, and I had a couple of links and sites that I was to share with them but could not find as I had tweeted aeons of ages ago.  And well, the  twitter timeline is a rabbit hole. Or two days ago, when over lunch break, my female colleague and I were speaking about the gender pay gap and I found myself breaking down the TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg on the same. Or how I would like the rest of the world to accompany me in discovering new non-mainstream music that is actually worth the listen. For instance, United Pursuit, or Benjamin Clementine, or Asa.

Or how during my last semester in school, I was sharing Warsan’s poems to a friend and she had never heard of her. And a few days later, Beyonce had released an album with bits of Warsan’s poetry.

I feel that with the continual exposure to a lot of content on the internet and the media, and the pressures of my work life, and my focus on other things, I cannot possibly keep all these info to myself, or for myself, and I possibly cannot remember it all, putting into consideration the fact that I have realized that my memory has started having such gaps that make me rake my mind to find simple things and facts – like when was the French revolution? Maybe it is a cue from the world that it is time to start taking care of myself, and others too.

I am curious and interested to see the direction the blog will take. In the meantime, let’s start with a post a week, hoping I can chew what I have put on my plate.

Join me, won’t ya!

Month 293: Life

LIFE I

Month: 293

Hey there!

I figured that if I don’t do this today, I’ll keep on postponing until
thy-kingdom-come. I feel the need to share what I am upto as a
creative/individual so that you can get to know me better, but life always gets
in the way. So this series, that I hope to share every 23rd (it’s my birth
date) of the month will be called LIFE. Pun much?

Life lately: I just finished my civil engineering undergraduate last week
and I went home to relax with my family before I seriously get into the job
hunt. Really relieved to be done with 5+ years of uni.

Reading: Mother
Teresa’s “Come Be My Light”
that I will be presenting to a group of friends
in late September. It’s a good read, and she is an exceptional character.

Playing: Link Game with my small bro in his phone. The hard level is
impossible!

Wishing: That I could have loads of money so that I could just go on a
holiday & buy myself lots of clothes. Realized quite recently that I am
very frugal, & shopping is at the bottom of my list of priorities.
Got.to.change.

Wanting: My own hair to be somewhat long & sleek. So I am reading all
these hair blogs on the net. The challenge is to put the info to good use.

Watching: Benjamin Clementine live performances on Youtube. I discovered him
last month, and I am amazed by his live
performance at the Burberry January 2016 menswear fashion
event. Another of
my other favs is his Mathematics – no video, just an audio, but still on the
playlist I have linked in this nugget.

Listening: Alicia Keys – This Girl is on Fire. Not the mainstream version. Another
more relaxed, more musical version.

Creative Work Update: Would love to post the rest of Hours but my laptop
keeps crashing, and when it decides to behave, it won’t connect to the
internet. However, soon, I hope to post the rest of it.

Have an awesome day!